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

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 29, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters today after practice. Below is a transcript provided by the team.

On if today’s practice was more intense: “We challenged the guys last night in the meeting and in the meetings this morning. At times, the practice before a day off has a tendency to not be very good. We challenged them to come out and compete. We were going to build some competitive things into practice, as we did at the end. I thought our guys responded, kept them out through individual. Guys seemed to be focused. I thought the teamwork was sharp, as well.”

On the defense celebrating quite a bit at the end: “It was a competitive period where the offense had to gain 20 yards. That was best out of five. The defense won three out of the first four. The reward is we have orange practice jerseys that the defense will wear on Thursday. We’ll go back and forth. Hopefully, the jerseys – I know the D [defense] won’t want to give them up – but I have a feeling that they’ll hopefully bounce back and forth.”

On how OL Garrett Gilkey is doing: “He’s been solid. It’s still early. He’s probably getting some more reps than maybe he would have with (OL John) Greco being out.”

On if it’s tough not to overreact when he sees the quarterbacks throwing interceptions in practice: “I don’t react to that. I want to know the why. What is it? The DB just made a heck of a play or was it a misread by the quarterback? Was it a bad throw? Was it a missed route by a receiver? The route was maybe supposed to be flattened out and it wasn’t. There are reasons for it that I don’t want to react too much as far as the content of the plays until I get a chance to study it on tape.”

On DL Ahtyba Rubin’s role in the defense: “First and foremost, we’re going to get him down close to the ball, either right over the center or shaded either way and let him do what he does best, which is control blockers and get off blocks and make plays. He’s as good as I’ve had in this system as far as his technique in defending the run.”

On how Rubin’s role affects DL Phil Taylor: “Phil will play the other spot. Those guys need to be fresh. I think it’s very difficult to be effective as a D-lineman and play every snap. I think you have to take a committee approach, and the nice thing about how we’re training them is that they learn to play all the inside positions. Phil can come in and he could play the nose. He can play the tackle. He could play the end. Most of those guys, they’ll all learn at least two of the spots.”

On if TE Jordan Cameron’s role will get bigger if Browns WR Josh Gordon isn’t playing and what he’s seen from Cameron so far: “Hopefully, it’s just a step forward from last year. I know that the tight end in the past has been a big part of (offensive coordinator) Kyle’s (Shanahan) offense, and we’re excited to see that play out. He’s extremely coachable. He was one of our hardest working guys in the spring, worked very hard. He’s on the jugs machine a lot. He’s constantly with (tight ends) Coach (Brian) Angelichio after practice, trying to get some extra help. He’s a guy that’s committed to taking another step to being an elite tight end.”

On if a tight end can be the No. 1 focus in a passing offense: “I don’t know if that’s a question I can really answer. You’re going to take what a defense gives you. There are going to be some games where the tight end is going to be targeted the most. There might be some other games where he hardly gets any looks just based on what coverages they’re playing and who they decide to take away.”

On if the coaching staff will look to move Cameron around more than in the past: “Yeah, I think Kyle does a good job at his offense of having those guys on the move. You’ve seen him in a variety of places: in the backfield, on the line of scrimmage, either side, flexed out. We’re still in the early stages of the playbook so formationally, I think we’ll get more creative as we go along. Then, it will always be something from a game plan standpoint. If we think we have a certain mismatch, we can put him in a certain spot, we’ll put him there.”

On the orange jersey reward: “It was something we had done in New York. We went with black then. I was going to go with black here, and decided when guys sweat heavy in brown, they turn black. I don’t think anybody would have noticed. It was something we had experimented with there. It was an idea that I liked that I wanted to bring here.”

On if the Browns are aware that WR Marlon Moore may be suspended for the first game of the regular season: “Yeah, I don’t want to speak on that. I know there is something involving the league, but I don’t have the exact details. I don’t feel comfortable commenting on that.”

On why the Browns acquired Moore: “We felt we had a need. We were a little nicked up. We have some veteran guys. He’s a guy that has played some quality minutes in the NFL, and we wanted to bring him in and see where he was and help with just our depth at that position. We have some older guys that we’d like to give some time off, too. We also have some guys that are coming off ACLs, and that can be a double-whammy. You rest those guys and now your veterans, it kind of has a ripple effect throughout the group. That’s why we wanted to look to add to that number.”

