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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 4, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “I think we had a good practice.  Players of note that you didn’t see out here today, obviously Alex Mack.  His surgery went well, he’s resting, I guess, comfortably.  One of the first things he asked for was his grade sheet from Sunday.  He’s getting himself back mentally and we’ll see how he does as we move forward.  It’s too early to speculate as to his availability for Oakland.  Joe Haden wasn’t out here as well, he actually came I and looked pretty good, but I think it was better served he get his work done inside and Joshua Cribbs as well. Again, we felt like he made good progress over night and he was inside as well.  Otherwise, I think everybody else was out here of note.  Xavier Omon went home, his girlfriend is having a baby so I think that’s about it.  Otherwise, everybody was out here.  We spent most of the practice working on individual, skills and breakdown from individual routes to blocks to taking on blocks.  There was some tackling even though we weren’t in pads and then we finished up with 7-on-7, team and then two 10-minute periods dedicated for special teams as well.  We just went back to the basics, I think it’s an important thing this time of year as we get ourselves ready for the latter part of the season.”

(On if there’s any level of hope Haden can play in Oakland)- “Yeah, I think everybody we’ve mentioned, I’m not ruling any of them on right now.  We’ll have to see as we go here through the end of the week.  We’ll know more as we go forward, we’re hopeful.”

(On if Mack is still in the hospital)- “My understanding is he is, but he won’t be there for long I’m sure.”

(On how many adjustments need to made going forward for the last 12 games)- “I’ve already spent a lot of time looking at everything we’ve done, not only in the first four games, but also through the preseason, offensively.  There’ll be some things we’ll focus on more and things we’ll focus on less.  You’ll probably see more of certain guys in the game then you may have seen.  Those are the types of things.  There’ll be plays and concepts we’ll use more and some we’ll put on the shelf for a while.  Those are what you do, making wholesale changes is not the way to go.  We have plenty of things we do base wise that I think are important that we emphasize.  Then, just continue to try to get the ball to the guys that we know can make plays.  On defense it would be the same.  We have a scheme of defense that we play and the emphasis will be how to play that scheme better, a wrinkle or two, but without changing in the foundation.  The same goes for special teams.  How do we get what we do better and where do we maybe want to shift our focus in terms of becoming even better.”

(On where he thinks the players are with absorbing and implementing what they’re telling them)- “I think they’re right there mentally.  I think we all, this group, me, the players, you all go through Monday and when you get your sleep Monday night, no matter how good it is, you come in in the morning with a new perspective and you’re moving forward and I think I felt that from the players today.  They really embraced the fact that we’re out here, every one of us, trying to get better and then we’ll worry as we go along her how that applies to Oakland.  But, I feel good about what we tried to get done.”

(On if he will simplify the playbook as they move forward or if he’ll continue to do what they’ve been doing)- “I don’t know if simplify is the right word.  As I mentioned, you’ll refocus on certain things you’re doing better more and some of things that maybe it’s just not quite our group that worked at other places for me, we’ll deemphasize those.  I wouldn’t say simplify, we’d like to be able to do what we do, better.”

(On how much Colt McCoy can improve within a season)- “He’s a young player and in my mind almost a rookie.  His improvement can be great from practice-to-practice and game-to-game.  I think a lot.”

(On if he’s worried about McCoy taking a lot of hits the last few weeks)- “I think you worry about that any a quarterback gets hit.  We’re concerned about it, we focus on it and try to eliminate it.  Like I said, let’s hope in our tenure here that I never have to call 61 passes again because that’s not the way to play the game, in my opinion, because that’s obviously the way things went, but we don’t want that.”

(On if he thinks McCoy is taking more hits than he should)- “We’ve played some defenses that can put pressure on the quarterback.  Of course, that’s part of it and the other part of it is just us an offense doing what we have to do to get the ball out quicker, protect better and generally execute more efficiently.”

(On if he has to keep McCoy from getting demoralized from lack of results on offense)- “I don’t know.  I wouldn’t want to use lack of results, I wouldn’t want to use demoralized, he’s a very positive guy.  He’s very hard on himself, he’s very critical of himself but he’s very confident as well and I think that’s what pulls you through as you’re trying to improve.”

(On how Shawn Lauvao is doing a right guard)- “I think Shawn played one of his better games this past week so he’s doing good.  I think he had an outstanding preseason, I think he started off well and then I think he would tell you that this past game was one of his better ones.”

(On what he would ask of Lauvao and Jason Pinkston to improve on this bye week)- “First off, I told the guys just before we left the practice field that the bye week is not time off, it’s time away.  We all have to do what we can to get our bodies, our minds and our whatever’s ready to go for the last 12-week push here.  In the immediate time frame, it’s important that they still exercise, get their lifts in while they’re away, find the time to sit down and think about what they could have done better to help make us 4-0 at this point.  I’m going to ask everyone, coaches and players alike, to do the same thing so that’s what they need to do.  Then, come back in good shape eager to get to work and keep pushing forward.”

(On if the fourth-and-one play they ran with Armond Smith was a play meant for a fourth down situation or just a way to get him the ball)- “Typically that was a third-and-short, fourth-and-short type play.  That was the place that you would try and call it, not just to get him the ball in, what seems to be and we might all agree, a very critical situation.”

