Skip to main content


Mike Pettine press conference - 9/21

Opening statement:

"Always a great feeling to come into the building after a solid team victory. Success in all three phases, very encouraged by that. As we knew yesterday and it was certainly validated by the film, there's a lot of stuff to get cleaned up. To me, I always take trying to pull the negatives out of a victory than a positives out of a loss. I thought we played with really good energy, I thought the fans were really instrumental in that. We all felt it and recognized it after the game. Then it was confirmed by I think Coach Whisenhunt said that it had an affect ton them as well especially on some of the big third downs in the game. Able to hit some big plays which are important. I think it's very difficult to drive the length of the field in this league. I think anytime you can score (is good) you have to be able to do both but it was encouraging to see us hit some big ones. The one thing we do need to get cleaned up is (we put the ball on the ground) we were fortunate, we got them both back but that's something at the quarterback position we've put the ball on the ground five times in two weeks. You're not going to be able to win consistently doing that in this league. Just like last week we'll take today to learn from it but the same drill, compartmentalize it, put it in a box. This box is a little nicer looking than the one from a week ago but then we move on. We've got a good opponent coming into town, coming off of a big win at home which they put up a lot of points. It will be a big challenge for us. Injury wise, no real updates. (LB Barkevious) Mingo should be fine, just dinged his knee a little bit nothing there to be concerned with. Des Bryant (DL Desmond Bryant) will likely miss some practice time with his shoulder as he did last week. We're hopeful that by the end of the week he should be able to go. Just a note on (QB) Josh (McCown), Josh is still in the protocol. We'll know in the next day or so whether he'll be able to start practicing on Wednesday."

On if QB Johnny Manziel did enough to keep the starting QB job:

"We're going to meet on that tonight. To me, that's the standard, it's our weekly meeting where we evaluate every positon and where are we but until Josh is cleared there's not much thought process there. Just because he is the starter right now with the fact that Josh is out but we'll have the 'what if?' discussion tonight, see where that takes us."

On what makes him confident Manziel performance wasn't a onetime thing:

"To me it was an extension of the work that he's put in. The plays that he made were plays that he made on the practice field. I would think you could get lured into that trap, thinking it was just a, as you say, a fool's gold type of thing if the preparation wasn't there, the mindset wasn't there, wasn't there in practice. He prepared to be the starter, he got the reps this week. Went out and made some plays. As I said in the opener he just needs to be much more protective of the football that cannot become his flaw. We have to get that cleaned up but I thought he did a really good job of recognizing what they were in, knowing where to go with the ball. I thought one play, didn't look like much but we went to an empty formation, they were trying to check the defense. He knew how they lined up that they were not going to have (TE) Gary Barnidge covered in the flat and caught it and banged it – real accurate throw right out to him, he was able to get a pretty good chunk of yards. I think that was on our second touchdown drive."

On if he sees a repeated error in Manziel's fumbles:

"I know the one for sure he had two hands on it. He just needs to be stronger with it. I think the other ones he was not carrying it as securely as we would want him to. Sometimes that's just an awareness of – it's hard for a quarterback if I'm in traffic and I still want to be able to make a play knowing that there's somebody around me that can swipe the ball. I know the one against the Jets late in the game when he leaked out to the right and the guy came from behind. I think most quarterbacks when they get tomahawked like that from the backside, the balls going to come out. When you see it coming, when you sense it I think he's got to do a better job of protecting."

On what kept QB Josh McCown in concussion protocol:

"I won't get into details of a concussion."

On if McCown was at the game on Sunday:

"He was at the game."

On how much staff needing to see what Manziel can do weighs into the QB decision:

"We're tasked with winning football games and the decisions we make are what gives us the best opportunity to win this Sunday. I know that on the outside that those things get brought into it and we've already seen the circumstances that have come about for us to get an evaluation of him. We're not going to use a season and look at it that way, say 'Hey, we need to know.' We think over the natural course of events we'll find out."

On if Manziel's 15 pass attempts had anything to do with his elbow soreness:

"No. I think with the run-pass ratio in the first half would probably give you a pretty good sense. When we got up 21 we were run first. I didn't want to- and I know we had the one drive where we I think we threw it three times and were off the field. I wanted to make sure we got the run established, that we kept the clock moving. That's why we – and they knew it, they did a good job defending it I talked about it yesterday. We wanted to make sure we that we were methodical with our approach and we didn't want to get careless with the lead and start to throw the ball. Did we get predictable? Absolutely we did but we wanted to make sure that we kept the clock moving. I thought our guys responded well. At times the run game did show up."

On running the ball six times before the final touchdown:

"We talk of we want to have the rushing attack that we talk about having. Those are the times of the game where you have to. They knew we had to run. We were still able to get the ball out to midfield before we hit the one on third down. I thought that was an important drive. We took a good three, four minutes off the clock and were able to score and essentially put it away."

