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Here's what coach Mike Pettine is saying about Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 1, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters following the final practice of the team's voluntary veteran minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

On if the team achieved its goals this week: “I think we’re off to a good start. We had in the very first meeting just laid out some objectives that we wanted. One of the biggest ones was to establish the tempo, how we were going to get out of the huddle, how we were going to fly around on both sides of the ball. I think a lot of it is teaching them how to practice at a certain pace and a certain way to protect each other, to be good teammates who are not on the ground a lot and there’s not a lot of contact. I think when you learn to practice that way, then you can get a lot done in shorts. I think there’s some teams that don’t get a lot done because they don’t have a good feel for how to go at full speed but still protect each other. Then, I think it was a continuation of learning the system and learning the drills, getting to know their coaches, what the expectations are. As I told them when we just broke down that we’re getting ready to swim across the Atlantic, and we’ve just took just taken one step in, that we have so far to go, but it was a good first step.”

On if the Browns will pick up DL Phil Taylor’s fifth-year option: “Yeah, that’s something that we’ve discussed. That’ll be a part of the meeting again this afternoon, but that’s something more for (Browns General Manager) Ray (Farmer). Anything that’s contractual that has to do with a player in that sense, I’ll defer that to Ray.”

On if the Browns fear what Taylor’s attitude might be without picking up his fifth-year option: “It hasn’t occurred yet so I’m not going to deal in a hypothetical situation, but that’s something you certainly take into account when you have those option years.”

On how being good on draft day impacts on field performance: “It’s a players’ league. When you look at it, coaches can only affect it so much. I think that it’s critical for us. For the personnel department, that’s their Super Bowl. This year, it’s in May, but it’s absolutely critical that we have a solid draft. We don’t need to hit a grand slam. We get a chance to make some significant changes to the roster in some areas where we fell that there’s a need, but I think we’ve done a good enough job – we’ve talked about this already – is that we’ve really stabilized the ship in free agency, and we have the opportunity now when we’re on the clock that we can take the best player available.”

On if Taylor fits into his defensive system: “Yeah, Phil’s explosive. He’s got some pass rush ability, yet he’s solid enough to be at the point of attack. Absolutely, he’s a fit for us.”

On if he has a specific quarterback he likes in the draft: “Though I was former quarterback does not make me a quarterback expert. I have my opinions, got to spend time with all of them, a good amount of time. We talk about the ‘it’ factor a lot with quarterbacks, just that type of personality, those traits that you want to have in your quarterback – a guy that is confident, assertive and poised, that can handle teammates when they need to be handled at things going on in the offensive huddle. I think that’s important. That was more what I was looking for more than necessarily the mechanics part of it. That more falls in the wheelhouse of (Browns quarterbacks coach) Dowell (Loggains) and (Browns offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) and their evaluation, but I learned a lot along with way as far as what they’re looking for and how to evaluate. It was a great process and I think we’ve done a good job getting the board stacked, and hopefully, it plays out the way we want it to on draft day.”

On if Shanahan had more input on drafting a quarterback than he did: “As he should…yeah, I’m going to defer to an expert. I know what…I can say what a good one looks like, but there are times where I don’t know if I can say why he’s good. But as far as the technical part of it, that I’ll certainly defer to him and Dowell and then as far as what they’re looking for in the system. Now the one thing about him and one of the reasons I hired him is that his system is flexible. He was able to successful with a (Raiders QB) Matt Schaub [with the Houston Texans], who wouldn’t be on your list of mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, and then he was able to have a historic year with (Redskins QB) Robert Griffin (III) who’s probably the most mobile. He’s flexible in what he can do as far as different quarterbacks. They come in all shapes and sizes, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where were very much on the same page with what we’re looking for.”

On Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel: “I’m not going to share draft opinions. That’s just something we agreed not to do, to get into talking about individual players. He’s a special guy, but it’s something I don’t want to go into too much detail as far as our opinion.”

On if Manziel has an ‘it’ factor: “Again, I don’t want to discuss it. I think it’s pretty clear that of the guys out there that he’s probably one of the ones that you talk about first, but I just won’t go into details as far as our opinions.”

On previously saying that offensive tackle is not a priority in the draft and the possibility of several tackle prospects available at No. 4: “We’ve talked about all the scenarios and how it would affect our roster. When you have this extra time it drives you nuts. I was here until 11 (p.m.) last night going through scenarios, so I could probably deal with not hearing that word for a while. We’ve talked about the trade up, the trade back, if we sit there who do we take, how does that board play out, are the grades close enough that we can lean a little bit more towards need than towards best player if the grades are close. All the scenarios, I think it’s been at nauseum and we still have more time to go. It’s not done yet.”

On if he is a fan of the NFL Draft being two weeks later this year: “I thought I’d like the extra two weeks being hired as the last staff put together. I thought that would help us, but I think we were very efficient with our preparation. And not having the players in, as much as coaches complain about that, I think that really helped us as coaches kind of crystallize our offseason – that we can focus just on free agency, we could focus on the draft and get that stuff knocked out. It’s tough waiting this long because then it kind of pushing things back towards the summer. Your rookie camp’s pushed back, all those things. I think the general consensus in coaches I’ve talked to is we’d prefer it to be back in April.”

On if the Browns have talked with the Falcons about potentially trading first round draft picks: “I think all the teams in the top 10…I know the phones have been ringing off the hook. I just think all the teams in the top have really talked and I know they have always been a franchise that’s been, especially recently, been active as far as moving up. I can’t speak for Ray. I would guess the answer is yes, but I can confirm that because I just know there’s been a lot of calls going both directions.”

