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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 30, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur talks to his players at the NFL football team's training camp in Berea, Ohio Saturday, July 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this afternoon following the first practice of training camp. It was also Shurmur's first practice as a head coach on any level. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “It’s fun to finally be back out here, playing and coaching is what players and coaches do and it was fun to get out here and work with the players.  For our first day I think it went fairly well, we didn’t jump offsides a bunch, we were generally in the right formations, pretty decent execution on both sides. There’s plenty of things we have to clean up, but the tempo, some of the things we were demanding for them to do on how to practice they’re getting use too because they’re kind of just knocking the rust off just like we are as coaches.  I think it’s a good first day, a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go before we get where we want to be.”

(On his concern moving forward with camp in a shortened period of time)- “I’m not so concerned now that we’re out here doing it, I think there’s always the anxiety and anticipation for the first day, but I was generally pleased with the way the guys responded with a lot of new terminology.  I felt like they handled it real well and I think it’s a good foundation of guys here to work with and build on.”

(On Eric Steinbach and Mohamed Massaquoi)- “Mo’s (Massaquoi) got a little foot deal that he came in with and so were just kind of going to evaluate that as we go and make he’s just right when we get him on the field. Steinbach has a little bit of a knee issue.  Same type deal.  Nothing that we feel is serious.  We just want to make sure they’re right when we put them out there.”

(On Benjamin Watson going down in practice)- “Ben today, you saw he was running across the middle and it looked like he lost his footing on the route, and then he went down. I think he got a knee in the back of the head, so well have to see. He’s in there being evaluated, so we’ll see how he’s doing”

(On Steinbach and Massaquoi possibly getting put on the PUP list)- “Not at this point, we feel like we can get them out here sometime soon, so we’ll see.

(On Massaquoi got injured at ‘Camp Colt’)- “I don’t know. There’s some question as to when it happened. I’m not avoiding your question, but I think he’s just going to have to let it get settled down and then we’ll put him out there when he’s ready.”

(On what his message was when he met with the entire team for the first time last night)- “Well there were a lot of messages because it was the first time I saw them, but one of the things was that were moving forward and respect for what’s happened before us. In the NFL, there’s always change, whether there’s some change, a little change, a lot of change and I asked the fellas to embrace it and move forward. I think that was part of the message.  Some of them might tell you if you ask them.  Beyond that, it was just some of the things that were looking for and how we do business.  Then there was a piece of the meeting on getting to know one another.  Also, we had all the people in the organization that are going to work with the players, had an opportunity to introduce themselves because there are a lot of new faces, and we haven’t been around each other in what has been really an abnormal offseason.  From that stand point it was a little longer than most.”

(On the pace of the first practice)- “I think they’re learning what that pace is. I really do believe though you try to practice at game speed as much as you can.  From getting the play call and getting in-and-out of the huddle, and I think there’s a little bit of a learning curve.  Even if you know it, some of what I saw was what you would see on a first OTA after they’ve been away for a couple of months. For the most part, when we asked them to pick it up they responded.”

(On Brandon Jackson)- “He’s a fine football player. I feel really good that we got him in the fold.  He played 600 snaps, started 13 games for a team that won the Super Bowl.  Offensively, I would say he is somewhat of a scheme fit, terminology wise the Packers and Mike McCarthy are from a very similar book.  From that standpoint, I’m excited.  He’s really a sturdy looking guy and we like what we saw in film and were glad he’s here.  He’ll get out there as soon as the rules allow.”

(On if Usama Young will compete for starting job at free safety)- “Yeah, we think so.  He’s another one of those guys whose had some production.  He really is a tough guy and I know he played good ball down there in New Orleans. We feel good about what he might bring to our secondary.”

(On if they need another corner because Eric Wright left)- “I think we’re going to look in that direction. I don’t know if we feel like we need one.  Eric (Wright) of course going to Detroit.  I think most teams now are still probably shaping their rosters a little bit because we’re starting training camp in the midst of, I don’t know if this is the beginning, the end of free agency, I don’t know what this is. I have to get briefed on the rules every morning.  I think I can talk about it (joking).  I think everybody is doing a little roster shaping so I don’t think you should be surprised of any team bringing in a player or two.”

