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

By Nate Ulrich Published: June 3, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine spoke to reporters today following the team's eighth practice of organized team activities. Below is a transcript from the news conference.

On if he talked with Browns WR Josh Gordon about his traffic stop or if there was any team discipline because of it: “That’s a club issue right now. We’re not going to make any comments on his current situation.”

On whether Gordon’s recent traffic stop is troubling: “I just think any time there’s issues off the field, regardless of the player, it can be if it’s a pattern.”

On Browns DB Aaron Berry: “He’s a great competitor. That’s one of the reasons he’s here. I was fortunate to be around him in New York, and when he’s healthy I think he can be a guy that really fits our style of play. He’s very confident. He’ll get up, he’ll get in your face, he’ll cover you and he’ll tell you about it.”

On if Berry brings a mean streak to the team: “Yeah, he’s a passionate guy. He loves football. Again, it comes back to the competition thing. When we look for guys, we wanted to create something that we wanted to create, and we felt that’s one area that we wanted to improve, the competition in was the secondary room. As a whole, we’ve done a nice job of that this offseason.”

On if Browns DB Justin Gilbert has been able to practice since leaving the field early during Wednesday’s practice open to media: “Yeah. We currently don’t have any injuries that are going to cause anybody to miss the start of training camp. We have some guys with some minor things.”

On if Gordon has been engaged in football activities to his satisfaction: “Very much so. Very much so. He comes out, he works hard in practice, puts in a day’s work, solid in the classroom. When he’s in the building he’s been solid.”

On if he sees Gordon’s situation weighing on him at all: “That’s probably a better question for him, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t. It would be human nature.”

On if the Browns are going to stand by Gordon once this is final: “Your key statement there is, ‘once this is final.’ I’ll be consistent in what I’ve said. Until we hear from the league, we’re going to be business as usual. At this point, there’s nothing to act on.”

On when he expects to hear a decision by the NFL on Gordon, whether 10 minutes or five months: “Yes. We don’t know. That’s part of it, and I think everybody can sense the frustration but it’s a difficult thing. Until it happens, we have a plan in place for all eventualities. We’re just like everybody else, still in a holding pattern.”

On if he feels the Browns have a good support system in place for players with off-the-field issues: “I think that we do. That’s one of the things that I’ve been impressed with in being here so far. I think the hiring of (Browns director of player engagement) Jamil Northcutt was very much under the radar and very important. I think he brings an outstanding background in his ability to relate to the players, and be able to really reach all of them. I just think not only him, but (Browns head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan and the training room…I think the guys around, the support staff have a really good pulse of this team. I think it’s something that I have a real good feeling about. People have asked about that and the sense in the locker room, and for the most part it’s been very positive.”

On if he feels that the league does enough to support players that have had off-the-field issues: “I do. I think there’s a lot of help available. I think that the mandated programs for rookies are very important. I’ve sat in some of those meetings. It’s very impressive, but there has to be a willingness on the other side. Sometimes guys get the message that it’s too late. In all my time in the league, there’s always going to be a handful of guys that just don’t get it. I think the league’s done more than enough to get the word out. I think the better clubs are the ones that are very proactive instead of reactive, and I think that’s the situation that we have here.”

On whether the Browns will clear QB Brian Hoyer for full activities next week: “That’s a meeting we’re going to have either Friday or Monday with Joe (Sheehan). Being cautious, I would say if I had to make the decision today I’d lean toward just keeping it the way we’ve been doing it and being in what we’ve called ‘Spartan mode” where the [defensive] line plays run, takes a couple steps and stops, just to kind of keep bodies from being around him. I just think from a risk-reward standpoint it just still doesn’t make a lot of sense to expose him at this point.”

On Hoyer: “I think he’s looked pretty good. I think he’s shown the ability to make all the throws. He’s just, as all the quarterbacks are, settling into the new offense, the terminology, the reads. You saw a bunch of throws today where it wasn’t just him, but the receivers weren’t on the same page with the quarterbacks and vice versa, and that’s just growing pains. That’s going to come over time, anytime you’re installing a new offense.”

On if Browns QB Johnny Manziel showed signs of ‘Johnny Football’ in a few plays during practice: “It is. It’s difficult when he’s got the red shirt on and the defensive guys know they can’t tackle him. It’s hard to get glimpses of that. That’s truly what you get, but we’ve done some things – as you probably saw – some designed rollouts with him. He’s shown when he can get in the open field that he can run through an angle and he can eat up some ground pretty quickly.”

On if he noticed anything on the interceptions Manziel threw during practice: “I don’t know. Until I watch the tape and get with the offensive coaches, I’m not sure. I know at least one of them was a result of the wrong route. I know one of them was the result of a misread.”

On if he would rather see the quarterbacks play aggressively and throw interceptions or play more conservative during this part of the offseason: “I’d rather them test their limits. I’d rather them learn the lesson today when essentially it doesn’t count, learn those lessons that, ‘Hey. I think I can fit it in that window. Oops I can’t.’ I’d rather now than September.”

