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Mike Pettine conference call - 12/14

Opening statement:

"Great feeling to come into the building this morning after a solid team win – long time coming. As I said yesterday, offensively and defensively, that was as complete a game that we could have asked for. Still some things to continue to correct, but just overall, very proud of the way we pushed through it, the way we competed. I've said it all year: we're big believers in our preparations, and our focus will dictate our success. Last week, given the circumstances and where we were at this time of year and what our record is, I thought it was one of our best weeks of practice in more than recent memory. We're going to have to have a great week of prep this week, a much tougher challenge going on the road. As we all know, a very hostile environment and a quality opponent in the Seahawks.

"Injury wise, no real updates. (WR Brian) Hartline, I believe, is undergoing surgery tomorrow. It's a big loss for us. (RB Glenn) Winston will be in the concussion protocol. We're in the midst of some roster tweaks to fill potential voids. There were some minor bumps and bruises, but other than that, I think everybody else came out OK."

On QB Johnny Manziel's performance, based on the film:

"It was a solid performance. The mistake before the half is well documented, that's glaring, but other than that, I just thought he was in great command of the huddle. I thought he had a great sense of the plan and how they were playing us and making in-game adjustments. As I said yesterday, I thought he did a real good job in the run game. We had a lot of stuff that he had to orchestrate to get us in the right run. I thought he did a good job of that, and that kind of goes unnoticed. Overall, he made good decisions, was accurate with the football and when he could stay in the pocket, he did and made plays, and there were times – we all saw – he has that special ability to extend the play and was able to do that numerous times with solid success. Overall, I think it was a good day for him."

On how rewarding it is to see the Browns' effort in practice pay off with a win:

"It's a tribute to them. It's a tribute to our leadership. As you know, our roster is a healthy blend of youth and some key veteran players. I thought those veterans have done an outstanding job of making sure that guys stay focused. They hear it from the coaching staff, but that only goes so far. To go out and set an example physically and then keep pushing those guys, whether it's in the meeting room, whether it's in the locker room, that's a tribute to our veteran leadership more than anything else."

On WR Terrelle Pryor's performance in his first regular season game with the Browns:

"He did his job. The big thing is he knew where to line up and he knew what his job was. With Hartline being down, I can see his role expanding. He probably played more than maybe the original plan because of Brian's injury. He is a guy that has a skillset that hopefully we can take advantage of. Over these last three weeks, I look forward to the opportunity of him getting out there even more."

On DB Joe Haden in the concussion protocol, given a video of him dunking earlier today:

"Still remains to be seen. I think Joe is as frustrated as anybody else. The video, I don't think that's recent from what I'm told. I just know he's close, and we'll see how it plays out. Like I said, I know he's very frustrated, wants to be out there with his teammates."

On what the Browns offensive line did well in yesterday's win:

"Probably a combination of a lot of things. We felt we matched up good against their front. The plan, there was a quiet confidence around the staff and even the players heading into this one just because we saw the matchup and we felt we had a good plan to take advantage of it. The game is not played on those sheets of paper. It's played out there, and I thought that group showed up, the effort was there, the focus was there and they were into it. Every time I went over and visited that group on the sideline, they were having great conversations about what they were getting and what we were going to do moving forward. Again, I think it falls back to the veteran guys leading them. I know (OL) Austin Pasztor had the one hold that brought the touchdown back, but that's one call I'm not going to complain about. He got his money's worth on that one. Overall, I think Austin did a solid job. He had a good week of practice. I thought he communicated well with (OL) Joe (Thomas) and with (OL) Alex (Mack) being on the left side. Had his share of minuses in the game, but overall, I thought it was a winning performance."

On how Manziel affects an opponent's ability to defend the Browns running game:

"It's one of the first questions you ask is 'Is this quarterback a running threat?' Whether it's called runs, whether he's a scrambler, when he does scramble doe she scramble to run? Does he keep his eyes down field? Does he scramble to throw? That has a lot of bearing on how the gameplan is formulated. Anytime there's a threat of that and you have to allocate extra sets of eyes on the quarterback to make sure that you're not giving up big plays against him, that has a tendency to take away your focus from the run game. It's a problem that defensively we're going to have to deal with this week with (Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson."

On a specific example of Manziel playing well mentally:

"I just think there were a lot. I just thought he had great command of the plays being called and then assessing the defense, diagnosing what they were in, whether it was pre-snap or post-snap. I thought his patience on the first play of the game was outstanding. I thought he could have panicked and looked to get out. They did a good job of holding their safety rotation until late and rotated down to a different coverage than what they showed before the snap. He did a good job hanging in there, coming off his initial read and then ended up finding (WR) Travis (Benjamin) for a decent gain."

On building upon the win to face three tough opponents to finish the season:

"It just starts with our week of prep for Seattle. We're not going to look beyond that. We know that this is a formidable opponent in one of the most hostile environments in the league. We're going to go up there and cut it loose. Like I said, it starts with this week. We're going to have a great deal of respect for them, but we're not going to be intimidated by them. We're going to plan to travel out there and play a good football game."

On TE Gary Barnidge's comments that Browns players will stand behind Manziel no matter what and if he is surprised players haven't written Manziel off, given off-field happenings:

"The reason they haven't is because most of the time that they spend with him, the vast majority, is in the building, and they see what we all see. Here's a guy that shows up to work every day excited, puts in his preparation. He grinds in the meeting room. He asks great questions, brings up good points and guys respect that they can tell when he talks that he's getting into that information when he's out of the building. It carries over to the practice field. They see a guy that is competitive, that wasn't to win, goes out works hard on the practice field and then it carried over in the game. They see him in-game. I just think in the huddle, his presence and what he's been able to do, that gets our guys going. When they see him frustrated after throwing a boneheaded interception and get after himself a little bit, there's some respect there because they see how competitive he is."

