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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 9, 2011

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

(Opening statement) - “Good long practice this morning.  As hot as it was on Saturday it got cool on us today.  What we did was add a little bit of group conditioning near the end of practice.  As far as injuries today, Chris Gocong got a stinger.  He settled down and our understanding is he’ll be fine.  Ramzee Robinson with a groin, you saw Montario (Hardesty) off to the side again working.  Just part of the plan that we have as we go forward.  Other than that, I thought there was some good banging in short yardage and goal line again, and then we worked base and third down situations.  It felt like it was a good competitive practice.  Then we got a little bit of conditioning near the end, which I thought was good.  It was skilled drilled conditioning. We did a two-minute drill with the offense and the defense was working on their pressures.”

(On gathering the team together an hour into practice) - “After our special cap period, I was just setting the stage.  We were going to do 22 seconds on the clock, it was fast field goal.  That’s all it was.  I was just setting up the drill.”

(On how much of a concern is Greg Little’s drops) - “I disagree with that, because he had quite a few catches Saturday.  He had a very good day.  Then he came back today and he dropped a couple.  What I would say is that he needs to be consistent and play well at a high level every day.  I wouldn’t say the drops our increasing.  I think at times he needs to catch it better.”

(On if this is a tight end friendly offense) - “Typically, when you’re releasing a tight end and running routes, at least the way we play ball, the tight end catches quite a few balls.  I would anticipate the tight end position or second tight end position, if we’re in multiple tight ends, they catch a lot balls. ”

(On keeping four tight ends on the roster) - “We’ll see as we go along.  I think that will sort its self out as we go through the preseason.”

(On what he likes about Alex Smith) - “I like Alex (Smith).  Alex is multi-dimensional.  If you remember a year ago, in the preseason against the Bears, he played the whole game at fullback.  We know that he can play at the end of the line of scrimmage.  He made some catches on Saturday and he’s producing in practice each day.  I find him to be somewhat flexible on terms of how we use him.  He’s done a good job.”

(On changing the number of reps at quarterback as we get closer towards the season) - “As you see with most of the drills we do the ones get more than the rest.  Typically, if we have a drill where we have ten plays, a lot of times the ones get five or six [reps] and the twos or threes share the rest.  I would say from the start, the ones have been getting more than the twos.”

(On if the starter’s will play more than usual in the preseason) - “My first reaction is that we’ll stay with the plan I had initially.  I’ll reveal that a little bit more as we get near the end of the week.”

(On preparation for a preseason game compared to a regular season game) - “I think we’ve all spent time in the offseason looking at our opponents, including the preseason games.  You want to have somewhat of a thought on how you want to approach each game and attack them.  We put our notes together and sketch together a plan as we play the (Green Bay) Packers and as we move through the preseason.  There’s always a little bit of that.  As you get closer to that third game, where the ones typically play the most, you probably game plan for that one a little more than others.  Just so they have to go through the weekly preparation of the process.  That for us would be the (Philadelphia) Eagles.”

(On Benjamin Watson) - “He’s a very good blocker, he’s a solid route runner and he’s a big target.  You saw it a year ago in fact you (Jeff Schudel) just mentioned he caught 68 balls.  He’s a productive receiver and all those things tell me that he has a chance to be a good player for us.”

(On if anything is different on getting people in for the first game) - “I don’t think so.  What you do, regardless of how much you’ve had, once training camp starts there’s a process physically and mentally for the players. That usually means that the ones only get a small portion of that first game. All though some teams may do more or less, it’ll be within five or ten plays more or less than you would on a year where you had an offseason.  That’s probably fair around the league.”

(On Mohamed Massaquoi) - “He’s progressing.  We’re going to have to go with what Joe (Sheehan) and the doctors say in terms of when he’s ready to be out here.  I see him watching practice and getting the mental reps.  I know he’s probably a little anxious.  I see him over there on the jugs machine catching balls.  For his situation right now I think he’s doing about all he can.  When he’s able to come out here and run around we’ll get him out here.”

