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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 15, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “Good morning.  I thought at yesterday’s practice we got a lot done.  We’re ready, after the walkthrough this morning, to get another hopefully good practice in this afternoon and keep going through the process of getting ready to play Indianapolis.”

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi got hurt during practice yesterday)- “No, I think it’s something about his hamstring.  In my opinion Mohamed is still dealing with not having had as many reps as he might have had in training camp.  There’s no real issue with him, I think he’ll be there.  He did not hurt himself yesterday and there was really nothing to report from anything that happened on Sunday.”

(On if Massaquoi will sit out today)- “No, he’ll be out there.  He’ll be practicing.  In fact for being limited yesterday, he did just about everything.  I just want to make sure we’re doing it the right way.”

(On T.J. Ward matching up against Dallas Clark)- “I think T.J. does a nice job in coverage.  The nature of the size sometimes, he’s tight to the coverage.  Throughout the year, we’re going to face some really good pass catching tight ends and I think Dallas Clark is one of those type of players.  He’s very explosive, but I feel like T.J. will be up to the task and it will be a good match for him.”

(On if there is any news on Tony Pashos)- “No, nothing new.  I think we’ll be the same as yesterday.  He won’t be at practice and he’s just doing what he can to get that foot settled down.”

(On Gary Brackett being out for this game and if it changes their game plan)- “He’s a fine football player and I’m sure they’ll fill in with a guy that’s equally as good.  When you lose a MIKE linebacker, there’s a lot going on in there in terms of leadership and getting guys lined up.  I don’t know how they would consider it, but I think he’s a fine player.  Him being out is something that we’re aware.  How we’re going to change our plan? I wouldn’t say there’s anything different there, but he is a fine player and I’m sure he’ll be missed.”

(On if D’Qwell Jackson still has room for improvement)- “There really isn’t much that he’s done that we haven’t said, ‘Wow, that’s good.’ He had a lot of production last week.  He had a bunch of tackles, he was disruptive and each time he was playing in games in the preseason, he was doing the same thing.  I’m pleased with where he’s come.  Like everybody else, I think he would say he wishes he had played better, but he did have quite a bit of production and I thought he did a pretty good job.”

(On the mental aspect Jackson brings to the game)- “Mentally, I think he’s been terrific.  That’s what you ask your MIKE linebacker to be able do.  Obviously, he has to play his position physically, but he typically is the guy who calls the signals, makes the adjustments and I think he’s done that well.”

(On if he is concerned about Colt McCoy having a lot of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage)- “I think tipped balls are a team thing.  The quarterback needs to be able to throw in lanes.  If we’re throwing three step drops then we need to do a better job of getting their hands down and there’s ways that that can happen.  It’s something we’ve talked about.  You don’t want it to happen because typically you’ll look at it and say there’s a guy wide open and then the ball got tipped.  That’s normally what happens, very rarely to you see a ball get tipped and the guy running is covered.  That’s just Murphy’s Law.  Again, I’m not trying to make light of it, but it’s a team thing and it’s important that it’s something that we recognize and we try to make corrections.”

(On if he is still getting a feel for integrating the running game into his passing game)- “I think you look at game situations and you do everything you can to try and win the game and the score sometimes dictates.  I do like to run the football and I think it’s very important.  When you run the football you have to do a good job of getting yards.  I feel like we’re set up here where we can run the football and be somewhat efficient, but we have to go do it.  Then we have to get the game in a situation where you can stay run/pass and I think that’s when you play the best ball.  Again, we keep going back to the game, but we didn’t have many plays in the first quarter.  Typically, you run the ball and then at the end of the game you’re trying to get in position to kick a field goal or score a touchdown so your may throw a little more there than if the score was different.  I believe in running the football, I think it’s important we do it and I feel we’ve got backs that can carry it.”

(On if this young team can put that game behind them and bounce back)- “Yeah, I think so.  I’m trying to move on and I think we all have. I think that’s what practice and preparation on the next opponent brings.  That’s the beauty of the NFL in my opinion.  That’s where you’ve got to be pretty strong mentally, you’ve got to be able to forget what happens Sunday, good or bad and move on.  In my world and our world, it’s Thursday and that’s where we’re at in terms of our preparation in preparing for our next opponent.  Part of the process is moving on, it’s unfortunate that you can’t win them all, but we’re doing everything we can to win the next one.”

(On if he relies on his leadership counsel to pick everyone up)- “Yeah, I think that’s an important piece.  I think guys that are considered leaders, they do their job well enough where they can help guide the rest and I think that’s what you expect.”

(On if he would try to throw away from Joe Haden if he was an offensive coordinator)- “We try to throw on him in practice and it’s difficult.  We’ve talked about Joe a few times during training camp.  I think he’s a guy who likes to challenge, it’s hard to find a guy that likes playing the game as much as he does and he’s very talented.  The challenge for him will to be to do it over the course of the season just like anyone.”

(On if Haden should have intercepted one of the five balls he batted down)- “It’s hard to say.  I know he’s trying to.”

(On if the same 22 starters from last week will start this week)- “There could be some changes, but some of that may be what personnel we chose to start with in terms of the receiving core.  Then there are a couple other spots where it could be slightly different, but I wouldn’t expect to see major changes.”

(On if he goes into games thinking he needs to get certain playmakers involved right away)- “We have a lot of plays, a lot of different plays.  We choose the ones and try to develop the ones that we’re going to run that week to try to attack the defense we face.  I think it’s important around all that that our good skill players touch the football.  It kind of all goes together.”

