Transcripts: Week 3: Browns Conference Call

Head Coach Mike Pettine

On what he gained during his time with the Baltimore Ravens:"I don't even know if I can quantify it. It was an opportunity. I was very blessed to have a connection with [former Ravens offensive coordinator] Matt Cavanaugh, who essentially got me in the door with the guys in the video department, with [Ravens senior director of football video operations] Jon Dubé and [Ravens director of football operations] Mark Bienvenu. I worked very closely with those guys, and just at night I was working with the coaches. I got thrown in with the defensive staff, and you just look at the guys that were on that staff – just how fortunate I was to be able to learn from those guys. It was Rex [Ryan]; it was Mike Nolan; it was Mike Smith; a year later it was Mike Singletary; Chuck Pagano later on. I was obviously very fortunate later on when 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] was hired, that he retained me on the staff. It was a great experience for me to work with him that one year – I learned so much. But like I said, I can't quantify what being in Baltimore meant for me. I don't think I could have laid a stronger foundation for my coaching career."

On if he stays in touch with John Harbaugh:"I do, actually. My kids are still in the area – they're actually in Finksburg. [They're] very active in sports. My youngest daughter, Katie – [her and Harbaugh's daughter, Alison] played lacrosse together and against each other. We've ended up at a lot of the same tournaments and play dates and all that stuff. When lacrosse was involved, a lot of them we kind of ended up one-eyeing the game and spending the rest of the time talking to each other. I know John well. He's a good man and a good coach. I learned a lot from him."

On if there is anything particularly special about this upcoming game against Baltimore:"Yes, it is, [but] not as much as maybe when I went to New York [Jets] and played Baltimore for the first time. I think that kind of fades away over time. Just knowing the Cleveland-Baltimore rivalry and now being a part of it on the other end certainly adds to it. I also got a chance to compete against the Ravens when I was in Buffalo a year ago, and it was good to see a lot of the coaches and guys that are still part of their support staff. The NFL is a big fraternity. Once you've been at a place and put roots down there – I was there for seven years – you get the opportunities when you play each other or [see each other] at the Senior Bowl or the Combine to keep that relationships alive."

On if he will be leaning on his game plan from last season when the Bills faced the Ravens:"It's not applicable, just because it's a different [offensive] coordinator. The system is completely different. You still have your write-ups on the personnel, but that only gets you so far. To me, this is a new group – it's totally different."

On what he believes offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's impact in Baltimore will be:"He's an outstanding coach. He was on my list of guys to interview, and I know the Ravens interviewed [Browns offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan as well. I ended up with Kyle, and they ended up with Gary. That's just the way things worked out. I have a ton of respect for him. It was one of the reasons I was attracted to both of those [coordinators] potentially, because I think the system is proven over time. I think it's quarterback-friendly, it's built on running the football and play-action, and then pushing the ball downfield in the pass game. It's very difficult to defend. [There are] a lot of shifts and motions and multiple looks, and they change it up week to week. I just see a lot of common elements between our two offenses. The Ravens' offense is in very good hands."

On his impressions of the Ravens' defense so far this season:"It's rock-solid. You just see that group … It starts with that outside [linebacker] group, [which] is pretty special with [Terrell] Suggs, who obviously I have a relationship with going back to when we drafted him. To [Pernell] McPhee, [Courtney] Upshaw, to [Elvis] Dumervil, there are four guys that can roll in and out and stay fresh and rush the passer. That's a real cornerstone for the defense. Haloti [Ngata] is Haloti inside. The group is well-coached. They tackle well and are just fundamentally sound. They're not going to give up big plays. It's very difficult in the NFL to drive the length of the field. You have to get a defense to maybe take some chances and open up some shots down the field, and the Ravens don't do that. They're very patient, they're persistent. I worked with [defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks and know a lot of guys on that defensive staff – they're very well-coached."

