"There were a couple plays where I think that we would definitely want -- we just came out of the personnel meeting and talked about it -- that we would have wanted better effort," Pettine told reporters on a conference call. "But it was not a mistake to play him late."
Added Pettine: "He needs the work, learning the new system. And that's a (position) room (where) you don't want to not play him and then put the other players at risk by increasing their individual workloads."
Asked if he thought Gordon looked "disinterested" in catching one pass for eight yards off five targets, Pettine correctly noted that a handful of throws from Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer were thrown off target.
But Pettine emphasized that he wanted to see his star receiver "finish plays better," noting that every player on the roster is tasked with putting forth a "regular-season effort to match preseason effort."
The reality for Pettine and the Browns is that Gordon might be a ghost come September. His impact in August means little if he's on his couch watching a Cleveland offense that could still use another month of training camp.