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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 22, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “I don’t have much to add from yesterday’s conversation.  There’s nothing new really on the injury front.  We listed Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) as limited, he actually practiced yesterday and will practice today as well.  There’s nothing new really with that, he’s really the same status as he was a week ago and then he played the whole game so there’s nothing there. I mentioned yesterday, Tony Pashos was trying to come back in faster form and he’ll practice, we’ll try to get something out of him today and see how he does.”

(On how Pashos responded to practicing yesterday)- “I think he had a good day yesterday so we’re looking to see if he can build on that today.”

(On if Pashos would he play the whole game or rotate if he was healthy)- “We’ll have to make that decision later in the week depending on if he’s a go or not. We’ll decide.”

(On if the Dolphins’ offense looks a lot like the Browns offense from a year ago with Brian Daboll as the coordinator)- “I don’t know, I’m sure there’s some concepts.  There are concepts that all coaches run so there’s some of those in there.  There are some new things that he’s doing this year that he didn’t a year ago.  It’s hard to say specifically what they are.  I’m sure he’s very similar in his base, which you can see.  I’m sure he’s kind of developed some other things to try to utilize the personnel that he has there.”

(On if Daboll has an edge because he’s familiar with the Browns’ offensive and defensive personnel)- “I think he’s attacking, from an offensive standpoint, a different scheme of defense and a lot of new players.  From his standpoint, as an offensive coordinator he knows something about the specifics of a guy and his skill and ability and I think in some ways that may be helpful.   But, it’s a new system, there are a lot of new players so I think you have to be careful how much you weigh that into the equation.”

(On Brandon Marshall being a physical receiver and that playing into Joe Haden’s game)- “I think Joe plays physical for a guy of his stature and you’re right, Brandon Marshall is going to be a big challenge for us.  He’s big, he’s strong, he can run and he can catch.  He has all the attributes you look for for a number one receiver and he’s showing up that way.  It’s going to be a challenge for us and I know our guys are looking forward to it, but we just have to go out and do it.”

(On what he thinks about Chad Henne)- “I liked Henne when he came out of Michigan.  I think he’s a good thrower, he’s a big guy and he’s thick in the lower body so if you find a way to hit him, you’ve got to really knock him down because he can bounce off and scramble and make a play.  I think he’s a tough guy so there’s a lot there that you’re looking for in a really fine quarterback, he can be dangerous.”

(On how the dual role of being a head coach and offensive coordinator is going for him so far)- “Good, I think it’s been fine so far.  Regardless of how many roles you have during the week it’s putting the plan together, making sure that the guys are getting the plan taught and then on gameday getting your mind right to call the game in an order that you want to with the plays that you have practiced.  All that seems to be going fine.”

(On how he resolves his time between being a head coach and being an offensive coordinator)- “I spend a lot of time working on both jobs, that’s how I resolve it.  I guess I’m struggling to find the root of your question there, but I spend a lot of time as the head coach and there are duties that reside with that as well as directing an offense and it’s not uncommon model.  It happens all over the league, that’s the way we handle it.  I feel I’ve mentioned it numerous times, we have very experienced coaches here.  Not only at the assistant level, but also in the positions of authority, running the defense and the special teams.  To this point I feel good about the structure of things.”

(On why he retained some coaches from last year)- “I knew about them, I interviewed them. I liked them and I asked them to stay, that’s why.”

(On the retained coaches being valuable during the lockout in helping him learn about his players)- “We didn’t have any communication with the players so we spent a lot of time meeting and getting ourselves in a position to get our systems ready to teach.  They obviously had very good knowledge of players on the team, offensively and defensively.  I felt like they were a big help, at least to me, getting to know the players that we had on this team.  Plus, as I just mentioned, I think they’re fine coaches, I visited with them, asked them to stay and I’m glad they did.”

