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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 12, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this afternoon to discuss the team's 27-17 season-opening loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “Good afternoon.  After watching the tape I really wouldn’t go back on a lot of the things I said last night, in terms of making mistakes, being sloppy early.  I had a chance to look at some of the other points of the game in more detail and I can talk to those as you as the questions.  I saw a lot of guys playing hard. I actually saw some things on the tape, some guys that were in there for the first time, young guys that played well and competed.  To go back on it, we started out extremely slow.  We had a very, very, very poor offensive first quarter if you think about it, penalties, you get yourself behind in third down situations, you have third and longs.  Our third and shorter situations we did a decent job.  You hurt yourself on third down by what you do on first and second down in some cases.  The punting added to it early.  Basically what happened was is we played a first quarter and we’re down 13-0, then we found a way before half to go up 14-13, which to me shows that these guys have some resilience, know how to fight back, know how to get their focus and get the lead.  At halftime we come out and we stop them and we go down and score, which is okay, they understand the message at halftime that we’re going out and trying to start fast.  Then we hit a little spot in there where it was just back and forth, back and forth.  The play everybody’s focusing on is the one where they quick snapped us and they made a play.  I’m sure you’ll have questions about that, but then after that there was a lot of game left.  It’s a three-point game so you just have to go out and play.  Eventually that gets treated like it was a contested ball that they threw in the end zone for whatever reason and you go on and play, but there’s stuff we can learn from the play we just discussed.  We just didn’t get it done.  When I look back on it, at least I thought Jason Pinkston for a rookie did a heck of a good job at left guard.  We had a little rotation at right tackle and we’ll keep working there.  Then there are things within the game, there were a lot of guys on defense that competed well.  You saw Josh Cribbs, that kickoff return jump started us and that punt return had a chance at the end there to go the distance.  There were some good things there.  There were parts of the game I thought Colt (McCoy) played very well.  That’s what we’re building on.  Once we get through this press conference, the guys right now are just finishing up some tape.  I have a 24-hour rule win, lose or draw we play this thing out, we do the corrections and then we move on to the Indianapolis Colts.  That’s the focus.”

(On what he saw on the quick snap play and if the Bengals made personnel changes)- “My understanding looking at it is it’s hard to tell and I did watch it, but it was a quick huddle and they got to the line of scrimmage and then the ball got snapped.  Now, here’s the deal, there are no excuses.  If they no huddle or quick huddle, we have to cover down.  We have to get out there and cover down.  If that doesn’t happen properly let’s try and blow it dead, call a timeout.  It got snapped so quickly that we could really get it because initially you’re trying to get everybody where they need to be.  It’s something we’ll work on and we’ll make sure that never happens again, but we just didn’t get it executed.”

(On if they tried to call a timeout and whose responsibility is that)- “Well the guys on sideline and defense, they’re constantly substituting in and out.  That’s what that is.  We have guys on the sideline that do that.”

(On if the Bengals changed personnel)- “They did, they changed personnel, but like I said there’s no excuses.  We’ve got to make sure we match and regardless of what happens when they lineup with two wide outs out there we’ve got to cover down.  I don’t care if we’re all in the middle holding hands, somebody’s got to go cover those guys.  We’ve practiced it and they know it and it’s a hard lesson to learn.  Again, we’ll talk about this, it’s something that we’re going to write about and discuss.  We’ll learn from that.”

(On who’s responsible for calling a timeout)- “Me, we have two defensive coaches on the field that are watching the substitutions so we can call it from the sideline.  The middle linebacker, somebody on the field if they see it can call timeout.  We need to emphasize the fact that if we have that happen let’s just get ourselves resettled.  We’ve talked about, we’ve coached it.  Like is the case with a lot of things when you have a young team, it’s got to be reemphasized.  You’ve got to cover them down, just got to do it.”

(On the players not recognizing they were lined up because their backs were to the Benglas)- “That’s part of it too, you’ve got to see them lined up.  Again, I get a feel for where you’re going, we’re all responsible.  The sideline which includes me, that’s where I stand.  In fact, I ran into one of the officials so it’s obvious I’m down there. It’s me, the guys on defense that are substituting and then the players in the huddle.  You see it happen frequently with the quarterback, if it’s not lined up right, ‘Ahh shoot, timeout.’  But, we’ll get that corrected, we’ll get it reemphasized and get it done.”

