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Mike Pettine Press Conference - Sept. 14

Opening statement:

"I think I can speak for everyone involved. Numerous things that don't sit well and shouldn't sit well with the players or coaches after yesterday. We know the type of team we want to be and how we need to play in order to be successful. We also know adversity and overcoming it is a big part of being successful in this league. We clearly didn't handle some of the adverse situations. I thought we started the game well up until the fumble at the goal line. I thought we had played a pretty good quarter.

"Today, we move forward. It is one game but so much goes into it, as I said, because it is the opener. We have to guard against letting one loss become two. Looking back to last year's opening loss, we had so much momentum coming out of the second half of that it was easy to ride that and we got a glimpse of what we could be to end the game. It was easy to ride that into Week 2. The second half of this game clearly did not go as we wanted. As I talk to our guys all the time, we need to compartmentalize and move on. We treat Mondays as a day to learn and to compartmentalize, to put wins or losses in boxes and move onto the next one. Mistakes were made, clearly plenty. Lot of good teaching moments in the game, but we cannot be repeat offenders. Mistakes that we made yesterday, we have to make sure that we learn from and do not repeat. That is both from a coaching and a playing perspective. That is where we are today. Disappointed, but anxious to get onto this next one and put on a performance in front of our home crowd that they deserve to see."

On an update of QB Josh McCown's status:

"He is in the concussion protocol. There is no update."

On if McCown was in the building today:

"He was here. He watched the film. He had his evaluation this morning."

On QB Johnny Manziel's status after yesterday's game:

"He was a little sore, but arm wise, he felt okay."

On Manziel's performance in regards to knowing when to stay in the pocket and when to take off and run:

"I think there were an instance or two where I thought he could have stuck with the read, and I think part of it was he saw a gain in front of him and went ahead and took it. There were a couple where I thought they were textbook. He got positive yardage and slid down, and we were ready for the next play. There was the one, for sure, where he took the real big hit that was not necessary, especially in light of Josh was already down for the game."

On if the Browns are preparing for the next game with Manziel in mind as the starting QB:

"I think that is accurate to say when your starting quarterback is in the (concussion) protocol. Even in an ideal situation, that Josh will be back at the end of the week, but we have to plan otherwise, meaning he won't be available at least early for practice. We will have to see how it plays out. Johnny will get, early in the week, the starting quarterback reps."

On if McCown would he be able to play if cleared Thursday or Friday:

"We will make that decision then. We will see how it goes."

On if the Browns may activate all three QBs on Sunday:

"To me, we will always evaluate the health, just as a general comment, in any position, if there is an increase likelihood or if there is a guy going into the game potentially injured. I don't feel that way when it is a concussion just because once they are cleared, they are cleared. It is very similar to (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) and (DB) Pierre's (Desir) situation. At any position if there is a higher likelihood of having a guy injured, we would try to carry another number."

On why the run defense was not successful:

"I think it was a variety of things. We missed some tackles. Schematically, we got ourselves in less than ideal scenarios, gave up some edges. If I had to pinpoint it, giving up some edges would probably be the No. 1 culprit. The tackling thing would be a close second. We had guys free at the point of attack and we were either missing or they were breaking tackles. I thought interior wise that that group was pretty solid. I thought for (DL) Danny Shelton for his first game played pretty well. He did a good job handling double teams. His pads got up a couple times, but I think for the most part, he controlled the middle when he was in there. We need to be better on the edges."

On which penalties are inexcusable, given the time to prepare for the opening game:

"To me, the pre-snap ones. First and goal at the 10, and the next thing you know, it is first and 15, self-inflicted. Those ones probably hurt the most. We had some critical penalties on third down offensively where we got conversions. There was the one that was the chop. There were a couple holding calls that cost us. It is disappointing because I thought through the preseason we handled that aspect of it pretty well, and we weren't penalized very much in the preseason. Practice wise, we have officials out at practice, and I think we do a good job there calling things and communicating. That is one thing, heading into this, I did not anticipate that number of penalties. I think we had 12? Is that right? Couple more declined. It is disappointing."

On why the penalties happened:

"I don't know. I don't know whether the jumping offside stuff is nerves or some of it is a function of there are guys who are beating us blocking wise and we are holding onto them. The chop was something that certainly wasn't planned, but it was the function of (OL) Alex (Mack) coming back late to help and the guy that he came to help on was being cut in the hole. It is something we talk about all the time, and it is always a point of emphasis you can't give up. You talk about negative plays and wanting to stay out of adverse down and distance situations and that is exactly what we did to ourselves."

On if there were missed opportunities in the run game:

"Clearly, clearly were. I think the offensive line to a man will tell you that was not the performance that they envisioned having. Some of it was due to them, but we left some yards out there. I thought Duke did a good job in the limited reps. He hit a couple runs. There were a couple runs that Crow (RB Isaiah Crowell) missed. We need to break more tackles. We can't be one and done with our backs. It is going to be rare where it is going to be blocked and a gaping hole and you are running untouched for a while. We are going to have to make some guys miss. We are going to have to break some tackles. That needs to be a point of emphasis for us. Overall, the running game, we knew it was going to be tough against that front given their history and scheme wise with what they play, but we should have run the ball better."

On having confidence that run defense will be better than last year:

"Personnel is a little bit different, but it was a point of emphasis. I thought we did a much better job in practice. We did a much better job at times in the preseason games. It needs to be played better and it needs to be coached better."

