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

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 25, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters Monday after practice. Below is a transcript from the news conference.

On where TE Jordan Cameron was today: “He’s just dealing with an issue. He was excused today from practice.”

On if his shoulder is bothering him: “He was excused from practice today. I won’t go into any other detail on that.”

On if it’s a one day issue: “That’s the expectation.”

On if he knows anything about how long WR Josh Gordon will be out: “No. I mean, we kind of have a feel for the range of it. Still, it’s something that, for as long as it’s been, we really still can’t…I probably shouldn’t have spoken on it yesterday. We’re just impatiently waiting.”

On what is at the top of the ‘must fix it quickly’ list this week: “I think each position group kind of has its own area. Just overall offensively, we need to get first downs. We need to score points. It’s basic stuff. Defensively, I think the secondary knows they didn’t play very well. I thought we had some decent performances in the front seven when we evaluated the tape, but just too many – and it wasn’t just any one player – it was just too many issues on the back end. That’s where you get beat the quickest. If your front seven is playing well and your back end is not…if it’s flipped you can survive a little bit. If your secondary is not playing well, and we did not play well as a secondary the other night, then you’re going to have issues.

On if he’ll have all the defensive backs back for the opener: “We’re hopeful. I think it’s looking that way. (DB Pierre) Desir might be the only one who could potentially be out, but we’re hopeful we’ll be back at a full complement at that point.”

On him saying that DB Justin Gilbert didn’t play well: “He knows it. I don’t think it was anything that was a surprise to him. That’s a good lesson for him to learn. You have to show up each week and be focused and ready to go. He had a good week. He showed it against Washington, against a pretty good group of wide outs, then took a step backwards. That’s something that he’ll…especially when he’s playing opposite of (DB) Joe (Haden), there’s a tendency for more footballs to come his way.”

On if he’s showed that he’s able to have a short memory and not let his confidence get shaken: “Yeah, he’s bounced back this week. He came out here with a good attitude at practice. He was fine in the meetings. I think the secondary coaches, those guys handled it well. Hopefully, we’ll see a better performance Thursday.”

On if he puts any stock in the fact that he made some plays in the second half: “He did. He did on the one where he got beat across his face and then he ended up knocking the ball out – one that was a sure touchdown. That was encouraging. Just early on…he needs to test his limits more. I think he kind of played off. That hurt us in some of those third down situations. Of all times, it’s in preseason. Go ahead and challenge and see where you stand with guys.”

On if he’ll play his ones on both sides of the ball against Chicago and how much: “Yes. Not sure, but I think it’s going to be…we’re hopeful that it’s going to be less than a quarter. It could be in and around that depending on how it plays out.”

On what his level of confidence is with OL Mitchell Schwartz right now: “I thought Mitchell bounced back against St. Louis. We feel good about that offensive line as a whole. He’s not a guy we’re looking to replace. He’s gone out and I thought he’s had a good camp. You look at right tackles in the league. He’s a guy I think a lot of people would agree is solid.”

On his update on WR Nate Burleson: “He went through some individual work today.”

On how he came out of the individual work: “I’m not sure. I haven’t talked to the trainer yet. They’re probably in there seeing how he feels coming off the field.”

On if he’s safe for a roster spot if he continues to struggle to get healthy: “I can’t speak on whether guys have a certain roster spot or not. First of all, it’s not my area. (General Manager) Ray (Farmer) and I will do that together, but that’s his ultimate say. It does hurt your chances not being out there, but it’s something where we’ll consider his entire body of work.”

On how RB Dion Lewis separated from the pack for the third running back spot: “One of the things is a lot of the time you need that guy to be a third down back. I think that he has just the short area quickness. Even though he’s a small guy, he proved in the game that he’s not afraid to stick his face in there in the pass protection stuff. It’s not much of a separation, but like I said before, if I had to handicap it, I would put him ahead. I think the rep, the way (running backs coach) Wilbert (Montgomery) and (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) have played those guys – I think that bares it out too.” 