(On Phil Taylor not being here)- “We obviously would love to have him here. I know they’re working very hard to get a deal done.  I’ve seen this before in other places, you just work with the guys that you have.  The time they missed is valuable, but when you get them here, we have good coaches that will spend time with him and try and get him up to speed as quickly as you can. There are a couple of phases to training camp that are important, especially for a big guy.  Obviously the cardio vascular, the carrying of your pads, the engagement with the offensive line, and then learning what you have to do.  Those are all things we’ll just fight to catch up on when he gets here.”

(On who the leaders will be this year)- “There are some guys that have stepped to the forefront. Colt McCoy and Seneca (Wallace) are guys that have shown leadership and that’s kind of natural thing from the quarterback position.  Obviously Scott Fujita on defense, you’ve got Sheldon Brown and some of the young guys have shown leadership with T.J. Ward and Joe Haden.  Then you’ve got guys really across the board that you see some of those characteristics.  Now, we need to empower them to do it, and as they get more and more comfortable. Most of the time really good leaders get really good at what they’re doing and then they can lend a helping hand.  There are guys out there that have that skill and ability, that talent to lead and as we get to know each other more and more those guys will rise to the top.”

(On what impressed him when watching tape on Joe Thomas)- “Joe is obviously one of the finer left tackles in the business.  Very, very good pass protector.  I guess what impressed me is that he’s a fine run blocker as well.  Typically, you find a guy that’s good at one and average at others, but I think Joe is good in both phases. Extremely good.

(What makes Thomas so good)- “I think he’s big, got long arms, got good feet, has balance and body control. He has pretty good power for a guy that’s a tackle and he has a feel for the game.  Usually, what makes a player good is kind of a combination and he’s blessed with a lot of those things.”

(On the new practice rules)- “We had to make some adjustments, most teams in the mornings will have a practice between two and two and a half, three hours.  Most teams do that, so it’s not that different.  This practice we stretched it out a couple of minutes to make it the proper length.  This is typical of what you’ll see whether they’re in pads or not.  The change for us was the afternoon sessions.  We had some more little full speed type drills, we called them 10-10-10s, and dedicated special teams periods. Now, what ends up happening is we have to do those in walk through mode.  We’ll still get these things done, but the pace will be different.”

(On any concerns he has from what he’s seen)- “I think the guys we have on this team have a chance to execute our offense, so that doesn’t concern me.  I feel good about the talent we’re starting with.  Right now, maybe what concerns me is a better question for three weeks from now.”

(On signing Jayme Mitchell)- “That was a big signing. We feel like he is a terrific pass rusher.  The guys that were here last year and I had a chance to watch some practice snaps. He didn’t play much in games, but we feel like he’s got a chance to be what a defensive end is in this league and so we glad that he’ll be with us.”

(On what he liked most from Coly McCoy today)- “I thought he did a good job. There’re a couple things today, that when we the watch film here at four, I’ll think he’ll learn from.  There were a couple plays out there where he did the right thing, but he could have done something a little more right, I’ll say.  He immediately knew it.  When I approached him to tell him he said, ‘I know I got it,’ and I said well you’ll see it at four.”

(Where Mitchell will play)- “We’ll play him probably at left end.”

(When he expects Mitchell in)- “I’m going to get a little bit of an update on that. I am sure there’s a lot that has gone on since we’ve been out here.”

(On first practice as a head coach)- “I was able to move around more of the field than I normally did, which was fun.  But once you get into the practice and through the individual and into the team phases I felt I was standing in about the same spot (laughs).”

(On his personal philosophy with simulated noise during practice)- “I think there’s benefit to doing that, and there will be times when we use noise.  Typically what we’ll do is practice inside and there’s a reason for it.  We’ll do it at times, but I don’t do that all the time.”

(On the receivers and potential of adding a veteran)- “I don’t know about that, that’s probably a better question for later in the week.  I think, when I looked at the receivers just as a unit we really have pretty good size, big guys.  I saw except for a couple of occasions today a couple of misfires, a couple of drops, but for the most part I thought they did a decent job catching the ball.   As I get a better feel for the receivers and who they are, I’ll have a better idea, but they did a good job today”

(On free agents who were not allowed to practice today)- “A lot of those guys are veteran players and they know how to respond to change.  They’ve been in the meetings and they did a good job of watching all the team drills. They’ll find a way to get themselves some exercise here, I’m sure so they can stay somewhat physically ready.  You’d love to have your whole team out here all the time and at some point we will.”

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