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Mike Pettine press conference - 12/2

Opening statement:

"To start off today, I want to recognize (TE) Gary Barnidge on being named our 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient. It is no secret Gary has had a tremendous impact for us on the field, but he has had just as big of an impact off the field, as well. As many of you know, he is very active in the community and just an outstanding example of what is right about our team, the way he represents us, the NFL, what he stands for. It is obvious football is very important to him. He has taken that overseas with his American Football Without Barriers foundation. He has done free clinics in China, Brazil and Turkey. I think he had one planned for Egypt, and it ended up getting cancelled because there was some type of militant uprising near where he was supposed to do it. The only thing he got out of it was someone sent me a picture of him on a camel. I showed it in the team meeting today. He has been tremendous – a great asset to our community, countless visits to hospitals, providing shoes for underprivileged kids, getting them to games so he has been very active on his Tuesdays. He is certainly very deserving as (LB) Craig Robertson was a year ago. Gary is very deserving of this recognition. We are all very proud of him for the success that he has had on and off the field.

"As you all know, we have made the decision to start (QB) Austin (Davis) on Sunday. Austin did a good job coming into the game Monday night. He has worked extremely hard throughout this season on his preparation in that room. He does an outstanding job, whether it is preparing himself or assisting the other guys in being ready. We feel he deserves this opportunity. He did some good things Monday night, and we expect to see more good things on Sunday.

"Obviously, the Bengals are a very familiar opponent. We just faced them a month ago. Coming off a strong performance, and we are expecting to see their best.

"On the injury front, the players all listed with concussions will not practice. Everyone else on the report will be available for practice in at least a limited basis."

On if the starting QB is a week-by-week decision:

"I talked to the quarterbacks this morning, and I said given where we are and what our circumstances are that it is safe to say now that is a weekly thing. The decision was made – it is Austin for this week, and I am not going to go beyond that."

On if one week was not a 'long enough punishment' for QB Johnny Manziel:

"I don't want to get into punishment and length of it. Just felt given the circumstances of where we had placed him and what we had done as a result of what had happened that Austin was above him and went out and played well. He deserves this opportunity. To me, it is more about Austin and seeing what he can do than it is necessarily about length of punishment."

On if Davis will remain the starting QB if he plays well Sunday:

"These are two players that we both want to see play is the bottom line. I don't want to declare, 'Hey, this is what it is going to be from here on out.' These are two young quarterbacks that have upside, and we want to see what that upside is. Austin is the guy for this week."

On Manziel needs to do to return as starting QB:

"Continue to work. Continue to work. Do his job."

On how multiple QB changes in his first two years have been challenging during his tenure:

"It is part of the job. I think what makes it easier – I know there are other circumstances that get involved – when you have a position coach that you trust in that room and a coordinator and guys on the staff that you can lean on for their football opinion. I am not on an island when I make these decisions. I make the final call, and I will have strong opinions one way or another, but it either gets confirmed or denied by people that I trust. That makes it easier. For us, it comes down to football decisions. I know once you get to the point of the year where we are now that there are some bigger picture, down the road things that factor into it, but I understand your point, and it has been less than ideal, but it is the circumstance that we deal with and we press forward."

On weighing what the team wants at starting QB and if the decision affects the team:

"I don't because I don't think our guys are strangers to that. You look at last year, we ended up playing three. I know in recent history or not so recent history that for a variety of circumstances, there have been different guys playing quarterback. There hasn't been the continuity that we are all searching for at that positon. I think our guys have dealt with it. Those guys in the offensive huddle, I don't see any issues. You look at the quarterback room and the production and the leadership that has come from it this year and you say let's rank what our issues have been and what our problems have been, and that room is not near the top. We feel good about what we have gotten. There have certainly been mistakes made and a lot of learning experiences, but at the same time, we feel pretty good about the production that we have gotten from that room. I don't think it will be an issue for the other guys in the huddle."