(On if the play was legal)- “That’s a good question and as we go forward here the things that I ask the league to look at I’m going to try and keep that somewhat private.  I do believe as coaches and as officials, we’re all trying to get it right.  It’s a human game officiated by human beings, coached by human beings and played by human beings.  That information finds its way out at times, but I’m going try not to comment on it publicly.”

(On if the Bengals tried the play earlier in the game)- “Not to my knowledge, there was some conversation from one of their players I heard and they screwed themselves up.  That’s them talking about it.  From what we saw, we didn’t.”

(On if they anticipated if this might happen)- “We’ll you’re always ready for no huddle or quick snap.  We’ve practiced it, but when it presented itself, it didn’t get done.”

(On why they made all the mistakes and penalties in the first quarter)- “It’s hard to say.  The three offsides penalties were from guys who had played a year ago so who knows.  All I know is we’ve got to correct it and everybody in there today is going through that process.”

(On if there was confusion about what personnel group should have been out there because there were 12 men on the field)- “We were substituting because they were substituting.  It happened real quickly and we were in the process of getting spread out and getting one of the guys out.”

(On if it should have been just Buster Skrine or Dimitri Patterson on the field and not both)- “One or the other, correct.”

(On if the defensive call had gone in late)- “No, I don’t think the timing was an issue.  That’s a product of the shot clock and I don’t think that was the case.”

(On how the team did injury wise)- “I think pretty well.  I don’t know what the official injury is, but I think Dimitri Patterson had an ankle injury that he was dealing with.  Otherwise, bumps and bruises right now that we know of now.  There’ll be another treatment here this afternoon, but as far as that, I think we did pretty well in terms of injuries.”

(On what was problem with the offense down the stretch)- “We need to execute better.  We had chances in my opinion. We had a couple dropped balls.  We just didn’t execute the way that you need to.  We were in a position nearing midfield with just needing a few more yards to kick a field goal to tie it at the least, but we didn’t get it done.”

(On Richmond McGee having three punts less than 30 yards and if that’s something they will review)- “We’re reviewing it today and we’re going to make some decisions there as we move forward.  They’ll become obvious I’m sure.”

(On if McGee has lost his job)- “I wouldn’t say he’s lost his job right now, but we’re evaluating it.”

(On Artis Hicks and Oniel Cousins rotating and if they will keep doing that if Tony Pashos is out)- “I think they both had some good plays and then there were some things where it makes it tough to say this guy is your starter right now.  As we move forward, we’ll still keep an eye on what’s happening with the left guard, but as we move forward you might still see a rotation over there at the right side.”

(On Tony Pashos’ status)- “There’s a chance he might not play this week.  Beyond that I don’t know.”

(On his thoughts about the kickoff rule and the disadvantage it gives him)- “I don’t know, I think what you’re starting to see is it almost looks like the returners are treating that back line like the goal line.  In fact, I had a chance to watch a few clips of the game last night and returners in this league have great courage because they realize they have the opportunity to make a play.  We’ll have to see.  I think it’s going to take a couple more weeks to really see how that plays out, but Josh obviously jump started us with his return.  He’s a playmaker.”

(On if there were any surprises for him during his first game as a head coach)- “I don’t know about surprises.  I think there’s a lot to learn and I think there’s a huge amount of improvement in football between the first and second game and I’m counting on that so no, not really.”

(On the pass that McCoy threw to Evan Moore and if it was a catchable ball)- “I think if you ask him, he’ll tell you that he should make that play.”

(On McCoy being out of sync with his wide receivers and the factors involved with that)- “There are a lot of factors involved when you don’t get enough completions.  Some of it has to do with progression, some of it has to do with the routes, some of it has to do with protection and maybe having to move slightly.  Each play is different and I probably have a little different view of it.  We’ve just got to be better.”

(On if he envisions McCoy throwing the ball 40 times a game or if the game dictated that)- “I think we had 26 rushes and when you add the end of the game where you have 10-12 throws right in a row, I don’t envision that.  We’re going to do what it takes to win the game and at the end of the game when you have to try and get the ball down the field in a short amount of time you tend to throw the ball more.  I like our running backs and I like our offensive line and the way they run block.  That’s what we’re trying to do.”

(On how he thought the running game was yesterday)- “I thought we had some good runs.  You try to look at the runs that gain plus four yards or more and I think we had 12 of those.  In terms of run efficiency, you try to look at runs that do that and I think we had about 60%. If you’re in a situation where you’re running it a little bit more than you get a little bit out of it.”

