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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 21, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “It’s Week Three, Wednesday. We’re trying to recreate the same preparation and even make it better than we had last Wednesday and our opponent is the Miami Dolphins.  As I mentioned yesterday, I really think that they’re a very, very good team.  You have to overlook their start.  You have a lot of teams in the league that are either 1-1 or there are some 0-2 teams that I think are fantastic teams so we’re going to have to play our best ball to beat them and that’s where we’re at preparation wise.  Beyond that, there’s nothing new to add injury wise.  If you have a specific question about a guy, I’ll answer it.  Tony Pashos is going to try and come back and be ready to roll and we have Titus Brown and Eric Hagg who are continuing to make progress.  Those are the three injured scratches we had last week.  Other than that, I think we pretty much have everybody else.”

(On if Pashos is trying to make it back for this week’s game)- “He’s going to make an effort so he’s going to be out there and be able to do more.  It’s hard to say how that’s going to progress, but I know he’s going to plan to try and do more this week than he was able to do last week so we’ll see.”

(On how Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard looked after he watched the game tape)- “When you watch them on tape, again I think they’re doing a nice job.  For me watching them I’m looking for improvement and we talked about younger guys making bigger jumps and I think that’s what you’re seeing with them.  With moving Jabaal over to the defensive left, now we’ll see if he can improve on that being in his new spot.  Then Phil, those defensive tackles are in there battling every week.  The schemes are a little bit different each week.  We played the Colts, which was primarily a zone-type scheme.  Prior to that, there were a lot of lead plays against Cincinnati and power players.  They’re different styles of games, especially for the inside guys.  Instead of getting zoned off, they’re getting double teamed and scooped.  When you watch the way they grade, their grades are getting better.  That’s a long way of saying, ‘They are getting better,’ but they’re different styles of games.”

(On why Sheard was moved to left defensive end)- “It was nothing specific.  As you noticed in the preseason and in practice, he’s played on both sides.  We’re just trying to, and keep in mind we know the players by name, we’ve got a feel for what they do, but as we go through this thing we’re trying to watch them compete in live action and then try and get them in the right spots.  There’s no excuse to that, we’re just trying to do the very best to put them in the right spots and that’s just one example of it.”

(On what specifically makes the Dolphins good)- “I think they’re very talented in a lot of spots.  If you just look at their offense for instance, I think (Chad) Henne is a fine quarterback.  He’s a big guy, we we’re just talking about how he’s had 18 scrambles in this preseason and regular season.  When he takes off and runs he’s a big thick guy that can run so that’s always a challenge.  Aside from that, he’s got Brandon Marshall who he looks for a lot and then he’s got other talented players he can spread the ball around too.  They’ve got a couple of running backs now that have had production so when you look at that, and then I’m familiar with some of their offensive linemen who are big physical guys.  That in itself is something to be of concern.  Defensively, I mentioned it yesterday, their defensive line, they’re big guys and it’s going to be a challenge to get them covered up and then protect the quarterback when we throw.  I think that’s where it starts for them.  In the secondary, I think their scheme is very, very sound.  Then they find a way to challenge the receivers as well.  Those are all the things when you break down a team you look at and say, ‘This is why they’re good.’”

(On is he’s familiar with the Dolphins home and away records and how they win a lot on the road)- “I don’t know.  I think philosophically as coaches we focus on different things.  I’m a believer that you have to be good at home and on the road.  Now typically, I don’t know what the statistics say, teams probably win more at home than they do on the road, I try to avoid that. We have to win on the road and at home.  I’m aware of what you’re talking about in terms of the Dolphins and we’re trying to win the game whether we’re playing here in Cleveland or on the road.  That might be a better question for them.  I don’t know how they handle it, I don’t know the intimacies of their team but I know for the Cleveland Browns, we’re trying to do the very best we can to win every game, whether it’s home or away.”

(On the possibility of Miami using the Wildcat)- “I think it’s a part of their past and I know it’s a part of the package that they’re new offensive coordinator has as well.  I think we go into every game anticipating and having a plan to see it than how much you actually see it more or less.  I think you go into every game now defensively, it’s Wildcat, unbalanced and no huddle.  Those are kind of the three pronged attack of things that you’re always preparing for defensively.  I think we’ll spend time on all three of those.”