On if WR Terrelle Pryor will receive time at QB or solely at WR:

"He was brought back as a receiver. The thinking behind that is that earlier in the year, it was truly for us a roster spot decision. It was hard to justify that spot when we had other needs and having to have other guys up. Essentially, that was on the list for a long time – we would like to get him back; this is an explosive athlete that we think over time can master the position. We just felt the time was right to get him back here and get him practicing playing wide out, but the insurance policy that he does give us, especially now with Josh being hurt, is you at least have a viable third quarterback on the roster, a guy that has played the positon in the league and that has had production. As you know, we prefer to see (WR) Brian Hartline playing wide receiver and not quarterback."

On probability Pryor will see playing time this week and going forward:

"I think this week will be difficult, but we will see where he is and what he has retained and what kind of shape he is in. He was truly a work in progress. It was well documented during training camp. He was competing against guys who have spent virtually their entire football existence at wide receiver, and now, he is trying to make the conversion. We think the skillset is there to do it, but it is a time thing. This is a big, explosive athlete that we felt we could get back here and start to get him coached up, and if we can hopefully find a limited role – like you said, I don't know if it will be this week – before the season is over, I think we would all like to see that."

On Davis' skillset:

"A big part of it with Austin is the mental. He is as prepared as any quarterback that I have been around. He is relentless in that way. I think he goes into games in his mind I think processing speed that he has rehearsed it so many times in his head that I think he gets the ball out and is decisive maybe quicker than some other guys. That is one where we see the skillset is the intangible stuff. Too, the guys around him respect him and they see how passionate he is. From a physical standpoint, he is has some mobility. When the pocket is clean for him, he can step up. He has some arm strength to him, as well. I think he demonstrated that the other night. The corner route that he threw in front of our bench to (WR) Travis (Benjamin) and then the touchdown were both good examples of his arm. He is young and hasn't had a ton of starts, and what he has shown on us on the practice field and the little bit he got in the game has all been encouraging."

On OL Joel Bitonio's status:

"We are hopeful. He is going to practice today. He will be one of those guys that I referenced that will be practicing on a limited basis."

On DL Randy Starks' status:

"Randy, as well. I don't know if Randy is as close as Joel is, but Randy will definitely get some individual work today and see if that that warrants giving him some team work. We are not going to be as full boar as we normally would on a Wednesday, given the short turnaround. Guys are that much further less removed from the game so today won't be as physical of a day. I think tomorrow for both of those guys will be more of a telling day. Today, we will get a lot of stuff done more in a walkthrough or jog-through mentality."

On if OL Joe Thomas and OL Alex Mack are normally not on the field for field goal protection team and why they wouldn't be on the field:

"Tabes (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) trains all those guys throughout camp so he knows who the best guys are at those particular jobs, and those spots and puts that lineup together accordingly. Not speaking for Joe, but you don't see a lot of NFL centers necessarily because they are not the long snapper. That is where we are with that."

On if has noticed any dissatisfaction or discord from Manziel to indicate he doesn't want to be in Cleveland anymore:

"I haven't seen that. I will keep it private, but we have had very good discussions about what has happened, what did happen and the future, and I see no indication of that."

On how much the changes at QB have hindered progress:

"I think if you look at the entire league, when you have a long-term answer and you have continuity at that positon and the offense can be built around the skillset and the mentality that you have that presence that everyone is looking to that position for leadership and when that is bedrock, you are in much better shape. That is what the teams – it is the haves and the have-nots. That is what teams are looking for. We felt that we had a good answer this year in Josh. Unfortunately, he has had some injury issues. Like I referenced earlier, we have two young guys that are more than talented enough to play in this league and we are going to see what they can do."

On if the QB position is the first position a team has to make sure it gets right:

"Yeah, I think if you are ranking your positions of priority – we do the exercise of what are the most important positions, generically, if I am starting a franchise, and quarterback is going to be one through five. Just the nature of the position and all that goes with it."

On if today's starting QB decision was more difficult than other ones this season:

"There was a lot discussed. I wouldn't say from our end as a staff it was that difficult."

On if the Browns would have earned a 5-yard penalty if the line moved when the Ravens player initially jumped into the neutral zone on the final FG attempt:

"We could have. That is a little bit dicey when you are fringe field goal, and that is very subjective by the referee. It has to time up. If you jump a hair late or if you are not the adjacent player – it is a little bit different when it is a tight end and a wing – if you are not the adjacent player to who jumped. That situation just doesn't come up very often, but we discussed that after the game."

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