Browns' Mack says Tedford offense translates to NFL
While we're up in Ohio for Derrick Brooks' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but to make the trip worthwhile, we hurried up to Berea this morning for Browns practice, to bring back a feature on rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
While we were up there, we had a chance to talk with Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who was a coveted free agent this spring but was transition-tagged by Cleveland, which matched an offer and signed him to a five-year, $42-million contract. Mack has two strong ties to the Bucs offense -- he played for Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2005-08, and his line coach the last five years in Cleveland was George Warhop, now with the Bucs.
"We had a pretty complicated offense at Cal, which prepared me well for the NFL," Mack said. "A lot was demanded of us. I think that speaks a lot for how intelligent he is about offense. He knows what he's doing. I had a great time at Cal."
Mack said the best part of playing line in Tedford's offense was how smart the playbook was, diverse enough to have a play ready to exploit any weakness that would be spotted, either in preparation for a game or even during it.
"It's actually pretty favorable," he said. "If a team's doing something, you have a play installed to take advantage of that. And if the team's all the way over there, you just check it and go the other way."
Mack made two Pro Bowls with Warhop as his position coach, and said the Bucs will find him to be a demanding coach, but one who will make them better players.
"I owe him a lot for making me a good player -- he taught me a lot," Mack said. "He's going to make your work, but he'll get everyone on the same page and doing good things."
Mack is one starter Cleveland can count on, but the battle for the starting quarterback job is ongoing between veteran Bobby Hoyer, who missed most of last year with injury, and the rookie Manziel. Mack said the challenge of holding a pass block while Manziel can extend plays with his scrambling isn't an easy one, but it's one the offensive line is embracing.
"That is never a very fun experience," Mack said. "As an offensive line, when you are pass-blocking, you pass-block forever and a day. The play's never over until that whistle goes. That's a practice you need to develop, and no matter who's back there, you need to give him protection."