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Mike Pettine press conference - 9/16

Opening statement:

"Before we get started today I just wanted to thank everybody that's involved in supporting the Cleveland Browns Foundation Radiothon. It's in partnership with ESPN 850, concludes at 1 p.m. So far we've been able to raise over $100,000. With (Cleveland Browns Foundation President) Dee (Haslam) and (Cleveland Browns Owner) Jimmy (Haslam) matching dollar for dollar, obviously, that puts it over $200,000. We'll be able to fund some very worthy educational youth development programs in Northeast Ohio. Just wanted to say thanks for that. That always puts things in perspective when we can use our status as an NFL franchise to be able to do positive things in the community like this. Again, that's a big shout out to everybody. Have had to walk past it upstairs a couple times, it's like the floor of the stock exchange up there. A lot of phone calls being made a lot of people working to get it done.

"As expected, very much looking forward to this Sunday, playing the home opener against Tennessee. Anytime we can play in front of the Dawg Pound, that's a special moment for us as a team. As I preached a year ago and I talked about it at team meeting today, we hold the remote; we control the volume. If we want our fans to be the way they want them to be and be the huge advantage we think they can be, then we have to play well. We're going to give them a reason to be loud, if we can feed off their energy and get that stadium rocking like we did last year on several occasions, especially flash back to the Saints game, just feeling the ground shake underneath you a couple of times was quite a moment for our guys. We're looking forward to putting a performance out there that will make our fans proud.

"A big challenge this week in Tennessee. They're coming off quite a performance on the road down in Tampa. Quarterback's (Marcus Mariota) performance, I thought, was special. I thought they did a good job of game planning for him. They didn't ask him to do a lot. A lot of the throws were play action or on the move, and he did an outstanding job executing them. He can make plays with his feet, he's extremely accurate with the football and it's going to be a challenge for us to be able to negate some of that. I think their offensive line is very good. Rushing attack, I think (Titans RB Bishop) Sankey is ahead of where he was a year ago. I think their receiving corps presents some problems. They have very diversified skill in that room. We have to be aware of where they're lining up and how they're trying to use them.

"Defensively, very big up front. They're going to load up. You look at, it's a combination (Titans defensive coordinator) Ray Horton-(Titans assistant head coach-defense) Dick LeBeau [defense]. They put pressure on you in a variety of ways. We will have to play much better this week in order to be successful offensively.

"On the injury front, (QB) Josh (McCown) is still in the concussion protocol. He's making progress but we won't know the status until he's fully cleared to return. (QB) Johnny (Manziel) will take snaps with the ones today. (LB Scott) Solomon will miss some time, has an ankle sprain. He'll be out at least a couple of week. Having the depth in that room with (LB) Nate Orchard showing progress, he's in a much better place with his back that he should be able to step in there. (LB) Karlos Dansby has a foot [injury]. He'll be day-to -ay. We should have everybody else out there, at least on a limited basis."

On the window for when McCown could be cleared to practice through the NFL concussion protocol:

"It's my understanding the earliest he can practice is Friday."

On if McCown will play Sunday if he practices Friday:

"We'll be prepared either way."

On if QB Johnny Manziel's throws will be limited at all with the recent elbow soreness:

"I just think we have to be mindful of it. We don't want to all of a sudden just come out and say, 'Hey, let's go ahead and throw it that many times' or at least limit the number of down field throws. It's something we're aware of. We're not going to let it handcuff how we practice. The team reps to me are the most important so I would rather him take fewer throws in individual, just be cautious in individual, as opposed to giving him the full workload. Just want to make sure he can make all the throws in the team period, which we don't see as an issue."

On if it is a detriment that Manziel can't throw every possible rep in practice:

"I don't. I don't think it's that he can't. It's just being prudent with it. Just ramp him back up. We feel he's past it. There's still going to be some natural soreness, but we just don't want to jump right back in and 'Hey, he's going to take starting reps' and overload him. Especially early in practice, if there's throws that he doesn't have to take there, then we'll go ahead and make sure that the bulk of his work comes in the team periods."

On how easy it is to correct issues in the run defense from last week:

"Some of its schematic, but a lot of its technique. We need to play it better. We need to coach it better. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. We did not defend the run well enough. We know where the issues were, and we have to be better."

On if QB Austin Davis will get reps with McCown out:

"Yes, with Josh not practicing today or tomorrow, then Austin will get repetitions."

On if Davis will get reps with the 'regular' offense:

"We'll mix him in. We'll make sure that if he has to go in the game, he'll be prepared."

On what the Browns liked about Davis to sign him:

"One, we know the type of person that he is, just the work ethic. Very passionate about football, loves it. I think his football IQ is very high. I think he gets the ball out quick, pretty good athlete. To me, he's played. I know it wasn't under ideal circumstances, but he won three games as a starter and played some football so he does have some true real game experience."

On adding OL Cameron Erving in the first drive of last week's game in an unbalanced line:

"Wasn't an unbalanced line, we just went with an extra lineman. He essentially was reporting eligible to play tight end. We just wanted to get Cam on the field. How he's prepared himself and how he's practiced, he had earned an opportunity to play and that's something we feel good about just as a changeup. Sometimes it can create some problems defensively having an extra lineman out there, but he earned that playing time. As I've said before, people want to be critical, but Cam has a bright future in this league, he's going to play a lot of football for us and that was just another way to get him out on the field."