(On Dimitri Patterson’s role enhancing as he goes forward and what he can bring to the secondary)- “Dimitri goes in and he’s the nickel back and he goes in in situations typically when they put three receivers on the field.  Some of that is dictated a little bit by how much we see three receivers.  We feel like he’s competed well, we feel like he can go in there and play inside or outside, we’re very pleased with what he’s done to this point and again there were things that he needs to clean up about his game, but we feel good about him going in in that at that role.  If for some reason he had to play outside for a while, we feel he could do that as well.”

(On Alex Smith’s involvement as the offense moves forward and balancing having three good tight ends)- “We’ve talked about Alex before as well.  He’s multiple in my opinion.  He can block the line of scrimmage, but when he gets out in a pattern distribution, you can throw him the football and he’ll catch it.  I feel as though he’s very dependable.  He can go in and play the primary Y position and he can also go in and play the U so he knows where it all fits.  It’s a good feeling for a coach when you have a guy that’s dependable and multiple and I feel at least he’s done that.”

(On if it’s a trade off when he can’t use Evan Moore as much when Smith is in the game)- “Typically, you get 65-70 plays and you have to decide how you’re going to use them.  Every one of the guys you’re talking about is not going to be in there on every snap so you have to use them in a way that you feel best.  Some teams its better to attack with two tight ends, some teams it’s better to attack with three receivers and two backs and some just in regular.  We look at all those things and that’s why you’ll see, really in all offenses, you’ll see a difference in the way a game looks at times because you’re attacking within your system, within your ability to get the ball to your guys, you’re attacking in what you feel is a little bit of a weakness for the defense.”

(On the depth that is developing at safety and how he feels about it)- “Well if your active players are healthy and playing well then you end up developing depth because they’re in there at some point during the game.  That’s the key and I think as Usama (Young) plays more because he’s getting himself back healthy and full speed then he’ll continue to improve as well.  In terms of improving, when you’re playing in real live games at full speed against real live offenses then that’s where you get to really step up your game.”

(On if it’s infuriating as a coach when opposing defenses fake injuries)- “I haven’t really thought to deeply about it because it hasn’t really affected our team.  I understand what happens during games.  There are rules and we need to abide by the rules and coach our players to play by the rules.  That obviously, as the season goes on things happen in games and it’s just like if we have a mistake in a game, we go back and reemphasize it and bring it to everybody’s attention in a stronger way and I think that’s what I think is happening.  You don’t want people doing things that are playing on the edges, but we’re all big boys.  We just have to play by the rules and coach it that way.”

(On if faking injuries is an unwritten rule in the NFL)- “I think it’s gone on, but I don’t know, I’ve never coached it.  Now, that it’s been brought to everyone’s attention, you’re hearing players talk about other places they’ve been and how it’s been talked about.  I’ll kind of leave it at that until it affects us.”

(On how Massaquoi has fit into his system)- “I’m pleased that he’s back out there.  I think he’s a fine receiver and I like what he’s brought to the table so far.  He has a knack for running routes, very good route runner.  He catches the ball, he’s a big target and he’s smart.  You can line him up in a lot of different places so I’m looking forward to seeing him work through the season.”

(On if he’s concerned with Brian Robiskie’s production)- “No, I’m not.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, at times receiver production comes in bunches.  You may not get a few or you may not many throws or you may not be targeted much and then in one game you may get five or six so I’m not.  I think Brian is doing everything we’re asking him to do, he’s knows where to go and where to be and he’s playing hard so I’m not at all concerned about that.”

(On if he is seeing Greg Little blossoming into a bigger target offensively)- “I think he’s playing better and he’s improving and I can see where he’ll be a guy that we’ll throw the ball to throughout the year.  I think he’s playing better.”

(On defending the run better)- “Defending the run, I’ll always go back to this, it’s a team thing.  Whether it’s the end setting the edge or the safety or linebacker, if we’re facing a team that’s going to attack our perimeter then we have to be able to defend it.  We just keep practicing it and there’s a lot of ways, you could be in a two deep coverage, three deep coverage, there’s times where the ends have it, times where the backers have it and it’s important that we defend the edges because you really don’t want the ball to get to the perimeter if you can avoid it.”

