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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 5, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this morning following the sixth practice of training camp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “First, before I get started, I wanted to recognize the world wide Browns Backers Clubs that are here.  We’ve got one of the most fantastic support groups and fans in the NFL.  We’re glad they were here to witness what I thought was a very competitive practice.  As far as injuries go, Jabari Fletcher sprained his new knee.  Joe Haden woke up today with a tight hamstring. Him not being out here was precautionary, there’s nothing really to report there.  That’s about it, unless something creeps up here like a finger or a sore arm.  There’s nothing in there, beyond that, to report.  I thought the work was good. It was pretty physical this morning.  The guys that practiced yesterday afternoon responded pretty well to wearing their pads.  Some of the obvious things, Phil Taylor, his presence was felt in there.  You could see in some of those running drills.  He’s a tough guy to move.  He did a nice job.  At the end, there was a very competitive period with the two-minute drill.  We got a lot of plays in one minute there.  I thought there was great competition.  It was a good, solid training camp morning.  The players completed well.  Fortunately, we walked away with no injuries other than Jabari.”

(On the practice scheduled for tomorrow)- “The stadium practice will be tomorrow.  It’s going to be a practice format.  We’ll try to structure it somewhat like a game, put the coaches on the side for some of the drills.  It’s going to be at the stadium tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  That’ll be the structure.  It will feel like a game in some periods and look like a practice in others.  That’s what I intend to do.”

(On a timetable for Mohamed Massaquoi’s return)- “We just have to see how he progresses.  I wouldn’t put a timetable on it.  Not yet.”

(On if Montario Hardesty will be ready when they need him)- “What we’re doing with him is kind of a planned deal.  As we started training camp, we knew there would be some actual live practice time that he would miss.  We knew that.  We’re just working through that so we don’t create any setbacks.  Most of what’s going on with him right now is planned.”

(On if Hardesty is frustrated not practicing)- “He’s like any player.  He’s competitive and he’d like to be out here, but, I think we have to be smart about how we handle him on his return to play.”

(On Hardesty, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jackson sharing the backfield)- “They all have things they do well.  Peyton’s a big physical runner.  Montario can be very explosive.  We’re getting to know Brandon.  I think he has some of the same skill set that we know Montario has.  Those guys are all guys you can put in the backfield and hand them the football.”

(On how Greg Little responded today after his practice yesterday)- “I thought he responded well.  He made some catches.  He’s a guy that can push through the physical part of camp.  He runs a lot of routes and he did a nice job today. He did good.”

(On throwing Usama Young into the starting lineup)- “The players that we feel like we might be counting on, we want to get them in there and get them going.  They’re professionals.  Some of these guys, even though they missed a little time with us, they got themselves in shape.  Now, they need to get in there and do it.”

(On if the lockout was avoided, would he have set up a scrimmage against another team)- “I don’t know about practicing against another team.  We’ve had some move the ball periods and that.  We’re doing some of the work that you might have seen last year.  I’m leaving the coaches behind so that they walk with the team and have the ability to coach them immediately.  That would be the only thing I would see different. A lot of what you would get in a scrimmage, you’ll notice, there were some unscripted periods in there when I was calling the plays.  The only difference was that everybody wasn’t away from it.  There’s coachable moments you can’t miss when you’re practicing.  When the coaches are close to the players and behind and watching it’s easier to communicate and get them right back in there.”

(On strategizing for the new kickoff rules)- “I think there’ll be some strategy to it.  At times, depending who your kicker is, who the returner is and the field conditions that the ball is going to get popped up in the air as high as you can, then try and get the coverage down and swarm the returner.  If situations dictate that returner is out of this world and you don’t want him to touch it and you have a kicker that can bang it through the end zone, then you’re not going to let him touch it.  There may be some extreme’s there.”

(On if the new rules are a disadvantage for Joshua Cribbs)- “No, I think Cribbs is a fantastic returner.  I think he’s going to get his opportunities to touch the ball.”

(On calling the offense back to the huddle multiple times)- “Typically, it’s for some of the guys that are lower in line, some of the backup type players.  If a play comes out of the huddle and there’s one or two guys not lined up in the right spot I want the quarterback to get it fixed.  At some point, it just comes out and its way wrong and I can see nobody can get it fixed.  That’s when I blow it and start it over.”

(On if it’s just alignment issues)- “It’s just alignment issues, which is natural this time of year. There is a heavy load on their plate mentally and sometimes guys screw up.”

(On if Richmond McGee will become the new holder)- “Typically, you’ll find that the punter is the holder.  They’re working together.  We’ll have other guys working in there as we move forward though.”

(On Cribbs playing wide receiver)- “He did a nice job today.  There’re some routes in our package I think he runs very well.  He made a couple plays today on slant routes and little arrow routes.  I think he’s progressing as a receiver in my mind.  It’s good to have him back out there.  I think it’s important we keep him in a position where he can be explosive as a returner as well.”

(On problems Phil Taylor presents to opposing offensive linemen)- “He’s a giant, just standing behind it today, by structure we tried to run it right a little bit just to see.  He held up in there pretty good.  When you have a big force in the middle that makes it difficult to run between the tackles then that makes in tough on the offense.  You start eliminating options.  Hopefully he can provide that for us along with (Ahtyba) Rubin.”

(On if maximizing Cribbs’ ability as a returner will minimize his reps at wide receiver)- “No, he’s not going to be limited.  Cribbs is a fantastic player and we’re going to try and put him in a position to make plays.  However we can do it.”

(On Branndon Braxton running with the first team during two-minute period)- “He’s done a good job.  He was a developmental-type player a year ago.  He’s done some good things here in this camp.  For linemen it’s very important to go through it day after day after day.  He’s kind of swinging and giving guys some needed rest on both sides.  He’s done a nice job.”

(On John Greco)- “John is a guy I think that is versatile.  I mean that because he’s played in games at left tackle, left guard and he’d backed up at center.  From that stand point he has been somewhat of a versatile guy and typically if you’re not a starter, and you’re an offensive lineman, you’ve got to swing around in there and able to back up.  I like that about him, he is a big guy and I think he is a good pass protector.  Being big helps him at times to be a good run blocker.”

(On Sheldon Brown influencing the secondary)- “I think you have to have guys back there that can help communicate and if anything just settle guys down.  I think Sheldon has played in lots of big games for lots of years and I think aside from being a very fine player. he can help those guys.”

(On Owen Marecic)- “He has done a very good job.  It’s hard to find him making a mental mistake.  He did a great job running the ball off the goal line.  He has caught the ball well. When you watch the special teams drills, he does exactly what he is supposed to do.  He is kind of one of those steady guys.  I think that is an important attribute for a guy that’s a fullback.”

(On Marecic filling the shoes of Lawrence Vickers)- “We have Owen and Lawrence is in Houston.  That’s the story really.  We are glad Owen is here and we wish Lawrence lots of luck.”

(On Brian Schaefering)- “He is battling in there at defensive tackle.  We feel like he can be a productive player in there.  This is his first day in pads.  We will get a chance to watch him on tape and see what he needs to work on.  But, right now we’ve got him working in on defensive tackle.”

(On his impressions on Joe Thomas)- “Joe is a pro and you could see that when he came in. He is getting a little bit better each day.  You can see that he has a feel for how he’s got to ramp his game up and get ready to play the season.”


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