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Mike Pettine press conference: Browns vs. Bengals

* *Opening statement:

"From an injury standpoint, (OL Joel) Bitonio – ankle injury; (TE Gary) Barnidge – ankle; (FB) Malcom Johnson was a groin; (WR) Travis Benjamin – shoulder; (WR) Marlon Moore – ribs; and (WR Brian) Hartline had a thigh bruise that he pushed through. We'll know a little bit more about it in the morning. 

"Tough day on all fronts. Frustrating. There are some positives to take out of it, though. We had some guys that had to step up and made some plays. I commend (QB) Austin (Davis). They were able to generate some pressure. I thought he hung in there. I know he had to get rid of the ball a couple of times and had a couple of penalties, but I thought he was poised. He was into it. (WR) Darius Jennings is a good example of all of our guys. He's a guy that's been on the practice squad all year and he's done everything we asked. We tell guys prepare like a starter, and this guy prepared like a starter. He was on the practice squad. We knew there was a chance he'd be up. He's a good football player and he went out and he showed it. Overall, we're going to have to regroup from this one quickly and put it behind us, and we're on to the next one. In all three phases, it was a tough day."

On if WR Terrelle Pryor was inactive for disciplinary reasons:

"No, not at all. He had been here for three [practice] days."

 On if QB Austin Davis will start next week:

"We'll make that decision tomorrow. Get a chance to watch the tape and we'll all circle back, circle up on it and see where we are with it."

 On regretting not activating WR Dwayne Bowe after multiple WR injuries in the game:

"Anytime you get below a position minimum, you're going to question how you have it. This was a game we felt they were going to run the ball a lot. We wanted to get six D-linemen up. With Marlon playing a lot on offense, we felt we had to have (DB) Don Jones up in order to subsidize his [special teams] reps. Like I said, you have your position minimums and you always backfill based on special teams. That was one of the reasons we wanted to get Jennings up. We knew he could return for us and give us some special teams contribution. Marlon had played over 40 plays the week before so Tabes (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) didn't want to use him, obviously, in four phases so that's how we rolled."

 On losing four consecutive division games:

"That's tough. It's frustrating. We talked about it throughout the week, we talked about it at the team meeting last night – you find out who you are. You find out who you are. It's a healthy dose of adversity and guys respond to it in different ways. Some guys, you'd never know whether its 9-2 and 2-9 you'd never know the difference and those are the guys you take you hat off to. They come in every day, professional and they do their work. They come out; they play hard. Like I said, you find out, you find out real quick. From a coaching standpoint, again – I've said this before – when things aren't going well and you have losses like this, the questions come up. You just have to make sure as you question everything that you realize this is our core, this is what we're doing well, these are areas we need to improve. If you have something wrong with your heart, you don't want to operate on the brain. You want to make sure that you have a good understanding of what's wrong and how to get it fixed."

 On what gives him hope the Browns can salvage the rest of the season:

"The character of the men in our room, the character of the coaching staff – more importantly, the character of the players, the leadership of this team. We have some injuries – we're going to have some young guys out there. We talk about embrace the opportunity, and it's an opportunity to go out and compete in a game that we love. When things finally do turn the other way, this is what you remember. It's easy, the good times, but it's the bad ones that you remember because you know that that's when we found out who we were going to build it on. That's the message now for us is that we're going to find out a lot about ourselves in these next couple of weeks."

 On if he was satisfied with the Browns' effort:

"Was I satisfied? Absolutely. Pull up the film and find me a guy that didn't play hard and then go in the locker room and ask him if he played hard. That's one thing: I thought our guys were flying around, but I give them some credit, too. It's a good football team."

 On LB Christian Kirksey's penalty after the Bengals RB Jeremy Hill touchdown:

"I never got a full explanation of what it was. I don't know if he was upset that an opposing player jumped into our stands. I thought for a second, from the word I got up top, there is a chance it was going to be offsetting and then they called it against us."

 On if this game illustrates how far the gap is between the Bengals and Browns:

"It is clear we are not playing with the roster we expected to play with on opening day. That is clear. They're a team that is playing well. They have been in their system a long time. They have continuity. They have chemistry. That is what you strive for. That is what you strive for. You could see a lot of their guys – that team has been together for a long time, and it is paying dividends for them."

 On if the Browns decided before the game that Davis would play the entire game:

"If the performance had gotten to the point where we felt like it warranted a change, then we have considered it, but it never got to that point for us."

 On if there was confusion at the goal line on Bengals QB Andy Dalton's rushing touchdown and if he wants players calling timeouts:

"I do not, but in a critical situation like that, I do not have an issue. If we feel we don't have enough on the field or whatever it was – we were misaligned. We needed to slide inside. We need to recognize that the quarterback was under center, which is a sneak indicator, and slide inside."

 On removing OL Cameron Erving from the game in the fourth quarter:

"He was struggling a little bit, and (OL) Austin Pasztor was a guy we have wanted to see play. That was one where we actually discussed before that we want to get Austin in there at some point. For Cam, it is not for a lack of want-to or effort, but he was having a tough day. We felt like we wanted to get Austin in there."

 On assurance from Owner Jimmy Haslam that this coaching staff will finish the season:

"We haven't had those discussions. Jimmy and I had good conversations. We talk every week. Frankly, there is a lot of football left to be played. We are evaluated every day, whether we are evaluating ourselves or whether it is coming from him. We are just going to fall back on what we know how to do. We are going to come in every day, prepare relentlessly like we do, we are going to coach our players hard and we will see what happens."

 On Bengals WR A.J. Green's touchdown catch:

"Just a quick note because I wanted to make sure it was out there, too, since no one asked. On the (DB) Tramon (Williams) touchdown, he should have had top help. Sometimes, you see a guy get run by, but he was supposed to be in trail coverage with help over the top. I wanted to make sure I got that out there."

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