On if the Browns play with a different energy or tempo with Manziel:

"I don't know if that is the case. I think Gary might have alluded to it – he extends plays more than both (QBs) Austin (Davis) and Josh (McCown). That is something that there might be that excitement underneath that – 'Hey, I am going to run my regular route, and if I don't get it, I have to keep this play alive because this play could end up being extended. I could catch the ball dead on the other side of the field.' There is probably some of that to it."

On the Browns running game and offensive line, comparing schematic and personnel changes over the past two years:

"I see our run game as evolving. Earlier in the year, we tried to be more outside zone, and I thought we played against some defenses that took that away from us that had real good edges. We played a lot of five-man fronts. The run game this year has evolved. Teams were taking a lot of that stuff away. I thought yesterday was as good a blend of scheme that we have had all year. We ran some downhill runs where we got double-teams at the point of attack. We had some pull plays where were blocking down and kicking out. We ran a good amount of inside zone where I thought the backs had real good vision. I thought everybody involved in the run game stepped up yesterday and, it was our best effort. The results certainly bear that out. I think to be successful running the football in the NFL, you have to have a blend of things schematically. I think outside of your fastball, you need to have some complements. I think we realized our fastball anymore is not the outside zone, and I think it has transitioned to more of a downhill-zone with some complementary gap-scheme runs."

On working through the perceptions that Manziel can't be trusted, given NBC Sports analyst and former NFL player Rodney Harrison's comments last night:

"It is hard for anyone outside to speak. That is the 'what if.' The bottom line is that (Harrison) is not in our locker room. He doesn't see him every day. I think he would have a lot more respect for him – talk to a guy that is in the locker room like (TE) Gary Barnidge, who sees how he prepares, who sees how he is on the practice field and sees a noticeable difference from a year ago, the improvement there, the commitment, the dedication, the wanting to get it right, making sure that the details are right. It is hard for me to really lend any credence to any opinions that are outside of our locker room."

On the teaching point for Manziel on the near safety that was nullified due to a facemask penalty:

"The issue was the protection up front. He was trying to get out of it. If the guy doesn't grab his facemask, then there is a chance he gets out of that tackle and can go ahead and throw the ball away. That is key how you started that question – near safety as opposed to a safety. That was a dicey moment for us. We were fortunate. We were fortunate that it was ultra-long yardage and we ended up catching a break."

On if OL Cameron Erving is a liability on FG protection or if he simply needs more game reps:

"That is one we will go week to week with it. For the field goal part of it, Tabes (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) will evaluate that each week and make any personnel changes as he sees fit. From an offensive standpoint, we made the decision to go with (OL) Austin (Pazstor). Some of that, I just think that the couple of the games that Cam had that maybe his confidence was a little shook. We just felt that Austin is another young guy we wanted to see play. Fortunately for us, he stepped up to the plate and played well yesterday."

On who received the game balls yesterday:

"We haven't had our staff meeting yet to discuss it. I know (WR) Brain Hartline, for sure. The coaches have that list that we will discuss when we meet as a staff here at three o'clock."

On if the Browns need to change the FG unit, given three blocked kicks in three weeks:

"We definitely need to shore the protection up, but the blocks have come with some push, guys getting their hands up, not necessarily jumping. That is also the trajectory of the kick. That is one thing that (K) Travis (Coons) needs to work on – make sure he is getting enough lift on the ball. After he got the one blocked, he did a much better job. I know Tabes got with him and wanted to make sure that he adjusted his technique so that he was getting a little more lift. That is frustrating. Anytime you line up and have an opportunity to get points, you need to be able to take advantage of it."

On LB Nate Orchard recording his first two career sacks and his overall performance:

"That is good to see. Nate is a guy that just does everything that we ask, works hard, practices hard. It carries over to the game. Early on, he was kind of thinking his way – I have talked about this before – just a little bit too mechanical. Get lined up, get your aiming point and go cut it loose. I thought that was an example yesterday. He did a good job of trusting his technique and rolling off. We are all thrilled for the kid that he finally got some sack production."

On Owner Jimmy Haslam's past comments about needing to see the Browns play better late in seasons as it relates to his job and if that improvement can only be reflected by scores in the final three games:

"I don't get wrapped up in that. I have more than enough on my plate getting our guys… We are going to coach our tails off. We are going to go out and play with the same effort and focus that we played with yesterday and then some. However it falls out, it falls out. That is just not a concern. That can be debated and discussed outside of the building. In regards to how you started that question we all want to finish strong. You want to show improvement throughout. We have logged a lot of reps. We have done some good things, and we have done bad things. You want to make sure at the end of the year you are not repeating mistakes. That is how you measure it. We don't get wrapped up, we can't think like that. Our sole focus right now is recovering quickly from this game and moving onto the Seahawks."

On if WR Taylor Gabriel had a setback with his concussion:

"No, he did not. It ended up with the numbers, we were already going to have five (wide receivers) up. He was really just kind of an insurance policy for Travis. We didn't think we would have Travis early in the week. With Gabe being out the length of time that he was out, from a playing football standpoint, he had done a good job of maintaining his level of condition, but it ended up just being a numbers game and giving him an extra week. With Hartline being down, we certainly anticipate Gabe being up this week."

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