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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 28, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “Good morning.  I normally start with injuries, there’s not really anything new to report based on what I talked about on Monday.  The guys that we thought would be out there Monday, were there at the walkthrough and we’ll see how things progress.  A couple of the guys may be a little bit limited, but I don’t anticipate any big roster or gameday active difference from last week, other than of course Peyton Hills who looks good.  He was out there today in the walkthrough and he’s ready to practice.  Tennessee Titans, the more you watch them I think the more you gain respect for what they are as a team.  They’re playing outstanding team defense right now, they’ve got talented players over there. Offensively, they’ve got a veteran quarterback in a new setting who is playing extremely well. They’ve got an outstanding running back that hasn’t had a chance to do some of the things I know he’s capable of doing. They’ve got receivers that can make plays, they’re offensive line is playing well, they haven’t given up many sacks. They’ve got a Pro Bowl returner and very good special teams, which is typical of a team that’s playing good defense, typically, your special teams follow in line.  We’re pretty well aware of what they are as a team, now we have to get a plan together to try and go out and beat them.”

(On how much stock he put into team’s rankings)- “I’ve always felt that rankings in certain areas can be dangerous to follow, good or bad.  I think when you take a snap shot of a team, teams that are ranked well typically are doing something right and means it probably points to a good performance.  I think the most important rankings of course are the win and losses.  Each game is different and a lot of the times you focus rankings, offense and defense, off of pure yardage, but teams find a way to move the ball.  How you play of third down, how you play in the red zone, what you’re doing in turnovers, those are the things that can really burrow down on good performance.”

(On if Chris Johnson early problems have to do with him missing training camp)- “I don’t know, that’s a better question for Mike Munchak. I think every situation is different, I don’t know.  All I know is I’ve seen that guy change games with the ball in his hands and we’re aware of that so we’re going to have to defend him.”

(On if he’s still in a period of trying to figure out what his players do best)- “I think we might be in the process for awhile here, finding out how guys react.  We haven’t really been through a season. I can remember back in Philadelphia after we’d been through a couple of seasons where we said this player kind of has a couple bad weeks around Thanksgiving or this guy he works so hard in training camp that he’s a little bit of a slow starter. I don’t have the benefit of knowing all that because we haven’t been through a one-year cycle yet. I do feel like I’m continuing to get to know the guys.  They’re all in different stages of their careers and I think as you play the games and you see guys in stressful, tense situations where they’re competing, you obviously learn about each one of your guys.”

(On if the last drive told him something about his players that he didn’t know beforehand)- “I think it kind of reconfirmed what I thought about some guys that stepped up and made plays.  I found out some things about our quarterback, who was able to lead us down the field.  As you seem them in those special situations competing then I think you continue to learn about them.”

(On if there’s anything physical that concerns him about Colt McCoy’s accuracy this season)- “No, I don’t think there’s anything that concerns me about anything physical.  I’m not concerned at all.”

(On what Chris Johnson can do that he’s not quite doing yet)- “I don’t know.  I think their run schemes are sound, I think they’re well coached up front, what they’re trying to do with them is right. I think they’re like any team, they’re just continuing to work on it and expecting to see a good performance.  I wouldn’t say there’s anything there.  He looks like he’s healthy, looks like he’s running fast and it looks like they’re doing a good job of blocking for him so we’ll see.”

(On Greg Little running a lot of shorter routes)- “I think he’s running a full complement of routes.  Some of the routes that you saw him catch, he showed up at the end of the game where you’re kind of working your way down the field and the routes tend to be just a little bit shorter, at least the position he was playing at the time.  But, no he’s got his down the field throws.”

(On Tony Pashos’ status)- “He was out there and took all the reps in the walkthrough so he’s going to make a go of it and we’ll see how he does.”

(On if he would feel confident starting Dimitri Patterson if he had to)- “Absolutely, I feel good about, really, I talked about the secondary the last time we visited and no I feel confident that whoever’s in their playing, whether it be Dimitri of Buster (Skrine), those guys will step up and play.”

(On if he and Mike Holmgren have talked about the importance of winning at home)- “We talk about doing what it takes to win each game.  I am sensitive and I do understand how important it is to win at home.  It’s fun for our fans to be able to enjoy the experience, I get that.  I was happy and I’ll tell you what, that moment when the crowd realized the Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) caught the ball and both feet were in, that was a fun moment.  Those are the things that you remember and hopefully we can recreate that.”

