Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur watches from the sidelines as his team plays the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this afternoon to discuss the team's 27-19 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Here are some highlights from his chat with reporters:
Shurmur said he was confident his team could bounce back from its season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals because of the way the players reacted following the defeat. "I feel like this team responds," Shurmur said. "When we asked them to clean up mistakes and refocus their efforts, I feel like they did that. ... The way to respond this week is to put the good feeling of winning behind you and then work on the preparation that needs to get done moving forward." The Browns (1-1) are scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins (0-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Shurmur has already turned his attention to Week 3. "We need to move on quickly, and get ready to play the Dolphins," Shurmur said. "They're 0-2. They're fighting to get their first victory. They'll be some things that they're gonna try to do. They have a good football team, and they've got some outstanding players that can make a difference with one play. So I think they're a team that we're gonna have to play our best football to beat."
Shurmur said he was pleased with the following: The team committed fewer penalties (three in Week 2 compared with 11 in Week 1); It handled the crowd noise at Lucas Oil Stadium well; The defense, especially the front four, played well; The offense converted 8-of-16 third downs and 1-of-1 fourth downs; Special teams were solid overall, and the punting was "outstanding."
On the other hand, Shurmur lamented running back Peyton Hillis' lost fumble, the team's red-zone efficiency (2-of-4) and the Colts' 32-yard kickoff return.
Shurmur complimented strong safety T.J. Ward, who had trouble covering Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham in Week 1 but limited Colts tight end Dallas Clark. "T.J.'s a competitor," Shurmur said. "I think he's a terrific player against the run, and I think he covers well. ... He's the kind of guy you want playing safety 'cause he's a gritty guy, he understands how to play and he's competitive."
Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney beat Browns left tackle Joe Thomas around the edge, hit quarterback Colt McCoy and forced a fumble. But Shurmur said Thomas had a solid overall performance against Freeney."I think Joe played a fine game," Shurmur said. ... "I thought Joe played very, very well."
Defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Jayme Mitchell switched sides against the Colts. Sheard moved to left end, and Mitchell moved to right end. They're now expected to stay in their new spots, Shurmur said.
Shurmur said McCoy "played a pretty good game. He made some big plays. A lot of times some of the biggest, most explosive plays are when the thing breaks down. He escaped and extended some plays that ended up being some of our bigger plays."
Running back Montario Hardesty had only three carries for 1 yard. He was used in a goal-line situation early in the fourth quarter. "This is something I need to be a better job of," Shurmur said. "I wanted to get (Hardesty) in the game at some point, (but) I wish we could have got him in the game sooner because he needs to play. Peyton (Hillis) is a bruising style runner that needs a little bit of relief at times, and I think that's what we'll try to do a better job of next time."
Wide receiver Brian Robiskie has yet to catch a pass through the first two games of the regular season. "I'm not down on Brian. I think he competed well, so we'll how the numbers work out. But I felt like it was important for us to get the ball in the hands of Greg (Little) and Josh (Cribbs) and Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi). We got some results from it."
Tight end Alex Smith had three catches for 19 yards. "He's a steady player, and I really have a strong appreciation for what he is," Shurmur said. "(He's) primarily a blocker, but we threw him the ball a couple of times and he made big plays. In games when you're battling it out for 5-yard chunks, that's when you see a guy like Alex show up, and I think he did that."
Offensive lineman Artis Hicks started at right tackle. Oniel Cousins entered the game late in the first half and played the rest of the way. "I think they both played about the way we expected them to," Shurmur said. "Oniel is probably bigger and more physical, and Artis is probably a little quicker on his feet. They both showed up in a way we thought. Neither one of them probably played much better than the other, but I feel good about the progress they're making."