Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Pettine Not Ready to Panic on Rushing Game

Mike Pettine spoke Friday about the struggles of the running game-- both offensively and defensively, plus Terrelle Pryor's return.

Mike Pettine said it’s too early to push the panic button with regards to the Browns top priorities--running the ball and stopping the run.

The defense gave up 153 yards (4.1 average) in the first preseason game against the Redskins and their top goal defensively is to improve greatly in that department. Meanwhile, the rushing game had just 45 yards with a paltry average of just 2.4 yards a carry.

“I’m not too concerned with it,” Pettine said on a conference call Friday. “I spoke to (defensive coordinator) coach (Jim) O’Neil (about it). The play that most disappointing was the fourth-and-one, when we weren’t able to set the edge and got caught inside. It should have been no gain.”

Washington’s Alfred Morris went over the right end for an 18-yard gain. Pettine said it’s all about executing properly.

“It’s a consistency thing,” he said. “You could make a cut up tape where runs are three yards or less. I’m not going to get too wrapped up given we didn’t game plan, who we had out there and situations we were working on or we were game planning for. We’ll clean things up and get ready for the opener.”

On the offensive side, the running game struggled in the first game.  Much of the problem has been due to injuries. Duke Johnson pulled a hamstring early on, while Terrance West had a strained calf muscle in his leg. Shaun Draughn has missed the last week with a cast on his hand.

West had just 10 yards on four carries with a long run of four yards. Isaiah Crowell had just six yards on four carries, including a five-yard run on his first carry. Johnny Manziel was the leading rusher with 14 yards and he had 12 on his touchdown run.

Pettine said he’s confident they will be able to run the ball.

“Because I’ve seen it practice and see what we can be,” he said. “When we game plan, I’m confident, but you’re running out of opportunities and opportunities that are lost. 

“It’s still not a situation where we’re going to panic,” he said. “But I think we’ll be fine. It’s tough with Duke losing those reps, Shaun losing reps and Terrance losing reps early on.”

Pettine said he thinks Johnson and Draughn will return to practice possibly this week, but might be held out of next week’s preseason game with the Bills.

“(Johnson’s return) will likely be next week,” Pettine said. “He might practice and we hold him through the game. I’m confident he’ll be ready for the Tampa game (Sat. Aug. 29), barring any setback, but not sure for the Buffalo game.

“Draughn should get back soon, but will have to wear a cast,” he said. “He’ll likely be in non contact mode for a bit.”

Pryor to Return: WR Terrelle Pryor is scheduled to return to practice on Saturday, Pryor has sat out for over a week since feeling “tightness” in his hamstring.

Gilbert’s Game: Pettine didn’t see the tape of the game the way CB Justin Gilbert did. After the game, Gilbert said other than one mistake on coverage he played “flawless.”

“He made that statement without seeing the film,” Pettine said.  “He made some good plays. He made some bad, typical of most. There were some things he needs to work on. He had a couple good plays in the red zone on RGIII last two plays. It will be good teaching film for Justin.”

Pettine was asked if he is concerned that Gilbert might not be able to contribute the way he’s expected to in the defense.

 “I wouldn’t say I’m concerned at this point,” he said. “That’s why we have training camp. He’s got things he needs to work on. He’s a guy that we want to be a part of what were’ doing. We’re coaching him hard and hopefully he’ll respond.”


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