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Mike Pettine press conference - 11/25

Opening statement:

"Great to have the opportunity to play Monday night in the division. Looking back, getting a chance to go back and watch the first game against them, obviously an exciting overtime win. Coming out of the bye, the intent, the emphasis was on the individual improvement, which obviously leads to improvement as a team. There is a lot of pride and competitiveness not just in the locker room but with the coaching staff. It is important that that shows up in our play.

"Regarding Baltimore, their injuries on offense are well documented. I don't anticipate a major shift in what they do schematically, though, as a result. It is not going to have much of an effect on our mentality or how we gameplan. Defensively, they are playing at a very high level the past two weeks. The front seven is very stout and represents a very big challenge for us.

"We won't file an injury report until tomorrow due to playing Monday night. I really don't have any updates on those guys just yet. Nothing has really changed on that front.

"On the decision that was made yesterday, we are always going to do what is best for the team in all of the decisions that we make. The position of quarterback is always going to be held to a higher standard than any other position on the team. That is the reality. It is not just about talent. It is not just about what you do on the field. To be successful at the position requires a great understanding of what is involved in the non-physical aspects – the leadership, the trust, the accountability, responsibility, the diligence. You have to take the mentality that no one is going to outwork you. That has to be understood when you play the position at this level. When you have a great opportunity in front of you, it is important that you demonstrate that you can handle the responsibility that comes with it. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the trust and the accountability piece. This is where we had an obvious short coming.

"I won't get into the details of our meetings before the bye other than what is out there, and I won't get into the details much of our meeting yesterday. As I said yesterday, everyone in this organizations wants what is best for (QB) Johnny (Manziel). He has shown tremendous improvement, but he has to make better decisions. We are going to continue to support him, help him and coach him in every way possible to get him where he needs to be. This is a decision that I know, for him in particular, stings in the short term but feel it is an absolutely necessary to maximize his chance for future success."

On if Manziel understands what he has done, given he always says the right things but his actions don't necessarily always match it:

"I don't if I can answer that. We'll see. We have talked about it often with him is exactly what you just said – words versus actions. This is a heavy dose of adversity. We will see how he handles it."

On if he was surprised when the video of Manziel surfaced:

"I was."

On if Manziel has played his last game as a Cleveland Brown:

"I certainly hope not. He has made great progress. There was no better proof than last Sunday against Pittsburgh. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a few forward. We told him yesterday, 'This isn't a dead end. This is a hurdle. It is an obstacle.' Part of success in athletics is dealing in adversity. This will be an example of it."

On how Manziel took the news:

"About how you would expect – disappointed. He is competitive. He wants to be out there."

On if Manziel admitted the video was from this past week:

"I won't get into the details of what we talked about."

On if General Manager Ray Farmer and Owner Jimmy Haslam will address Manziel's situation:

"Discussed this in great length with them, both right when it occurred and yesterday again. We are all very much on the same page. They supported the decision whole heartedly. I don't know if there really needs to be any statement from them. I think they will essentially repeat what I have said."

On if Manziel will remain the third-string QB for final six games of the season:

"It is the short term. Things can change. I think a lot of it, too, is what I just talked about. How does it get handled? Last week, we made him the starter for the rest of the season. We all saw how quickly that changed. The NFL landscape is obviously a very fluid one."

On if there was any discussion about cutting Manziel:


On if QB Josh McCown will be the starter for the remainder of the season, if he is healthy:

"Josh McCown is our starter. (QB) Austin Davis is our two. Johnny is our three. I won't speak behind that right now. Things can change. As far as declaring a starter for the rest of the year, we will see how this plays out in the short term."

On if there were ground rules relayed to Manziel about his behavior going forward:

"No, there were no ground rules laid out. The main ground rule with all of our guys is do the right thing."

On why this was the final straw with Manziel:

"To me, it is the trust and accountability part of it. Just right on the heels of discussions that not just I had with him but (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell and Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo). That trust was violated."

On if Manziel knew going into the bye there would be zero-tolerance for off-the-field behavior:

"I think that was made reasonably clear to him."

On how Manziel can earn trust back:

"It will be a process. There is no magical solution to that. We tell our players, 'You lose trust in buckets and you regain it in drops.' I think that certainly applies here."

On it being a personal decision for Manziel but if he believes Manziel should consider returning to rehab:

"I think you answered your own question in the beginning – that is personal."

On if returning to rehab is something the Browns would ask Manziel to do:

"Certainly a lot of things will get discussed, but I won't go into the details. You said it – it is very private."

