PITTSFORD, N.Y. - The Browns didn’t need any more injuries, especially in their secondary, but cornerback Justin Gilbert went down early in practice Tuesday night and immediately pounded the ground with his hand in disgust.
“I believe it is a hip flexor,” Pettine said after practice. “It happened during the one-on-one period here in the red zone.”
Pettine said he doesn’t think the injury is serious.
“I don’t think it’s significant,” he said. “It’s a hip flexor so it will just be a little bit of time.”
Gilbert is the fifth cornerback to be on the injury list. He joins Joe Haden, Robert Nelson, Pierre Desir and K’Waun Williams. All but Williams has a hamstring injury, but Pettine said Haden is being held out as a precaution.
“Some of our guys we’re holding out – Joe (Haden) could have gone, but that is more of a precautionary thing,” Pettine said. "It is tough. I think everybody in the league is trying to solve the soft tissue riddle.
“We feel like our protocol is tried and true, and unfortunately, we are still ending up with some pulls,” he said. "That is something that we are constantly in a state of evaluating.
“We stress to our guys you have to eat right, sleep well and make sure we are hydrated. It is a source of frustration. Sometimes, you have it where you want guys to push through, but you don’t want to worsen it so you usually err on the side of caution.”
Meanwhile, Terrell Pryor was back on the stationary bike after having his hamstring flare up again.
“He felt his hammy grab again a little bit (Monday),” Pettine said.
Petting said the Browns are trying to figure out what’s causing the epidemic in hamstring injuries.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I think everybody in the league is trying to solve the soft tissue riddle. We feel that our protocol is tried and true…It is a source of frustration. Sometimes you want guys to push through, but you don’t want to worsen it.”
Looking to Tampa Bay: Pettine said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel with the injury situation. After Thursday night’s game with the Bills, the Browns are off until a week from Saturday when the will travel to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what is termed the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the regular season.
“We feel we’re close to getting some of our guys back and also with the long break until Tampa, it’s kind of a luxury to have—what is it 9–10 days we’ll have until Tampa,” Pettine said. “We’ll get some of our guys back and we’ll be much better off headed into that one assuming we can get through Thursday night pretty clean.”
“I think we’d like to time it up for Tampa to have as many as our ones and key backups out there and get some quality work then. We also want to get some quality work Thursday.”
Petting said the coaching and training staff with hold guys out of this week’s game if there’s any doubt.
For Starters: Pettine said he anticipates the starters playing a bit more than they did in the preseason opener last week on Thursday against the Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I can see the starting guys getting 15–25 snaps,” he said. “Some guys more some less.”
QB Josh McCown will start again, followed by QB Johnny Manziel and QB Thad Lewis.
“Josh will start,” he said. “Johnny might go into the third quarter. We’ll see the snap count and then Thad will go in.”
With QB Connor Shaw being lost to injury, Pettine said he doesn’t think they need to bring another quarterback.
“Don’t think we’re there yet.”
Pettine was asked about DL Phil Taylor and DL Billy Winn, who haven’t played yet in the preseason.
“Billy for sure (will play) and we’ll see how Phil feels,” Pettine said. “(Taylor) got some good work up here and we’ll see how he feels.”
Happy Returns: Pettine said he feels scrimmaging another NFL team pays great dividends for the Browns.
“I think it will be some great tape to go off of,” he said. "Anytime you can get out and against another team in a semi-controlled environment you are going to get more work done than going against yourselves.
“Some of these situations are even better than the preseason game,” he said. “You can simulate some things and then not put your quarterbacks at risk.”
The Browns practiced Monday and Tuesday with the Bills and will have meetings in Rochester before heading back to Berea. The Bills come to FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday night for the second preseason game.
“I think the energy is that of – it is game type speed, especially inside with the lines,” Pettine said. “To me it is competing against somebody other than your own. You kind of get in a comfort zone when you are going against your own guys and you don’t get a good sense for where you stand. I think the adrenaline ratchets up a little bit and guys want to prove something to other guys in the league. I think it is just naturally just better competition.”
Quick Hits: WR Travis Benjamin had a tough night after having a great day on Monday. Benjamin dropped a couple of passes, including would be touchdown pass from QB Johnny Manziel after getting behind two defenders. In disgust, Benjamin kicked the ball. Benjamin did bounce back to have a nice catch on a crossing pattern for nine yards from QB Josh McCown…Mccowen’s best play was a 39-yar toss to WR Andrew Hawkins who got behind DB Aaron Williams and S Duke Williams. McCown and Hawkins hooked up for a 22-yard gain later on…McCown threw an interception in the end zone when his pass was tipped up in the air by DL Stefan Charles and intercepted by LB Preston Brown…Manziel’s best play was a 46-yard toss to rookie WR Shane Wynn on fourth-and–11 in the team scrimmage. Wynn was covered by DB Mario Butler and DB Jonathan Meeks…Manziel also threw an interception in the end zone by DB Ron Brooks on a pass intended for WR Josh Lenz.
Bike Brigade: The Browns had nine players on the stationary bikes, while holding three players out for rest in OL Joe Thomas, LB Karlos Dansby and LB Paul Kruger. WR Dwayne Bowe (hamstring), DB Pierre Desir (hamstring), RB Shaun Draughn (hand), DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (knee), DB Joe Haden (hamstring), DB Tashaun Gipson (calf), RB Duke Johnson Jr. (hamstring), RB Luke Lundy (concussion), LB Barkeviovs Mingo (knee), WR Marlon Moore (ribs), DB Robert Nelson Jr. (hamstring), WR Terrell Pryor (hamstring), DB De’Ante Saunders (calf), QB Connor Shaw (right thumb), TE Randall Teller (foot), DB K’Waun Williams (abdominal) and RB Glenn Winston (knee).