Make no mistake. Mike Pettine wants his team to avoid penalties, especially the 15-yard variety that comes from personal fouls. He wants his team to be disciplined and smart.
But the Cleveland Browns' coach wants something else.
He wants a team that refuses to be pushed around.
That was the positive that Pettine took away from the brawl that erupted during Tuesday's practice at training camp after running back Ben Tate – apparently annoyed by what he perceived as unnecessary roughness from the defensive side as it clearly was dominating the workout – threw the ball at lineman Ahtyba Rubin after a play.
In a game, that likely would have resulted in a flag against the offense.
In practice, that makes the sort of statement that makes a coach trying to instill a sense of toughness throughout the roster and looking to change the culture of the locker room smile … at least privately.
"You don't want one side of the ball to get bullied by the other," said Pettine, whose players have today off and return to the practice field on Thursday. "There has to be some push back, whether it's offense vs. defense or defense vs. offense. You look at that and it's the price of doing business.
"You don't like to see (the fights). You're afraid somebody could potentially get hurt in it. It breaks up the rhythm of practice, but at times, it's going to happen."
And, at times, that's a price worth paying.
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE NFL …
ONE NOTICEABLE NFL-WIDEtrend is teams making a point to rest certain veteran players during camp. The Browns have done that with seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas and other players. The San Diego Chargers have done it with tight end Antonio Gates and linebackers Dwight Freeney, Jarret Johnson, and Melvin Ingram. "I think it is a good thing for our longevity and making the game a little bit better with guys not getting hurt as bad," the 34-year-old Freeney told reporters. "Sometimes the numbers don't show that. But I think it is better to take your time and not jump in the deep end at the beginning with all the hitting, especially with all the concussion stuff going on."
MINNESOTA VIKINGSoffensive coordinator Norv Turner has been highly impressed with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. This is part of what Turner told a reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune as they watched video of Bridgewater during an offseason practice: "Look at this one. The tight end is running an 18-yard out. Teddy drops. One, two, three, four, five and, bam, the ball's out. See how quick that was. This is the No. 1 thing with him. He's got such a quick release, and he makes quick decisions. That ball is out before the tight end makes his cut, and it's thrown where only he can catch it."
ATLANTA FALCONSquarterback Matt Ryan has heaped praise on his coach, Mike Smith, and general manager, Thomas Dimitroff, for their efforts in trying to improve the team's offensive line. One of the key additions has been 6-foot-5, 309-pound right tackle Jake Matthews, whom the Falcons made the No. 6 overall pick in the draft from Texas A&M. "He's very strong, he's athletic and he's smart," Ryan was quoted as saying in USA Today. "And he's kind of done it the way a rookie should do it; he's kind of kept his mouth shut and handled his business the right way." >>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for "Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford" on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com. We take your questions at 216-578-0850 and via Twitter @Browns_Daily.