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

By Nate Ulrich Published: June 12, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters today following the third and final practice of mandatory minicamp. Below is a transcript.

On what he said to the team as it ended minicamp: “We feel we’ve built a good foundation. I went over in the meeting about some of the numbers that occurred in the weight room, some of the things we were able to do there; just the amount of inventory, the volume that we put in – offense, defense and special teams – spoke to that. We built a good foundation, but the key thing for a mature team is to take this break and keep on a rise. We can’t afford to take a step back and really be back at the beginning when we get to training camp. It was a challenge for the guys to stay in shape. Their playbooks will be available to them throughout this break, as well. We should be able to get ahead mentally for training camp, as well.”

On if Browns QB Brian Hoyer is the starting quarterback going into training camp: “Yes.”

On how close Browns QB Johnny Manziel is on the depth chart: “It’s been hard to evaluate because. Brian hasn’t been able to take the actual 11-on-11 reps, but when we put the actual depth chart together, Brian will be No. 1.”

On what he’s learned during minicamp: “That they know how to work, and that this is a smart group. I think we’ve handled some pretty complex stuff that we’ve thrown at them. That’s our job as coaches to kind of keep throwing at them and see what is our cumulative intelligence. I thought we’ve done a good job of handling that stuff. There are some guys that are better than others, but I think for the most part, they’ve impressed us as a staff with their work ethic and their ability to handle the volume of information.”

On if Hoyer has extended or maintained his lead as starting quarterback: “It’s hard because we haven’t really been in the mode of thinking, ‘OK, he’s this far ahead today. How much was the gap closed?’ They’re still learning the basics of the offense. The rookies haven’t been here very long. They’re playing catch-up from a playbook standpoint.  At this point, we really weren’t keeping score. I think we’ll be much more apt to do that once we get to training camp.”

On if the rookies will remain at the facility after the minicamp ends: “Yeah, they’re here next week. Then, the NFL rookie symposium – which I think is split between AFC and NFC for a series of days, and that’s close by; I think part of it might actually be here, if I’m not mistaken – is the week after.”

On if it is a nervous time when Manziel is dismissed before training camp: “I think it’s nervous anytime your entire team is dismissed. As a coach, you hear your phone ring and you kind of look at it with one eye, hoping it’s not an issue coming up. We talked to them about it, that we wanted to make sure they handle themselves well. The advice, like I said before, was learn the system, stay in shape and stay out of trouble.”

On how the reps will be divided between Hoyer and Manziel in training camp: “I don’t know how even we’ll get it, but there will definitely be times when Johnny will be with the ones. It would be hard to evaluate if we didn’t do that. If there wasn’t a competition, then it would be strictly ones, twos. We have not met to go over that. (Browns offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan), (Browns quarterbacks coach) Dowell (Loggains) and I are going to all think of it over the summer, and as we get closer, at some point, probably get together and figure out how we want to do it.”

On if Manziel will play against first-team defenses during the preseason: “I can’t answer that. I don’t know, but if a guy has a chance to be a starter I would think that you’d want to expose him to a starting defense if he was going to be the guy opening day.”

On what Manziel can do before training camp to close the gap, considering Hoyer’s position: “I don’t think he should concern himself so much with where Brian is but where he is. I think if he gets in his – it’s hard to say get into his playbook because it’s get into his iPad, which is odd to say (laughter). He’s going to have plenty of tape to study, his own work, what the rest of the offense has done, even in the time before he got here, the work that we were able to do on the field, start to study some opponent tape. He’ll have a volume of Redskins tape, which will be a lot of the similar terminology, the formations, the plays. I think the more he just familiarizes himself with that, the better off he’ll be.”

On if studying the playbook will help him make reads faster: “Some, but it’s still so early for him at this point.”

On if Hoyer’s lead in the quarterback competition is insurmountable for Manziel to catch up, in reference to Browns General Manager Ray Farmer’s statement weeks ago: “No, I think when Ray made the comment he talked about the lead being, just because of the circumstances because Brian had been here for those whatever it was, seven, eight weeks before the draft even started. That was essentially a head start. I don’t think it’s insurmountable. I think that Brian is securely ahead of him right now, but we will compete and we will decide. The issue for us as a staff will be finding the right time to name the starter. If you wait too late, then nobody’s ready for the opener; if you do it too soon, then it wasn’t a true competition. That will be part of our discussions as well, as far as, ‘OK, here’s the plan, here’s the date that we’re going to go ahead and name it.”