On how the Browns' run game is similar to Baltimore's rushing attack:"I think they're similar, because they're both predicated on the inside and outside zone play. That really goes back to [Browns offensive coordinator] Kyle's [Shanahan] roots being with [offensive coordinator] Gary Kubiak in Houston. But that's something we wanted to commit to. Just being here in Cleveland in unpredictable weather, I just think that the places I've been were where we've been successful – and that goes back to Baltimore, to New York [Jets] and what we were trying to establish in Buffalo – you want to be able to play good defense and run the football. It gives you an opportunity to shorten the game. I think you have to build it that way. I got together with [Browns general manager] Ray Farmer back in the spring, and we talked about how we wanted to build this roster. That was a big commitment that we were going to make. That was a big part of the reason why we drafted Joel Bitonio [and] why we went ahead and got Alex Mack's contract down. That was important for us to have the ability to run the football, and we certainly addressed the running back position – to sign Ben Tate in free agency, who unfortunately is hurt for us at the moment; to draft Terrance West out of Towson; to find Isaiah Crowell out of Northern Alabama. Post-draft, [Crowell] was a guy that we had earmarked and felt we had a chance to draft, and we were fortunate to find him after the draft. We think he has special abilities, and he's already proven that in the first two weeks. It was a definite commitment we wanted to make."

On what former Towson RB Terrance West brings to the Browns:"To me, I just love his mentality. He plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But he's a rookie. He'll be the first one to tell you that he has a lot to learn, but we think he has a chance to be a really good running back in this league. He can be a total back – a guy that you can play on all downs. He has that rare blend of size and speed and short-area quickness, where he can run guys over or he can make them miss. He has good hands, too. He can get out of the backfield and make some plays. He's already proven that in our first two games. We think the sky is the limit for Terrance, but he has a long way to go to get there. There's a lot of work left to be put in, but we're very pleased with him so far."

RB Terrance West

On how Ravens RB Bernard Pierce has helped influence his young career:"Bernard Pierce has been like a big brother for my career. He told me the things that I shouldn't do, the things that I should do. He's just kept me on the right path."

On if it has sunk in yet that he could have been playing for the Ravens rather than against his hometown team on Sunday:"I'm past that point right now. I'm looking forward to playing against the Ravens right now. That was the Combine time when they could have drafted me, but I'm looking forward to playing against them right now. That's my main focus."

On what his emotions are as he prepares to play against Baltimore:"It's fun, because I know a lot of guys on the team, like Bernard Pierce, Torrey Smith, a couple guys on the team, and it's just going to be fun. [It's] like playing against another high school like when I was back in high school and I played at Northwestern; it's like playing against Forest Park – guys that you know."

On how he has taken advantage of his opportunity with RB Ben Tate being injured:"This league is all about the next man up. When your number is called, you've just got to be ready. Each and every week I just prepare myself like I'm starting, and my number was called and I'm just taking advantage of it."

On he and fellow rookie RB Isaiah Crowell having the nickname, "The Baby Backs":"It's cool. This is like my fourth time hearing it – I want to know the meaning behind it." (Reporter: "I think it's because you guys are young.") *Yeah, I got that part, but 'Baby Backs?' *(laughter) *We could have come up with another name than that." *(Reporter: "It has something to do with some ribs.") *Yeah, that's what it sounds like, ribs." *(laughter)

On if their offense is pleased with the start they've had this season:"Yeah, in this league, wins are hard to get. We could have easily been 0-2 right now, but it's just a blessing that we're 1-1 right now. Going into this game, it's going to be big, because if we can get this win we can go into the bye week 2-1. So, this is a big week for us."

On if he has any extra motivation to show the Ravens what they could have had:"No, I'm just going to approach the game like I approach the game each and every week – have a good week of practice and everything else on Sunday will take care of itself."

On his thoughts on Ravens LBs C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith:"They're great linebackers. They're great players, and overall they have a great defense."

On if he got a lot of tickets for this game for family and friends:"I really didn't get too many calls yet, because I posted on Facebook: 'Tickets are not free.' So, they probably got the hint. *(laughter) *My main focus is playing against them on Sunday. I'm not worried about tickets right now."

On what he brings to the table with his running style:"I'm patient, physical, I've got great vision. I can catch a pass; I can do it all."

On if he has noticed much of a jump from college to the NFL:"The biggest difference from college to the NFL is on different teams in college you'd have two or three players that [are] good on defense. But in the NFL, the whole defense is good. Everybody that's on the field is as good as you. So, you just have to rep every play like it's your last."

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