On Browns WR Earl Bennett: “Bennett’s been solid. He’s been solid. He came in; he was in pretty good shape, so we were able to throw him in right away. He’s a true professional, runs good routes, has solid hands. Kind of goes unnoticed. I don’t know if he’s going to make a super, splashy play, but then all of a sudden you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day and realize he’s had a pretty good day for you.”

On if he has noticed anything different in the quarterbacks since last week: “Not really. I just think they’re in the normal progression of learning it. I think some of the terminology is a little bit bulky for all of them. I think Brian’s ahead with that just because he’s had more experience doing it, but it’s just a matter of some of those play calls are a mouthful. That’s something that all of the guys that are truly new to it have to adapt to.”

On game planning against Browns TE Jordan Cameron last year: “Definitely had to game plan for him, especially in the red zone. He’s a guy that he can be covered but he’s not covered. A good quarterback can essentially throw him open. I think that’s one of the advantages of having a guy that has that kind of length and those kinds of ball skills. He’s certainly someone that I’m sure opposing defenses are going to have to account for.”

On Browns WR Andrew Hawkins: “He’s been one of our most consistent guys through spring, as well. Comes out here, he’s one of the hardest workers. Doesn’t know any speed other than full speed. He is a guy that is truly trying to get better every day that he takes the field. I think that’s a great example for our younger guys.”

On if Berry will be ready for training camp: “Yes. He took some individual reps today. He’s been cleared. He was cleared. We brought him in for a workout. He went and was cleared by his doctor, which we signed him after that. He’ll be good to go for training camp. He’ll probably end up taking some reps next week.”

On Browns WR Miles Austin: “He just took some individual work today. Today was the first day. It wasn’t much, just a small sample size; wanted to get him out there with the drill work, just actually running the routes. He’s been doing some of that stuff on his own off to the side with (Browns strength and conditioning coach) Paul Ricci, just working back into shape. It wasn’t any specific injury that he was rehabbing from. It was just a matter of easing him back into football shape.”

On if Gordon’s situation is hard because he does well in the building but experiences incidents off the field: “No, that’s the situation he’s in. It’s not the first guy in the league to be like that, where a guy that when he’s in the building he’s great and has some issues for whatever reason due to circumstances when he’s out of the building. I’m not a stranger to situations like that, and I don’t think the rest of the staff is either.”

On if he gets the sense that teammates gravitate toward Manziel after he makes a good play in practice: “Yeah, I think that happens. I think that goes back to just when we talk about what we’re looking for in a quarterback. If you said draw me a quarterback, I don’t think you would draw him – shorter guy with big feet and big hands. I don’t think that would be the first thing to go down on the paper, but when they have the ‘it’ factor to them, it’s just a sense. It’s momentum where guys feel it and ‘gravitates’ is a good word for it. We’ve seen the same thing here with Brian, as well.”

On Browns DL Ishmaa'ily Kitchen trailing Cameron on a play downfield at practice: “The first thing I asked was, ‘What the hell coverage were we in?’ I thought (Browns defensive coordinator Jim) O’Neil was messing with the defensive playbook putting the nose tackle at free safety. I think he just sensed the play coming because we had been burned on it a couple times in practice. He just latched on him and started running. That was actually pretty funny.”

On Browns TE MarQueis Gray playing fullback at practice: “He just started. He’s truly a work in progress, but there’s some good examples around the league – the guy down in Miami, (Dolphins TE Charles) Clay I think, is a good example. Just from a defensive standpoint when you look at it, when you have a guy that can be a fullback that can also be a tight end that you can also extend him from the formation, that really causes problems defensively. Usually, if a true fullback’s in the game, OK we’re going to get two-back runs, two-back passes potentially. True tight ends in the game, then it really compartmentalizes your calls because you have a pretty good feel for what you’re going to get. But when you have a guy that’s that versatile it really forces defenses to kind of double or triple call what they’re in or water down what they’re doing to really try to be a catch-all. I think that’s something that we’re going to look at doing. We’ll still be in the mode of deciding ‘Are we going to have a true fullback or are we going to use a tight end to be that second fullback?’ We’re still very much early on in that process, but part of that process was putting him there, kind of throwing him in there and see what he can do.”

On if Gray has interesting skills: “Yeah. He’s a guy that I think in the zone scheme you don’t have to be that downhill, thumper fullback where it’s block down, go through, lead up on the linebacker where you’re more getting on guys and getting on edges and running your feet. The style of blocking is very similar to what he’s doing as a tight end anyway. I think that it’s a much easier transition for him here.”

On what he saw in Berry in 2012 when he was on the New York Jets coaching staff and Berry was on the roster: “There were no issues with him when I was there. He was a guy that showed up to work every day with a smile, was great in the meeting room, competed his rear end off on the practice field. He was a guy that we were aware of the past, but that we felt it was a risk worth taking and that he can help us.”


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