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

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 21, 2014

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

On his demeanor during practice and if he usually just observes: “That depends on how practice is going. It’s early, but that’s a typical day. I’ve always been of the mindset of let the coaches coach, and I’ll make notes during the practice. Unless I feel the need to be outspoken about something then I’ll usually stay pretty reserved during practice.”

On why DL Ahtyba Rubin wasn’t at practice: “I’m not going to go into the details, but he’s got something. Again, this comes back to the injury thing that the NFL wants us to report on injuries that we consider serious. To me, serious is something that will cause him to miss the start of training camp. I’ll just leave it at that it falls under that category. I’m not going to discuss a specific player.”

On Rubin’s absence being an injury that he doesn’t want to talk about: “That’s fair enough to say.”

On if QB Brian Hoyer getting reps late in 11-on-11 drills was the plan: “That is the plan. It was a third down period, so we’re a lot more in the shotgun. He’s not cleared to do anything under center just because we don’t guys around his legs. That’s why we kind of simulate a pass rush there and keep guys away from him. But, we still wanted him to get the feel of being in the huddle, making the call, going 11 against 11, reading a full defense. We’ll try to get as many of those reps as we can. It’s just difficult to create in some of those other periods that are first or second down where we’re going to be more quarterback under center.”

On if he’s seen the quarterbacks being competitive: “Yeah, absolutely. They’re competitors. Just knowing both of them, they’re guys that both are going to want to be the guy out there on day one. To me, we wouldn’t want them here if they weren’t that way.”

On his impression of QB Johnny Manziel after practicing with the veterans: “I just think it’s like any other rookie, that he’s just inconsistent. I think a lot of it’s the mental part of it, he’s more worried about getting the formation right, making sure the motion is correct, and he’s got the cadence. Then, he’s got to worry about where guys are. Being good mechanically takes a back seat to learning the system first. I think you see over the maturation process, once all that stuff becomes second nature, that he’ll be a lot more comfortable. I think he flashed some things today that made him kind of who he is, the ability to make plays on his feet.”          

On the Texas A&M offense not having a playbook and if this is a big transition for Manziel: “I think that’s just a very much over-simplification. They had a very, reasonably complicated offense. They just chose not to put it on paper, which to me is maybe even more of a credit to how productive those offenses have been, knowing that they don’t have a book. There’s more and more coaches that are like that, that won’t necessarily put it down because they’re afraid at some point or another it’s going to get out. That’s not really a concern for us.”

On the problems the pistol formation presents for a defense: “It’s difficult because you have the advantages of the shotgun, but you can still run your run game with having the back at home. I think that gives the quarterback a little bit of a head start. For the most part, defensively we will treat it as quarterback under center with a back behind him, but I think it just gives the offense an advantage of they can still get to all of their back-at-home runs and have the advantage of the head start with the snap.”

On if there are things you can do with the pistol: “Yeah, there’s some. I think (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) is on the leading edge, as stuff going back to Washington, of things you can do out of the pistol.”

On if he notices any difference in Hoyer because of the quarterback competition: “I don’t. He shows up here every day ready to work and it’s the classic gym rat: first one here, last one to leave. He’s grinding. I don’t think this is anything, as he’s already talked about, this wasn’t unexpected to him.”

On if WR Miles Austin arrived with something wrong physically: “No, I just think we wanted to be prudent with him and just kind of work him off to the side for a while to get him up to what we feel would be good enough condition to participate. I think he could have gone out there and taken some reps, but just we want to be real cautious. It is May. We’ve got a long time to go before the season.”

On if Austin was limited because he has not been in any team’s offseason program: “Exactly.”

On players ‘mixing it up’ at practice and if he likes seeing that: “Do I have to tell the truth (joking)? We tell our guys we want to be competitive, not combative. That it’s a fine line, and we want our guys right up to that line. It is an emotional sport, and in some guys sometimes it’ll trigger a response that, as a staff, you don’t necessarily want. We want our guys out there competing, and that’s what this game is all about. In the offseason, we want guys competing for jobs and going hard against each other.”

On not wanting Manziel to run around and how to project how he will perform in the pocket: “First of all, I don’t think we’ve ever said that we don’t want him running around. We’re going to put him in situations where he can execute an offense that’ll give us the best chance to win. We’re going to take advantage of his mobility. You don’t take a guy that’s made a living being a mobile quarterback and tell him all of a sudden that he has to be a statue. When he’s in there and we actually have things set for him in a game plan there will be some things that take advantage of what he can do with his feet.”

On if it is more difficult to see Manziel’s skill set in a practice rather than a game: “Absolutely, plus it’s just tough for him now being in, as we’ve already referred to it, his infant stages where he’s just trying to learn the book. It was hard for him even to take reps with the one’s. Didn’t get a ton of reps because they’re so much more advanced playbook-wise than where he is. He’s just coming off a rookie-camp install and just basically a week of meetings with Kyle (Shanahan) and (quarterbacks coach) Dowell (Loggains) and the rest of the offense. I think it’s tough for guys really to shine early when they have a lot on their plate. It’s the old ‘paralysis through analysis’ saying that the guy’s got too much to think about it’s hard for him to really go full speed.”

On his impressions of Manziel after being in the building for a week: “He’s quiet actually. He’s a good guy to be around. I think the guys in the locker room will be able to tell you that he’s a fun guy in the locker room. But you can tell, when it’s time to work he works, and he’s very serious about this. You can tell he’s very competitive.”

On handling WR Josh Gordon’s situation: “For us, until we’re told otherwise, it’s business as usual.”

On if OL Joel Bitonio was taking reps with the first team because OL Paul McQuistan wasn’t at practice or if he likes him that much: “McQuistan, I believe, is in (Washington) D.C. if I’m correct. Is (Super Bowl champion) Seattle (Seahawks) visiting the White House? I believe that’s the case. He asked for permission, I just wasn’t sure the day. I knew he was going to miss a day. He cleared that through, talked to (offensive line) coach (Andy) Moeller about it. Sometimes that’s tough. I know those guys want to rotate those guys inside, but we’ll stay true to not handing jobs to anybody, just like (DB Justin) Gilbert you didn’t see out with the one’s. He was behind (DB) Buster (Skrine).”

On what he looks for from Manziel at this stage of the offseason: “You’ve got to build the foundation first. I think you want him to learn the offense as it exists, and we know that there will be times when we do get into live situations that he’s going to be able to make plays, but that’s not something you want - we’re not going to coach that out of him, but these are basic, basic installs. He’s trying to learn formations. He’s trying to learn basic plays. I think there will be a time down the road for the stuff that makes him special, the improv stuff.”

On the rotation of LBs Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo: “I don’t think you can have enough good pass rushers. I think we’ll always be mindful of who’s out there and who’s well-rested. The key is to get a lead in the fourth quarter and have fresh pass rushers. That’ll be the goal of every game, and when you have guys that can play off of each other, just like we’ll do at running back, I see pass rushers the same way. If those guys aren’t fresh late in the game, then you’ll be in trouble.”

On what he thinks about RB Terrance West: “Again, similar to the Manziel situation, he’s just learning the offense. He’s already just flashed some of the things that made him special. For a big man to move the way that he moves, just some of the cuts that he’s made. He’s got dancer-type feet, but it’s in a 230-pound man.”

On the depth at running back: “I think in the AFC North, especially, you have to be running back by committee. You’d like to have a guy that can carry most of the load, but to have the ability to alternate guys. Just like I just talked about with pass rushers, you’ve got to be able to get fresh legs out there.”


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