Browns Thursday: Mike Pettine transcript

Browns Thursday: Mike Pettine transcript
Browns Thursday: Mike Pettine transcript (Source:WOIO)
Browns Thursday: Mike Pettine transcript (Source:WOIO)

On liking OL Joel Bitonio through the draft process and if his thoughts about him have changed at all:

"Not at all. He's playing at a high level. Just based on where we saw him coming out of college and how we had him evaluated, he's exceeded our expectations."

On how hard it is to play guard at a high level as a rookie:

"Sometimes – depending on what they did in college – that can be a very difficult transition, but his game was NFL ready. I think it also helps him from the mental standpoint to be surrounded, to have (OL) Joe (Thomas) on one side and (Browns OL) Alex (Mack) on the other."

On the flexibility that gives the offense to have Bitonio playing between Thomas and Mack:

"It's good. That's the ideal spot for him. The strength of our o-line, you look at it and say is that left side. I think we've shown the ability, those guys, if (we run a) play (to that) side, they're doing a good job with the zone reach, and they're all athletic enough, too, if we run away from them they're pretty good at getting guys cut off as well."

On if Bitonio will be an offensive tackle in the future:

"That's something that we'd have to look at every offseason. If we felt he would be our best left tackle on campus down the road, but at this point I see him firmly entrenched at guard."

On how DL Phil Taylor is playing at left defensive end:

"Well, I wouldn't categorize him as a left end. That's maybe how we list him on the depth chart, but we move those guys around. He's had some solid performances for us. A lot of times it falls into that category of looking at the stat sheet. If a guy doesn't do much, but we ask our defensive linemen to occupy blockers so linebackers can run free. A lot of times, especially in the run game, statistically they're not going to show up. Phil's been solid for us, but just like everybody else, especially on the defensive side, has room for improvement."

On Taylor being more comfortable playing nose tackle and if he's thinking about moving him inside more often:

"No, I think it's very natural for 'Rube' (Browns DL Ahtyba Rubin) to be where he is, and in some of our fronts the way they adjust out, depending on what we're going against, he can slide down inside. Then, in some of our sub-front situations he'll be in the neighborhood of the guard maybe even the center. He'll get some reps there. If you're used to being in one spot it will take some adjusting, and I'm sure he's just going through some of that phase now."

On QB Brian Hoyer looking better than he did in the preseason and if he attributes that to reps or him being comfortable knowing that he's the starter:

"I'd agree with that. You just look at where he was when he was in the preseason. How many true live reps did he have coming off the knee? Then, factor into it everything else that we had talked about what he was dealing with – first time being the starter in his hometown. That was a lot to put on him, and then throw in the whole competition thing. It took him a while, and also learning a new system. Learning it at the playbook level is one thing, but then going out and seeing it three-dimensional is other. That just comes from reps. We also thought that once we named him as the starter and we had a specific game plan – the inventory went from this to down to this for a particular opponent – that we would improve across the board just because we would be so much more focused on a sub-set of plays as opposed to the whole playbook."

On if WR Josh Gordon has been at the facility every day:

"Yes. I don't see him much just because our paths don't cross. He's been in the team meetings, but I do know that we have him on a separate schedule because he can't be out at practice. He's not in the weight room when all our guys are. He's kind of on the opposite schedule of everybody else, but he has been here."

On if Gordon's been on a formal schedule or if he comes and goes as he pleases:

"He has a schedule because we just have to make sure the weight room if staffed for when he's going to be there and the other things that we're doing with them, that we make sure that it is scheduled for him."

On if Gordon gave up his day job of selling cars:

"That I don't know."

On why Gordon doesn't lift with the team:

"He can't."

On if Gordon enjoys being part of the team and having a schedule at the facility until he's able to play:

"Yeah, we talked about that before. Having that structure and being able to still have that interaction with his teammates and be here in the building and get his meals here and – like I said – a set workout for him. Just compare that to just kind of being off on your own. I'm sure that would get very lonely very quick. I would think anybody under suspension would welcome the ability to be in the building."

On keeping three running backs fresh while getting them enough reps:

"It's not an easy problem because if to spread it too thin over three then you run the risk of none of them really getting into the groove of a game. If you restrict it to just two now you're looking at potentially having a guy that's fresh on the sideline that's not doing anything. It is an issue. You kind of have to play it by ear. You don't know how a game's going to go. You could have a game where your snap count's in the 40's. You could have a game where your snap count's in the 80's. I think it's something that you have to have a plan for, and you have to be willing to adjust it as you go."

On if he's decided on what rotation they'll use for the running backs:

"No. (RB) Ben (Tate) will start, but that's all we have at this point, and that's assuming that he comes out of this week as we expect with the knee. Then, the other repetitions will be based on how the week went."

On if things have gone well with Tate in practice this week:

"Yeah, he's on course to play. I haven't heard on any issue. I think he'll be…I don't know if we'll give him the full rack today. I think he'll probably be…I would guess he'd be still limited, but he's going to take a pretty good chunk of the team reps."

On why he has so much faith in Tate to put him in coming off of an injury:

"Because we had to rookies playing. We limited ourselves a little bit in some of the things we could do schematically having those guys in there. We didn't want to throw the whole playbook at those guys. We felt that restricted some of the things we could do. I think you can open the playbook a little bit more with Ben in there. Ben in the short time that he was in there in the Pittsburgh game was playing at a high level, but we'll evaluate it week to week. If we come out of this week and feel that two other guys are deserving of kind of that 1-2 spot, then that's the way that we'll go. I'm not going to make the blanket statement and say, 'Hey, if a guy gets injured he's guaranteed his job when he comes back.' I can't say that. Everything will be on a case-by-case basis."