Cleveland Browns linebacker Titus Brown (59) celebrates with teammate Mike Adams after Brown picked up a fimble by Green Bay Packers quarterback Graham Harrell and ran it in for a touchdown in the third quarter of their preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this morning for his pre-practice news conference. Here are some highlights from his chat with reporters:
Free safety Mike Adams, pictured below and to the right, has started all three of the Browns' exhibition games while Usama Young has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. "I think (Adams has) taken advantage of the extra reps that he's gotten, and he's played in there much like you would expect from a starter, so I've learned that about him," Shurmur said. "I think he's more than, in my mind, just a backup-type player right now. Until the other guys come back, he's our starter. And then he may still be."
Shurmur didn't reveal if any injured players will return when the team practices from 1-3 p.m. today. "I've gotta get the final word on that," he said. "We've got guys in and out quite a bit."
No final decision has been made about the status of left guard Eric Steinbach, who's out with a disc problem in his back. "We'll be close to (a decision) soon," Shurmur said.
With Brandon Jackson in a cast because of a toe injury, Shurmur indicated the team could be searching for a third-down running back. "It's uncertain how quickly he'll be back, so we'll have to make a decision there probably as to what we're gonna do to get another runner ready to go or another runner in here," Shurmur said.
Rookie strong safety Eric Hagg, who recently had surgery on his left knee, is doing tremendous, Shurmur said. "He's a fast healer," Shurmur said.
Defensive end Marcus Benard is still heavier than he was a year ago, but Shurmur said "he's getting himself more and more in playing shape, which I think is good."
The time running back Montario Hardesty has missed this summer while rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee hasn't spoiled Shurmur's plans to use Hardesty and Peyton Hillis in the backfield together at the same time. "I think we've put in packages of plays that we can either run with a fullback and a traditional tailback, two tailbacks or two fullbacks," Shurmur said. "So how we use those guys will be based on who's healthy and available each week. If we have a roster where we're going in and playing a game where Montario and Peyton are both available, I think it makes sense to put them in there a small percentage of the time."
Josh Cribbs, who has been out with a hamstring problem, is the Browns' first-string kickoff and punt returner despite his lack of reps in the preseason, Shurmur said. "If he's on the game day roster ready to go, he'll do it," Shurmur said.
Hillis gave Shurmur a copy of the Madden NFL 12 video game, which will be released in stores on Tuesday. But it wasn't compatible with the video game system that Shurmur's teenage son, Kyle, owns. "I think (Kyle is) interested to see what I look like on the game," Shurmur said. Of course, an image of Hillis is on the cover of the game.