(On Haden improving on the run defense)- “Joe’s a tough guy and if we’ve got a rolled up corner and he’s got to tackle it or turn in back inside, he’ll do that.  I’m not concerned about his willingness to tackle and I think he enjoys it.”

(On if he’s worried about Montario Hardesty’s mental part of the game being on the sideline)- “No, not at all.  I think he’s been with us every step of the way.  We talk about taking mental reps and you have to do that in pro football.  If you’re a backup running back or any really role player you have to get mental reps. It’s one of the key things for a backup quarterback, to be able to go in and execute with very few reps during the week and I think all the skill players know that and they try and embrace that so it’s important that they see it and get it done.  They get their general ball handling, they watch the blitz pickups, they know where the run is supposed to hit and then there’s a natural piece to being a runner where you run to daylight.”

(On a red zone play from two weeks ago where Colt McCoy threw to Joshua Cribbs when he was covered and it didn’t work and how they can fix that)- “I’ll just say this generally, if he tried to throw it to Josh and he wasn’t open, then he’s got to throw it to the next guy in the progression and Josh has to get open.  I think that’s the general answer. I apologize, I am struggling to remember which play you are talking about.”

(On why the Wildcat has fizzled out and if it was it a gimmick)- “No, I don’t think it’s a gimmick I think its good offense.  We talked about it yesterday, it kind of burst on the scene in Miami in a game against New England.  They had quite a bit of success so as you have success then you build on it and I think what happens is that it was a little bit of a trend.  It got legs and started running around the league, a lot of teams did it.  When I was in Philadelphia we had plays, last year in St. Louis we practiced plays and we actually ran a few.  You’re always looking for a good idea that you can get offense out of, either move the ball or get an explosive play.  I can’t tell you why other teams don’t run it. I do know this though, when trends develop that time in the offseason when the players aren’t around, coaches huddle up in a dark room with coffee and they go, ‘How we going to stop this,’ or if it’s something on defense.  If a lot of people are running the Bear defense and that becomes a trend and teams are getting stifled by it then offensive coaches are saying how do we attack it.  It may be the offseasons of a bunch of smart guys, but I don’t know.  Maybe some teams now don’t have that type of player that can stand there as the quarterback, execute the offense, run the ball and throw it, I don’t know.  I do agree with you, I think teams have gotten away from it as a steady part of what they do.”

(On Usama Young potentially regaining the starting position)- “It’s a real possibility and he’s in there playing all the time.  I look at it this way, I feel at this point we’ve got three safeties in there playing and doing a nice job.  It’s a very long season.  We’ve got Eric Hagg coming back, we’ve got Ray Ventrone, we’ve got five safeties and at any point during the game they could all be in there.  We need to put the guys in there that are going to help us win the game.  There are very few spots where you say you’ve just got one player that does it and I think that’s what we have there.”

(On what has pleasantly surprised him the most about his defense)- “I don’t know. I’m getting a feel for our defense as they play.  As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve played two different styles of offense.  A one back zone offense last week and prior to that a two back downhill, lead play, power scheme, play action.  I think they handled both of them pretty well.  This week it will be a multiple two back, one back type style.  I feel like they’ve adjusted pretty well, I feel like I’m very pleased with the way our corners and our safeties challenge the receivers and I’m starting to see a little pass rush, which is something that you need.  Then I’m extremely pleased in the leadership and the play that we’re getting out of D’Qwell (Jackson), which is a key piece to a defense when your MIKE linebacker is playing at a very high level.”

(On what he needs to see for Carlton Mitchell to be active and what’s the difference between him and Robiskie)- “What do I need to see? He needs to be out there and practice in a way where we say, ‘Okay, you’re up.’  He’s a good special teams player from what I’ve been told, he’s got speed, he’s big and he’s getting himself back in playing type shape after his injury.   In terms of a comparison to Robiskie, I would say they’re similar in size.  Carlton is much faster I would say, I think there are some things that Carlton needs to learn in terms of running routes, but that would be the difference.”

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