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Mike Pettine Press Conference - Sept. 9

Opening statement:

"Been looking forward to this week for a long time. That Baltimore game seems like forever ago. I think it has been over 250 days since we played and walked off the field, obviously, very dejected, having finished the season with the losing streak that we did. It was unfortunate just because of the good start that we had put together. We've got a chance for all that to settle down. After that game, when we looked at everything, we were very encouraged, encouraged by what we accomplished, encouraged by the plan we had moving forward and encouraged by knowing that we are going to have a lot more information heading into Year 2.

"We started our offseason with a plan, particularly training camp. We feel we accomplished – we talk about crossing things off a list – we had a lot of things crossed off the list that we feel very good about. I am not going to sit here and ignore some of the adversity that we face. To me, that is part of sports. You are going to get knocked down. How do you respond when you get back up? I feel we have a great plan in place moving forward because when other people see adversity, we view that as an opportunity. The players are very excited about this week. The coaches are very excited about this week. You can sense it in the building, as well. It has been a long time coming.

"It is a great challenge for us to go on the road and play a very competitive team in the Jets. I have known (Jets Head Coach) Todd (Bowles) for a while, very well respected in the league. You can already tell in the short time that his team has been out there in the preseason that they are very organized, well coached. Defensively, I think we are very similar based on corner play and being very aggressive up front, diverse blitz packages. We very much have the same mentality as far as defensive football. In a lot of senses, it will be like looking in the mirror.

"(Jets offensive coordinator) Chan Gailey, we have gone against him a bunch when I was in New York and when he was at Buffalo. He puts a lot of stress on a defense. Spreads it out and gets the ball to his playmakers, gets the ball out very quickly. They look to limit turnovers. He does a very good job of distributing the football. Special teams wise, (Jets special teams coordinator) Bobby April has been around for a long time. His units are always well prepared. We certainly expect that.

"On the injury front, we are very encouraged by the progress our players are making. (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr. and (DB) Pierre (Desir) have both passed the next step in the protocol so they will be out there practicing full today. It is good that basically all of our 53 (man roster) will be able to participate in practice in some form of fashion. (DB) Justin Gilbert is the only one that we are just not sure about. It is going to depend on how he feels when he warms up. There will be some guys that are limited. This will be (OL) Joe Thomas' normal off day because we will be in pads tomorrow. Like I said, the 53 will all be out there participating, which is a good sign.

"On the (offensive line coach) Andy Moeller situation, everything about the incident is troubling. The allegations, all the information that is available, it is disturbing. However, we are not going to comment any further. It is an ongoing investigation. There is a process that we have established internally as to how we handle any conduct issue and we are going to stick to it. I am not going to comment any further on that."

On if he is confident in the experience that RB Isaiah Crowell has and that he will be able to handle the role as No. 1 RB:

"We are. He made some strides from that standpoint just heading into Year 2. He got so few reps. If you think back to it, he was injured for most of the spring a year ago and then got very limited reps during training camp. Just his volume has increased and he has responded to it and handled it well. We are confident that he can be a lead back but also know it is very difficult and there are very few backs that are 'that guy' that is going to touch it 20-plus times in a game. We feel good about where Crow is."

On how coaches' gameday roles will change in Moeller's absence:

"(Assistant offensive line coach) George DeLeone will come down from the booth and assume his role."

On how that change will affect communication between coaches and offensive lineman:

"It is the same voice. George was up top with the same observation. He will just be down on the field now to work with the offensive linemen in between series."

On WR Dwayne Bowe being a third-string WR on the depth chart:

"Let me walk you through how we do our depth chart: (Vice president of communications) Pete (John-Baptiste) types it up and walks into my office. He says, 'How's it look?' Sometimes I look at it, sometimes I don't. It is usually a very cursory glance. I say, 'It looks good.' I don't put a lot of stock in depth charts, neither should you. I know the league requires it. The NFL nowadays is very specialized. There are some groupings where guys might be listed as fourth string… Here is our depth chart here. Guys that are going to start the game or could potentially start the game, they are listed third or fourth. I don't put a lot into it. To me, it makes no sense for me to me to go into detail and list who I truly think our starting 11 is going to be. It is an exercise we have to go through."

On if Bowe will start or will it be a wait to learn that:

"You can wait."

On Crowell's improvements from this year to last year:

"A lot of the little things. He is very much improved in protection. I think that is probably the biggest thing and then also his route running and his ability as a receiver. When you throw the ball to him, sometimes you cringe because he doesn't look like the most natural hands-catcher, but he doesn't drop the ball. We are in a 'get it done' business. He finds a way to catch it. I think those are probably the two biggest areas that he has made strides in. We feel much more comfortable throwing him the ball this year and much more trusting of him in pass protection."

On if the Browns can go into Sunday's game with two active RBs:

"I guess you could. If we make transactions later in the week, that is potentially one to get a third back here or up."