On how good OL Alex Mack can be in the zone-blocking scheme the offense is implementing: “I think his skillset is built for this scheme. I think he can play. He’s a good enough talent that I think he could play in any scheme, but I think his lateral quickness with still the ability to maintain his strength and play with leverage is just built for this.”

On if he feels like the defense really dominated today: “To me, it’s just knee-jerk reaction, and then certainly, at the end, it was upper hand to the defense. I reminded them in the meetings that we’re going to do those competitions at the end, and this could have been the day where the offense dominated all day and the defense wins it at the end where it counted. We want to train our guys to know it doesn’t matter what happens over the course of a game, we’ve got to make sure we can finish, whether it’s in practice finishing a drill at the end when we start doing our two-minute stuff, our red zone stuff. I think that’s important to realize. If I’m with a group who’s played well throughout the game, it still comes down to playing well at the end in virtually every NFL game.”

On how it is seeing DB Isaiah Trufant and some other guys in the nickel: “We feel very good with where we are. Trufant is a veteran guy who knows the system very well. I think he has elite short-area quickness. He’s an excellent special teamer. It’s one of the reasons we jumped at the chance to bring him here. (DB) Buster (Skrine) at some point will look to move inside and take some reps there. We have some depth there. (DB) K’Waun Williams is another guy. (DB) Aaron Berry has some nickel experience in his background. We feel very good about the depth at that spot.”

On if the flare up with RB Ben Tate throwing the ball at Rubin showed that the competitive juices were flowing: “When we talk about the kind of team we want to be, you have to practice that way. It’s hard. It’s difficult. I can’t tell that lie that we can be a certain way on the practice field and carry it on the game field. There are going to be times when it does boil over. You don’t want one side of the ball to get bullied by the other. There has to be some push back, whether it’s offense vs. defense or defense vs. offense. You look at that and it’s the price of doing business. You don’t like to see it. You’re afraid somebody could potentially get hurt in it. It breaks up the rhythm of practice, but at times, it’s going to happen.”

On the scuffle involving a lot of players: “Yeah, it was a lot. You hate to see it, but it’s also teammates defending teammates. You go with unit pride first; then, it goes to your side of the ball; then, it goes to the whole team. When they see a guy that’s involved in something, they want to go help them out. I like the fact that everybody jumped in, but that can’t be a habit that carries over to a game day. We’re not going to be clearing benches.”

On every running play ending with two or three defenders trying to pry the ball loose and if that’s planned: “Absolutely. To me, you look at the statistics in the league – what’s the biggest indicator of wins and losses? It’s the turnover ratio. We want to be one of those teams that takes the ball away and doesn’t allow teams to take it away from us. I think as frustrating as it is for our running backs, it’s great practice for them having guys pulling at it and hacking at it, and it’s good for our guys defensively. It’s a habit like anything else. Hopefully, it will carry over to Sunday.”

On if the speed and competitiveness in the run drill where Tate got fired up is what he’s looking for: “I liked the way both sides of the ball attacked each other. It’s not a great drill for the offense. The wide receivers are tied into the run game. There are certain calls that Kyle (Shanahan) can’t make in that, but to me, that drill was more for the mentality. It’s a defensive drill. We don’t get exotic defensively. We line up in basic fronts and our guys just roll off. Defensively, let’s see if we can knock a guy back and make a play. Offensively, you’re playing against a unit that knows its run. If we can run the ball in that period, then we’ll be able to run the ball against anybody.”

On OL Joel Bitonio being with the first string in the spring and if he’s the most NFL ready of the rookies: “I think it’s where we were with the depth chart there. He is NFL ready. We feel very confident, but also with (OL John) Greco being out, we can potentially see some rotations in the lineup there. It’ll give (offensive line) Coach (Andy) Moeller a few more options. We’re very comfortable and very confident there with Joel at left guard.”

On if the players having the day off tomorrow means they’re completely off: “It is. By the rules, you can’t have a curfew the night before, and they have to be in by 10:30 p.m. the following night. We’ll have some off days that have meetings later in the day, but they don’t count in the league’s eyes as a true day off.”


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