(On how the Wildcat was so popular two years ago and why nobody uses it now)- “I don’t know.  I do know that when it sprung on the scene, but I don’t know where it started or who was the inspiration for it, but I know the Dolphins had a victory against the Patriots with it. Then they kind of committed to it for a few years then you saw every team in the league dabble in it.  I’ve always felt like it’s effective if you’ve got that kind of guy that can play that position as the quarterback/running back.  But again, why teams have gotten away from it, I don’t know.  I think what you do in the offense season is look at plays that you run and try to categorize their effectiveness and then decide whether you’re going to do it the next year.  Teams have had a couple of years to try and defend it and offensive teams that run it have had a couple of years to try and evaluate its success.”

(On him not in being in a hurry to use the Wildcat here)- “I think there are some concepts to it that are very good.  I was more interested in us getting in a huddle, calling a play and taking a snap.  I don’t mean to make light of that, but there’s so many things that need to get coached offensively and I think that’s kind of our starting point.”

(On what he sees in Jayme Mitchell)- “Jayme Mitchell I think has played two good games and I knew of him just by reputation from a year ago listening to our scouts and coaches that are on the staff.  He’s pretty much played up to my expectations in terms of what he is.  I think he’s a very solid player as a defensive end, which is a hard position to play in this league.”

(On how Mitchell has adjusted to the defensive end switch)- “I think he’s handled it well.  I think he plays equally well on both sides and that’s why we were able to make the switch for Jabaal.”

(On how Jason Pinkston played last week because they haven’t been talking about it)- “I thought he played okay last week.  There were a handful of plays he wants back.  He’s doing well.  For a rookie to be in there and us not be talking about him, I think is a good thing, especially at the offensive guard position. I think he’s making steady improvement, much like we talk about Jabaal and Phil.  Those three guys in there and that’s not easy duty when you’re a rookie playing in the fray in there.  I think he’s done a good job.”

(On if rookie defensive linemen are susceptible to getting out of position)- “It’s very easy to get out of a gap.  There’s gap control, there’s defeating blocks and feeling schemes, those types of things.  A lot of guys will come into this league having played just, ‘Go get the quarterback, one gap ball.’ Now, there’s so much happening there that I think there’s a lot to learn, not to mention you’re amongst 300 lbs.-plus men hitting you from all different angles so there’s a lot going on there.”

(On if Taylor played a lot of plays in Indianapolis)- “He did.  He played quite a bit and hung in there well.  Again, I think his workload has increased and he’s playing better.  I think that would be a fair statement.”

(On if Taylor’s workload has increased because he has shown some pass rush ability)- “No, I wouldn’t say that.  I think he’s just playing a little bit more and a little bit better.  There’s nothing really behind the scenes to say more or less.”

(On if Peyton Hillis’ low per-carry average is due to the offensive line needing to come together and correct mistakes)- “I don’t know that.  He had a pretty good workload last week.  I mentioned that was a game where everybody was fight for four, five, six yard chunks.  Peyton’s a guy that as he gets his carries, he tends to be a little bit better.  I wouldn’t characterize that as anything right yet, we’ve only played two games.”

(On if Montario Hardesty and Peyton Hillis have to be good blockers to player together)- “To put them both in the game together? Yeah and I think they both are in terms of blocking either the runner or the pass.  I think that’s fair.”

(On why Sheard is more comfortable on the left side)- “He just is.  Again, I am not trying to make a joke.  We watch him and there are certain things about what we do.  I am left handed, I naturally throw better with my left.  Certain guys just tend to be better on doing certain things.  That’s part of the evaluation process as you get to know guys.  Sometimes when you are playing defensive tackles, instead of playing a one or the three, you play right and left.  As you get a feel for your guys, that are part of what goes on.”

(On Ahtyba Rubin and if he is the rock because the other guys are new)- “I would agree with that.  You are touching on a good point, I think he is one of those steady performers and he says very little.  We have conversed over the last couple of months but not much.  That’s just his nature and I have a strong appreciation for that.  He is a fine human being and is a very quiet, steady guy.  I think that’s something that new players and that defensive line can rally around. I think he’s good and he’s played well and he’s had two good games.”

