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Press Conference Transcript: Mike Pettine Introducing the Browns' New Offensive Coordinator

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The Browns hired Raiders Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo to be their Offensive Coordinator. Here's what Mike Pettine had to say at the introductory press conference.

Mike Pettine's introductory statement:

Obviously I'm very pleased, very excited to announce John DeFilippo as the new Offensive Coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. As I've said, Flip has a lot to offer: very bright, very energetic, very passionate -- and the thing that sticks out the most to me is his ability to pull people together. I think he has outstanding people skills. It's hard to be in a bad mood around him. As you guys know, I have a soft spot for coaches' kids, so here's another one. Growing up around the game, loves the game. Like I said, works extremely well with other people -- and that's very important to develop the staff around him and more importantly the players around him.

When you lose someone on your coaching staff, no matter what the reasons are, you look at it as an opportunity. I see it as an opportunity for us to get better. I see it as an opportunity for us to develop. Personally, I see it as an opportunity for myself -- I felt last year was a situation where I had to get bunkered in for the most part with the defense to make sure that we were up and running. I feel very secure with the way that group ended the season, with where they are as a staff, with how they interact -- I thought Jim O'Neil did an outstanding job. Early in the year, I just threw him in the deep end and he came out of it swimming. Did a great job for us.

I see this now as an opportunity for me to become much more immersed in the other side of the ball where I feel I can lend my background, my defensive expertise, channel my former high school quarterback into it a little bit, so it's something personally I'm very excited [about].

As for Kyle's departure, I really don't have much to say on that. We met after the season and he outlined his issues to me and I just felt it would be better off if we parted ways, so I accepted his resignation. I felt like it was the best course of action for the Browns and, as I said, our goal is to move forward and to improve and with the hiring here of John DeFilippo I feel extremely confident that we can do that.


Pettine on why Kyle Shanahan left:

When Kyle talked to me -- it was a very private conversation, I'm not going to get into details -- it was not much about [the quarterback situation]. I think a lot of people are just putting that out there as a possible reason where he looked at it and said "Hey, the QB situation's not great and this is one of the reasons that I want to get out of here" but I won't get into details but in his reasoning to me that was not a part of it.


Pettine on possibly getting compensation for Shanahan:

I know there was a discussion but that was more [where] you start to get into that legal stuff -- that's when I walk out of the room with those conversations -- but it was something that we didn't want it to drag out. Again, I don't want to spend a lot of time on this but it's just, it's very hard to win in the NFL when everybody's into it and they truly want to be there. If you have somebody that just doesn't want to be there, I know it's easy to say "Hey, he's under contract, hold him to it" but now there's a dark cloud over your coaching offices and I've been a part of that. Like I said, [in] this business it's hard to win and you gotta have everybody into it, passionate about the Cleveland Browns, and pulling the rope in the same direction.


Pettine on if he knew about how Shanahan felt before he left:

Yes, I spoke to Kyle. I got out of town for a little bit, spoke to him briefly before I left, and then during that time I was away he had gotten a hold of me that he wanted to get together. So, I knew there were some issues that we were going to meet on and then the result of it was us agreeing to part ways after I got back.


Pettine on his relationship with General Manager Ray Farmer:

Yeah, I know the word friction was used -- and I think Ray used it. I prefer to term that a little more "healthy debate" than anything else. I think that's very overblown. I think a lot of it's natural. You have both coaching and personnel that both have their ideas on players and a lot of times personnel's looking to build more to the future whereas -- especially in year one -- coaching staff, hey, I'm worried about Sunday, I'm not worried about Sunday two, three years from now. So I think that's just inherent with it. I would never at any point term my relationship with Ray as anything other than a great working relationship and I think if we agreed on everything that would be an issue. That's just, that's not going to happen and there are times where he'll voice his opinion on a player and I'll voice mine or voice the coaching staff's -- sometimes it'll go the way of the coaching staff, sometimes the personnel department wins out but, to me, it's all for the same cause, for the same purpose that we want the Cleveland Browns to win. That's the bottom line. Ray's very passionate about this team and wants to build the best roster that he can possibly build and sometimes those things happen but I feel great about where we are and I said this at the end of the year press conference as well that it just seems to be that time of year that people want to look at us and talk about how dysfunctional we are and let that talk go, 'cause it's on the outside. I know on the inside what we're building and I feel even better now. I feel rejuvenated now. I feel that we're headed down the right path.