(On how confident he is that the team won’t have another embarrassing performance)- “Very confident because I saw things in this game where it didn’t start off so well and then we came right back.  I thought the defense played pretty much consistently well beside from, I’m not going to say except ‘for errors,’ we have to do what we have to do to win.  I saw some guys flash, some young guys played in there as well as some veterans and now we just have to eliminate mistakes and do the right thing all the time. I think that’s important.”

(On who he was impressed with)- “Well I think there’s a handful of guys, I thought Buster (Skrine) went in there and did a good job on defense.  D’Qwell (Jackson), my goodness, he had overall twelve tackles and a couple of sacks. He played well. I thought Phil Taylor did a nice job.  As you look around, Alex Mack played a terrific game at center, but when you don’t win the game it’s hard to talk about individual performance being good, because it wasn’t good enough. The reason why I pointed out Jason is because everyone was probably wondering how the rookie did.  I think he did a good job for the first time, but his performance needs to be better if we are going to win.  I think that needs to be the focus.”

(On if McCoy scrambling a lot was from him dealing with defensive pressures)- “I don’t think there was anything specific.  Some of it is the clock goes off and you take off.  Some of it is you might get a guy flashing in your face and then were some that were predesigned where we move him.  There was nothing in particular.”

(On the Bengals running to the right side a lot)- “Our weak side, I don’t know.  It’s hard to say, some of it may have to do with their personnel.  Each week we all as coaches decide inside and inside out, right side, left side, depending on matchups.”

(On brushing off a loss)- “Monday’s are tough for coach’s win or lose because there is always stuff to clean up.  You are always dealing with something.  Unfortunately I have been through this a few times as an assistant so I’ve watched it happen.  I am just dealing with more issues.  That’s all, but the process is the same.  The key is, the easiest thing to do after this happens, because you are all disappointed, but the easiest thing to do is to get discouraged.  You don’t do that and it’s also easy to come in and start hollering, screaming and throwing furniture and you don’t do that either.  That’s the easy thing to do.  The important thing is for the guys to understand their mistakes and then talk about specifically how you are going to correct them.  Then you go to work beating the next opponent because it’s a long season.  A lot has been made of the first game, but places I have been we have lost the first game or two and still been in the playoffs and you had a terrific years. I think that’s the important piece is to keep the focus and move on.”

(On McCoy’s performance)- “I just think and again he will probably say the same thing, there are a few plays or easy ones that we didn’t take.  You know we talk about taking the easy ones that he will look back on or one that he has already looked at twice.  I know he and Mark (Whipple) watched the tape this morning early and then we watched it as a group.  I am sure somewhere in between he watched it again and he probably watched it last night.  Quarterbacks tend to do that. I think what you do as a quarterback is you look back on those four or five plays that if you could have been better, how it changes things.  It’s very common to see him walking around saying, I wish I would have done this, this, this, this, this and this and know exactly what the mistakes were and I think Colt is that way.”

(On what the mistakes were)- “Quarterback play always boils down to decision making, timing and accuracy.  Within those this, this, this, this and this play it’s probably one of those three things.”

(On if Greg Little could have done anything different on the punt return)- “I tell you what he did, he knocked the daylights out of that guy.  When you look at it and I am sure you all are going to get a chance to see it, the only thing I would say is to do it a little bit quicker so there is a little bit more room in between you and Josh, because that was quite a block.  He had the responsibility of forcing the punt and then peeling back.”

(On if he is worried about right tackle)- “I am not worried.”

(On if the one play kept him up at night)- “I was up last night, but I had about 10 of them I was thinking about.  The one we are talking about though, I think that is just part of it, that’s part of the little cross your bare.  Now your hair doesn’t turn gray, it just falls out. That’s just part of it. We all compete.  We want things to be right.  We all want to win and there is a great amount of effort that is put into it.  When it doesn’t happen and I see coach in the back there, you just constantly replay it and you always will.  You just do.  It’s just part of what you carry with you, but you have to move on.  That’s part of it.”

(On how you clean up the penalties)- “You practice it, you try to recreate those same situations.  You usually get what you emphasize and that’s been emphasized and we have worked on using multiple cadences.  It’s a little bit punitive when they jump off sides in practice, although you folks don’t seeing them running laps, we have ways that we take care of it. There is an emphasis there, a general execution that when it doesn’t happen you go back and you re-emphasize it because they didn’t hear enough the first time you do it again.  Then you do it again and that is just part of it.”

(On if the penalties affected what they wanted to do in the first quarter)- “You adjust what you call.  You would like to be getting first downs calls off of second down plays.  Anyways, I was up thinking about that too.”

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