On if his thoughts about Browns QB Brian Hoyer have changed after minicamp: “No, it hasn’t. I think he’s been…just as far as his preparation, how he approached the practice field, how he interacted with the players, it was as we expected and then some. I said this the other day, that he’s the ultimate competitor. Still even today, wanted to jump out there and take some 11-on-11 reps. We’d like to think that maybe by the June camp he could do it, but that’ll be purely a medical decision at that point.”

On if the Browns will bring in any other quarterbacks before June camp: “I would say it’s a possibility. We’ll probably hold off on thinking about anything like that until after the draft and we see how that plays out.”

On the media attention that follows Manziel: “Again, don’t really want to discuss it. I know that he’s kind of a galvanizing-type guy, but it’s a hypothetical thing. What if he comes here? How would we deal with it? That’s something I’d rather talk about if indeed it happens.”

On if there is a disconnect between LB Barkevious Mingo and the coaching staff regarding his weight: “I wouldn’t say there’s a disconnect. We’re not going to artificially blow him up, but at the same time we want to have him on a program where he is, between lifting and natural intake of the diet that he’s on, that it’ll just happen. It’ll be a gradual thing. It doesn’t have to be overnight. I just think it’s the natural maturation process of his second year of the NFL. I can’t speak for the strength and conditioning program that was here, but we have definite ideas on how we want to handle him. It’s not just him. Every player will be assessed as far as their body weight, their body composition more importantly. We purchased a Bod Pod that measures very exactly their body fat percentage. I think that’s important that they know how much lean muscle mass they have, how much fat that they’re carrying and then have an ideal plan for them moving forward. You actually have some guys, believe it or not, that don’t have enough fat that are too skinny. That affects them in some ways. We have to change them a little bit. Most of the guys are on the other end where they need to decrease it some.”

On if he wants OL John Greco strictly at right guard: “I think now is the time of the year and I’ll get with the offensive staff – we’re getting ready to go through essentially what we did when we first got hired, was to evaluate the roster. We’re basically going to hit the reset button with that. We’re going to evaluate these three days, write up all the players again. We have a grading scale. We’ll go ahead and grade each player now just like we would grade a guy that we were evaluating as a free agent. Then, redo our depth chart and then kind of see where we are moving forward if we want to have a guy that we want to move around. I think it’s important now as a staff, and I think that will help us with Ray moving forward going into the draft to kind of get another snapshot of what does our roster look like at the moment. That’ll be a big discussion for us as far as where we see the offensive line and based on (assistant offensive line) Coach (George) DeLeone and (offensive line) Coach (Andy) Moeller’s evaluations whether those guys are capable of moving and playing some other spots.”

On if the staff will be able to complete the re-evaluation process before the draft: “They’re going to be working on it this afternoon.”

On what he’s seen from Browns WR Josh Gordon during minicamp: “That he’s a special player, that he’s a guy that I think can change a game. Defensively, you’re always going to evaluate the wideouts – is this a guy that we have to double [team]? He’s certainly put it on tape last year and has shown more than a few flashes of it in these three days of that ability. That affects a defense. He could have a very low-production game if teams are just rolling their coverage to him, but the affect that that has on the rest of the defense and the benefit that you have offensively…and that’s tough on those wideouts when teams are ‘taking them away.’ But, the one thing that Kyle’s offense has done for years is they’ve found ways to get the ball to the ‘X’ receiver. Just look at the production over time, it’s been pretty consistently high. That’s something that I know Josh was fired up when he saw the statistics of the wide receivers in Kyle’s offense.”

On Gordon off the field: “He’s been great in the weight room, around the building. He’s been outstanding. I’ve had several really good conversations with him since he’s been here.”

On if he’s seen flashes of playmaking ability in Young throughout minicamp: “Yeah, there were a few. He took off and ran for a first down. We just finished up a rack of third down plays. You can tell he’s very rusty. I was joking with him the other day that it was falling off and rust was falling off in large clumps. He flashed it a couple times, threw a nice long ball the other day. Again, you still don’t realize how big he is until you stand next to him. We talk about all these 6-foot, 5-11 quarterbacks in the draft, when he comes walking out you say, ‘Woah, that’s what they’re supposed to look like.’”

On what he looks for in a quarterback: “I think any quarterback you bring on your roster you have to make the assumption that they will have to play at some point. I thought Hoyer had the perfect answer when he said, ‘Hey, I don’t care whether I’m the third, the fourth. I’m going to prepare as if I’m the guy that’s going to play.’ You look at the history of the league, just look at what happened to us when I was in Buffalo a year ago – that we lost (Bills QB Kevin) Kolb in preseason then (Bills QB) EJ’s (Manuel) playing and we ended up down to our fourth quarterback. With as big and as strong and as hard as defensive guys hit these days, you have to be deep at that position and I think it’s more so than in the pass.”

On Hoyer’s most distinct traits: “You talk about the ‘it’ factor, that’s one, but I think he’s a better passer than people have given him credit for. The one thing that jumped out at me this camp was his accuracy. Having gone and worked the quarterbacks out, and then it was nice to come back here and Kyle and Dowell put the quarterbacks through the exact same drills that we did when we went out and worked the quarterbacks out. It was nice to see that, to be able to compare him to those other quarterbacks, and the one thing that really jumped out to me was how accurate he is with the football.”


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