On where the organization stands with Manziel:

"I think we all stand together on this one. There is a level of frustration, disappointment. We all recognize the talent. That is why I talked about it in the beginning – it is not just about the talent. You would hope that there is a maturation process that occurs, but we all feel the same way – disappointed, but not ready to give up; encouraged by the progress he has shown, especially from a football standpoint, from a pure quarterbacking standpoint. I have referenced it several times. It is evident from this past weekend, but on the personal front that we all recognize that he still has a ways to go."

On how Manziel's situation affects his job status and the conversations he will have with Haslam at the end of the season:

"I have talked about that before: I don't factor decisions that I make by how it would affect my job. It is part of it. We have 60-plus players. It is daily dealing with the good and the bad. That is part of it. You love what you do. I wake up every morning and am excited about coming in here. I know there is stuff, the negative that you have to deal with, but I don't view this that way. I see it as a challenge. I think we all want what is best for our team, we want what's best for our players, and I talked about it, we want what is best for him. There is no personal rift between he and I. I like being in the quarterback room. I like being around those guys on the field. Very positive interactions. There is nobody that is going to be more proud when he does turn the corner and he is a success. I don't think anyone will be more proud than I am. Sometimes when you are a parent, you know that the concept of tough love is usually the best. Like I said, this is taking a step back to hopefully to take several forward."

On if Manziel's demotion affects the Browns' ability to evaluate him going forward:

"It does. It does have an impact. We do have a much better sense than we did a year ago. I think from a pure quarterbacking play standpoint the arrow is up. I didn't want that to be a deciding factor in this. 'Well, let's not do anything because we need to see.' This was too important and it is something that is regrettable, but we feel that we had to do."

On if addressed the Browns about the QB decision:

"I did not. The timing of it, the word was out. I didn't want, for a lack of a better words, pile on in the team meeting. I am sure I will end up addressing it with several of our guys today at some point."

On if a portion of the locker room feels that Manziel did not do anything wrong, given he didn't break any laws:

"In a vacuum, if you just look at it, he didn't break the law, but like I said, it was the trust and the accountability piece that is really what is in play here."

On if the Browns should have done more after Manziel's incident in Avon:

"I just see the circumstances there as different in that it was being investigated by the league as a personal conduct policy issue. When you get to the point where we just got to with this decision, you factor in the past. You don't make these decisions in a vacuum. I always reference the body of work and usually referring to that is in a positive, and this way, it is a negative one."

On the Browns plan going forward after the bye to fix the team's problems that occurred in Weeks 1-10:

"It was a productive time for the staff, for myself, and it was good to see a lot of the good ideas that came out of it. I said this the other day: when you are not successful, when you are sitting where we are sitting, you tend to question everything. You are losing; therefore, everything you are doing is wrong. That is certainly not the case. We are doing a lot of things well that we need to continue to do, but there are a lot of things that we need to do better. A lot of them are technical, football stuff – I am not going to get into a ton of it – but it is across the board, you have to be better. When you ask the guys, 'Is there anything that you can do better?' Of course they are all going to say, 'Yeah, there is absolutely something I can do better.' The next questions is, 'Why aren't we doing it?' That to me comes with the passion part of it and the competitive part of it. We have to make sure that we just don't say it and we do it."

On if the Browns on-field struggles are fixable:

"Absolutely fixable. We talked about in the team meeting yesterday what these six games mean and just the positivity coming out of it, get some momentum. The business we're in is so based on just the final result that you could be doing a lot of things, but if you're losing, it just casts black clouds over the entire organization. I'm proud to say when I look at it that we've done a lot of good things. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten the result and that's the bottom line. The guys understand that that it comes down to people don't have to ask you how you're doing Monday morning; they already know based on the result. Those are the unique circumstances to our business. Each week you get a report card, and like I said before, it's either pass or fail. This is absolutely fixable. Why do I think that? Because of the people here. It's easy to just throw stones when things aren't going well, but I truly believe that the men that we've assembled here love football, are passionate about it, want to get this thing right not just for ourselves but for our fan base for this city. Nobody wants to hear that it's a process. Nobody wants to hear that. I don't even like saying it. We have a lot of ground to cover, but we're more than capable of getting it fixed."

On constant attention surrounding Manziel and his celebrity and media attention factoring into long-term team decisions:

"When we'll make decisions in the future, you'll always take into account the circumstances that come with it. You can't make those decisions, as I referenced before, in a vacuum. We feel that he's made vast improvements from a football standpoint but still has a ways to go in some of the other aspects."

Closing statement:

"Just a quick note just want to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving since I won't get to see you tomorrow. Talked about it with the team today, and even though the results are what they are, challenging them, being thankful and knowing how blessed we all are to be in the position that we're in and making sure they took tomorrow to thank the people that helped get them here and help them to continue to stay here. Enjoy the holiday."

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