On if LB Chris Kirksey has been his most reliable rookie: “Yeah, I’d put him up there with (OL Joel) Bitonio though. He’s been very consistent as well, but yes, we’re very pleased with where Chris is. Not to take anything away from (LB) Craig (Robertson), but I think they both played well enough to merit being starters in our different groupings. I think that always ends up being a plus for you on special teams as well because they’re sharing jobs on defense and can play a lot of (special teams coordinator) Chris Tabor.”

On where Craig Robertson has improved the most: “I think he’s cleaned up some of the little things – his footwork, his awareness. We really preach to our guys to really take that picture of the opponent pre-snap. We’re real big on gathering pre-snap (information). What’s it telling you? What are the line splits telling you? What’s the formation telling you? What’s the alignment of the fullback, the depth of the tailback, the split of the receivers…all those things come into play. I think he’s done a good job of that as far as recognizing, ‘Hey, am I getting a run here? Am I getting a pass? Which way is the run going?’ I think if you’re smart, and it’s not just with Craig, but as an entire defense you can get a pretty good feel for what you’re going to get. I think he’s one of the guys that’s really bought into that and done a nice job with it.”

On how much work he’d like to see QB Johnny Manziel get on Thursday: “I haven’t sent the rotation yet, but he’ll get some work. I clearly see him finishing the half. I don’t know if he’ll play into the third quarter or not.”

On if DL Armonty Bryant is competing for a starting job: “I think he would. When ‘Des’ (Desmond Bryant) gets healthy, which we’re hopeful is fairly soon, I can see those two kind of sharing that job, so that way they’re both fresh on third down. I think in an ideal world if you can kind of job share on early downs guy that you expect to be pass rushers, I think it’s very difficult for a pass rusher to play every single snap. If a guy is an elite pass rusher, I would rather work his reps backward to forwards. Work him on third down. Work him on second and long. That way you’re guaranteeing that you have guys that have fresh legs in the third quarter.”

On Armonty Bryant’s run defense: “He’s gotten better. I thought at first that could have been an issue for him, but he’s gotten better with it. I think one of the things he does well is his initial quickness, get off. We can do some things schematically to help him, to kind of put him on the move, and not just having to anchor in and take on a double team – just kind of put him on the move and let him take advantage of his quickness.”

On if he is still confident with where the defense is at: “Yeah, we do. It’s already answered. We’ll get those guys back. We’ll have (Browns DB) Joe (Haden) back. (Browns DB) Buster should be able to practice this weekend. Then, with (Browns DB Justin) Gilbert getting more live game reps I think that’ll be beneficial for us, expecting (Browns DB Isaiah) Trufant back as well. Getting those guys will definitely help. We’re confident that group knows that they didn’t play to our standards the other night, and they’re looking forward to bouncing back on Thursday.”

On if there has been any issue with calling the defense and game management as the head coach: “It hasn’t, and part of it is we’ve kind of had a couple different methods that we’ve used calling the game so far. (Browns defensive coordinator) Jim O’Neil has called a decent amount of the defense so far. We were just trying to work some different combinations calling third down, calling base, calling the whole thing. That’s something we still haven’t decided yet on how we’re going to do it. It’s something that we might change up week to week just depending on how we feel coming out of that week of game prep.”

On reasons in terminating the contract of WR Anthony Armstrong: “Yeah, I don’t know. He came in, he worked hard but it was just a move that (GM) Ray (Farmer) and I felt was appropriate at the time given that group and having young guys feel that have a chance to step up and make this roster.”

On QB Rex Grossman possibly playing Thursday night: “That’s the plan. Again, I haven’t sat down with those guys and seen what they want to do quarterback-wise whether we want to play all four of them in the game so if Johnny (Manziel) does finish the half potentially we’ll see Rex and (QB Connor Shaw) split the second half.”

On whether he’s made a decision to keep more than two quarterbacks on the roster: “No. I think that’s going to come down to once you get to a certain point you just start saying ‘okay, let’s keep our best football player.’ So that will come down to comparing across the board is the third quarterback worth having, a fifth safety or seventh defensive linemen or all of those decisions come down to wanting to keep your best guys.”

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