By 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Cleveland Browns must trim their roster down from 75 players to a 53-man regular season roster.
Scouts, pro personnel staff members, the coaching staff, Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer are currently bunkered down in meetings at the Browns facility in Berea, trying to collaborate on which final few players could be an integral part of the Browns for years to come.
"This is one of the busiest two days in the NFL for not just coaches but for personnel staffs as well," said Mike Pettine over the phone on Friday afternoon.
Pettine said the team will go over every single player on the roster and evaluate what they have accomplished up until this point.
For example, let's take running back Isaiah Crowell. Many would probably pay to hear the "lively banter" about the undrafted rookie from Alabama State. On Thursday, Crowell busted out of shell, rushing for 102 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown on 13 carries. Crowell hasn't gotten many other live game repetitions and is still trying to master the playbook.
Certain personnel guys might stand up on the table for Crowell, citing his potential and the way he thunderously runs over defenders. Certain coaches might lobby back that he isn't exactly a star on special teams or picking up blockers as a pass protector. Pettine said all roster decisions will be based off the body of work from the minute
"Not everyone is going to see it the same way," said Pettine. "A coordinator might see the position differently than a position coach will. The head coach might see it differently than both. Then from the personnel side – there will be varied opinions. I'm confident that because it's such a collaborative atmosphere, we'll be able to arrive at without it being too lively. But were very encouraging of our coaches and coordinators to be brutally honest."
General manager Ray Farmer has the final say on the roster, but he and Pettine have daily meetings to always make sure they are on the same page. Pettine and Farmer recounted the story of when they had their first X’s and O’s meeting together to ClevelandBrowns.com back in May, from which Pettine called Farmer, "a brother from a different mother."
"From the beginning that's why I've been confident and very much enjoying the relationship here with Ray," said Pettine. "Because he and I see football pretty much the same way."
Pettine also confirmed to reporters that nothing is off the table for the Browns. Any potential trades will be weighed and several staff members are monitoring other NFL teams, should certain talented players from other team's come available.
"We have some tough choices to make, but that's a good thing," said Pettine. "That means you are potentially letting go some good players. I'd rather it be that way than have it be a situation where you are putting a guy on your 53 that you don't think is deserving of it."