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Browns coach Pat Shurmur: Emmanuel Stephens named starting DE moving forward

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 21, 2011
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) tries to avoid Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Emmanuel Stephens (96) and linebacker Scott Fujita (99) after a nine yard pass in the fourth quarter in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, in Cleveland. The Browns won 14-10. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today to discuss his team's 14-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Emmanuel Stephens will continue to start at right defensive end in place of Jayme Mitchell, Shurmur said. The Browns re-signed Mitchell to a two-year deal in July. He started the Browns' first eight games of this season before being replaced by Stephens, who's pictured above and to the left, in the past two games. "Coaches' choice," Shurmur said. "We felt like (Stephens) played well the week before, and we felt like he warranted being the starter." When asked if there was an issue with Mitchell's performance against the run, Shurmur said, "Nope. No issue. Coaches' choice." This past Sunday against the Jaguars, Stephens and rookie Jabaal Sheard started, and Mitchell rotated with them. The Browns claimed Stephens off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 4. He spent last season with the Falcons, but he did not appear in a regular-season game.

  • Quarterback Colt McCoy is OK and will practice all week despite hurting his throwing shoulder against the Jaguars, Shurmur said. "Colt's fine," Shurmur said. "There's nothing to add. He got banged around a little bit, and, yeah, it was his shoulder. He's fine. We didn't go through any major evaluation. Don't ask about the MRI. I don't think he had one. I don't think he needs one." Shurmur said he doesn't know whether trainers believe McCoy's aggravated shoulder is related to the pinched nerve that lingered last season after he suffered it in his final college game.

  • Running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and strong safety T.J. Ward (foot) will be out Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Shurmur said.

  • Shurmur said he's hopeful running back Montario Hardesty (calf) will be able to play against the Bengals. "You have to be a little careful on this one being it's a calf on a runner," Shurmur said. "For those of us that walk, a calf injury might not be a big deal. But for a runner, we've got to make sure he's right."

  • Fullback Owen Marecic suffered a concussion against the Jaguars. "We obviously follow the guidelines and the standards returning from those injuries very strictly, so we'll see he how does," Shurmur said. "I can't tell you yet his availability for Sunday."

  • Linebacker Quinton Spears, who has primarily served as a special-teams player this season, suffered a "somewhat significant" hamstring injury against the Jaguars.


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