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Pettine: Hard to justify keeping staff together if I stay

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Browns head coach Mike Pettine is a man who understands motivation.

Although we can't fault him for his honesty -- as reporters and writers, it is what we've always craved from coaches -- it's hard to imagine the impact Pettine's words from Thursday had on his staff heading into the season finale against the Steelers.

Every game, all season

"Will there likely be some changes? If I were to stay here, it would be hard to justify keeping the staff completely together," Pettine said, via Cleveland.com. "And there likely would have to be some changes made, but I won't get into specifics."

Pettine didn't get into specifics, but he did note his disappointment with the defense, and most likely defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil. O'Neil has been a close friend of Pettine's for a long time, and even left New York with Pettine to coach in Buffalo together.

The narrative this season is that Pettine focused more on the offense and allowed O'Neil autonomy on defense.

"It's been a source of frustration," Pettine said. "It's tough for me, too, when that's my area of expertise and it's an area where we've fallen short, especially this year where I felt like we've over achieved offensively. If you look at the roster, the investment, we've underachieved (on defense).

"We're not going to make excuses. It is a source of frustration, disappointment and something that myself and the defensive staff show up here every day to work and get corrected. Some areas we've gotten better and others we haven't."

So all right, staff, let's go out there, make a great game plan and give 'em hell on Sunday!

Pettine's right, the defense has been disappointing, but that's really been the theme throughout the entire organization this year which is why it's tough to lay the blame on one unit.

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