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Mike Pettine press conference: Browns vs. Titans


Opening statement:**
"On an injury front couple of bumps and bruises. Mingo's (LB Barkevious Mingo) knee is a little bit sore, we'll see how that is. Des (DL Desmond Bryant) was a game time decision with the shoulder, we'll see how he came out of it. Overall we played well enough to win, got off to a great start. They battled back, I gave them credit. There was the rollercoaster of an NFL game. There was that long lull in the third quarter when we couldn't get much going and gave up some plays. Overall when we needed to make plays defensively we did. Seven sacks, I think we ended up with three turnovers. Offensively, I was pleased with the way we ran the ball. I think we ended up around four yards a carry and we made some big runs when we had to. You just can't say enough about the recovery of Travis Benjamin, has come back from the knee fully. I just told him he might not be allowed in Nashville ever again. He's the Titan killer as I called him on the sideline a couple times. It's great to see a guy battle back and have the production that he's had. He's done everything that we asked and had a phenomenal offseason and the results have showed. From a quarterback standpoint, some inconsistency but clearly made some big plays. Disappointing thing again was the football getting away from us a couple of time. We were fortunate not to turn the ball over at all even though there were a couple times it was on the ground. We did get it back but that's something we certainly will need to address and get cleaned up.

On Manziel's last touchdown pass of the game:
"Certainly wasn't the way the play was designed. I think Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) had the best line of the day on the headset after he rolled out of it, ended up throwing backwards across the field, scored the touchdown. He just says real calmly while everybody was cheering, he said 'coaching is overrated' (laughter). They did a nice job, brought pressure. We didn't pick it up. Johnny did a nice job getting out of it and finding (WR) Travis (Benjamin) and making a play."

On what the plan was for that play
"The protection was firmed up we should have been able to pick that look up. I'll have to look at the tape. I don't know whether we miscommunicated but they ended up with one outside that we should have been able to slide to. It was going to be a much more conservative pass on the other side of the field. When he rolled away we really didn't have any receivers on that side of the field because we protected it up but he was able to buy some time and find Travis coming across."

On if Benjamin adjusted his route:
"Yeah, I think he saw the scramble and just flattened it out. He knew he had gotten above the defender and it was just a matter of just out running him with the football."

On what he saw in practice to give him confidence in Manziel starting:
"As I said, he was prepared. He had gone through a lot of the reps with the ones, sitting in on meetings and then meeting with the quarterbacks on Saturday, getting a good sense of where they are from a mindset standpoint. Having him talk about what plays he likes from the game plan and why, just being interactive. I think – this is any position- I think when players are interactive with the plan, 'we like this.', 'we don't like this.' As coaches we can go ahead and, I always say 'hey, we're not the ones out there playing. They're the ones out there trying to execute these plays so let's make sure they're confident in what we're doing.' He was very interactive with the plan and again, there's some inconsistency there but he made enough plays for us to win."

On if Manziel will keep the starting job:
"(QB) Josh (McCown) is in the concussion protocol still. So until that situation is resolved, then he will be the starter."

On if Manziel will start after McCown is cleared:
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I'm not going to speak on that one."

On the TD on the second play of the game:
"It was something we had schemed up that we knew we wanted to take a shot, if they came out in a certain personnel grouping that we felt that we could get Travis behind the defense."

On if it was a part of the plan for Manziel to be conservative with his throws:
"It wasn't to be that conservative, we got a little bit conservative in the third quarter and they did a good job- it would have been hard to justify up 21 to come out and be throwing the ball. We wanted to make sure at the very least that the clock was moving. They did a good job knowing that. Bad things can happen when you throw the football and especially with the lead we did not want to- we weren't sitting on it but at the same time we were picking our best runs and wanted to make sure that we worked the clock and that the possessions weren't fast. Like I said, I give them credit for defending what we did and we found I thought a critical part was that last drive where we were able to punch that ball out and hit some big runs. Then we got the first down, we were able to end up driving down and taking the shot."

