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Browns Keeping Everything Top-Secret

The cloak of secrecy that used to cover the New York Jets has traveled with Eric Mangini to the Cleveland Browns, and it’s not gathering any dust.
According to Marla Ridenour of the Akron-Beacon Journal, Mangini is following the Bill Belichick book to the letter as far as trying to keep information reported about practice sessions to an absolute minimum.
Per the report/gripe, Mangini is making it tough on reporters to convey what’s going on at practice by keeping them far away from the action behind a sand pit most of the time.
“The spot up against the fence was not close to the nearest sideline and light-years away when drills were conducted two fields over,” Ridenour writes.  “A second-floor window of a nearby condo would have been a better vantage point.”
That tougher policy, which didn’t exist under former coach Romeo Crennel, might or might not be relaxed during training camp.
Per the report, the Browns’ press corps will only be able to watch the first half-hour of practices after August 22.
That means that they’ll only be able to watch stretching drills and won’t be able to glean much information on how the late stages of the quarterback competition between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson is unfolding.
Also, Mangini has told reporters that he won’t bend on his policy of issuing vague answers or essentially no answers about injuries.
Although Mangini doesn’t seem to abide by the NFL rules that injury reports have to offer some specific information other than, for example, just calling an injury a “leg,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Beacon-Journal that Mangini does follow the league’s rules and regulations.
“He may not do more than the minimum,” Aiello said. “But we didn’t have a problem with the Jets as far as complying with the rules.  Some media get frustrated when you won’t go beyond what’s on the injury report.  But we don’t require more than that.”
Ridenour also noted that Mangini recently admonished a reporter for writing about the Browns practicing a flea flicker.
One week later when the Browns attempted another trick play, the Browns’ public relations staff called reporters to remind them about Mangini not wanting any reporting on trick plays.
Of course, the lack of information on practice sessions prevents fans from learning as much as possible about their favorite team even though it’s debatable whether any real competitive advantage for the team is at stake.
That said, reporters’ complaints typically fall on deaf ears.
As Ridenour pointed out, her former Dayton Daily News sports editor, the late Si Burick, used to say:  “Nobody cares about our problems.”
If Mangini wins in Cleveland, then his close-to-the-vest, loose-lips-sink-ships approach will be accepted for the most part.
And, if Mangini loses, his uptight philosophy will be cited as another example of how a failure to change can lead to more failure.

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13 Responses to “Browns Keeping Everything Top-Secret”
  1. oldchuck says: Jun 21, 2009 9:49 AM

    The Cleveland sports media, led by crybaby Tony Grossi, is forever whining about lack of access. Think about it. Why should Eric Mangini, or any other head coach, give these slugs any “scoops”? Reporters owe no allegiance to the team, but only to themselves. They are parasites, most of whom never smelled the grass. Belichick was right to keep them at arm’s length and Mangini is right to maintain the practice in his position. Good for both of them! These media dudes and dudettes need to go get a REAL job. They should stop whining and thank their lucky stars that they get paid to write the claptrap emanating daily from their keyboards.

  2. urbusted says: Jun 21, 2009 10:01 AM

    I have no problem with Mangini’s approach. If reporters ( and I use the word loosely ) were able to use any self discipline on what to write about and what not to write about, this would all be a non issue. But they can’t so as a fan, I want the coach to protect the game plans and type of plays etc. as much as possible. I don’t want other teams to know everything the Browns work on in a particular practice. Every little edge helps.

  3. mjasonb227 says: Jun 21, 2009 10:11 AM

    I love how reporters always invoke the needs of the fans in reporting, yet most say they don’t care as long as the team is winning. With newspaper journalism in decline, how long until the print media starts checking their entitlement attitude?

  4. DC_Bengals_Fan says: Jun 21, 2009 10:42 AM

    “If Mangini wins in Cleveland, then his close-to-the-vest, loose-lips-sink-ships approach will be accepted for the most part. And, if Mangini loses, his uptight philosophy will be cited as another example of how a failure to change can lead to more failure.”
    Thing is, it’s a good idea to keep the media in your corner. If things start going bad, they’ll probably go a little easier on you if they like you. That’s helped a few coaches over the years.

  5. savocabol1 says: Jun 21, 2009 11:01 AM

    I can’t see a logical argument on how not providing information to the public is a bad thing. I hope he keeps this up all year so you “media” people can get mad as hell.

  6. Raging Clue says: Jun 21, 2009 12:07 PM

    I love how the people in the media are always so quick to point out what a rough life they have and what a great job they do, when the vast majority of so-called “journalists” practice nothing more than sensationalism based on what they assume to be prevailing public opinion. I have to give Mangini some credit here, because what are the odds one of those reporters doesn’t tell people about the Browns’ new trick plays?

  7. chuckfool says: Jun 21, 2009 12:55 PM

    oldchuck …. LOL, where you been? Hiding you coward? Remember your predictions – “you know football pal, and this team (Browns) for real” Remember? You were to come back after September 14th 2008 and remind us. LOL -Still think Savage a great GM? Crennel a great coach?
    What about all your boasts and predictions. Come back to the PD board tick, tick, tick, LOL, I told you what would happen.
    You are by far the dumbest poster.
    You embarassed

  8. chuckfool says: Jun 21, 2009 12:58 PM

    oldchuck, tick, tick, tick, where are you? I told you last year the Browns did not respect Crennel and Savage was running the team into the ground and may leave it in worse shape than Davis. You were going to remind us, on how wrong we were….LOL

  9. Ford says: Jun 21, 2009 5:49 PM

    The sense of entitlement that the sports paparazzi have is insane. They get paid to cover sports and they want us to think that they’re Woodward and Bernstein. There isn’t any good reason that they should even be at practices in the first place. Cover the actual games. That’s all we want from them. The dumbest thing to me is that they’re even allowed in the locker rooms after games. I just don’t see the logic in that. There’s no other profession in the world where you’re allowed to walk into a dressing room with a camera and microphone expect people to give you a good interview.

  10. jocleveland says: Jun 21, 2009 7:04 PM

    I have been reading the Plain Dealer for too many years to mention. To me they have led to more fired coaches, poor performing players and a disgruntled fan base for waaay tooo long. I can’t wait for that paper to fold like the Cleveland Press did years ago. All they do is whine when they don’t get their way.

  11. TheCoop says: Jun 21, 2009 7:30 PM

    Maybe Mangini would allow Browns reporters to have more access if they weren’t the incompetent hacks that they’ve proven to be over the years. (I’m talking to YOU, Tony G. Mary Kay!)
    I doubt journalists are willing to share their leads and ideas for their stories, so how is what Mangini is doing any different? If they were good reporters, they would stop whining and make just get the job done.

  12. browns_4_life says: Jun 22, 2009 8:39 AM

    The media is where us fans get our info about our teams. It’s a bummer that some of us “scoop happy” fans won’t get many inside stories about the Browns but you know what?… The open door policies of Romeo & Co. didn’t exactly translate to wins on the field. What happens on the field is between the coaches and the players, not the media and the fans. I know people like Grossi are going to be grasping for straws until September but if this system works.. no complaints from this Browns fan.

  13. bingolittle says: Jun 22, 2009 11:36 AM

    The ABJ coverage of the Browns is horrible. If you want to know what the Browns are doing you have to read the Plain Dealer. Ridenour could be in every huddle at every practice, but the editors at the ABJ would not cover the story, instead they would run big stories on some softball team.
    So it does not matter if Managini gives Ridenour access or not, the Beacon is not going to give her space to write the story anyway so where is the beef?

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