Here’s what Browns head coach Mike Pettine had to say about rookie mini-camp over the weekend as he answered reporters questions on Saturday, May 17th.

Mike Pettine

On how the rookies have performed:

“It’s pretty good, a lot of good things on tape. I’ve never been part of a rookie tryout camp with this many numbers, but I thought that our staff did a real good job putting it together. I think it’s a credit to those guys, our [football operations department], that we were able to handle the flights, the travel and the logistics of getting those guys in here. We’ve had two good days so far and we’re looking forward to finishing it off right tomorrow. I think we’re going to find some guys potentially out of this camp. If I had to decide today, there are a couple of guys that we have some really good feelings about.”


On if the Browns were aware of quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains radio interview with an ESPN affiliate in Arkansas:

“Were we aware of it as an organization? Certainly, yes.”


On if Coach Loggains said anything that was possibly out of line:

“I don’t know if I would use the phrase ‘out of line.’ The story itself, the text message absolutely did happen because in the draft room, when I got it, I questioned Dowell as to whether he made the text up himself in order to get us to turn the card in. There were three players – I’m not going to go into the names ; (Browns QB) Johnny (Manziel) was one of them – that we targeted after we picked that were potential high-value guys for us that we felt that we were getting good value on. As the round continued to progress, one of the guys went that was getting close to the Eagles’ pick, when we knew that there was a pretty good chance that we were going to be able to jump up and take that spot. Then the other player went, and we knew that quarterback was a position that we were targeting and that Johnny was our top quarterback on the board. There was some excitement in the room building because we felt that we were close to getting him. When Dowell sent me the text that he wanted to come to Cleveland, I think that it just really added to the excitement in the room and were fired up to turn the card in.”


On whether he had to speak to Loggains after the radio interview:

“Did I have to speak to him? Not really. He knew how it came off, and he wasn’t in the draft room when [we drafted Manziel]. I think we were all excited because there was a situation that he was our top-rated guy, and we were getting a chance to get him and we knew it was mutual that he wanted to be here, and he and Dowell had developed a relationship over the course of the workouts and the visits. We see that as a positive.”


On potential concerns of the ‘Johnny Football phenomenon’ overshadowing the Browns:

“It’s a concern. It’s something that we have to address. We’re well aware of the persona. We’re well aware of what it brings. We’re excited about it. It’s something that we’re very willing to have come here, knowing that he has a chance to make us a better football team and a better franchise. It’s something that we weren’t going to turn away from, but as the head coach, it’s all about football for me and it’s all about the team. I know it already has and it probably continued to ruffle some feathers with how we handled some things – I’ll apologize in advance for that – but what we’re tasked as a staff to do is do what’s best for the football team. If there’s something that we feel that we can control that will limit the distractions that this will bring, then we’re going to go ahead and do it. It’s something that I know probably won’t be the most popular thing, especially on a national level, but we also feel that the credibility of the Browns, as far as what stock we have nationally, I don’t think we’re very highly thought of given the recent history of the team so it’s not really something we’re interested in playing into. We want to be in a situation where we want to kind of bunker in, build the best football team we can build and worry about winning football games in the fall.”


On impressions of Manziel following the first two days of rookie minicamp:

“It’s difficult in shorts. It’s very hard to evaluate just because you’ve got a bunch of receivers who are in here that are just learning the system, too. It can be a precision passing attack at times and it can get a little ragged when you have some guys potentially going the wrong way or not running the right route. I think he’s just concentrating now on just learning, as the other quarterbacks are, learning the playbook, learning the formations, learning the footwork. He’s really at the infant stages of his career here.”


On quelling the ‘phenomenon of Johnny Football’ and Manziel’s play:

“He does. I think it’s a situation of Cleveland is hopeful, as we all are, that he will become Johnny Football here and that will continue, but as we’ve talked about and the kid recognizes – he embraces it, too – that he hasn’t completed a pass in the NFL, scored a touchdown in the NFL. We don’t want to rush it. This is a classic ‘cart before the horse’ situation. We want it to be that way over time so I don’t think it’s a situation where we’re quelling it, but I just think that we want to temper it.”


On if he took notes in New York about how the Jets worked with former QB Tim Tebow:

“I had a notebook that I would put random notes in and kind of tuck away, but I don’t know that I ever physically wrote anything down. I think it was just more of looking back on it and talking to some of the guys that were there with me, how things were and maybe we should have done some things differently.”


On how his life as a coach has changed over the past two months, particularly now as head coach and with Manziel:

“That’s an interesting question. I just approach it the way I’ve approached it before: make a list in the morning of what you want to get done that day. I think when you sit back and try to soak it all in and wrap your brain around it, I think that might make it more difficult to deal with so I just try to stay focused on task by task, item by item.”


On his situation being one that could not have been imagined previously:

Yeah, that’s true. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s slowed down. I think after the draft it sped back up a little bit, the world started the spin a little faster, but it’s ebb and flow. I think things will get settled in and we will get in a routine here and get excited about finishing up through our OTAs and our camp and attacking things in training camp.”


On if there is something different about Manziel than other players:

“He is and that’s part of it. We talked about the ‘it’ factor and he’s got it. But we also think Brian (Hoyer) has it as well. I think all NFL quarterbacks have to have that swagger about them, that aura that it’s confidence and not cockiness. It’s a fine line. I think when he steps on the field based on what he’s done so far, and he’s earned it, that people look at him a little differently and expect a little bit more.”


On Manziel’s size:

“I think you have to be able to see football differently. You have to think outside of the box. I think he proved it at Texas A&M that he was able to put together ridiculous numbers in the SEC that he really is an outside of the mold guy. There are some quarterbacks in the NFL that have proven they can be successful as 6-foot, 6-1 guys. We want a quarterback that can maximize our chances to win. Is he in the classic mold? He’s not. But I think if you are creative and build the right team around him, you can be successful.”


On wanting Manziel to put weight on:

“No, I don’t think we ever want to do anything artificially like that. I think we will get him here and on our nutritional program we have everyone else on and get him in the weight room with coach (Paul) Ricci and just let things happen naturally.”


On what tryout FB Eric Kettani could bring to the team:

“He’s done some good things. We are going to sit down tonight as a staff and evaluate it, look at if we are going to potentially bring in an extra fullback or something or swap a guy out. I know his name his high on list of guy’s that we have thought highly of in these first two practices.”


On how Manziel responded after being told that he is the back up:

“I think that came across like it was kind of a talking down to or negative thing. If you just look at Johnny’s comments from the beginning, I just really reinforced that with him. That is where he is. It is the cart before the horse-type scenario. He knows it, if he wants to develop and be ‘Jonny Football’ in the NFL, he’s got to earn in. I think he knows that that is as the end of the tunnel for him, but he still has to travel through that tunnel.”

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