Skip to main content


Mike Pettine conference call - 12/28

Opening statement:

"I feel very good about the way we played in the second half. We did not start the game out well. The long drive to start it, we let them off the hook with a first-and-20. Just some of the issues we had in the first half gave us very little margin for error in the second half. As I've always talked about here, we're not into moral victories. Its pass/fail. We came up short again. Effort, playing hard isn't enough. We have to play better. We have to play smarter for a longer period of time. I thought we made good adjustments at halftime, played a lot better in the second half. We had a chance on the road against a quality opponent to win it in the end and couldn't get it done. When you're this late in the season, you continue to try to learn from each circumstance and hope that all of these experiences will help us in the future. With (QB) Johnny (Manziel), there was plenty for him to learn from, his first attempt at a game-winning drive in the NFL. We didn't get it done, but again, a lot to learn, build upon from those drive sin the second half.

"No updates on the injury report outside of (WR) Marlon (Moore) with the concussion. (RB Raheem) Mostert with the ankle is not as severe as we originally thought it could be so there is a chance that he'll be able to go this week."

On if he has spoken to Owner Jimmy Haslam about his future in Cleveland:

"We have our meetings. We meet on the field during the week. We also meet usually on Mondays. I have a meeting scheduled with him later today. It's our standard scheduled meeting. As far as specifically addressing the job, I just think it had not been the time or the place at any of those to discuss it. As a coach, you have to have very short-term focus and it's always been on the opponent for that week. This week, we're full speed ahead on the Steelers."

On seeds planted for growth for next year:

"I just think if you look at our youth and also just the offensive system that Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) has put in and I think the guys have really bought in to; the production we've gotten from the quarterback room; I think the change in emphasis as the year evolved. Our run game results of late, it's kind of a league-wide trend and we've joined it. It's almost the college type running game where you're working off a box count and reading the back tight end, versus a light box you're going to run it; heavier box, you're going to throw it out there or have the quarterback pull it. I think you see the rushing totals in the league going up as a result. You don't see a lot of teams having success running with two backs anymore. It's the spread attack, and it's something that we've evolved to as the year has gone on and in the last three weeks have had two of the highest rushing totals that the Browns have ever had. That's a positive and as you just look at our young players that are getting on the job training – the obvious one is (QB) Johnny (Manziel), but then you go to (FB) Malcolm Johnson before he got hurt, (RB) Duke Johnson (Jr.); defensively, (LB Nate) Orchard, (OL) Danny Shelton, (DL) Xavier Cooper, (DB) Ibraheim Campbell. Even the second-year guys, whether it was (LB Christian) Kirksey, (OL Joel) Bitonio before he got hurt, (RB Isaiah) Crowell. We have a lot of guys on this team that are first, second, third year that are playing a lot for us. All of that experience can do nothing but help as we move forward."

On if LB Armonty Bryant will be suspended for the next game:

"He wasn't suspended [on Sunday]. This is a matter that falls under the (NFL) personal conduct policy so the recourse that we have as a team would be deactivating him, and he will be inactive against Pittsburgh."

On grading Manziel's performance yesterday, balancing success running and struggles passing:

"It's part of it, and we grade each aspect of the game separately. He gets a run grade and a pass grade. Certainly, his grade in the run game has to do with footwork and carrying out fakes and getting us in the right play. A lot of our runs are packaged based on some of the things I just talked about earlier and deciding which direction to run it, based on rotation of safeties, the box count and all that. He's graded with both, and obviously this week, his run grade was a lot higher. As I've talked about before, a lot of times, it's a function of the guys around him. We had some miscommunication on some routes. We had some mental errors. We missed some blocks up front. I thought Johnny did a good job avoiding the rush. They had some good pass rushers, and we had guys get beat. He did a good job of turning a sack into either a scramble or at least a throwaway. Yeah, he had his share of mistakes. He missed some throws. If you were down on the field, I think you'd get a sense that those were not easy conditions to throw the ball in. That was a pretty good crosswind. It actually blew the ball on the ground a couple of times where the officials had to reset it. Overall, I think it was a tough day for both teams to really get their pass game going, but it was a good learning experience for him."

On if Manziel still needs to improve his footwork:

"He did, and Kev (quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell), when we went through each player in the game evaluation, that's something that Kevin mentioned. When you do have conditions like that you want to make sure you're on point fundamentally, technique wise. I could see where some of that he took a step backwards just footwork wise, that his feet weren't set. I thought he did a good job coming into this game when he needed to set his feet he did and then when he needed to get off and move he did, but there are a couple throws where we thought he could have had his feet set and potentially been a little bit more accurate."

On a video of Manziel that surfaced over the weekend:

"I have not seen it. I do not have a comment."

On if the video concerns him:

"Anytime there's something with our players that casts them potentially in a bad light, whether it's Johnny or any of our other guys, it's certainly a concern. I'm sure I'll see it and have a discussion with him about it. These circumstances are different from the incident that occurred before, but I'm just not going to go into a ton of detail with it until I get a little bit more information about it. It's something that I'm sure privately we'll discuss, if it needs to be discussed."

