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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 5, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this afternoon following the team's practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement) - “There is nothing really to comment on other than the fact that we have our 53 (man roster) and our practice as we move forward to play the Bengals.  I’d like to compliment Tom Heckert and Jon (Sandusky) and John (Spytek) and all their staff.  They did a nice job I thought of being on tops of things where we picked up players that will help us this year.  That’s always a fast little process that goes on.  That last little fixing or getting the roster the way you want it.  I thought they did a great job; number one knowing the players that we wanted to go after and then executing the deals.  With that being said I’ll just open it up here.”

(On if Artis Hicks will challenge for that left guard spot) - “Yes, we brought in Artis (Hicks).  I was with Artis in Philadelphia early in his career and then he’s moved on and played.  He’s a very veteran guy that’s played guard and tackle.  We’re going to get him up to speed as quickly as possible and we think of him as a guy who can play guard or tackle.”

(On how tough it will be for him to learn the footwork on the left side) - “I think he’ll get it.  He’s a pro so he’ll pick it up quickly.”

(On if it’s a small issue at least to learn the left side) - “Veteran guys and guys that have been backups or role players at line in their careers have worked on the right and the left, inside and outside so he’ll get up to speed.”

(On where the starting left guard position stand right now) - “Right now we have Jason Pinkston in there, but we’ll see.  There’s a little bit of work left to do as we get ready to play and we’re really not saying right now who the starters are.”

(On how they will decide on who starts) - “You factor in everything and at the end of the day we have to put our best players out there, at any position.  If it’s a first-year guy or a twelfth-year guy.  We factor in how they competed; we factor in what we think of them physically and how they work as a unit.  There’s a lot that goes into it.  But, I think we’ve put together an offensive line or really any of the positions, the best players at that time.”

(On what Hicks does well) - “I think he’s a good blocker.  He’s got good feet and he uses his hands and he’s played a bunch of positions.  I would say that.”

(On importance of acquiring Thaddeus Lewis) - “I was with Thad (Lewis) a year ago.  He came to St. Louis as an undrafted free agent and then he actually did a terrific job.  I’ve watched him, I worked with him a year ago and then I watched him in the preseason.  He executed and played well and I think he’s a guy that we want to try and develop.  That’s not to say that at some point Jarrett Brown might not be back, I liked where he came and how he developed.  But, I have a little bit of history with Thad and when he was available; it’s very important to try and keep developing quarterbacks so that’s why we did it.”

(On if inexperience is a concern with a younger team) - “No.  I’m going to consider it fresh legs.  As we move forward that’s what I’m looking at.  Try to create, teach and encourage them and just go out there and play fast.  I think that’s the type of team that we’re trying to create and use that youth to our advantage by just having them play fast.  No anxiety, just go out there and let it rip.”

(On his take with Cincinnati trying to break in a rookie quarterback) - “I think some of what they’re dealing with is similar to us.  They have a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, new skill players at critical positions and then they have an established defense that I think is tremendous.  They’re talented, their scheme is very good and they pressure you.  They have a head coach who I have a lot of respect for and so they’re going to be a tough opponent, no doubt. ”

(On who the backup middle linebacker is going to be filling in for Titus Brown) - “There’s going to be a bunch of guys in there who will be competing.”

(On getting Emmanuel Stephens and Quinton Spears up to speed) - “Practice.  We meet with them extra and now as they focus in on the game plan; instead of having to remember five or six coverage’s or five or six fronts, they can zero in on the game plan of the week, which will help them get up to speed a little quicker as if we had brought them in during the middle of training camp.”

(On Ben Watson returning to practice) - “I anticipate he’ll be out there Wednesday.  We were hoping he might be out here today.  He’s improving to the point where I’m anticipating he’ll be there Wednesday.”

(On Chris Gocong’s return) - “I’m hoping, but again I don’t know.  His is a situation where he’ll get better quickly.  So we’ll see.”

(On Tony Pashos status) - “He’s got a sore foot and it’s his other foot so we’re just letting it settle down, which is not uncommon.  Those boots are magical sometimes.  I wouldn’t read into that yet, but he’s just got a sore foot that’s settling down.”

(On Greg Little) - “Well I think he’s extremely talented and I think we have seen flashes of what he can do in the preseason.  That’s what we are hopeful for.  Then, it’s a matter of being consistently good over the grind of the season.  In order to be consistent you have to do it first.  So, that’s what we are looking for.  We feel there is a great amount of skill and ability there.  He is working hard and so now we just have to see him do it. ”

(On Thaddeus Lewis) - “He is a guy that we will try to develop and get him ready to play.  That’s what you do with backup quarterbacks. You try to develop them first into a dependable backup and then hopefully to a guy that can maybe start.  That’s what you are trying to do with those guys.”

(On the element of surprise having depth at the wide out position) -“Yes, to some degree.  There is always a little bit of that in your first game.  All teams work on certain things they don’t show in the preseason.  Then you go back and run it and do certain things that you have done already because that’s just what you do.  All the receivers that are up for the game as part of the forty-six man roster will play.”

(On Peyton Hillis getting limited time) - “Hillis is a very durable guy, but we feel like (Montario) Hardesty will be ready to go and then Armond Smith.  So we have really three different types of backs there.  We are going to use the whole roster to get us in a position to do what we can do to win the game.”

(On Armond Smith’s speed) - “He’s fast.  He’s really fast.  We haven’t raced (joking).  I would anticipate that he has to be one of the fastest on the team as well.  He’s really fast though.  I know I couldn’t catch him.  Even twenty years ago.”

(On George Perles) - “George is down there.  He is sitting down behind the lift.  George Perles drove down today with his son John and a friend of his Turf Kaufman.  He just came down to watch practice.  It’s fun for me.  I haven’t seen him in a while.  I have obviously talked to him often, but I haven’t seen him in a while.  So, it would be good to share a lunch with him and then hopefully get him in there to talk to the team.”


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