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Mike Pettine transcript - June 17, 2015

On DB Justin Gilbert not being at practice:

"He is not here. His absence is excused. I spoke to him last night. He's got a personal matter he's dealing with. It's a family issue. I'll leave it at that."

On how he felt about the offense in practice today:

"Hard to give an accurate opinion without seeing it to see how we were with the little details of it, but I think like most of these practices, did some good things. Other times, struggled a little bit, but I think it's good the way we compete. We go back and forth. I think we're finding out as we get going kind of who we are, what things are we going to major in, what things are we going to minor in. That's what this time is for."

On if he's seen strides of QB Duke Johnson Jr. this offseason:

"Absolutely have, of All those guys. It's tough coming in to learn a new system and to be going against a darn good secondary who is basically a year ahead. I think overall that if you asked me, 'Has he improved from the day he set foot back in the building?' Absolutely."

On how Manziel has improved:

"I just think in all the little things, in all the little things that it takes to be an NFL quarterback."

On WR Dwayne Bowe's impact on the WR group so far:

"It was a young group. It's good to have a veteran like Dwayne and to bring in a (WR) Brian Hartline and then have (WR Andrew) Hawkins already here. The thing about Dwayne, we wanted to make sure that we had pretty good variation, diversity in the skillset in that room and a bigger body guy that can still be covered but has a good catch radius, strong hands and can make the contested catches. He's proven he can do that throughout his career. Throughout the spring, he's shown us time and time again examples of why we brought him here."

On when it won't be too early to tell what Manziel can do:

"As we get closer to the season when we go against other teams. When you're in the installation phase of an offense, to me, that's early. You're crawling. To me, you'll get to the point as we transition the way we build it – and this is for all the guys, especially offensively – anytime you're putting in something new you crawl first and then you evolve to the point where hopefully as you're getting to the season you can sprint, but it's a progression. You have to go through it. There's no substitute for it. The last thing we want to do is push it and feel that we needed to be at a certain spot. He's taking all the information we've given him, and he's applied it. He's worked hard just like the other guys in that room. I'm very pleased with where that other quarterback room is."

On if he saw flaws in Manziel's game last year in the offseason to the point where the coaching staff had to retool their approach with him this offseason:

"No, because we're still just in the phase of learning the basics of an offense. As we get closer and when it's going to be his time to play, we will tailor the plays that we're running to his skillset, just like we'll tailor certain plays towards (QB) Connor (Shaw) towards (QB) Josh (McCown). To me, it doesn't matter who's in there. We'll be mindful of doing things that, as a play caller, you want to maximize your chances to be successful. That's no different. You just have to be aware of who you have on the field."

On if Manziel automatically gets a boost over QB Connor Shaw when it comes to the depth chart and repetitions in training camp because Manziel is a first-round pick:

"I wouldn't say that. Once guys are here in the building, we don't get too wrapped up in how they were acquired."

On if he liked the idea of Manziel bringing his high school coach in as a mentor off the field and if that is a positive step:

"Yeah, absolutely. I don't want to get into the details because it deals with his life out of the building and off the field. To me, anything where he felt comfortable and he felt it was helpful for him – anybody that takes those steps to do something like that, I'd encourage it."

On how drastic of a difference it would be if the Browns switched from McCown to Manziel at quarterback in the middle of the game:

"I don't think it's too drastic. You'll have your stock plays that are going to be up each week. As a coordinator, when you build a game plan, you have to be mindful of who the guys are that potentially could play. When you build a plan, the inventory has to be enough that if you have to over the course of the game start to highlight different areas of that inventory, then you're able to do it. I think you're shortsighted as a coordinator if you have a varied skillset between a starter and a backup at any position and you don't have plays available to taken advantage of their strengths."

On if McCown is able to get the ball down the field better and make more plays:

"Josh has made some good plays down the field. He's had guys that have been getting open down the field for him. It's certainly a function of who you're out there with and what plays are getting called. Some plays are designed for it to go down the field, but if the coverage takes it away, that's a big part of an NFL offense is gathering pre-snap information. 'What are they in defensively?' and kind of already knowing where the ball is likely to go if pre-snap happens or if post-snap happens what you think you're getting pre-snap. I think Josh is a pretty good deep-ball thrower, but I think all of our guys in the right circumstances can get the ball down the field accurately."

On which of the rookies he is particularly excited to see in pads:

"That's a tough question. That's like asking me which one of my kids is my favorite. I think you want to see them all in pads. I'd hate to not answer the question, but as I've said before, this isn't real football and you're mindful of it'll be little bit different when we have the pads on. I think, just in general, we're very optimistic about this rookie class. I think they've come in and they've either met or exceeded our expectations to date, but it's still just very early in their progression. We are just in shorts. I think some of the guys, their games, especially the linemen, some of the defensive guys that playing in shorts doesn't necessarily translate well for them. We are very much looking forward to training camp and having it be much more realistic."

On if he's seen Manziel take a big leap in terms of the things it takes to be a pro quarterback:

"The thing that's encouraging is the answer is yes, and also that's what's being required of them. That room, between Flip's (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) background as a quarterbacks coach and between (quarterbacks coach) Kevin's (O'Connell) attention to detail – they're very demanding. Those guys are asked to do a lot, and they've responded."

On if the offensive plays are easier to call than the 17-word plays from last season:

"We still have some of those. What we like to do is you teach the original play with the wordiness, and then you get to the point where you switch into your no-huddle mode and now you can call all those plays essentially with just a handful of words. When all the plays get installed, it might have double-digit words to it, but then off to the side in red on the playbook page will be a single word. This is the code word for this play when we do eventually get to the point where we want to shorten it. We want to teach the whole thing earlier knowing that we'll be able to condense it down the road."

On how DB Charles Gaines is coming along:

"Typical rookie corner. I love his attitude, his confidence. He's not afraid to step right in there. He doesn't care who he's going against. I think that's the mentality that you have to have. He's got some things from a technical standpoint that he's got to work on, no different than most rookies coming in. We're encouraged so far with what we've seen from him."

On if Manziel is closer to being the No. 1 quarterback or the No. 3 quarterback:

"We're No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4. We're not No.1-minus, No. 2-plus. To me, we're still just building it here. To me, those decisions will be much easier to make and be worth giving an opinion on when we get to training camp."

On if he notices a difference in the camaraderie of the quarterbacks room this year compared to last year:

"I wasn't in it as much a year ago. Being involved in those meetings now and being around those guys more, I do sense it. Not to speak on last year, but having been around Josh, that's just his personality. That's a natural thing for him. He doesn't care who's playing quarterback, he wants the offense to be successful. He's a football junkie. If he sees a quarterback make a good throw, then he'll be fired up about it."

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