Pettine on free agents wanting to come to play for the Browns:

When we talked to the free agents last year and they were coming into a situation where you looked at Cleveland and a lot of the guys we targeted we got them to come here. So, I think that a big part of it is that we have to sell ourselves and if they like the contract being offered and they like what they're hearing from us then we'll get them here. I don't see that as an issue. We're very young so I know we talk about whether it's five coordinators in five years but how many of our guys on offense have been here the last five years? So, the silver lining to me is that they've shown an ability to learn and adapt, which is a big part of football. I don't get wrapped up in that, but outside of Joe Thomas, maybe Alex I know has been here for a few, there's just not that many, so it's easy to put that out there, the lack of continuity but for a lot of these guys they were first year part of our offense, first or second year, just this past year. So, we're going to put a plan together for them, they're going to come in here and see how passionate we are about this offense -- that the energy that's going to be up in front of the room -- and it's going to be one of those situations where they can't help but be excited once they see the direction we're headed.


Pettine on the league investigating into allegations of unpermitted text messaging:

Obviously I'm aware of it, I do know that's an ongoing league investigation. So at this time I prefer not to talk about it.


Pettine on if he knew about the investigation:

Yeah, the investigators came in here and I spoke with them. Like I said, when that's resolved I'll be in a better situation to speak on it.


Pettine on how much experience factored into the offensive coordinator search:

I mean, that's something that's part of it but I also look back and I think that's the easy route to go, the safer route to go of "Hey, this guy's more of a brand name." I'm sure a lot of people at midday yesterday we're like "Who the heck is John DeFilippo?" just like a lot of people were in New York when I went with Rex and was named the defensive coordinator. A lot of people were here last year when Jim O'Neil was named the defensive coordinator. I think you have to weigh it but you also, when you know a guy's ready and has that skill set and the only thing that's missing is that opportunity to do it, I think that's a route you can go and I know John's ready having been around him in 2009, had an outstanding interview here last year, was very much in the mix, but that's something you weigh into -- and I know on the outside there's kinda that pressure to make more of a brand name hire and as I said a year ago, I'm not interested in winning offseason press conferences, I'm interested in winning games in the fall. It was very clear to me after the extensive research that I did and the number of interviews that we did that John here is the answer for us.


Pettine on why he hired someone he's worked with previously:

Well -- because I've been through this situation before where I was asked "Said 'Hey, you gotta be careful hiring friends'" and all of us in coaching, we have a lot of friends in coaching and it is a fine line because I guarantee you I got fifty, sixty guys that I know that would love to be here that I just don't think would be a good fit. The plus part of it though is when you've worked with somebody and you've seen firsthand how much they love football, how well they relate to other people, how hard they work, and the results that they get and you've witnessed it firsthand, to me that's the best kind of recommendation that there can be, as opposed to calling somebody "Hey, what do you think of so-and-so?" Most of the time are you going to get the 100 percent truth as opposed to you've witnessed it yourself? So there's certainly a comfort level with the guys -- I know I was close with Jim O'Neil and the same thing was brought up and I'm obviously getting the question now here with Flip. So again, I think it's important that you have that sense of that chemistry, that cohesion -- and when you know you already have it because you've been around somebody, that can't help but be a plus.


Pettine on filling the remaining openings on the offensive coaching staff:

There's no other planned changes. Those two positions are open [quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach]. We've developed a list together, actually spoke to some candidates down in Mobile. We'll continue to do so through early next week. I'd like to have the staff completed probably by mid-week next week.


Pettine on the quarterback situation at this point in the offseason:

I'm not going to get into specifics. Each player had a plan. I know [Johnny] has been back here a decent amount. All the guys that were injured at the end of the year were required, had training room appointments. That was all scheduled through [Head Athletic Trainer Joe Sheehan]. So I do know that he's been back for those. As we start to get to free agency -- we've already had round one of our roster evaluation, which was right at the end of the season -- more importantly on the offensive side, once we get the staff together and we get a chance to go through all the tape extensively -- we'll have a much better plan, because you have to marry that with looking at free agency and looking at the draft. Sometimes if you want to make a move at a position [if] there's not an answer in free agency or there's not an answer in the draft you're less likely to do it as opposed to if you feel good about an upgrade because there's an abundance of a certain type of player in free agency or in the draft and that would affect your decisions. So those are all the things -- and the schedule's tough because Ray and his staff are on the road, they're down in Mobile, they went to the East/West game the week before -- but when we get back here and get together those are all items that will be on the table for discussion.


Pettine on who will call plays on offense:

Uh, a little bit of both. [Pettine and Flip will both be involved in calling plays on offense.] I'm just really flipping sides as far as spending time. When you're a head coach, you're a head coach of the entire team and to me you can't have that excuse of "Hey, well that's really not my area of expertise, I've been a defensive guy" and I do think that there's not enough communication between offenses and defenses as far as what's out there and what works and "Hey, this is a pass protection that they're running, I'm going to go across to the offensive guys and ask them "Hey, what are the tough pressures or tough looks against that?'" I think that I need to be more of a bridge between the offensive and defensive staff and get that information flowing. We did some of it last year, but I think switching sides for me will really accelerate that and increase the amount of information that's crossing sides.



You can view a video of the press conference on the Cleveland Browns official website. You can also view a transcript of what Coach Flip had to say.