Browns general manager Ray Farmer met with reporters today. Below is a transcript from the news conference, provided by the team.
On what's going on with (Browns OL) Jason Pinkston: "I think (Browns Head) Coach (Mike Pettine) addressed it the best way we could is that right now there's really no comment from our prospective, and where there is time to make a comment then that comment will be made."
On if he would be surprised, shocked, stunned if (Browns QB Brian) Hoyer was not the guy anymore: "I don't think I'd be surprised, shocked about anything. The thing that we're focused on now is driving competition. Brian will have to play. Johnny will have to play. Tyler will have to play, and Connor will have to play. Our goal is to try to promote the best environment for those guys to compete and demonstrate what their skill level is."
On what he has seen from Manziel in the first two practices: "I've seen a young man that came back that appears to be prepared for a competition. I think that's what we want are guys that took the time to come back and demonstrate that they're ready to compete to be starters in this league. I think everybody here wants to play. Anytime you're on a football team you want to play. You want to play as much as you can. We'll see that while he's in the building he's putting forth the work to try to be the starter."
On if Manziel's reputation off the field was more than he expected this year and what he and Manziel talked about: "We met, and I will tell you that - and I'll kind of make this simple - I'm big on keeping those conversations private, but I will tell you just that I did know his off the field prowess, if you will, that everybody is kind of alluding to. I think, like Johnny said, like Jimmy Haslam said, like 'Pett' has said - he made his mistakes and that's that. Our focus now is what happens on the field. He's focused he's committed on football. He's doing his thing here in the building, and we're excited about kind of where he's at, at the moment.
On if Manziel convinced him that he was putting those days behind him before the draft: "Again, I will tell you that before the draft there were numerous conversations with people in the building, people outside the building, people including Johnny himself - all those conversations culminated in, obviously, we had a comfort level when we drafted him. If we thought that was an excessive nature of what it was going to be, then we would have never picked him."
On what he sees in the receiving corps now after not selecting one in the draft: "I like our receiving corps. Like I said, you want to drive the competition. We want guys in here that we think can play and be competitive and contribute to be starters. At the end of the day, there are some names that everybody here recognizes, whether it's Miles Austin, whether it's Nate Burleson. There are names that you'll recognize. There are some other guys that you won't recognize. For me, it comes down to when you look at what guys do it's when they get an opportunity to play, will they play well? Nobody knew Miles Austin until Miles Austin got his opportunity. That's what we're looking for, guys that compete and then push Miles Austin to make our football team better."
On if he expects clarity on Browns WR Josh Gordon's situation after Gordon visits the league next week: "When the league tells us what the clarity is then that's when we'll move forward."
On what he saw from (Browns WR) Charles Johnson last year and what he sees of him now that he's finally on the field: "The easy things are all the recognizables right away, that he's 6 foot 2 and a half, 215 pounds. He ran a 4.38 40 (yard dash). Those are the easy pieces, but when you watch the tape you like his hands. You like the fact that he can run the routes, and right now it's a young man that put a lot of work to recovering from an ACL injury. You can see that he's big. He's still fast and he can run routes and catch the football."
On if the Browns worked Johnson out before the draft: "Yes, we did. We took looks at him, and again, he's an interesting prospect. At the end of the day, Green Bay drafted him. They then released him and put him on their practice squad and we poached him from there. I'm really excited for him to get his opportunity. I think this is his first time stepping on the field, and everybody now is getting a chance to see what we thought about Charles Johnson live.
On if he thinks the Browns have enough receivers or if he is trying to add to that group: "Always looking to add. Again for us, it's about driving the competition and pushing the roster. Always looking to incrementally getting better. If we can push the guys that are at the bottom end of the roster, if you will, to pushing those next guys it'll improve all of us."
On if he is comfortable with the current wide receiving corps if he had to go into Week 1 with it: Assuming they perform and they demonstrate that they're worth being on this football team, absolutely. I think that's what it comes down to. They're all going to have to go out and perform when it comes down to playing games and preseason games and consistently performing in practice."
On how far he thinks the Browns have progressed since the spring and how far he thinks the team has progressed from when he took over as general manager: "Again, my job, my role here is to try to improve the talent on this football team. I think we did that, to what degree I'll let you guys judge. I think I'm always looking to get better. The movie is never over. Every day we come out here, every day we sit in there with the scouts, we're looking to improve our roster. We're just looking to drive the roster. We we're talking on the field today about guys that we've seen on the wire, guys that we've seen come through, what our interest of them may or may not be, and how can we continue to get better."
On what he's thought about Browns RBs Ben Tate and Terrance West? "I think that, not only Tate and West, we have a good stable, if you will, of runners. I like the group that we have, and I'm excited to see those guys put the pads on and see kind of what happens once they do get the pads on, of how they carry those pads and how they bounce around against our defense."
