Coach Mike Pettine transcript from Tuesday

Coach Mike Pettine transcript from Tuesday

On sorting out the RB situation now that RB Ben Tate is practicing:

"Ben looked good today. He just went through some individual work. He'll get some team reps as the week goes on. As I've said at all positions, when you have depth that's a good problem. It's a long season, and we're looking forward to getting him back. He was playing at a high level before he got hurt. We want to be committed to running the football. When you have that mentality, you can't have enough good backs."

On if there would be more of an inclination to rest Tate one more week since they have the depth at running back:

"We'll make that decision at the end of the week. If he's ready to go, there's no sense resting him. He told us last week that if we had a game yesterday it would have been possible he could have gone. It just leads us to believe that it shouldn't be an issue this week, but we still need to get him a full week of practice and see how the knee responds to it."

On if the fact that the two rookie RBs only have five catches between them is a result of a system where you don't throw to the backs much or the fact that they're rookies:

"I think it's the system, but I think Ben was ahead of them just from his experience in a similar system and just being a veteran back. Sometimes rookies get too paranoid about protection. They stay in a little bit longer than they need to. We would like the running backs to be more a part of the pass game, but sometimes it's just a function of what's available."

On if Tate will start if he's healthy:


On if he can announce any lineup changes he might make other than Tate starting:

"No, I don't know."

On if he'll have the same long snapper:

"Yeah, I can't think of anything – any other changes that come to mind."

On what the rational was for giving the days off and if there was a thought of making Sunday the last day off and giving them a normal week:

"Well we wanted to make sure that there wasn't too much time at either end. We didn't want to give them too much time off before. The league just has the rule that it's got to be four consecutive days including the weekend. You can work it however you want, but it's nice to allow the coaches to game plan, to get an extra day of game planning and then for us to get an extra day of practice for the next opponent. If we had just gone with a normal week, it would have been difficult to do that. We felt that we kind of hit it in the middle – best of both worlds. We'll see how this week goes and how we play. We'll discuss it after the game if we want to make any changes. We get together every week and do a, we call it an after-action report where we talk about what just happened. Because the bye week would be included in that, we would just give our thoughts on how we would do it since it was our first time doing it."

On if there's a chance that they might decide to go to a system where they give the players Monday off:

"We could, but that's… I haven't been a part of a bye this early either. We wanted to make sure that we maximized it. If this had been late in the year, I could see giving them some extra time off."

On if everybody is here and accounted for after the bye:


On if it's a dangerous thing that people are looking ahead and viewing these next couple of weeks as a favorable stretch in the schedule:

"It is. I addressed it in the team meeting that it's for fans and media only. It is hard to win in this league, especially on the road. I asked our guys, 'When was the last time that the Browns won a game on the road?' We can't think about our schedule or look at our next opponent beyond Tennessee. That's just not how we operate. I think it is a dangerous thing. Hey, I talked about being confident at one and two, but it is so hard to win in this league. There's so much talent parity-wise that your mindset to me is equally important or more important than how you are physically. The teams that take care of themselves off the field that are fresh and are right mentally to me are the ones that win on a consistent level. You just look at the league this past weekend. You don't have to look any further than Tampa Bay against Pittsburgh. Everybody had written that game off for Tampa that they had no chance. Everybody had written off the Giants and look what they did. This is a 'you are in the moment' or 'what have you done for me lately' or any cliché you want to use. We can't afford to look ahead. We've got to learn how to win on the road."

On if anyone had the answer right away for that question:

"It took a little bit. I think (QB Brian) Hoyer got it right."

On if he was aware of the next five games and if that's why he addressed it:

"Well, my dad does a good job of reminding me of things like this. He gets the pulse of what's out there and will summarize it for me. He's just…as old school as he is…there's a reason that it's 'one game at a time,' 'any given Sunday.' There's a reason those become clichés. It's because it's so true. You just can't afford to look ahead. I don't think anybody…just look at the league this year. There's no one dominant team. You have a handful of undefeated (teams) left, but you just look at the parity. I think the league has exactly what they want, and you better be prepared to play week in and week out. You just can't afford to look ahead."

On how confident he is that he's made adjustments that will make the run defense better:

"We're confident. We looked at it and went through it. Like I said, it wasn't any one magical thing. It wasn't a call. It wasn't a particular player. It wasn't a particular technique. It was a lot of little things. I challenged the players as they left and kind of got on their own to make sure they take their own personal inventory. What am I doing well? What am I not doing well? We did the same with the coaching staff and challenged the guys. They want to show up every day and not just put in a day; put in a day with a purpose. There's a reason we painted that phrase on the wall – what have I done today to make the Cleveland Browns a better football team? That's important. That's something our guys, as they're walking out of the building need to ask themselves. If you just come in and just go through the motions, you're not making yourself better, and you're obviously not making the team better."

On how he'll divvy out the run plays behind Ben Tate:

"That will be dependent on how we practice – how the week of practice goes. That's what competition allows us to do. Those guys know they need to…whether it's 'Crow' (RB Isaiah Crowell), whether it's (RB) Terrance (West), whether it's even (RB) Glenn (Winston), those reps will be determined – and even Ben – those reps will be determined on how they practice."

On who has been cleaner in their execution – West or Crowell:

"It's close. I don't know if that's somewhere I can say there's a clean cut guy that has been cleaner. West probably has played a little bit more than Crow has, but that's way too close to call."

On running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery saying that there's stuff we don't see that you guys notice that the rookies need to clean up:

"To me, a lot of it is graduate level details. Where's the Mike linebacker on a certain run? Is he kind of pushed over? That helps you determine the coverage. Where's the safety dropping down? (It's) just a lot of stuff that they can pick up from film study, and then it's their own mechanics. Their footwork has to be clean, especially on certain runs where they involve timing with the quarterback. It falls back to every position. They have their own inventory of minute details that they need to get checked off the list."

On if his dad let him take a break last week:

"Yeah, he did."

On being able to get away for a couple of days:

"(It) absolutely was and I made the mistake early as a coach where we got the bye week and I was like 'Oh good, now I get to work and no one else bothers me.' I think you need to take the break. I know it was early and I took some work with me but I got a chance to go and watch a little college lacrosse, so it was fun."

On whether the after-action meetings are as a full staff or by groups:

"The staffs build their own. So the staffs complete-there's AAR form, they fill out: What did we do well, what we not do well' or what are some things looking forward (or) looking back, summarize it and then we meet as coordinators along with (General Manager) Ray (Farmer) and discuss it."

On if either he or his father has stories of traveling to watch games with news of FCC agreeing to no longer black-out games:

"I know he has. I know he crossed over to watch the (New York) Jets. I know that he crossed over the Delaware river and (New) Jersey to watch the Jets play but I know that I've heard some fan horror stories of road trips they've had to make in order to see the team."

On the status of Desmond Bryant:

"He's a little nicked up, but we're not sure if he'll be available tomorrow or not."

On his familiarity with Titans RB Shonn Greene style of play:

"Yeah, he runs hard. His style is pretty obvious he's not necessarily a make-you-miss kind of guy. He runs low to the ground, powerful, he knows how to finish a run. It's rare that he loses yardage."

On if it's helpful knowing his style:

"Not really, I think it's pretty clear on the tape that what you see is what you get with Shonn."

On what to except to see out of Hoyer going into the Tennessee game:

"Nothing different, I mean go out and execute a play. We're looking for all of our players to take the next step. They're still in a battle against their grade sheet but if they had a previous minus that turns into a plus. We don't look at it that way that he needs to do anything different other than whatever that play calls for him to get a plus on it.