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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 14, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this morning before practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “Good morning. As you’ve seen, we had a couple of roster moves.  We lost Eddie Williams, he went to Seattle, and then Quinn Porter went to the Rams.  We signed Will Ta’ufo’ou and Xavier Omon, both to our practice squad.  It’s the first day of preparation for the players as we get ready for Indianapolis, a team in the last two years that has won 12 games each year.  A lot has been talked about with the loss of Peyton Manning, but they’re an extremely talented team on offense that’s now being quarterbacked by a very veteran guy that’s won a lot of games.  When I watch them on offense I see a team, regardless of who the quarterback is you see a lot of the same principles offensively that they’re famous for running in terms of their run game, their pass concepts and I would assume that Kerry Collins will be one week better executing their offense.  Defensively, they’re a Tampa-two style that plays a lot of three deep.  They are very fast and a team that you have to take care of the two defensive ends.  That’s where it starts in terms of their pass rush.  Again, they’re a very fast team and if they get you in a situation where its pass all the time, that’s where they become very dangerous.  It’s an opponent that we’re obviously taking very seriously.  Preparation is all ready going fast and furious.”

(On when he was made aware of Richmond McGee’s injury)- “The situation with Richmond, the punter,  just prior to kickoff I was made aware of the fact that he had some soreness in his back, which happens at times with players.  The decision was made to just play him and punt him.  After the game he came in and in the morning he had soreness and wasn’t really fully evaluated until after we spoke yesterday.  That’s not uncommon with players at any position.”

(On if Phil Dawson was an option to punt on Sunday)- “Our backup punter is Phil Dawson, yes.”

(On if he considered using Dawson to punt during the game)- “Anytime a guy that’s the starter is having issues you think about it, but we felt like we would go with Richmond.”

(On if calling the plays and being the head coach was much more than he expected)- “No, I think going into it there’re plays and things that happen in the game that are a little different than you would visualize, but from an operations standpoint, no.  There are things that we need to get better at, I think that has nothing to do with those roles though.”

(On who will play at right tackle)- “Right tackle right now is Oniel Cousins and Artis Hicks.  They both played in the game and those are the two guys that will practice at that position right now.”

(On if he would like to settle on one guy or continue rotating guys at right tackle and safety)- “You’d like to have a solid starter at each position.  You bring up safety, we had two safeties in there that had missed time during training camp and I think they benefitted by having a little bit of a rotation there.  But, you always want to settle on starters at all positions, same with the tackle. I felt like they both did things that were about even in terms of their performance.  Until we get a guy that’s going to become that guy, it could happen soon that this is going to be the starter and I’ll make you aware of that when that happens.”

(On if Tony Pashos will be able to play Sunday)- “We’re going to have to see.  I don’t know right now how much better he is to where we can predict that he’s going to play.  We’re planning right now, because he’s not practicing, like there’s a chance he could miss.”

(On if Cousins and Hicks rotate because they’re so new to the team)- “I think they’re both guys that came on the scene a little bit later than most of the other players.  They’re both guys that have a little different skill set.  One guy is bigger, stronger and more powerful.  The other guy is probably a little quicker on his feet. We’re just working them both right now.”

(On where John Greco is)- “He’s a backup at tackle, guard and center.  He’s a backup at three positions right now.”

(On how they can have a consistent flow on offense for all four quarters after not doing so last week)- “Well the first quarter you can boil it down to penalties, in my opinion.  When you have penalties and long third down situations then your percentage of making those long third downs goes down and you don’t get as many plays as you would if you’re moving the football like we did in the middle part of the game.  We had efficient runs in that part of the game and I think that’s important.  You have to stay ahead of the downs and get into manageable third down situations.  We have to try and get yards on every play.  In practice, what you work on is the general efficiency of your plays, everything from staying on side, to the right usage of the snap count, to the execution of the blocking scheme, to the throw and the catch and the run.  The emphasis goes there and typically you get what you emphasize.”

(On how to explain the problem of Joe Thomas and Shawn Lauvao false starting on their home field)- “There’re hard to explain whether you’re a rookie or a guy that’s played.  I don’t think it’s a problem, I think it’s something where we just have to focus in. We have to use the cadence and make sure we don’t jump offsides.  It’s nothing that we haven’t practiced, there wasn’t a voice in there they weren’t use to hearing, it’s just something that needs to be corrected.”

(On using a silent count at home)- “There’s times when you use it.  We have it available at anytime.  I think there’s an advantage to using it at home.  I think when you can hear, most coaches will tell you that they’ll use the quarterback’s voice.  That has the chance to be most effective, but it’s available. We practice it often.”

(On if he will simulate crowd noise during practice)- “We will practice with crowd noise tomorrow, but the way we do it is when the team periods are being executed, we’ll turn it on and then we’ll turn it off in between.  We do use it and we do practice it.”

(On if he wants to get Montario Hardesty more reps or continue giving Peyton Hillis more of the workload)- “I think it’s important they both get their touches.  Peyton Hillis is our starting runner and I think he had 20 plus touches when you consider the passes as well.  You’d like to see and make sure he gets the football a bunch of times.  Then I think Montario did some good things for his first real stretch back.  Each day, in my opinion, he looks better and better running.  I’m not aware of how much you see that, but I feel like he’s getting more and more comfortable with his leg and his body every day.”

(On if there will be any extra emphasis with the run)- “We intend to make sure we run the football.  I think we have to maintain some kind of balance there and when we run the football, we hand it to guys that are good football players.”

