One of the results of the preseason finale with the Bears was that it appears the Browns have their starting running back.
Isaiah Crowell was given the night off, while Terrance West and Shaun Draughn played in the game. Duke Johnson sat out with a concussion suffered in the Tampa Bay game a week earlier.
Mike Pettine was asked why Crowell was ahead.
“The whole body of work.”
West started and had nine carries for 35 yards and also caught a pass for 16 yards. Pettine was asked if West was in good standing with the team.
“What’s your definition of good standing?” Pettine asked. “Terrance, it’s well documented, has had his ups and down and has had flashes of brilliance and had times of minuses on the grade sheet. We know he can do it. It’s just more on a consistent basis. That’s why we felt he needed to work (against the Bears).”
Pettine had no other update on Johnson, other than he remains in the NFL concussion protocol.
“Duke is in the protocol and I don’t have much of an update, today’s report,” he said. “He and Pierre (Desir) are going through it at the same time. We’ll have more when we have to issue the first injury report (Wednesday).”
Pettine said if Johnson is cleared to practice next week, he’ll likely play in the season opener against the Jets on Sept. 13.
“If he’s cleared to play, absolutely he’ll be out there.”
Manziel Throws: Pettine disclosed that QB Johnny Manziel has started to throw—not necessarily the football.
“I just know he’s where he should be in the protocol,” Pettine said. “He gets looked at every day. I just know he’s on schedule. He started throwing.”
After a followup question about throwing the football, Pettine said:
“I didn’t say he’s throwing a football, but he’s already begun (throwing),” he said. “He’s going through his rehab protocol and we expect him to be throwing a football soon, if not today.”
Pettine said Manziel has been throwing a tennis ball and then progressed to a weighted ball.
Pettine admitted the roster decisions on keeping the number of quarterbacks does somewhat depend on the medical report.
“We haven’t arrived at the decision yet on the number of (quarterbacks) to keep,” he said. “Any time your back up quarterback is coming off injury, there is some angst, but we’ll take that all in consideration when we make the 53.”
Pryor Make It?: Pettine was asked if WR Terrelle Pryor will make the roster.
“To be determined,” Pettine said 24 hours before the final cuts have to be made.
Pettine said there were several things the coaches wanted to see him do in the game, not just catching passes. He ran the ball twice out of the quarterback position and was on the punt team, as well as running from the wide receiver position.
“We had a checklist of some of the things we wanted to see him do,” Pettine said. “He has an unique skill set. We had a checklist and checked it off the list.”
Pettine said when they brought in Pryor in making the transition from a quarterback to a receiver, they knew it would take time.
“I think that’s understood,” he said. “It is a project to take a guy who has played quarterback for the majority of his career. Even if he hadn’t got injured,it certainly is a leap of faith.”
Farmer Successor: Browns GM Ray Farmer is set to begin a four-game suspension starting Monday for texting the sideline during games last season. Pettine was asked what the plan will be while Farmer is gone.
“We’ll issue a statement in the next 24 hours and that will all get cleared up.”
On the Bubble: Pettine was asked how close the Browns are in finalizing their roster with mandatory cuts due by Saturday at 4 p.m. Pettine did say that WR Dwayne Bowe was “not on the bubble” going into the Bears game.
“We’re close,” he said. “It’s different from a year ago, where we’re much more settled on the vast majority of the roster, but there is discussion for those final few roster spots. It’s more in Ray (Farmer’s) world than mine.”
Pettine said although the decisions are tough, he’s excited with the 2015 Browns.
“This is an exciting time,” he said. “We knew some of these decision would be tough.”
Pettine said it’s more difficult when a good number of players are picked up from other teams after the cuts and trying to assimilate them into the roster.
“I think it’s unsettling when you claim six, seven guys,” he said. “It’s tough when you claim someone and when you minimize it the better off your are, but you’re always looking to upgrade your roster. If you see it as a chance to upgrade, you do it.”
Pettine was asked what players helped themselves in the last preseason game. He mentioned WR Josh Lenz, TE Rob Housler and DL Jamie Meder.
“I think Rob finished camp on a high note,” he said. “I think he struggled early in camp and did well starting in Rochester. I know we’re heavy at the position but Rob has put him self in position to merit a spot on the 53.”
“We think a lot of Josh,” Pettine said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He gets open and he’s made the most of his opportunity. make the decision difficult he certainly has done that and is one of the names being discussed.
“Across the board their job was to go out an make the decision difficult and a number of guys did that.”