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Mike Pettine press conference - 12/24

On Browns players who missed time yesterday returning to practice today:
"Unfortunately, (WR Taylor) Gabriel will not be back. (RB Isaiah) Crowell had some travel logistics issues so he got caught up a little bit. He'll be back. We just don't know if he'll make it for any part of practice."

On if Crowell and Gabriel will be available Sunday:
"We expect both."

On injured Browns players returning to practice today, specifically OL Alex Mack and Joe Thomas:
"Yeah, they'll probably do some limited work today."

On expecting Mack and Thomas to play Sunday:
"Yeah, no worries, either one."

On RB Duke Johnson Jr. spending time on the bike yesterday:
"We're just being cautious with that one. Don't give it much. This time of year, the gameplans are pretty tight. It's stuff that he knows. It's risk-reward. You can have him practice it, but if it is stuff that he knows, rest is the best thing for him right now. We don't foresee an issue with Duke.

"It might come down to the wire again with (DB) K'Waun (Williams). He's going to practice again today in a red shirt. He's hopeful he can go as are we, but we will have to see."

On what has made Chiefs CB Marcus Peters successful as a rookie and if he was on the Browns' draft radar:
"Highly thought of just from looking at the football grade part of it. He's got that cover corner skillset. I know what (Chiefs defensive coordinator) Bob Sutton is looking for in corners. That [pick] didn't come as a surprise to us. That's one of those on draft day, 'Yeah, that one makes sense,' just because you understood the scheme fit. Here's a guy that can press. He plays bigger than he actually is. He's got a good sense of timing. He does a good job of getting hands on. He's having a good year for them."

On LB Craig Robertson's performance this season:
"He's been solid. I know he missed some time, but he's done a good job for us. Filling in, we've played him more at the middle backer spot, the MIKE. We've moved (LB) Karlos (Dansby) some out because of Karlos' ability to cover tight ends. We've played Karlos more on the edge at essentially the SAM spot at times. Craig is tough. He's downhill. He tackles well. When he's been in there, he's graded out well."

On DB Justin Gilbert's performance this season and development:
"He did, and there was progress there, but he'd be the first to tell you it wasn't enough. At least he's still trending in the right direction. The injury stuff was a setback, but we're all hopeful that he can use what momentum he has from this season. We're in that process now of talking to all of our guys. It's critical for a lot of guys, Justin included, how they plan to spend [the offseason]. As you know, the league rules, they're not here. Sometimes how they do in the fall depends on what choices they make, where they want to spend, who they want to train with and where they're going to be in the spring. That's part of the year-end process for us as a staff to visit with everybody. 'Hey, where are you going to be? What are your plans? We're still allowed to communicate with them but we're not allowed to do anything from a coaching standpoint. This is an important time for everybody to kind of cast that."

On if Browns players are allowed to work out in the team's Berea facility:
"Well, we are getting ready to renovate so there won't be many guys working out here. We're going to have to get creative. The weight room will be open for a stretch of time, but that will get shut down for a little bit. The training room will likely have to move down to the stadium to rehab the guys that are coming off of season-ending injuries, surgery, whatever it is. The rehab guys will be down at the stadium for a chunk of time because the majority of this first floor is going to get gutted when the season ends."

On making recommendations to where Browns players spend the offseason:
"Not necessarily a recommendation, but I think everybody works better with a plan. We like to lay out a plan with all of our guys. You don't just want to wake up the day after the Pittsburgh game and be like, 'Oh, hey, we need to have a plan.' You've got to give some thought to it, but you hate to take your focus off of a given opponent. That's part of it. We did some work as a staff at the bye, and then as the season winds down, it's a matter of getting our players individually and making sure they can assess themselves – What did they do well this year? What did they not do well? What do they have to work on? – and then kind of compare that to our opinion. 'You might think this, but here's our opinion.' Hopefully those match – that they know their shortcomings are how we see them and they have a good understanding of what they need to work on, but we'd like to have all of our players leave the building with a plan to get better and show up here with a great head start in April."

On keeping OL Austin Pasztor at LG and OL Cameron Erving at RG:
"Yeah, that's how we practiced it."

On stating Monday the Browns would discuss options for the OL:
"We did. We felt it was best how we ended the game – keep Austin at left. He's logged some good reps there. Cam throughout everything had gotten more reps on the right side than on the left. We'll keep it that way."

On the Browns being curious about Erving's ability at center, given Mack's contract status:
"Yeah, I mean, we've got a Pro Bowl center on the roster. He's gotten good reps. We have a lot of college tape of him playing center and we have a lot of practice reps doing it. We feel that potentially – we don't know it for sure – is his best position, but just time will tell."

On Thomas playing FG protect last Sunday rather than Erving:
"We've reshuffled. (DL) Jamie Meder had to go in and play some of that, too. When (OL John) Greco went down, that opened up a spot. I thought the guys that filled in did a good job."

On if Thomas playing FG protect was a result of recent blocked attempts:
"No. It's probably a better question for Tabes (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) because he controls that lineup. He is constantly shuffling that, trying to find the right [personnel], especially if you are having issues. I know he cross-trains a lot of those guys in different spots. Typically, we don't have Joe on it, but I know with the injuries, whether it was injuries. When you lose (OL Joel) Bitonio and Greco, two guys that were on it, that forced his hand a little bit."

On Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid's and QB Alex Smith's compliments of WR Dwayne Bowe, if Bowe will play and if Bowe will be extra-motivated against his former team:
"He could. We will see. We haven't finalized [the active roster]. It's still a little bit fluid with Crowell and Gabe and the injuries. We haven't really settled on the final 46 yet. That more than likely will happen Saturday morning. We'll have a better sense then."

On if the Browns will have practice on Christmas day:
"We do not. What we did is we lengthened yesterday, we lengthened today and then we will lengthen Saturday. We end up getting the same number of reps over the course of those three days, the same amount of meeting time, just it being Christmas, instead of taking the morning off and come in from 1-5 p.m. and that whole deal. Places I've been, I've done it both ways. Just given where we are, it made sense to load up on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and give the chance – we talked about it in the meeting – to take tomorrow to stick your head above water for a second, reflect, recharge, refocus for these last two, and hopefully, we'll have a positive result on Sunday."

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