On why WR Dwayne Bowe was inactive and if coaches are getting frustrated with him:

"He was inactive. We didn't feel he was back 100 percent yet from the hamstring. He didn't have a good volume of reps coming at full speed coming out of the preseason. He had a minor setback during the week. Just given our numbers, it would have been hard to justify having up that many receivers given the game plan. It was the decision we made. It is frustrating because you want him out there. Here is a guy we made a big commitment to in the offseason and brought him on board to be a big part of what we do and it has been difficult – the setbacks that he has had and not being out there. We want him to be out there and we want him to be a big part of what we are trying to get done."

On the severity of McCown's concussion:

"They are different. They come in and get evaluated. They can get cleared. Some guys end up very light sensitive from it so they can't be in a dark room with a bright image projected on the wall. I think it is all a tolerance thing. It is different how guys react to it."

On if McCown's concussion prevented him from watching film:

"No, he was in the meetings today."

On DB Justin Gilbert's recent car accident and why he was brought on the trip to New York:

"We take our inactives [to road games]. The information that we had on the vehicle incident wasn't anything where we felt would warrant leaving him behind. We bring our players. We even bring some of our practice squad guys. We will bring our IR guys on the road, depending on the circumstances. He was another guy similar to Bowe that we feel was not fully back from an injury yet. That is why he was inactive."

On why the details of Gilbert's car accident were not troubling enough to warrant leaving him behind:

"It is troubling. It is troubling. I don't know what else to say on it. Any time a player is involved with any type of incident like that, we gather as much information as possible and you try to provide as good as counsel as you can. We are always stressing to our guys to understand who you are and who you represent when you leave this building. That is not just with Justin. We try to get that message to all of our players."

On if this was worrisome or a red flag for Gilbert because of all the positive progress he had been making:

"Well, it is certainly troubling. When he had not been injured, he was coming in and stacking good days of work together. As always, it was his playing at a consistent level and also carrying it from the practice field to the game. Some of the struggles that he had in the preseason games were not indicative of how he was practicing. That is what this league is all about. You have to be able to take it from the meeting room to the practice field and then it has to carry over to the game."

On if Gilbert was disciplined by the team:

"At the time, we did not have all the information yet from the police so that will be discussed. I have a meeting late today with security to make sure we have all the facts before we would move ahead and decide to do anything internally."

On his tone in meetings today and if had to find a balance between wanting to scream and propping the Browns up:

"I think they need to understand – these are grown men – they need to understand that clearly we did not play up to our standards, and that is not acceptable. The things that we control in the game that we fell short on, that is not acceptable. Understand that, 'Hey, it is an NFL team we are going against. They are getting paid, too. They are going to make some plays, but at the same time we need to be more 'us' and what we talk about, the identity that we have.' We didn't play to that. As I mentioned in the opening statement, we are not going to panic. They key thing is watch the film and understand the 'why.' Why did we fall short? If we don't understand the why, then you can't learn from it. They need to know, as I pointed out, the sense of urgency this week, home opener and the excitement with that. In the NFL, it is a quick turnaround. You are on a week-to-week deal. You have to be able to compartmentalize as we continually stress, whether it is compartmentalizing during the game, focus for six seconds for one play and hit the reset button. You leave a series, you come off, and you re-group and re-focus. That, to me, is a huge part of it – the concentration and the mental toughness. When you have adversity strike, you can't let it affect you for more than that instant. You move on from it. That essentially was the message."

On what caused the secondary's struggles:

"A couple communication issues. Some of it was a function of execution. It was a variety of things. That is another group. We talk about our offensive line wanting to be mentioned among the best and our secondary. That, to me, was one of the more disappointing aspects of the game, especially when we talked about words into actions. If you want to be mentioned among the best, then we have to play that way, and clearly, we did not."

On if not having offensive line coach Andy Moeller affected the offensive line's play:

"That is a hypothetical. I thought we had done a lot of game planning for this one and practiced a lot of that stuff. Our guys were well prepared. I can't say that."

* *

On if the gameplan had to be scaled back when Manziel entered the game due to his lack of reps at practice:

"It did not. The [quarterbacks] are responsible – that is one of the reasons we do the repetitions from behind with the quarterbacks so they are still getting the footwork rep and the mental rep of a play. It is not the same as getting a play, but you are still getting the repetition in it. That is the challenge for the guys that are the twos in this league is that they can function and operate a full gameplan without having to scale it back. You don't want to scale it back, and we did not when he went in there."

On if he feels the same as yesterday that McCown was simply being a football player trying to make a football play when he suffered his concussion:

"How do you tell him different? You are talking about a guy that it was instincts for him to do that. Had that play occurred at the 10-yard line or midfield, he would have more than likely – this question is better for him – but he probably would have slid. You are that close to the end zone. If he had hung on to the ball and got helicoptered in and landed and we had won the game, we are carrying him off the field in a good way. It is easy in hindsight to say that because we know the end of the movie. That would be real difficult to try to coach out of him and say, 'Listen, don't risk yourself.' I think in his mind, it was the situation. 'Hey I have a chance to score a touchdown here. It is third down." If it is second down, my guess is that he would have slid."

On if it tough to work around the 'here we go again' stereotype after a loss in Cleveland:

"It is difficult when that is the past history. It is easy to fall into, 'Here we go again.' I think some of that might be a function of our youth. I did talk to some of the veteran players today and that came up in our meeting. In game, we can't ride that roller coaster and we have to be even more even keel. That still comes with the ability to move on, concentrate from play to play. Football games are long. They are emotional. There are a lot of ups and downs. The teams that can withstand those and maintain their focus and poise and composure throughout are the ones that are going to be successful."

On an update on LB Scott Solomon's status:

"No more than what I had yesterday. He has an ankle injury and there will be an injury report out on Wednesday."

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