(On being prepared for the no huddle against Miami and how pleased he was with how they defended the Colts running it)- “I know it is part of their system.  Really we all have components of it, whether you choose to use it or not there are reasons for it.  We know they have it and we have a good idea that they may use it.  We’ll practice it.  Now last week having gone against a no-huddle type scheme for a portion of the game last week, I think you get used to it.  Again, there are trends in football offensively and defensively.  I remember at one point when the Steelers were running the stunt 4-3 defense.  It was exotic and new and then all of a sudden that scheme kind of moved around and then you get offseasons to prepare for it.  It’s the same thing in football and I think every defense, as I mentioned, you have to be ready for no huddle, Wildcat and unbalanced.  Those are just three things and any kind of gadgetry that a team may have in their package, but the ability to practice it last week will obviously help for this week.”

(On players in the NFL faking injuries to slow down the offensive’s pace)- “There is a rumor that it happens.  I am three games into this thing as the head coach and I have always been an offensive coach so there is no need to do it on offense.  Now whether or not it happened, I wasn’t there.”

(On balancing Colt McCoy being in and out of the pocket)- “There is a balance and I think a quarterback in this league has to be able to operate from the pocket.  That is the starting point for our offense, one, three, five and seven step drops in the pocket with a mixture of just straight drop backs and play action.  That’s where it starts.  Then you have to, in my opinion, have to have a certain percentage of structured keeps, boots and nakeds.  Then you see sometimes in the game where a quarterback is operating from the pocket, the rush dictates that he needs to get out and then you hear coaches talking about extending the play and making a play.  You saw all three of those components of playing quarterback last Sunday. I think the long throw to Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) down the right sideline to the one, that was a drop-back three step throw that he flushed and made a play.  The one to Evan Moore in the end zone was a drop-back five step throw.  He flushed and made a play.  Then there were some keeps and movements that he made plays on where they were structured for him to get out of the pocket.”

(On if McCoy is developing an internal clock on how long to stay in the pocket)- “Sure, there is something instinctual about when guys are getting ready to nail you and you practice it. You drop back, he hits you up in the pocket, if there is a running lane you take it.  We had another call, a drop back where he scrambled and he ran for a first down.  I think he is improving and that is something that needs to be practiced and we practice it every day.”

(On Joshua Cribbs getting possible squib kicks)- “That is something we practice, and the question about squibs and directional? I think so.  I think that’s coming because unless you can guarantee the ball is going to go through the uprights, there is a chance it’s coming out at you.  I don’t know and again just like you practice different components of offense on defense, we do the same thing in the kicking game in terms of the return game.  You are always aware of squibs, surprising onsides, bloops and what not.  I think there is a chance you might start to see that and they could pop it way up and then just swarm the guy.”

(On a quarterback analysis rating saying McCoy was the 21st best quarterback last weekend)- “I didn’t hear about that rating.  I think he played a solid game and again he needs to improve on for us to win consistently.  I think there are some things that he needs to do better. Last Sunday, I thought he executed well enough for us to win.  In terms of rankings, I don’t know.  I didn’t hear about that.”

(On McCoy’s improvement through the first two games this year compared to last year)- “In terms of comparing his performance last year to this year, I don’t think that’s fair in terms of his overall comparison.  I really don’t quite know what he was being told.  I know he was put in the game basically because there were injuries. I am trying to look at him as a guy that is improving, this is his third game in my mind.  What he did last year when he was in there was he had some gritty performances and showed that he has some natural ability to play the quarterback position. That is kind of what I took from that. I would probably leave the comparisons to this year.”

(On McCoy’s being able to take a hit)- “He did and it was a pretty good shot too.  He came back.  Most quarterbacks get hit a few times a game, that is just the way it goes and he took a good solid one and he bounced back.”

(On if McCoy was told he needs to get rid of the ball sooner on the play he was sacked on)- “He was told, but I need to emphasize it.  The scheme of the protection and the route concept was a third-and-short situation and they gobbled up the route.  He needs to be aware of the fact that you need to continue to drift and roll or throw it away.”


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