On if Manziel showed major progress Sunday, compared to last year:

"It was progress. The turnovers, the interceptions, the two fumbles were the disconcerting part. We know that you turn the ball over that many times – you have to protect the football – you minimize your chances of winning, but as far as just looking at what he had just come off of and the limited reps that any No. 2 two gets, let alone him coming off the arm, I thought he made some good throws. We did not limit the plan at all, and he didn't flinch. He went right in there and was good in the huddle, good getting guys lined up and he knew the plan. It's not like he went out there and was just playing street ball because he wasn't prepared. He prepared himself to be the starter, and in some instances, it showed. The biggest issues were just the turnovers."

On expecting Titans RB Terrance West to play with an attitude:

"Terrance always plays with an attitude so I guarantee he is not leaving that behind. He did some good things in their opener. Our guys know Terrance well. I'm sure they will be exchanging pleasantries before the game and throughout."

On if the coaching staff works with the personnel department in signing practice squad players, given General Manager Ray Farmer's suspension:

"That is no different. All throughout last year, the coaching staff participates in practice squad pickups. Usually, there are names that get floated out there, and if the staff has some preference or some familiarity or an opinion on a player, as in we would like to get a look at this guy or no I am familiar with this guy and evaluated him or I had him somewhere else and kind of know what he is about. The personnel department and the coaching staff are very open with that interaction. We always have a working list of names. When a spot opens up or circumstances cause us to add a guy, then they seek out our feedback on names and we will help steer those decisions."

On how much Mariota looked like a rookie thus far:

"There were a couple instances in the preseason. It is hard to say he looked like a rookie in the opener when you have a perfect quarterback rating. He played well. I give their staff credit because I thought the plan to kind of bring him in – the game went exactly how they wanted it to go. They got a turnover early and got the lead. He wasn't put in a situation where they were behind and had to throw the ball a lot. As we always talk about here with quarterbacks, if you are ahead of the sticks, that is an ideal circumstance. All those downs are 50/50. That is when your play action can be effective. When teams have to honor the run, good hard run fake and guys are going to be much more open than when it is a predictable passing down. He played extremely well. It is going to be a challenge for us because anytime you face a quarterback that is accurate and can run that puts stress on a defense."

On signing QB Matt Blanchard to the practice squad:

"I think you look at where we are right now. (QB) Josh (McCown) isn't going to be able to practice until Friday. Now, you are looking at only having two quarterbacks, and with us wanting to be prudent with (QB) Johnny (Manziel) and not overload him, unless we wanted to put (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell out there to take some reps, we wanted to bring another guy in. The circumstances dictated that we wanted to get another arm in here. He was a guy that was on our list. We want to take a peek at."

On his message to Manziel to make sure his mind is right, particularly if Manziel starts Sunday:

"You talk to those guys, but the same things comes up with Josh, being reckless versus being competitive. It is easy to say to a guy, but I think it is a lot harder to change their way of thinking. I thought Johnny on a couple plays did a nice job of sliding and on a couple plays he didn't. He exposed himself to a big shot that wasn't necessary, and then the one he fumbled on was a situation where he just has to be a better decision maker there. That comes with experience. Sometimes you can tell a kid that the stove is hot, but sometimes they have to touch it first before they figure it out."

On the pressure Manziel faces:

"It is the National Football League. We are all under pressure each week. That comes with the territory"

Being comfortable with three OLBs now that LB Scott Solomon has an ankle injury:

"Well, no, we have five. That leaves us with (LB Nate) Orchard. We consider (DL) Armonty (Bryant) an outside backer. There are really four guys in that room. Armonty in base defense is almost exclusively playing there. It is nice having him there playing a swing, but for us positionally, he is an outside backer first and then can moonlight when necessary can give us kind of a bonus defensive lineman."

On LB Barkevious Mingo's performance against the Jets:

"He was OK. Couple mistakes. To me, he will always be mismatched from a weight standpoint so he has to better with his pad level. I thought he handled things fairly well, given what his circumstances were."

On why Orchard and DL Xavier Cooper were inactive on Sunday:

"Orchard was a function of – he had not gotten significant practice reps and where he was that Mingo had practiced for the game week and Orchard was still limited. He was working his way back, but we felt that we were better off going with Ming. Then Cooper was just a function of our depth. You would love to have them all up. You have to put seven names down and given the game plan that he would have likely been the next guy up, if we were allowed 47 it probably would have been him. It is just the nature of it."

On if McCown can be on the practice field for mental reps:

"Yes, he can."

On if McCown will be at practice today:


On an update after meeting with team security on DB Justin Gilbert's recent incident:

"We have handled that internally. I have spoken with him. It led to talking to the team, as well, about acting the way we expect when they are out of the building. That matter has been addressed internally."

On being encouraged that McCown can be outside at practice:

"As I said the other day, everybody reacts differently. There are some guys that it takes longer, but the league protocol is very cautious. We will always be very cautious with it. It will be whatever they can do. It is more on them and what they can tolerate. I know he has some testing to do so I don't know if he will be out there for all of it, but I know the parts he can be, he will be."

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