(On if Joshua Cribbs will be returning kicks this week)- “We hope to.  I think he looked good today moving around and I’ve seen him in here every day.  He’s like most real pros, even though Tuesday is their off day, most of the time we see the guys around and I think that becomes a sign of good things.  I’ve seen him around, he moved around well today and he’ll practice today.  That’ll probably mean that he’ll be back returning.”

(On Dick Jauron being such a calm guy and if he has he ever seen him cuss or lose control of his emotions)- “No, I haven’t seen him swear and I haven’t heard him swear. I’m sure it’s in there. He was an outstanding player, I guess he was Mr. Everything growing up in Massachusetts.  He’s been a high achiever his whole life and he’s obviously got a great pedigree as a coach beyond a great NFL playing experience.  He’s been there and done that and the thing I like about him is and I really appreciate this about people in positions of authority is he keeps his cool.  Players sometimes run the emotional gamete and I think to see to somebody that’s calm I think is good and I appreciate that.  I tend to be calm in front of you guys, I wish I could keep it that way all the time.”

(On what his involvement is with the defense on gameday)- “I’m on the switch.  I’m on offense when we’re on offense obviously because I’m sending the plays in and out, but when we’re on defense I’m listening, I’m there and I’m watching and then I’ll lend a hand.  I’ll have a suggestion or two, but for the most part Dick calls the game and runs it.  If there’s a strategy or something situationally that I feel we need to discuss then I’ll go over and talk to him.  ‘Hey, if we stop them here Dick, I’m going to take a timeout,’ those types of things.”

(On the offense starting slow and trying to get Greg Little involved earlier in the game)- “When you look at starting slow, I think in our first 15 plays or first quarter, we tried to get the ball to everyone.  Now, there’s times when the quarterback has to go with the second or third in the progression so yeah I think it’s important.  We’ve got a lot of guys that need to get involved early and that’s something that we keep in mind and that’ll have something to do with starting faster, I’m sure.”

(On if there is something game-plan wise to help get players involved more early or if the players just have to execute what he calls)- “I think we call plays to attack coverages.  In terms of the passing game, you call plays to attack the coverage that you’re going to see and try to create matchups.  If they flip the switch on you, you play a different coverage the ball goes someplace else that just happens.  We don’t just throw them out there willy nilly, there’s a reason for them.  Sometime the plan works and sometimes you move onto the next receiver.  Sometimes you may have a guy, a tight end that catches seven balls in the game where he might not have been primary in any of those catches.  You try and spreads the ball around and get it to your guys.”

(On if he draws on his experience trying to put a receiving core together like he did in St. Louis last year)- “I learned a lot last year.  I still will say that we had some players in St. Louis that were good NFL players.  We dealt with injuries and you just try to do the best you can to try and put it together so that the quarterback has targets and the matchups are right.  You think about that, I think it’s a new set of scenarios when you have new guys and you’re getting to know guys and what they do well.  I think anything you’ve ever had to do once before helps you.”

(On the timing issue with McCoy and the receivers as they figure each other out)- “The best possible scenario for timing is for them to come in have all the minicamps and play in the same spot. Then have all the training camp practices playing in the same spot and play the whole year in the same spot.  That’s not reality though unfortunately. The longer they play together whether you are the flanker, the X or the zebra, or whatever, the longer they play together the more comfortable they get with one another.  I think everybody in the league is dealing with that this year because we didn’t have the benefit of an offseason.”

(On how long it will take to get over that hump of not having an offseason)- “I wish we wouldn’t have talked about it at all quite frankly because I think all 32 teams have been dealing with it.  There are no excuses.  I would like us all to be on the same page today.”

(On how Montario Hardesty came out of Sunday’s game health wise)- “Great, he looked really good and I think he felt invigorated.  It’s like he told me, he said, ‘That’s the most football I have played in a while.’  It’s true. My first reaction is boy he is going to be sore, but he actually said that he felt good and he looked good today.”

(On if there is any concern about not having enough carries for both back going forward)- “I think what we found with what happened on Sunday is Montario is further along than I thought he was and can handle more than I thought he could.  You know that happens sometimes out of necessity.  Unfortunately Peyton couldn’t go, but I do know that Peyton can carry a big load and I think that’s good.  I have said it before and I really do believe it, if you are going to play consistently good football throughout the season you need them both.  I think if you are going to play good offense in this league there are going to be times during the year when you are going to need one to step up a little bit more than the other.  Now, Peyton is our back, but we learned a lot about Montario that I think we all should feel pretty good about.”

(On if they script plays at the beginning of the game)- “Yes, we do.  You script typically first and second down if you get to a situational third down or red zone, short yardage you go to those, but, yeah we do.”