(On using Hillis and Hardesty in the backfield together)- “We call it Pony.  That’s two halfbacks in the game and we have a handful of plays in the plan each week with that grouping.  I like using that.  I thought Owen Marecic did a nice job blocking.  He actually played, it was a good start for him.  Again, I’m going to go back to saying from the Sunday after the game to Monday everything I’ve said is, ‘We didn’t play well enough to win,’ but I think for a first year guy to go into his first game, he did some good things.”

(On sorting out the receiver position)- “I made the comment that we were going to play all the receivers that were active and we did that.  I think we’re learning about the receivers and even though you see them operate in practice and in preseason games, I’m getting a better feel for those guys now that we’ve seen one real full game.  We’ll change the groupings around a little bit.  I wouldn’t say we’re going to play one guy more than the other, but guys that need to touch the football, Josh (Cribbs) needs to touch the football, Greg Little needs to touch the ball, there’s a place for Brian Robiskie to touch it and I think Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) showed up.  I went into the game not knowing how much Mo could handle in terms of the workload and he had quite a few snaps.  I’m forgetting exactly off hand how many, but it was a little bit of a challenge for him just because he hadn’t had a bunch of practice.  We’ll get him more and more as well.”

(On what Colt McCoy has to do better this week)- “I think just in terms of general efficiency, there were some of those when you look at it and say, ‘My goodness that was a,’ and he’s no different than anybody.  I think each guy would tell you the same thing and I encourage you to talk to the guys about that.  I think what we’re trying to build here is guys that are willing to say, ‘I have to play better,’ and I think that’s what he’ll tell you.”

(On if he should have told people that McGee was hurting because he was booed by the fans and hammered by the media)- “Not really,  the reason I say that is there are a lot of guys that play in games and may not feel perfect and then they go play.  When you lose a game then blame gets assigned.  I don’t like all the stuff that comes with losing.  That’s why we fight so hard to win.  With that being the case, I think it is important that you just make decisions to get going.  As players they understand that and as coaches we understand that.  When you don’t win that’s part of it.”

(On what Brian Robiskie brings to the offense)- “I think he’s a very steady guy.  It’s very rare you see him make a mistake and I appreciate that.  He has good hands.  He will catch the football and in the preseason you saw he found a way to separate.  That’s what he gives us.”

(On Brian Robiskie having no catches in first game)- “Catches tend to come in bunches and this might be a game this week where he catches five.”

(On if Kerry Collins audibled like Peyton Manning used to)- “When you watch the tape there is some of that in there, but again it’s hard for me to say.  I don’t know how much of that is actually Peyton changing things.  I don’t know that. I have never coached in there system.  I do know this, he has led that team to lots of victories, 24 in the last two years and so I don’t know.  It would probably be a fair question for them, but that’s part of what they do on offense.  I think they are getting Kerry up to speed doing those things, so I think as time goes on maybe you will see more and more of that.”

(On why Armond Smith did not play)- “The reason he didn’t play is because we had Peyton and obviously Montario played and then we got into a situation, again, you talk about ratios and you get behind during the end of the game and you start throwing the football.  So that affects who is in the game as well, but we would intend to use him in short spots.”

(On Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis being great when their team is ahead)- “I’ll try not to let them get ahead (laughing).  I hate to laugh on stuff like this.  I have competed against the Colts a few times and part of what you talk about is trying to minimize the effect that those guys have on the game because they are just dynamic pass rushers.  They play hard and they get after the quarterback. We have things in the plan like what most teams who play the Colts where you have to try to minimize their effect on the game because they are going to affect the game in some way.  You just have to minimize it.”

(On changing the starting grouping at wide receiver)- “Everybody plays and depending on what grouping we are in, you may have three new people in there that started.  I think we started the game in regular where Robiskie and Mo were in there.”

(On Brad Maynard)- “Brad Maynard is a very experienced punter.  I know he is an outstanding holder as well and he kind of fits that role for us right now.  I think when you have an opportunity to bring in a veteran experienced guy in a situation like we are facing right now, it’s not the first time he is doing something.  I think he will get up to speed quickly with what we ask our punters to do, the mechanics of the hold that we execute. We are looking for that.”

(On if there was a trend of the defensive huddle being late which led to Cincinnati’s touchdown)- “When you watch the tape you don’t see huddles.  I didn’t sense watching the game that that’s necessarily been an issue.  Now, they obviously did it to us and we need to answer it.  Again, I think it’s important that we cover down, I mentioned it Sunday and I talked about it Monday.  We just have to make sure that we cover down.  It’s a hard lesson to learn on that play.  We’ll do better.”

(On the players saying that D’Qwell Jackson didn’t get the call in his helmet and if that is true)- “Again, you talked to them.  My understanding was he had a call.  It’s been talked about.  We had a substitution deal and so part of what is happening from the sideline is there is a call in there, but then now you are trying to get guys in and out.  Then there has to be a general awareness that they are lined up, so we have to get covered up.”

(On the helmet radio being cut off 15 second left)- “We can call it in or we can signal it. It does cut off, yeah.  It’s built in to the 40 or the 25 second clock.  Somewhere or somehow it just goes off.”

(On his thoughts on the offensive line against Cincinnati)- “I’d go back to what I said about Colt.  I think there were some areas where we did some good things.  I think there were players that had stretches in the game that did good things, but as a unit we have to play better and the guys that played well have to play better longer.”


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