From Ask The Insiders: Reader questions about Mike Pettine, the Browns defense and Johnny Manziel

Our Cleveland Browns Insiders, LA and Fred Greetham, answer reader questions in the post-Week 4 installment of Ask The Insiders. Head to the Ask The Insiders forum to add your own questions.

Rishuz: A few questions about Johnny Manziel

1. The team keeps talking about a plan for him, but they never say what the plan is specifically?  Do they actually have a plan?  If so, what is it?

2. Are you guys getting any word that Manziel is still struggling learning the playbook?

3. Are you guys getting any word that Manziel is still not liked by his teammates?

4. What have you heard about Manziel's command of the huddle?

5. How does Manziel generally play in practice?

6. Do you think Pettine believes he can win with Manziel?

7. If you had to guess, who do the majority of the organization believes has the brighter future:  Manziel or Austin Davis?

Lane Adkins: 1. I am continually told that he has room to grow, needs to work on seeing the field/reads and will play when he is ready.

2. No, I have not heard that at all since the OTAs.

3. I have been told by many that he is gaining the respect of players within.

4. Much better, not a leader yet in voice, but vast improvement over a season ago.

5. Good days, bad days, like most other young QBs.

6. I don't believe the trust is there yet.

7. That may be a split decision -- many like Davis, have for awhile, many like Manziel, especially this 'Johnny'.

tochigi: I applaud your article of Sept 28 "Things remain the same".  Since you definitely are not a knee jerk reaction type I am pretty sure you did not write that in reaction to the Raiders fiasco. Seems you were well "vehement" about some things after the Jets blow out, and maybe much earlier.

Question.....how long have you been feeling this way?  I was really expecting them to ressemble the 2014 team,  (first 12 games anyway) but with a better D. What a huge, huge let down to see we are flat out coached.

How long have you been seeing this? 

Follow up questions 1. I can live with Pettine being average. Do you see that he has upside?  2. Are any of the coaches above average? if so whom?  3. How do you rate our DC?  4. Our OC?  

Lane: The issue has been seeing this team fall into the same rut, making the same mistakes on a consistent basis. While the organization trouts themselves out there and talk a good game -- the issues remain the same.

I'm really not sure what to make of Mike Pettine to be honest. While he seemed to have the pulse of the team, the organization and it's fan-base, I honestly see regression as time has passed. This team does not look energetic, they don't perform with energy and attitude and I get the feel from talking to people that the Browns problems, not just on-field but within the organization are deep-rooted.

We watched the defense perform a bit better after scaling back some scheme, responsibility and playing guys in a bit different look than earlier in the season. This was with Pettine handling the duties of calling the defense for the most part. We are now seeing Jim O'Neil calling the defense and we are seeing increased inconsistency, a greater number of scheme vs offense losses and players missing assignments at a higher rate.

I believe from watching this defense and talking to folks that the DC is having some struggles -- not only with his responsibility, but with the unit performing the defense as he reflects it.

Earthedice:  E.J. Bibbs made plays all preseason and looks to have a little bit of "it".

Are they going to finally make him a part of the offense this week?

Lane: No, looks like he is definitely a 'developmental' type, which is somewhat what we anticipated -- there was a legitimate fear of losing him if exposed to cuts, thus they are bringing him along while on the active roster due to his excellent athleticism and upside.

glousterbrown: Lane, do you think the undisciplined play and constant penalties are a reflection of the "summer camp" Pettine ran this year?

If so, is there any indication he may have learned from it?

Last but not least, is there any hope for the defense this year at all. From my seat, with mistakes coming from all over the place (Coaches, scheme & players), I don't believe it will come close to matching the dollars put towards it.

Lane: In discussing the Browns with a handful of NFL types that have been around the game for ages, the resounding thought was a team that doesn't practice hard will not play hard and display mental error characteristics.

Too early to tell what Pettine has learned from his second training camp, but with the manner this team struggles with mentals, something isn't quite right, whether it is camp, practice, film, something is off.

I am told Pettine is going to be much more involved with the defense this week.

jlacroix: What is the plan for Dwayne Bowe?  Are they going to get rid of him?  I do not understand why he is not playing more if he is healthy enough in order to be active.

Lane: I haven't heard the plan going forward with Bowe, but do know there were some curious eyes on Sunday none to happy with his body language -- and how he put up no fight on a pass attempted to him.

Animaleyz: I didn’t hear/see the presser, was following along on Twitter. But it sounds like he wasn't really saying " Joe Haden put himself before the team. he's a *****", more like "we gave him the option of risking further injury to his finger or not, and he chose not to", in which case Pettine didn't have a problem with the decision.

How did you take it?

Fred Greetham: He just said he let Haden make the call and Haden felt after going through a pre game workout that he wouldn't be as effective as he needed to be to perform.

Junkin: Much about whether Danny Shelton is a "bust"...but what about Cameron Erving? Hasn't seen the field for a team with a frankly underperforming, nonphysical O line.  Thoughts on whether he's another miss, or too early to tell?

Fred: Whether you agree with it or not, they have Erving to replace Alex Mack next season. I don't think either player is a bust. They said they put Bitonio right in last year because there was no competition. They feel that John Greco is playing better than Erving now.


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