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

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 29, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters today following the first practice of the team's three-day voluntary veteran minicamp. Below is a transcript.

On the Browns’ first minicamp practice: “Enjoyed it. It was a long time coming. Just getting hired in January, I had this date circled. It was a special one, and I thought the guys responded. I thought coaching-wise, we did a real good job with the organization part of it, and the players were great – great effort, flew around; made some mistakes, but very natural for it being the first day. As I like to say, we’ll have a lot of coaching moments on the video tape.”

On Browns QB Brian Hoyer’s status: “He’s been cleared to do individual work and then he’s not been cleared to do team work. Just having issues with bodies flying around him, we didn’t want to expose him that way. He was able to do seven-on-seven work and all the individual stuff.”

On how Hoyer practiced: “I thought he looked good, and it’s not a surprise because in the phase two work, we’ve been able to do a lot of stuff with him too. I thought he’s done a great job with (Browns head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan and getting on the rehab plan. As we said, he’s ahead of schedule, and I think he proved that today, as well.”

On if Hoyer believes he can be a starting NFL quarterback: “Knowing the kind of competitor he is I don’t want to put those thoughts [out there or] attribute them to him, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t. I think if he was the third or the fourth or the fifth guy, I think he’d still prepare that way. That’s the way he’s made up so certainly now when he’s out there taking reps,  I know it killed him, he begged me to be able to jump in there for the team stuff, and I had to play head coach for a minute and tell him, ‘No.’ That’s the way he is. That’s the way he’s made up: ultimate competitor. I think that he firmly believes that it’s his job.”

On when Hoyer will fully participate in practice: “I don’t know. That decision hasn’t been made for anything in the spring. Potentially, we’re looking to the mandatory camp in June as a possibility for him to do 11-on-11, but I think that’s going to be based on how he progresses. I don’t think there will be any limitations once he gets to training camp.”

On bringing in QB Vince Young, specifically in reference to Browns General Manager Ray Farmer’s comments yesterday: “I’m not sure what that refers to. I just know that there had been some talk and relationship with (Browns quarterbacks coach) Dowell Loggains I think was important, that Dowell worked with him at Tennessee (Titans). Vince is somebody that I’ve always had a lot of respect for being on the other sideline at times. Just when he walks in the building, he’s got a presence. You forget how tall he is and then he walks past you in the hallway. He’s a guy that, again, we brought him and (QB) Tyler (Thigpen) in for a tryout. They got some quality reps today, and we’ll see how the rest of the week goes.”

On if there is uneasiness with the quarterback situation: “I don’t think so because that’s information that we had back in January. We knew we were going to be in that situation and then waiting until the draft, I think, makes it even more difficult, that extra time being that much closer to the season and having that position potentially be unsettled. It’s something that we’ve had long discussions about, and it’s where we are. Those are the circumstances. It’s something we’ve had to deal with since day one.”

On having to start a rookie quarterback if the Browns select one at fourth overall: “I’ve never felt that if you draft them high you have to start them right away. I think you can make a mistake there, and I’ve been a part of both. I’ve been a part of (QB) Kyle Boller who was put in there right away [in Baltimore]. I was in Baltimore with (Ravens QB) Joe Flacco, who was third coming out of training camp, and it was only because of injury that he had to play. (Eagles QB) Mark Sanchez played right away [with the New York Jets]. (Bills QB) EJ Manuel last year – the plan was for (QB) Kevin Kolb to start, and it ended up because of injury EJ ended up as the starter. When you look at the history of the league – whether it was (Patriots QB Tom) Brady, whether it was (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers, (Cardinals QB) Carson Palmer, even (Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson sat for a little bit, (49ers QB Colin) Kaepernick was a package player his first year – I think it’s extremely difficult to come in right out of essentially a rookie camp, some OTAs, a mandatory camp and do a training camp and all of the sudden be ready to be a starter in the NFL. I think that’s a rare guy that can handle that, and he has to have a great supporting cast in order to do it. It’s something you hope to avoid because I think you can set that player back and set your team back while we’re in the ‘win now’ business. As history has shown, I think it’s very difficult to do with a rookie quarterback.”

On potentially drafting a quarterback fourth overall, when other impact players may be available: “That’s been a big part of the discussion in the draft room. That’s a position that we know, just as many others, that we’re going to need to address. You talk about where you’re going to do it and the impact that it’s going to have on the rest of team. Certainly, it’s in an ideal situation that you can get that quarterback later in the draft and that way you’re drafting a position player at No. 4. We’re in the business of staying true to our sequence that if our fourth best player or somebody rated above that is there at the fourth pick, we’ll feel comfortable turning the card in, regardless of what the position is.”

On insights as to why Young hasn’t been as successful in recent years: “I don’t. Dowell is somebody I lean on heavily. I know a lot of guys have made the most of getting repeat chances in this league. We’re hoping that’s something that can happen for Vince. I know he’s a quality person and he’s won some games in this league. I was happy that we were able to give him the opportunity.”

On potentially signing either one of the quarterbacks trying out this week: “Yeah, we’ll make that decision at the end of camp. I would think that we would sign at least one coming out of this camp.”

On Browns OL Mitchell Schwartz playing tackle or guard: “Through this camp, he’ll be a tackle, and then we’ll assess where we are after this camp and then post-draft, if we feel the need. I always like to cross-train guys, always be in the business of having your best five [offensive linemen] out there. If a guard can learn to play center, if a left tackle can learn to play right, I think the more versatile you can be, especially with all your guys, but if you’re only going to dress seven or dress eight of those [offensive line] players that aren’t in there need to be able to play multiple spots. Mitchell’s a guy that we were happy with what he put on tape last year. We’ll potentially address it in the draft, but I don’t really see tackle right now as a position of need.”

On Browns OL Paul McQuistan: “The reason he’s here, I think, is his versatility. I think center is the only spot that he hasn’t played, but he’s an experienced NFL lineman that’s played both guard spots and both tackle spots. I think that’s his strength is his versatility.”

On Browns OL Chris Faulk: “No limitations. He’s at guard to start, but we evaluate that he’s a guy that we were very much looking forward to this camp, kind of getting him out there and testing that knee and seeing what he can do.”

On Browns WR Josh Gordon’s practice, after playing against him last season: “Yeah, we’re very glad that he’s wearing the same jersey. It’s a credit to Josh. He’s been here. He’s worked hard. He’s really gotten after it in the meeting room and on the field, as well. He’s got a lot to learn. It’s a new system, but he’s been very open to coaching, to hard coaching. I think that will show up in the fall in his play.”

On Browns DL Desmond Bryant’s status: “He wasn’t here, but that was a personal thing he was excused for it. This is a voluntary camp anyway, but it had nothing to do with him medically. It was a personal thing.”

On Browns WR Travis Benjamin’s status: “He’s on schedule, but we’re going to hold Travis until the start of training camp. There’s a chance that he could be ready to go for that last camp, but I think we’re going to err on the side of caution there and go ahead and give him the full summer to get back to full strength.”


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