(On if it’s frustrating when you can’t string first downs together and playmakers don’t get enough touches)-“I think it’s important you get more plays in the game, more plays in the bulk of the game.  I wouldn’t call it frustrating, but I think it’s something we need to get better at and really I think there was a stretch during the game where that was happening.  We were getting yards and moving the football and then early on, as we’ve talked about numerous times now, it didn’t happen so you end up losing plays.”

(On the similarities between guiding Sam Bradford through his development and now guiding McCoy)- “I think they’re very similar in some ways.  You’re focusing on fundamentals, you’re focusing on the scheme and then you’re focusing on the opponent.  I think all those things just kind of get wrapped up each week just a little bit differently, but you work on fundamentals all the time, you work on the schemes that we’re running all the time and then how we’re using them to attack a defense.  Then there’s a third component, if we want to throw right or left, if we want to throw inside or outside or if we’re working on getting the ball to somebody.  Those are all kind of happening all together.”

(On if Bradford and McCoy tend to receive teaching in a similar way)- “I think they’re wired the same way in terms of quarterbacks and how they approach the game.  I think they’re very similar in that way.”

(On if he plans on rotating Oniel Cousins and Artis Hicks at right tackle this week)- “That’s initially the plan right now.  Like I said, I’d like to settle on a starting right tackle here.”

(On if they’ll make any adjustments on kick and kickoff return after seeing it for one week in the regular season)- “I think there’s coaching points that can be taken, there were probably not as many kickoff returns this weekend, but there sure were some long ones.  I think part of the coaching point is, and again it was a long time ago when I covered kicks and I wasn’t very good at it, but the natural reaction might be as you’re running down there is it’s going to go out and then all of a sudden here he comes.  That little delay may be something.  I know we’re constantly telling our guys that you cover it like its coming out and then the only time you react is when it doesn’t.  I think there can be more emphasis put on that to make sure that the ball doesn’t come out on you.”

(On if squibs or hard grounders can be effective)- “I think anytime you have a squib, typically what you’re trying to do is minimize the long return by kicking it to a guy that’s primarily a blocker.  Now, you tend to give up field position, but you kind of rob Peter to pay Paul so they don’t run in back on you.”

(On kicking the ball higher to allow the coverage team more time to get down the field)- “That’s been touched on quite a bit in the preseason.  I think teams are probably going to try and do that to some degree, but if the balls definitely in play, it’s definitely coming out on you.  I think what you’ll see and we’ll all evaluate this as we go here, but you’re going to see kickers that have the leg to do it still trying to boom it out.  I think that’s going to be the primary way that teams are going to approach this and then I do think you’re maybe building a mentality like we talked about where the end line is like the goal line.”

(On if they script their first plays or if they call plays based of field position)- “We generally put a script together.”

(On the larger sizes of coaching staffs today and if the complexity of the game has increased due to advances in technology)- “I don’t know if it’s the technology.  I think the technology helps us determine things about an opponent better than it used to be.  I was a GA when we had the last game at Michigan State of reel-to-reel where you had to cut and splice.  I have the memory of doing that then we went to video.  I think the technology of the game has helped us do our jobs more efficiently behind the scene.  Typical of technology, now you do more and more and more.  In terms of staff sizes, I think they have swelled, generally speaking, I’m just not sure if it’s because of the technology.  I think back when coaching staffs, and you can tell when you go into some of the older stadiums when you go in the coaches locker room there’s stalls for about 10 guys.  Now you’re dressing on top of each other.  I think the game has just changed somewhat.”

(On if the growths in staffs have to do with the complexity of the game)- “I think what’s happened, if you look at it from that standpoint maybe more than technology, is the game has really become specialized.  When we go to Nickel they go to Nickel.  You don’t have guys playing both ways, maybe because of the specialization of the sport, maybe that has to do with the number of coaches.”

(On if he ever did the splicing himself)- “I did, I was a GA so I did a lot of that kind of stuff.  You’d cut the film and tape it up on the wall then you go back and roll them up and cut and splice.  We all as young coaches had to do that, that was just part of the process.”

(On why they don’t have anyone on the staff with the title Quality Control)- “They are defensive and offensive assistants. In college they were quality control coaches. I don’t know what we are, I know we’re all coaches.”

(On who gets the responsibilities of a Quality Control coach)- “I think the way we’ve structured it here is that some of the work that some coaches maybe have not done in the past they’re doing themselves now.  We backed off just a little bit on staff behind the scenes.  We have Quality Control-type duties that we all do.  I find myself even doing some things that people would have done if you had more people doing it.  Anyways, we have defensive, offensive, and special team’s assistants that do quite a bit of that.”

(On Ahtyba Rubin’s performance and adjusting to the new scheme)- “I thought he battled and handled it pretty well.  He’s a steady guy and he’s a good football player.”

(On if the new kickoff rule may result in more injuries with returners bringing it out so deep)- “I don’t know and again it’s probably going to take a full year to see.  I don’t know, we’ll see.  I don’t know the statistics of how many came out in this year’s first game as opposed to last years, I don’t know that.  I’m assuming, in fact I do know, there probably were more touchbacks then there would have been a year ago.  Returners now, they’re skill players and they have great courage and they want to shine so they’re chomping at the bit to bring it out. That’s a little bit of what you are getting.”

(On Rubin’s extension)- “It’s along the same lines as Joe Thomas and Evan Moore, we’ve targeted him as a guy that we’re wanting to be here for the long term and we’re glad he’s here.  He’s the type of player that you want around, he’s a good player, he’s a great teammate and he handles this in a way that you would expect any professional in terms of doing his job and doing it on a day-to-day basis so we’re glad he’s here.”

(On how frequent you see defensive tackles make plays down the field like Rubin does)- “He does that because he hustles.  I think he chases the ball and he does what you need from players on defense.  I don’t know how often you see it, I’m just glad to see it when our guys do it.”

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