(On what their thinking is for that)- “We have an idea what coverage we are going to see.  We want to write down and think through who we are going to get the ball to instead of just picking them.  Any work you can get done in your office you try to do.  That’s what we do here all day and night and then you adjust.”

(On if the defensive line’s pass rush is coming along faster than what was expected)- “I think it’s good when you get sacks.  I know any time when you can disrupt the quarterback it has an effect on the team.  Sometimes you start looking at hits on the quarterback, pressures or whether the quarterback has to move as well. As far as being them further along, it’s hard for me to say.  I know we feel good about the guys playing in there and I think they are getting better and are working well together.  The scheme seems to fit.  I think they have seven of those 11 sacks which you know some of them have come with four man rushes where they just individually beat a guy and then some of them have come in conjunction with the pressure.  It all goes hand and hand.”

(On days are gone in NFL where teams can hand the ball off to just one guy)- “I don’t know, I think you have to use the players you have and if you have two that can go, I think using them is smart.  There is a lot of wear and tear on a running back.  There really is and when you are running the ball everybody is trying to get you. There are a lot of other positions where it’s you and one guy. Peyton has a bruising style as a runner and that’s terrific, that’s outstanding and then you saw Montario’s got a little bit more like vision, he’s nifty. That type of deal, so that’s good.”

(On Jayme Mitchell having the best game of all the defensive linemen and his development)- “He had a very good game, but I think the other guys played well also. I think he has developed.  Again we are getting used to him, he made a switch from left to right.  I thought he played well.  I thought he did a nice job and he has been steady and consistent like a lot of those guys.”

(On Matt Hasselbeck)- “I have always kind of watched Matt and his style.  Early on in Philadelphia we had Tim his brother, but I have watched Matt operate and I have always been fond of his style of ball.  I think he does a good job of executing the offense.  He keeps the tempo good.  I think he is a very accurate passer.  I am seeing all those things in him and I mentioned it last night on the radio, I am seeing some of the concepts that he ran in Seattle, the West Coast type concepts, but I am also seeing the Chris Palmer influence where I am seeing concepts that I am very used to seeing from the Giants when Chris was with the Giants.  It is a little bit of a blend, but it looks like Matt’s executing extremely well and that’s important.  I am sure that’s one of the reasons that they are off to a very good start. When your quarterback is playing well and you’re playing well on defense,  I think it’s a good thing.”

(On Evan Moore need to improve his blocking to get more reps)- “No, Evan is a good player and we will put him out there.  He was in the game, as I mentioned we targeted him. You can understand, you want to play two running backs, you only get five skilled players at a time and a quarterback and five linemen so you have to try to balance it. If we are doing the right things and gaining yards on our plays then we will get more plays and everybody will get there looks.  Evan has done a good job.  Evan has got us in the end zone.  Evan has made big plays and it’s important we use him.”

(On grading McCoy when watching film)- “I think when you grade quarterbacks, the play starts in the huddle, so I know the play I called and they better be lined up right and the play get executed properly.  Really when you grade a quarterback, you just go back and give him pluses or minuses on the critical factors for a quarterback decision making, timing and accuracy.  Decision making, did he throw it to the right guy? Plus.  Did he get it off on time? Was it five plan or five hitch? Plus.  Was he accurate? Plus and that’s a good down.  You give him a plus.  It’s just that simple.  If it breaks down and he improvises and makes a big play, you give him two pluses. Generally speaking for a quarterback aside from the play starts in the huddle, making sure everybody is lined up right, that’s his responsibility.  If he calls trips and they come out and double, he better get the guy over. That’s his responsibility and beyond that when he is throwing the ball, did he make the right decision? Did he throw the ball on time and was he accurate?  At the end of the day you evaluate him based on getting the offense in the end zone.”

(On Greg Little being described as raw as a receiver because he didn’t play his final year at North Carolina)- “I don’t know, he didn’t played much obviously last year, but I see him making steady improvements.  Raw? I guess it can be defined a bunch of ways.  I see guy that’s really eager on Sunday and finds a way to make plays and I see him improving each week.  Not just running routes, but going through the process of being a pro which means how you approach your preparation, how you look after your body, how you keep yourself hydrated, how you rest.  All that stuff that pros have to go through and guys only know what they know and he has been a guy who has been blessed with tremendous athletic ability.  I don’t know but he may have been able to just get by on that skill.  But at this level if you are going to be consistently you have to learn how to do the process.  I think he is doing a good job that way.”

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