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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
I had a chance to interview Browns C Alex Mack for "The Way We Hear It," and that feature will soon run on ProFootballWeekly.com and in the print edition of PFW. However, I couldn't fit everything we talked about into the story, so here are three other interesting tidbits from our chat:
• Mack has started all eight games at center this season, with OLG Eric Steinbach making all eight starts at his position, too. At right guard, Billy Yates has filled in for Floyd Womack, who has moved to right tackle because of a season-ending injury to Tony Pashos and an ankle injury to John St. Clair the past two games. Here was Mack's take on the importance of teamwork between the center and guard: "It's very important to for us to get a lot of work together. We have a lot of blocks that go together, and communicating and making sure everyone is on the same page. In the run game, we want to be able to know who we're blocking and how we want to do it and our fits in the run game — how we block together on double-teams. And so, the more reps we get at that, the better we get at doing it, and you get better and better and better and it works better and better and better. And then in the pass game, we all want to be on the same page — know who you're supposed to block, being able to see things, communicate, talk to each other, because there's a lot of times where you just know how your guard's going to play and you trust he's going to be there and you just send the guy and go on to the next one, because (the defensive linemen are) twisting. So it's important to work with guys and be able trust each other and know everyone's on the same page."
• Mack made it clear that when working with three different starting quarterbacks this season (Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy), the quarterback-center exchange was not a major worry for him or the passers: "In terms of the quarterback-center exchange, it's just something that all of us have done a lot. That never is the big concern. The concern is always just how to run the offense and how to communicate and play it out. It's never been the quarterback-center exchange that's been the big change; it's always who is the guy is and how he communicates in the huddle and calls the play and makes sure everyone understanding what the deal is. In terms of that, that's where Colt has stepped up really well. And even Seneca and Jake. They're all really attentive guys and (have) learned a lot, and we're all really on top of the offense. So it's easy to change between the three."
• Of the offense's willingness to occasionally run an out-of-left-field play, such as Joshua Cribbs' well-concealed hand-off to WR Chansi Stuckey that resulted in a touchdown last week vs. New England, Mack said he hopes it "puts an ounce of doubt" in defenses.