On expecting to hear a decision soon from the NFL on Browns WR Josh Gordon’s status: “I think that’s reasonable to say. We haven’t been given a date. I think, in fairness to us, the league would let us know. There’s no information as far as what the plans are to release it, but I think we’re all comfortable thinking that we should know before training camp starts.”

On how Browns LB Jabaal Sheard will be used, and if the identity of the defense will be to go after the quarterback with the pass rush: “We’ve always wanted to be known as an attack-style defense. I think the more you can shorten the amount of time that the quarterback has to process – if you want to make him react quicker or at least make him think he has to react quicker – then I think that’s going to be in the defense’s favor. We’ve studied it. We’ve put a stopwatch on when the ball has come out versus us and versus other teams, and there’s a marked difference. It’s coming out quicker when teams play us. You don’t have to cover as long, that’s the other benefit of it. In respect to his position, right now he’s penciled in as one of our rush linebackers, which is almost more of a drop-end than a rush linebacker. He will be dropping less and going more at the quarterback.”                                         

On if Browns LB Barkevious Mingo will drop more than Sheard: “Yeah, that’s fair to say at this point.”

On if the Browns were limiting RB Ben Tate’s reps through minicamp: “He was a little nicked up, but he took the reps that he could.”

On which players jumped out at him during minicamp, despite not practicing with pads: “There was a bunch of them. I think we talked about it when I called the team up, that we’re getting to know them and they’re getting to know us. There are some guys that were impressive, but you can’t fall into that trap. I’m glad you prefaced the question the way you did because when it’s not in pads, sometimes fall in love with a guy or two that looks great in shorts and helmets, and then the pads go on. There are some guys that it’s the exact opposite, that thrive much more when there’s a lot more physicality involved.”

On what gives him confidence that he can go up against experienced coaches as a first-year head coach: “We talked about it in the meeting today with the players because it’s the same is true for them as it is for us: you get confidence through preparation. I truly trust in our staff that our team is going to be prepared, that the players themselves will be prepared and that’s how you’re confident. I’ve been in this league for 12 years now. I’ve seen a lot of games won and a lot of games lost. I can’t really concern myself with who’s on the other sideline. It’s what we’re doing and the decisions that we make are the most important.”

On how the defense will be successful: “What we’ve been able to do is formulate a style where we’re going to pressure, but we like to use the phrase that, it’s going to be more calculated than reckless. We’re not going to blitz just to blitz. There are going to be times where it’s going to look like a blitz but it really isn’t. We’re going to blitz a defensive back, but he’s only the fourth rusher so we get the best of both worlds. We have a chance to get a free runner or to keep a running back in or to cause a hot throw and still have seven in coverage behind it. I’d like to think that the way that we move around and disguise and we mix up the blitzes with the non-pressures that it gives us the best of both worlds that we don’t end in a situation where it’s reckless, where we have some great plays and then we turn around and give up a long one.”

On Browns DB Leon McFadden and Browns DL Armonty Bryant: “Leon’s part of the corner competition and that was – I’ve already mentioned this – one of the rooms where we felt that we’ve created a lot of healthy competition. Leon will be part of that. He’s done some good things this spring. Armonty missed some time early, but we were able to get him back the last few weeks. He’s a guy that we’re looking forward to getting out there probably more likely in nickel pass rush situations. I think it’s difficult for him to excel in the spring without pads on. He’s one of those guys that’s probably better off once we’re fully suited up. He’s a guy that I remember (Browns defensive coordinator) Coach (Jim) O’Neil specifically liked him coming out, studied him in his college tape. We were happy to find him on the roster when we got here.”

On preferring Bryant to play on the line or standing up: “I think he has some versatility. I think we can move him around. I think he could play outside backer in a pinch if we had to, but for now, I’d say predominantly he’ll have his hand down.”

On his days off: “What I’ve found is when you have time off to take it and to get out of town so don’t look here for me. I will be out and about.”

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