(On how Massaquoi became injured) - “Not really.  Typical of guys, every once in a while something will creep up where they didn’t know it happened.  Where they’ve had a lot of activity during the day and the next day they get sore.  I don’t think he can really pin point exactly when it happened.  As they get ready training camp, they probably increase their activity and maybe that irritates something.  I’m only speculating in that case.  Once he got here we noticed he had an issue and we had to work with it.”

(On what the issue is) - “It’s a foot.  I don’t know how to exactly say it.  There’s just some healing that needs to take place in that foot.”

(On if it’s a ligament) - “No, bone.”

(On Shawn Lauvao) - “Yeah, I think he’s having a terrific camp.  We came into this thing thinking we wanted him to battle and become our starting right guard.  Nothing to this point has said to us he’s not that guy.  We hope he just progresses like he’s been doing, through the rest of this camp and then that will be the case.”

(On Lauvao going against Phil Taylor in practice) - “He has done a good job and that’s a really solid battle in there.  When you look at the battle between Shawn (Lauvao) and Phil (Taylor) and then you look at Jabaal (Sheard) working on Joe Thomas.  There’s quite a bit of good competition.  Those are just two matchups, there’s a lot more.  Those are probably the most visible for me because I’m trying to keep an eye on the progress of our rookies.”

(On the performance of the defense during one-minute drill) - “We did a good job.  Each group on offense had a situation where they needed to score a touchdown.  We had throws in the end zone, but we didn’t make the catches.  The defense did a good job of challenging.”

(On things this team needs to improve on) - “It’s probably hard to say.  I’m trying not to compare last year because so many things are new.”

(On things that need to improve since he started as head coach) - “I’m going to see how they respond in this game.  This first game will be a real big indication of how much farther we have to go.  I’ll say this, we have a long way to go before we’re to the point where we’re the team that I and the coaches think we should be.  The players know that and that’s why they’re out here working.  We’re going to get a pretty good gauge on Saturday night.  We’re playing the Super Bowl champs.  I know they’re not going to come in here and flop around.”

(On Kaluka Maiava rotating in with the first team) - “(Chris) Gocong had a stinger, so he was out of there for a little bit of the practice.  That’s what Maiava was in there.”

(On if Gocong returned to practice) - “I think he was out once he was out.  He may have been, I don’t know.  Joe (Sheehan) just said he had a stinger.”

(On any other injuries) - “Ramzee Robinson had a groin and that was it.”

(On Marcus Bernard learning to play with his hand on the ground) - “He’s got a long way to go physically in terms of getting himself in the kind of shape and condition he needs to be in to compete.  He’s working through that, he’s out there taking reps.  I think he’ll agree and he’ll probably tell you he needs to make some strides there.”

(On what he means by “a long way to go”) - “He’s just got to get in a little bit better playing shape.”

(On if Benard bulked up too much) - “I don’t know.  He’s one of those guys that I wasn’t around a year ago.  Based on what I’ve seen he needs to do that.”

(On Brandon Jackson playing against his former team) - “He did some things in the practice Saturday I thought were impressive.  He’s got burst, he’s got size and he’s a good runner.  I’m sure he’ll be amped up to play his former team.  A team he contributed greatly to, he started 13 games for them.  I’m sure he’s got a lot of friends there.  He’s not unlike a lot of free agents that go to another team.  I’m sure he’s got a lot of very strong relationships there.  It will be one of those deals where he’s a Cleveland Brown and he’ll compete, but he’ll have a lot of hellos, handshakes and hugs I’m sure.”

(On Brandon Jackson not having a penalty or lost fumble during his four seasons with the Packers) - “Sounds good to me.  I think I knew that.  It’s important.  You want guys that are durable, productive and efficient and he’s displayed that.”

(On having a third true tackle or a guy flexible between positions) - “Ideally, you’d like to have, on game day, a guy who can backup tackle and guard.  Obviously, the backup guys have to move on both sides.  Then you’d like to have a guy that’s your backup center and guard.  We’re developing those guys in the midst of those guys competing.  There’s a long list of those guys at this point.”

(On if it’s tougher on Branndon Braxton because he’s a true tackle) - “No, I think it’s important that you are trying to either develop a tackle to be here or if you don’t have that then you do something to go get one. He has a body type and we feel like his best position to make this team is at tackle.  I don’t think that hurts his chances.”


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