On the key to putting pressure on Titans QB Marcus Mariota
"I think it was a good mix. I think Jimmy O (defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil) did a really good job mixing pressure with straight rush. We got to him a lot with just straight four man rush. Not just the sacks, I think there was also a cumulative effect with that we hit him a bunch too. We did a good job of there were a lot of pass plays, I look back, he's picking himself up off the ground. Anytime you can do that to a quarterback, not just get the production with the sacks but affect him, you like to think that that has a cumulative effect over the course of a game."

On the game plan at fourth and inches:
"We debated, do we want to go up three scores. Anytime its inches we have confidence in our guys that we can make it. We felt we were up two scores and that we felt we could get that. I give credit to them for stopping us, we didn't execute the play, the sneak well enough. It's easy to say I regret it now that it didn't work out, we just felt we had momentum. The way we were playing defense we had them shut out to that point. It was a decision we made and we rolled with it."

On if that is what he wanted to see out of RB Isaiah Crowell in regards to breaking tackles:
"That was the big challenge all week. Running hard, breaking tackles. It is not just him. That whole room – I thought Duke did a nice job as well and hit some runs where it wasn't blocked for much and the next thing you know the sticks were moving or it was a real positive gain. I thought both backs did a real good job.

On the play of the defense:
"There is definitely some things to get cleaned up, but overall anytime you hold an offense down for that long you are going to be successful. When you get to the quarterback seven times and you get some takeaways. You are going to win a heck of a lot more games than when you don't. That group took the challenge. I think the whole team did. You heard it from talking to guys in the week Whitner especially – embarrassed or whatever it was that we didn't go out there with our best effort and we let the circumstances the way the Jets game went, get to us a little bit. I thought the sideline did a great job. The energy was up even though the third quarter went the way it did with us not generating much offense. Overall I felt it was a great team win. We got a contribution from special teams. The (offense) did some good things to get us the lead and obviously close the game for us. Defensive they were solid throughout."

On if Manziel looking to run less was a result of game planning by the Titans or the coaching staff emphasizing it:
"I think he has a good sense of when to get out of the pocket if it opens up. I thought they did a good job of running some interior line games where you could tell they game planned for it, whereas New York did not. Just my sense from the sideline there weren't kind of as many gaping scramble lanes. I thought they did a good job of keeping him the pocket."

On the performance of WR Travis Benjamin:
"To me, you can't be happier for a guy for what he has gone through. Coming back and last year not being 100 percent and that really weighed on him. When you see a guy buy in and prepare the way he prepared. Anybody that spent time around him – you all know he is a great player and an even better person. Those are the kind of guys you root for. It was awesome to watch him have the production that he did."

On how important it was to get the win today:
"To me, all wins are important. It was great. I told the guys afterwards there is no better view than to stand there in the locker and look at the look on their faces. Winning in front of our crowd. There is no better feeling just to see them celebrate afterwards. It is special. Winning is hard in the NFL. For us to be able to do it in front of our home fans on our opener it makes it that much more special."

On LB Barkevious Mingo's knee injury:
"I am not sure if it was the same knee or not. I don't think it was anything serious. I think it is something we will have to monitor."

On 'what channel he had the remote' set on during the game:
"We control the volume. I thought our fans did a great job. They stayed in the game, too. We didn't give them much to cheer about in third quarter and in the fourth when they came back and got it to within a score. They were there for us in the end. That is what I tell our guys. We want them to be loud and use it as an advantage that we have to do that. I thought at the end of the game they were outstanding."

On Manziel's second touchdown throw:
"It was a heck of a play. He felt pressure coming from his blind spot. It was vintage Manziel. We want him to play within structure and make a read, but when a play breaks down that is what he brings. The ability to escape. He did an outstanding job. I thought he had the chance to just run there. One of the signs of maturity there too was that he kept his eyes down field. He used that as an opportunity – 'I am not just going to get 'X' number of yards and slide. I am going to keep my eyes down the field and make a play.' We saw the result."​

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