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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
"All along, we were running some good stuff," Browns C Alex Mack was saying of the Cleveland offense recently, referring to the team's 1-5 start, when the Browns were undoubtedly competitive.
Now, they are closing out games, as evidenced by impressive wins over the Saints and Patriots. In both victories, the offense notched impressive fourth-quarter drives leading to points, highlighted by the six-play, 60-yard march capped by Peyton Hillis' 35-yard TD run in the New England game.
As the Browns have established a distinctly physical tone on offense, Mack, who's started every regular-season game at center since the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2009, has played a key role. He readily admits he relishes when the Browns employ a "ground-and-pound" attack, but he noted the importance of a balanced offense. Note that Mack has fared well in pass protection; According to STATS, he did not allow a sack in his first eight games of the season.
"Alex Mack, I think, is going to be an outstanding player here for many years to come," Browns head coach Eric Mangini said leading up to the Week 10 game vs. the Jets.
Mack has been one of the constants in the Browns' offense, which has started three different quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy) this season. However, the collective play at the position has been strong — "I think we've had a really good streak of quarterbacks," Mack said — and the transition among them has been smooth.
Mack told PFW that McCoy, who's under consideration for the full-time starting job, put himself in a position to succeed early with his preparation.
"He took it upon himself to take (it) as is if any play he could be in there, and he really wanted to learn and work hard at it. And it really proved to be really good, because he has been playing, and he's been playing very well," Mack said.
Mack also noted that McCoy has garnered respect because he is willing to listen to his teammates. For instance, McCoy is willing to change the snap count at the suggestion of his offensive linemen, Mack said.
"Some quarterbacks don't even want to do it because it's one extra thing to think about that doesn't really do much for them," Mack said. "... It's very good for a quarterback to come up and, without any problem, be very willing to help out."