On if it is tougher to assess Manziel as starting QB with only 15 pass attempts:

"That doesn't enter into our thinking. We threw the ball. We felt like it was enough to win the football game. That's our mindset, its singular. We evaluate him in practice, it's a total body of work but we're not going to reverse engineer it to try and get an evaluation."

On what Manziel showed him in his first start this year that he would not have seen last year:

"Just overall quarterback play, just his presence. Hearing the play, being assertive, calling it in the huddle, making sure everybody was lined up right. Being good with his cadence, knowing 'Hey, I have to motion here. I have to move a guy.' Coming off on the sideline being very interactive. Going through the still prints. Quarterback play from A to Z I think he's improved in all areas in our mind and I think that's a function of two things: his willingness, his commitment to it and having (Quarterbacks coach) Kevin (O'Connell) and Flip (Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) I think are two of the best in the business and they do a great job interacting with the quarterbacks and holding them accountable.

On how much fun it is to coach Manziel this year compared to last year:

"I have a lot more interaction with him this year just because I spend a lot more time on that side. It's been very positive. You love being around guys that have that it factor, that are competitive, that love to win, love football, love talking about it. The interaction this year has been more frequent and very positive.

On Manziel's elbow soreness after Sunday's game:

"I haven't talked to (Head athletic trainer) Joe (Sheehan) about Johnny's soreness so I don't think it's anything that's significant."

On if he think it is an on-going thing of Manziel seemingly throwing to WR Travis Benjamin a majority of the times while other receivers aren't getting as many targets:

"Our preference is to throw to the open guy. If it happens to be Travis, it is Travis. Teams now, I assume Travis is going to be on everyone's radar and he is going to get some rolled coverage and some attention paid to him that other guys are going to have to get open and step up. The way we read plays and the quarterback progression there is not, 'Hey look at this guy's first.' Some things will be schemed up for a certain coverage, like the second play of the game, we thought we were going to get that coverage and (Benjamin) was the first read. Each game it is not just schemed up for one player. We will have a variety of plays up. The primary read will typically – that is mixed up who it is. I think Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) does a good job of mixing up the personnel groupings and having the routes run to each receivers strengths. It is doubtful that Travis is going to be the go to guy the whole time. Teams will start to scheme to defend him."

On if Manziel's performance Sunday made the conversation about who should the starting quarterback more interesting for the staff:

"Yeah, I would agree with that. That is a positive thing. Johnny has made a lot of progress in the right direction. Still a lot of things to get cleaned, but we certainly feel like the arrow is up."

On how he would assess the run defense yesterday:

"Not good enough. It was good at times, but when you give up chunks, like the ones especially, the one to (Titans RB Dexter) McCluster that went right in front of our bench. When you get multiple guys that get minuses on a play you are going to give up a run like that. We know it needs to be better. We got to the point in the game with the lead where we were more pass conscience than we were run so we were willing to concede some yards later, but early in the game there were several plays that need to be better."

On if he would agree that the Titans ran the ball to get back into the game:

"Yeah they did a good job sticking to their original plan. When you are expecting a team to fall behind that is down three scores to panic a little bit – they didn't. I thought that was one of the reasons they got back in because they stuck to their plan. You look back when we came back last year against Pittsburgh and against Tennessee we were a lot more up-tempo, but it was primarily because we ran the football."

On how the noise of the crowd can effect a young quarterback as compared to a seasoned veteran:

"There is no substitute for going through it. You can pipe in crowd noise or play music at practice, whatever it is. Until you go through it and feel it in that exact moment it is difficult, but I thought it was certainly a home-field advantage yesterday. I thought the crowd did an outstanding job. I think it is a good blend. It is a good marriage from a standpoint of what we do defensively requires a lot of communication on offense. We move guys around. We will line up in some different fronts. We are not a standard four-down team where it is a little easier to identify, make protection calls and those types of things. We force teams to communicate a lot. When it is noisy at our place it is certainly an advantage."

On if he will consult with key veteran players regarding the quarterback decision:

"I don't see the need to talk to any veterans. I will rely on (quarterback coach) Kevin (O'Connell) and Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo)."

On if he feels he has to try to mitigate a quarterback controversy or is that just something we see from the outside that may not exist inside the building:

"My concern is what is on the inside of the building. I have no control on what is on the outside. If that exists on the outside there is not much I can do about it. I said earlier, our task as a coaching staff is to put together a plan and formulate our personnel to give us the best chance to win on the upcoming Sunday."

On if the decision for the starting quarterback comes down to which of the two quarterbacks gives you the best chance to win and seemingly in Week 1 and 2 that was McCown did Manziel do that much Sunday to reverse that thinking:

"We are going to put it all on the table and talk about it. We will see where it takes us. As I already mentioned before, to me, it is a positive conversation because you have a young quarterback that has been through a lot that has gone out and led his team to a win. We were all able to enjoy it last night. I am proud of him because if you had said back earlier in the offseason that this was going to happen I think a lot of people would have said there is a pretty slim chance. Very proud of him and the rest of the guys for putting it together and winning the home opener."

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