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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 2, 2011
Cleveland browns head coach Pat Shurmur reacts to a play in the first half an NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters Thursday night following his team's preseason finale against the Chicago Bears. Here is the transcript from the news conference:

Opening Statement: “Basically, this was an opportunity for a lot of young guys to play. I think that some guys did some good things, and then there were some other guys who will look back on this and wish they played better. That’s a little bit of what this is, is you go through the preseason and obviously everything you do is important. You want a good performance every time you play. But there are moments and stretches during training camp where young guys get an opportunity, and the ones that shine have the opportunity to stay around, do some things and develop.”

On his accomplishments during the final preseason game: “For the final preseason game, you want to try and walk away without anything major injury-wise, and I think we accomplished that, based on what I’ve heard so far. And then you want the guys that you have slated as primary back-up, role player type guys to play well and show up. And you obviously want to try and win the game. I think there were some things out there today that helped us. Good and bad, we learned a lot about our team, especially the middle to bottom half of our team. That will help us as we make our decisions here in the next few hours in terms of putting our first roster together.”

On whether James Dockery’s penalties will affect his roster spot: “He challenges every play, and I think the penalties show up that way. I don’t know if it affects his roster status, but I like the way he plays. And I like the way he challenges. At times, when you are challenging receivers, those kinds of things happen. You have to eliminate penalties, of course, but he has an aggressive style, which we will want in the secondary. We’ll look at the film and we’ll see what it is, but his style of play is something that I’m fond of.”

On the play of Armond Smith: “He had a little zip, and he has some speed. He made some plays tonight. He took advantage of his opportunity. He’s had a little bit of roller coaster ride through the preseason, and then he showed up and did a nice job tonight.”

On how he managed through this fourth preseason game: “I don’t know about the nervousness. I’ve been through this 12 times now as an assistant coach. I think the staff knows what you’re trying to accomplish. You want to have a training camp where you develop your guys to the best of your ability. You want to try and take to the opening game as many of your best players as possible. This is part of the process. This is a game where guys get to play who maybe have not played as much. But you know, you always carry the anxiety of not getting a guy hurt. That’s just part of it.”

On the helmet-to-helmet of Demetrius Williams: “That was a penalty. He went out and caught the ball, and all was a go. He went up and caught the ball, and made a nice play on it. The ball came out. Yeah, they penalized him for the hit. I don’t know, I think he is day-to-day. I have no idea. It’s a shoulder I think, but I don’t know the seriousness of it.”

On what he feels his accomplishments have been through four preseason games: “Well, I think when we get ready for the season now, we have a full week. We have a couple more opportunities to practice. We have to go out there with a focus on beating the Cincinnati Bengals with the guys we have on this roster that are healthy and ready to play. That’s where we’re at globally. As we develop through the year, we have to make sure we continue to improve every practice and every game. We need to fight tooth and nail to win as many games as possible. That’s where we are at. The preseason schedule is over. I said this before – once you’ve played a preseason game, and once you go and start to evaluate it, it was just another practice opportunity to get your team better. Good and bad, you find out about your team when they go out there and play. That’s what you’re trying to do, as you put all this information together and put this team together.”

On the thought behind playing the rookie starters tonight: “Well, those are obviously guys who need playing time. Those are the guys that even though they are slated to potentially line up as starters on day one, they need a little bit more seasoning. So that’s why we played them. And I’m glad they got an opportunity to get out there and bang around, in really, what was a hot game. This was probably climate-wise, the hottest game we played. And I kind of welcomed it. I think for the most part, our guys held up that way pretty well. I don’t know the total yet, but when you’re playing in hot games, you start to see a bunch of IVs and stuff. I didn’t see that.”

On his observations of his team over the last six weeks: “I learned that these guys are willing to embrace change. I think we’ve got a team with a bunch of high-quality, character guys. We have some characters, which you need. I feel like we’ve got, quietly here, some playmakers who will help us win games. I’m looking forward to the speed and emotion of week one with these guys. We’re going to get cleaned up, get on the plane, and get back to Cleveland. We will evaluate this film tomorrow, and get to the business of putting our final team together in the next couple of days.”

On the play of Jason Pinkston: “I think, generally speaking, he was pretty solid in the game. I don’t think any of the penetration we had early on was because of him. And again, I will go back and say this guy has done a very fine job of coming in here as a rookie. I’m hopeful that will continue and I’m hopeful we got ourselves a good player.”

On the play of Auston English: “He is one of those tough guys – if you didn’t really walk up to him and talk to him, you wouldn’t even know he is in the room. He is one of those quiet soldier type guys. Out in the game, he makes plays and he is a steady, consistent performer. We have to watch the tape, and as we put this thing together, he will be one of the guys we consider.”

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