Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters today. Below is a transcript from the news conference, provided by the team.
Opening statement: "Just before we get started real quick, I know some people might ask about [OL Jason] Pinkston. Pinkston's unavailable to practice and due to his circumstances I cannot comment on it any further. I want to give you more, but just given the circumstances, I can't. That's where we are with Jason."
On if he has any idea when he'll be back: "No."
On if he'll be back: "Possibility."
On if it's health related: "I will not speak on it further."
On if QB Johnny Manziel took a step back today: "No, and I don't know if I want to stand here every day just walking off the field and evaluate the performance. Until we watch the tape and look at the grade sheets and kind of know what was asked of him and what he did and making sure the guys around him are doing the right thing-it's similar to after a game. I don't know how much true evaluation I'll be able to offer. Sometimes you think one thing and you get in and watch the tape and your opinion changes completely, so it's hard to say."
On what he was trying to get accomplished today with the passing game: "We're still in the install. What we installed in the spring, we circle back. We start right at the beginning. We do have a handful of new guys, but it's still repetition. We're still very much in just the basic. We haven't put pads on yet. We'll even circle back in some of these core concepts we put in, in shorts. We want to make sure we get these practiced well with pads also. Some of the things that went in day one and two, we'll go back into the install for tomorrow."
On if it's encouraging to see QB Brian Hoyer looking confident on his knee today after talking about it yesterday-monitoring it, seeing if there's swelling, things like that: "It is and I think it's just a matter of getting the repetitions with confidence. I think anybody coming off (an ACL injury), it's just human nature, may be a little flighty early with lots of big bodies flying around. I think he'll only get more comfortable as we go."
On how you're not comparing apples to apples when comparing which quarterback had the better day-they were working with two different supporting casts: "It's not. They still have things they need to accomplish every play. That starts with getting the play and calling it right in the huddle-all the minute details that they're being evaluated on. Footwork, where their eyes are, if their eyes are where they're supposed to be as far as making the read, the mechanics of the throw-all those things go into it. I'm thinking that we will mix the groupings up, but it's just still so early. We're still technically under the rules of the mini-camp. Until we put pads on and really get going, things will stay as they are."
On if he thinks he'll keep this 'Brian Hoyer first team reps' thing going a little bit longer or if he thinks he'll get Johnny in there: "A little bit longer. The players are off on Wednesday. Then we'll get with-not just with the quarterback competition but with the other groups-and evaluate. These are the players that have gotten reps with this group, and we want to make sure we get things evened out so we get a good evaluation."
On moving TE MarQueis Gray to full back in mini-camp and if he's staying there: "Yeah, we're hopeful. That's a position that, as I've talked about before, any time you have a versatile player there that can do the fullback jobs but has a history of a tight end, receiver-type skill set, from a defensive perspective, I always thought that was problematic. You don't know what you're in. Usually, when there's a true fullback in the game, it really restricts the call-sheet offensively, and you can really dial in defensively when you have a guy that's that hybrid-type in there. That can cause some problems."
On why they didn't see OL Joe Thomas out there: "Joe is just one of our veteran guys. He'll periodically have a day off. We didn't want to just give him all the days in shorts and then turn around and not have him in there for when we got started in pads. When he's out there he'll be on a pitch count and then we'll periodically have scheduled days off just for being a veteran player. He's shown he's done it. We'll give some other guys an opportunity."
On if DB Joe Haden is OK as well: "He returned to practice."
On if he thinks that Brian Hoyer was a little too geeked up yesterday given all the circumstances he had yesterday-coming off an injury, hometown guy, his dream job, all the Johnny Manziel hype-and if today he was more relaxed: "Yeah, I think that for all the things you said, he would have to be a robot not to be affected. I don't know if you asked him that or not. There was a lot going on inside his head, but it's a solid start for both quarterbacks."
On what's going on at the inside linebacker sport next to LB Karlos Dansby: "Competition-we've got (LB) Craig Robertson. We've got (Chris) Kirksey. We even out Dansby on the edge today for a couple of snaps and let those other guys play inside. We'll mix and match. It's part of what we do to get guys cross trained. You always want to be in a position to have your best 11 out there. I think we'll have more than enough reps to get that position evaluated before we get to the opener."