On if the Browns have to limit Johnson as he is returning from the concussion protocol:

"Today we are not in pads. He is not going to get hit today. It will essentially be all tag off. He needs the work and the actual reps of playing. He is fully cleared to go so it is not a matter of having to limit him that way. When you come out of the concussion protocol, you are either cleared or you are not."

On if QB Johnny Manziel is on track to play Sunday:

"He is, he is. Coming off the day on Monday when he threw, there was some soreness but that was natural that was the most he had thrown. It was expected. All signs point to he'll be good to go for Sunday."

On WR Terrelle Pryor's number change and if it's an indication of his versatility:

"That was his personal preference. The players, if they want to request a number change go through (head equipment manager) Brad (Melland). Brad will send me an email. As long as he's not taking a number from somebody else. There's was no positional versatility thinking behind that. He instituted the change. That did not come from the staff."

On if he will present a special slideshow to the team again this year , referring to the one presented prior to the 2014 season opener against Pittsburgh:

"No, because that's more of a… The Steelers thing, that was Browns-Steelers. I'm a couple years now removed from New York. The staff that I was with there, (Bills Head Coach) Rex (Ryan), most of that group's in Buffalo so I didn't really see the carryover. We're very much focused on ourselves this week. Like in most weeks, we feel if we go out and play to our standards – the high standards that we've set for our guys – that we can be successful. This week is very much the theme's been 'Hey, let's control what we can control' and that's how we coach and how we play."

On the case the Browns can make for improvements at the QB position:

"What case can we make? We're very confident in our quarterback room. We're very confident in our starter, just based on what he's done on the practice field, what he's done in the meeting room, what he's done in the preseason work that he's gotten. We're confident. I don't want to get into comparing it to a year ago, but (QB) Josh (McCown) is a big part of our plan to win football games, but it's not just the quarterback. We have to be great around him to enable him to be successful."

On if the Browns have improved every other position, with QB as the question mark:

"That's a question we'll have to see answered."

On Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick:

"Veteran. He's a Harvard guy. Rex (Ryan) used to joke and say, 'Be careful, he's going to throw a book at you (laughter).' Very smart decision making. From a timing standpoint, he gets the ball out quicker than most quarterbacks do. I think that's just in large part due to his ability to process. He can read defenses well and knows where to go with the football. He's decisive, but he's always been a guy that is just sneaky in the pocket. He can move. They do put him on the move a lot. There's a lot of move action type passes – spread out, boot. He's never been one who's been reluctant to pull the ball down and scramble, especially if he caught you in a coverage where you weren't accounting for the quarterback. I believe – I don't know if this is true – I don't think he's turned the ball over this preseason. As far as, we all know the situation that occurred there, but I don't know if they could have had a more ideal situation to fall into as a result."

On how winning the season opener impacts a team:

"I think you put so much more into the opener because it's the first game. It's not like a normal game week where you have X number, you have six days to prepare for it. Like I said, we've had, it'll be 257-8 days to prepare for this one. Whenever in April that we found out the schedule that we've known it's them, we've had time to prepare for it. That's why I just think there's so much more put into it – the Jets game, the Jets game, the Jets game. That's why you feel great about it when you win it and it's just such disappointment because you prepared so much for it when you lose."

On if Johnson's role in the first game will be affected by missed time in training camp:

"I think if he had gone out there and taken every rep, we'd be a lot more confident about putting him out there for extended snaps, but I can't lie and say that it doesn't factor into it some. If he's cleared to go and puts a solid couple of days together here, there's no reason to think he's not going to play a significant role in the game."

On if Ohio State WR Braxton Miller's position switch has given him more confidence in Pryor's potential to succeed at WR:

"I had it on in the background while I was working, caught some of it. Saw more highlights than anything else. Terrelle is here because he showed that promise and that potential, but again, I said once you make the 53 that you have to be a productive member of the team. It's hard to just have that be a project for a year. We are looking for the returns on that investment to be sooner than later. I think he's shown that he's capable of it, but for him, it's about being consistent, knowing what to do, being available from a physical standpoint and then going out there and executing. He's going to get every opportunity in practice to do that."

On differences between DL Danny Shelton and Jets DL Leonard Williams:

"They're different types of players. We saw Leonard more as what we would consider our big end, plays more either head up on the tackle or shaded outside, whereas Danny is a true nose guard either on the nose or shaded in either direction. Two very different players but both were extremely high grades. I don't know how the draft board ended up playing out, but Williams was right near the top."

On is he has spoken to Moeller since the suspension:

"I've already said I'm not going to comment any further on that."

On helping minimize the impact of Moeller's absence:

"We met as an offensive staff and talked about how we're going to absorb the workload, talked to the offensive linemen. As I said before, we'll lean heavily on the leadership in that room, and that's one of the reasons that we're confident that we'll be able to overcome his loss."

On why Moeller was suspended and not fired, given the use of the words 'disturbing' and 'troubling':

"I already said we have an internal protocol, and we are in the process of following it."

On if internal protocol means the Browns have set scenarios and how to follow up:


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