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Browns coach Pat Shurmur 'very optimistic' rookie RB Trent Richardson will be ready for Week 1

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 26, 2012

Scott Fujita, Trent Richardson

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today before practice, which is scheduled to run from 1-3 p.m. Here are some of the highlights from the news conference:

Richardson's return

Shurmur said he’s “very optimistic” rookie running back Trent Richardson will be able to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s the strongest statement Shurmur has made about Richardson’s progress since the latter underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 9.

“He is making great progress,” Shurmur said. “He’ll be out there soon.”

Preseason finale plan

Shurmur said some of the Browns’ starters might play Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears, but other starters likely won’t.

“There’s a chance that they could play,” Shurmur said. “But when I send the ones out there, there’s a very good chance you won’t see some guys.”

Injury update

Shurmur said defensive end Marcus Benard dislocated his left elbow Friday in the Browns’ preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“They fixed it and we’ll just see how quickly he’ll progress,” Shurmur said.

Still confident

Despite the offensive line’s rough outing against the Eagles, Shurmur said, “I’m very confident our offensive line will be one of the strengths of our team. Very confident.”

QB situation

Shurmur said “you’ll see what I’m gonna do with the quarterbacks at final cuts.”

The Browns must cut their roster to 53 players on Friday, and there won’t be enough room for all three backup quarterbacks, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Thaddeus Lewis. McCoy and Wallace are in a competition to become rookie Brandon Weeden’s primary backup.

Shurmur praised McCoy when asked about his preseason performances.

“I think he’s done an outstanding job here in training camp,” Shurmur said of McCoy. “I’m very pleased with where he’s at. I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for him, the way he’s competed, the ways he’s handled this situation – let’s just call it that – and I’m very impressed with how he’s doing. I think that’s good for our team, and I think he understands. He understands one of the primary things you need to understand as a backup at this point – be ready to play because you’re an ankle injury from being in there. And he’s been on both sides of that coin, so he understands it. He’s had a full year now, a season and a full offseason to get to know our system better, and I think it’s showing up that way. I’ve got a great deal of respect for what he’s done.”

First cuts

The Browns announced this morning that they waived nine players, including wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010.

“We were hopeful that [Mitchell] could show us everything that he could do,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately in the last couple years, he’s dealt with injuries. When you talk about why guys make it or don’t make it and how it relates to injuries and not being able to practice, if you’re a guy that’s proven that you can play in this league and you’re injured, well, that’s in your favor. You’ve proven it. For guys that haven’t proven that they can play in this league and you struggle to stay on the field and practice, that’s not in your favor. So quite frankly that may be the case. I’ve got a lot of respect for Carlton. He’s flashed and done some good things here, but again, we’ve gotta make hard decisions and unfortunately he’s not with us anymore.”

The team’s roster is at 80 players, and it must be trimmed to 75 by 4 p.m. Monday.

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