On his impressions of Brian Hoyer coming back from the ACL, the way he's dealt with the offseason and his start to camp: "I think Brian's been phenomenal. I think he's handled it like a pro, which is what you would like. He's a man's man. He didn't cry over spilled milk. He attacked his rehab. He was here probably more than anybody. I think I work a lot hours and there weren't very many hours that I was in the building and Brian wasn't somewhere working on his craft, be it the meeting room, be it the indoor facility, be it the weight room. He did everything he could to put himself in the best position possible. Now he's got to go out and perform."
On his desire to extend Hoyer's contract and where he might be in that process "Again, I will never negotiate through the media. I apologize. It's just not my thing to talk about a player's financial prowess, if you will, to anyone else but him and his agent. I'll avoid that one."
On if the staff moving forward with the idea that Hoyer is going to start the first preseason game is an accurate perception: "I would say that everybody's going to get their opportunities. Brian right now is working with the No. 1's and as he goes that's what will happen. As coaches make decisions and we definitely have meetings every day - who's doing what, how well they're performing and who needs to get more reps in what situations. As we move through that, Coach will make those decisions. We'll all have input, and we'll see what happens when the movie ends."
On Hoyer seeming very decisive and effective today and if that is reflective of the work he has put in "Yeah. The guy's a pro. If you watch how he attacked all of it, like you said, his rehab, his mental state, all of it. He has been a professional, you can see it. One bad day doesn't make or break it. It's the consistency that makes you win in the National Football League. Guys have great games, and you never hear from them again. It's the guys that can routinely go out and perform time and time again that you want, and Brian's trying to show that that's what he's going to do."
On if it is easy to compare Hoyer to a guy who was on the party circuit and is learning: "Again, I would tell you that, like I said, from Brian's perspective, he's been a pro. He's handles himself the right way, and I'm going to compare Brian to Brian."
On if it might be harder for Johnny to show up well in these kind of drills because so much of what everybody has seen is the improvising and the stuff that he does during games: "I would say that Johnny shows up fine. You watch him in practice, you watch him do what he does and, again, the interesting part about it is that most people fall in love with the highlights because that's what gets portrayed. Nobody really pays attention to the routine throw, but he's made routine throws. He's made routine throws at Texas A&M. He's made routine throws out here. From our perspective, we really like the idea that he can go and do all the things that we expect him to do."
On if he sees a hole somewhere anywhere and if there is a group that's pleasantly surprised him: "I think there's always work to be done. I'm not going to single out any one group of our football team. I do think that as we look at where we're going, we're going to definitely look to address every position. We're never done. We're never content with where we're at. I think the great teams, they make transactions and they move on from guys and they improve and they get better in time. You go back and you watch some the teams that kind of attained success here recently, they had a lot of transactions on those football teams in short period of time. It's not an indictment on anything other than looking to get better, looking to incrementally get better. That's where we're at."
On if Browns OL Joel Bitonio was his highest rated guard and what he you liked about him so much: "I don't want to talk about my board and kind of who was where, but I will tell you I definitely like the player on tape. For me, he had a lot of similarities to players that I've seen have a lot of success in this league. A guy that played left tackle, he was gritty, he was tough, he was athletic. He played smart, didn't have a lot of mistakes. He wasn't on the ground. You watched his tape, he could run dowfield, engage a defensive back, stay of his feet, finish the block, and all of those things added up to me that a guy would come to this league and have success, specifically with the type of scheme ."
On what he has thought of (Browns DB) Justin Gilbert so far: "I think Justin Gilbert's been good. He came in, he crushed the run test. I actually thought he had the hardest part of it. People talked about that before, but he came out and ran it one day by himself, it was windy, he ran through the wind one way, he ran with the wind another way and crushed it. Kudos to him. I think he's looked good while he's been out here. He made a break the first day. He's like all the other younger players. He's learning to get better day by day. He's taken the coaching. He seems engaged in meetings. We're excited about where he can go."
On if he expected the type of season he had last year and how hard will it be for him to duplicate that with more focus and not Josh Gordon running next to him: "I would say that if you look at Jordan last year you could say it's a surprise. I think we want all of our players to play at that level, and he did. He performed. He did it, and if you look at early in the year he was really good when Josh wasn't available. From our prospective, we hope he can continue that. I think that's really the moniker of the guys that make a difference year in and year out are the guys that they continually put those numbers up, regardless if they're a focal point or if they're not. If you look at the better tight ends...I had the fortune of being in Kansas City with Tony Gonzalez. They double-teamed him. They quadruple-teamed him, but he still caught footballs. It really didn't matter, and we're hoping Jordan can take those kinds of steps."
On how training camp is going for him: "I'm good. It's been good. 'Pett' and I meet routinely. We're enjoying the journey together, and I think that's what it's about. Our organization is moving in a direction where. We're excited about what the future can hold. We realize it's a process, and we're just going to work, have fun in the moment and enjoy it."