On if it is disappointing that the season will be over after the Steelers game as Manziel's development continues:

"Yeah, anytime your season comes to an end you are disappointed. We put so much time and effort and planning that goes into it. You get so few opportunities to play so you are always going to lament the end of the season. He has shown a lot of progress. If you go back to where he was essentially a year ago to now, he has covered a lot of ground personally. We know there has been a setback or two there, but he has covered so much ground professionally, and it shows up in the results. He has bought into what we are doing. Professionally, he has been outstanding for us this year. That is why when you talk to our players in the locker room, they respect him because they are with him every day. They see it. They see his preparation. They see him in the huddle and the night and day difference calling plays, confidence, knowing what to do, knowing where to go with the ball, and they see how competitive he is, how much he cares. Sometimes he is almost too emotional. He gets upset with himself as we have seen over the time that he has been in there. We see that as a positive."

On Manziel's public display of his drinking off the field, given he voluntarily spent time in a rehab program:

"Again, it falls back into not micromanaging personal lives. It is very public, unfortunately. The thing that is disappointing is how public it becomes, and it is something that with all the players. We are going to sit down with them before they get out of here and see where they are personally and professionally, and certainly, Johnny will be no exception."

On if the latest video could lead to another demotion for Manziel:

"I don't have all the information on it. I am just not going to comment on it at this time because I don't have all the facts with it."

On if weather conditions rattled Manziel yesterday, given frequent inclement climates in Cleveland:

"I don't. That was a tough wind in any stadium. I don't know how many quarterbacks could have thrown the ball. It was a real factor. I don't see it. I think he has a strong arm. Is his spiral tight all the time? It is not tight all the time, but just from an RPM standpoint, I think he spins it well and that certainly helps in bad weather. Having big hands helps. I don't see it. The sample size of him playing in bad weather isn't really big. I don't see it as a hindrance to him being successful."

On a report that Browns GM Ray Farmer will be fired while he will be retained and if Haslam has told him he'd keep his job:

"No. There are reports out every day. I think every possible scenario has been reported on. I have a job to do and the job is to prepare this team as well as I can to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't get caught up in that."

On OL Cameron Erving's performance against the Chiefs:

"He did some good things. I thought, as usual, he played with good effort, good energy. He made some mistakes, but I think overall, that was a good experience for him. He did give up some pressures in the pass game, which Johnny bailed him out on one or two of them, but I think overall, it was a step forward for Cam. He made mistakes, but I think some of the mistakes he had made in previous games you would have considered critical ones, where it was giving up a sack or a penalty at a bad time, most of his mistakes were technical. They were small things. We grade our guys hard. I think Cam definitely took a step forward yesterday."

On LB Nate Orchard's performance against the Chiefs and his progress this season:

"He was very productive yesterday. I was glad to see it. The interception was one – I haven't seen one like that in a long time, where we possessed it and it went back and forth three times. I thought (DL) Randy Starks did a heck of a job tipping it to start it, and then (LB) Craig (Robertson) and Nate volley-balled it back and forth. He did some good things, productive. He did a nice job cleaning up. They blocked it up. We brought in nickel pressure from the field on the one sack that we got. They did a good job recognizing it, the Chiefs did, sliding to it, protecting it, but what it did was it gave us a series of one-on-one blocks and Nate won against his guy and did a good job after Des (DL Desmond Bryant) flushed (Chiefs QB) Alex Smith stepping up. He did a good job finishing. To me, one of the best plays he made was our last defensive play of the game. We needed a stop, and they threw the screen out to (Chiefs TE Travis) Kelce and Nate just wrecked it. He recognized pre-snap that it was potentially coming, he was downhill, ran right through a blocker and made a heck of a play. I just think it is coming with confidence, with repetition. As I have said all year, there is no substitute for live game reps. That is what we talk about: eyes to the future. We are just thrilled that Nate has been able to get there and be on the learning curve that he is."

On if the Browns have discussed adding another kicker to the roster, given FG blocks:

"That hasn't been discussed."

On if he holds his breath on every snap Manziel takes or does he have confidence that Manziel can now make the right decision:

"I think I am down to every other snap I hold my breath, which is an improvement (laughter). That is part of it, but we have to do a better job around him to kind of minimize those plays where he has to get out. We want him to make as many plays as possible from a clean pocket where we can go ahead and whether it is three-step, five-step, seven-step, play-pass or whatever it is that we can make the first read and make the throw or get to the second read so it doesn't turn into that frenetic, running around, head on a swivel – what is he going to do with it? I think for him to be successful… Those plays are going to happen. Defenses are too good. They are going to get pressure. I think that is where he is special. He can get out and make those plays. I think Flip did a good job of adding some elements of the zone-read. We hit it on our touchdown drive. That was the first or second play of the series where he pulled it. It was a (34-yard) run, he slid and we were off to the next play. We want to take advantage of his skillset, but at the same time, we don't want every play, as I have always said, to turn into a punt return."

On if it was automatic to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth quarter instead of attempting a FG:

"I just think where we were, I know that we had played well in the second half defensively, and we debated it. We were kind of fringe field goal (range) and just where we were with the wind and having the issues that we have had with the field goal unit in recent weeks, we felt good about going for it, and if we didn't make it, confident we could get a stop. In hindsight, it maybe would have been worth the attempt, but given all those circumstances, we were going to stay aggressive as we had been."

On if the blocked FG was due to trajectory:

"No, we felt it was more of timing. The operation was a little bit slow getting it off. It was above the timing of our average time to get it off. It was probably more of a function of that than anything else."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content