On if DL Phil Taylor has tried the conditioning test again: "No, he's rehabbing right now."
On fans taking notice of Johnny Manziel's gear change-he changed his shoes-and if that means anything: "Well I got tied up inside. I never even knew that he came out. I'm a black shoe black sock guy myself, much more conservative. By the time I came out he had his regular shoes on anyway."
On if there is a team rule you have to abide by in relation to his shoes: "Yeah, I think it's the equipment, team issued gear. DL Calvin Barnett came out yesterday and decided to wear Oklahoma State socks. That lasted a day. Even though they were Browns' orange, that lasted a day."
On what he sees from WR Andrew Hawkins after making nice catches over the last few days, but still developing chemistry with the quarterbacks: "It's why he's here. We identified that in him. He's been an ultimate professional. He's been great with the other guys in the room. You would think he was a 10-year veteran with the way he carries himself. When we talk to the young wide receivers, he's the guy-if you want to pattern yourself after a guy, that's the guy. He comes out and works hard every day, on the field, off the field. It's been a very pleasant surprise. To me, when you have a guy that has that type of separation ability, that type of quickness that can turn a short game into a long one, it can only be a plus for you."
On what he's looking forward to with the first day of pads and if there is anything special planned: "Nothing special planned for, but I want to be able to hear the practice. To me, you know when the pads are popping and we're getting after each other. It's been tough on the offense because it's advantage defense when you're not in pads. It's a little tougher to block a guy when there's less blocking surface. That to me, has been what's been missing so far is to master the physical techniques that you're not able to practice without pads on, and tomorrow will be the start of that."
On how good DL Desmond Bryant is when he's healthy and how important he can be to the defense: "Very important-He's already flashed some. We didn't have him for the spring and these past two days he's already jumped off the tape a little bit for us. He's another guy we'll keep an eye on how many reps he's taking. I think the nice thing about that defensive line room is the depth, that we can keep a guy like Des fresh, that he doesn't necessarily have to be out there all three downs, that we can save him for the long third down and let him rush the pass."
On when he watched the tapes last year, if he saw a difference in how he played the rest of the season as opposed to the first few games when he was arguably the best defender the Browns had: "Yeah, it was noticeable. I don't know the exact details of it, but he was darn good early."
On if there will be any Oklahoma drill tomorrow: "No."
On if there will be an inside run drill tomorrow: "Yes, we'll do an inside run period every day. It essentially ends up being no wide receivers, no corners. We won't get too exotic defensively. It'll be let's line up and see who can play. To me it's the counterpart of when we do seven on seven. That's usually advantage offense-clear pass rush, no throwing lanes-whereas that inside drill should be advantage defense. It's more of a mentality thing. We want to come off. We want to block people. We want to get off blocks. We want to knock people back. If we want to establish that mentality, we have to do that drill."
On why he think that the shift around the NFL has been a passing league, but the Browns and the really most of the AFC North seem to believe in defense first, that the run sets up the pass, smash mouth football and why he still believes that's the way to win: "I think it's been proven. I know that you look at what we did in the offseason, the improvement at running back and some of the moves we made up front. We're still going to have the ability to throw the football. We're not just going to put one wide receiver out there and go two tight ends. We want to be an efficient offense whether it's running or passing. We're not just going to say we're going to run. You want to be unpredictable. That's when you're the most successful, when you're throwing it when people think you're going to run and vice versa. I think you have to have the ability to run the football. When you get a lead you can win the game, or when it's bad weather and you can't throw it you have to be able to move the ball still."
On things getting a little feisty at practice and if he likes that: "Not necessarily. I use the phrase-and you guys will probably get tired of me saying it-it's competitive, not combative. I talked to all the players that were involved with both of them. We don't need that. It's not good for them. It's not good for us. It's not going to help guys make the team. It's going to happen. I understand it, but it's a bad habit to have in practice because then you can say, 'I won't lose my cool in the game.' That's easy to say and that's harder to do."