(On if it’s an effort to encourage team speed whenever he can with Armond Smith in the game)- “I think he does add speed to the field and I think that’s a good thing.  Again, as I go back through my evaluation of us and me, we’ll just see how we do that moving forward.  He’s our third running back, I’m hoping as we move forward that we have Peyton (Hillis) and Montario (Hardesty) doing exactly what they are here to do so we’ll see.”

(On keeping Armond Smith on the team and if they’re still worried his fumbling from the preseason)- “No, I wasn’t concerned about his fumbles.  I’m obviously concerned about ball security.  He’s got speed and there’s some talent there and that’s why he made the team.  Based on when we put the team together, he was our third best at running back, that’s why he’s here.  Now, what he brings to the table, he’s got speed, as I mentioned.  He’s like any young player, he’s developing and that’s kind of where it’s at.”

(On Jordan Norwood’s development and where he fits in)- “He got in, basically, at the end when we were running route after route and he made a play.  Again, he can run and I think he got a little banged up going through camp and I feel like he’s a role player at receiver now so he may show up every once in awhile in there.  He’s a contributor, he’s a returner and there’s things like most role players on teams that they’re good at, have a skill and a talent for and that’s why he’s here.”

(On how he would evaluate himself after four games as an NFL head coach)- “I think I’ve got to get better. We’re 2-2 and as a coach you want to be greedy and be 4-0.  I’m going to evaluate what I need to do better and some of that’s strategy so we’ll just move forward.”

(On if he thinks fans need to know that there’s a lot of developing going on with this young football team to be fair to the situation)- “Well I think that’s for somebody else to say.  In my opinion, this is a sport where you develop every day that you practice or every day that you meet and along the way as you’re developing, you need to win games so that’s the focus.  We need to get better, we need to execute more efficiently and we need to put our guys in the right spots to do the right things and along the way we need to win.  That’s the reality of it so I live in that reality.”

(On how Dimitri Patterson has played so far)- “He’s done a nice job.  I think of him as well as I think of Buster (Skrine).  They’ve done a good job of challenging and we’re really glad that he’s here.  He’s done a nice job.”

(On if Patterson’s versatility gives him the opportunity to let him fill in if Haden can’t go)- “We feel like Dimitri can play inside or out and with that be said, if we need him to go in and assume a role as a starter, we feel like he is.”

(On if he had a new appreciation for the wind at Cleveland Browns Stadium and if it was tough to throw the ball)- “It was blowing in pregame quite a bit. I don’t think by the time we started playing that the throwing was affected, but when you’re sitting there lining to try and kick a field goal, I have an appreciation for our kicker for sure.  He put that thing and hit it right down the middle in conditions.  I think the wind probably affects the kicks sometimes more so than the throws, at least that day.  In pregame it was a little bit more difficult.  I think once the game started, for whatever reason, when the rain started the wind settled down some.  I’m getting use to which way the wind blows and I’m leaning on kickers, they know, they’re like meteorologists. Phil knows so we were discussing if we kicked off for the first kickoff what we were going to do.  I’m looking at the flag thinking one way and he goes no, no we want to do this so I’m using his intimate knowledge of that setting.”

(On if the dual role of being a head coach and an offensive coordinator has slowed down for him)- “I think the preseason helped with that and I obviously lean on the assistants quite a bit for some of the advice that you need to get in terms of challenging plays and some of the usage of timeouts and when you do all those things.  In terms of calling the plays though we have a pretty good idea of what we want to call and when we call them.  There may be a decision or two whether you run or throw so I think that’s going pretty smoothly.  Now, whether they work or not, that’s something for us to talk about later.”

(On if he sees Greg Little as a guy who can make big plays)- “Yeah, he showed up. You see in a game where he made plays and I think we need to help that blossom.  We need to put him in position and give him a chance.  I’ve said it all along, Sunday is his favorite day.  When he puts that game uniform on, he brightens up and he’s ready to roll.  Not that he doesn’t practice hard, but there’s certain things about days of the week that make guys shine and I think he does.”

(On if the extra talks he had with Little during camp are starting to sink in for him now)- “The extra talks are daily and it depends on what’s happened with what the talks relate to.  It could be those laces are going to cost you $5,000 to whatever.  I enjoy him because he can make plays, I enjoy the fact that he likes to play the game and he’s a football player so I enjoy working with him.  But, the talks they haven’t stopped, they’re pretty consistent.”

(On how Owen Marecic is handling his rookie season so far)- “I think he’s handling his role well.  It’s very rare that you see him make a mistake.  He’s shown up and done some things on special teams, which Chris (Tabor) feels like has been impressive for a rookie.  He’s handling his role well and I’m looking for him to continue to improve.”

(On examples of what he and McCoy talk about during this point of the season as their relationship evolves)- “Some of it has to do with the details of the play, some of it has to do with the tempo of how we play getting in and out of the huddle, some of it has to do with letting mistakes go and moving on to the next play, some of it has to deal with ‘Okay, practice is a little bit slow here, let’s get this thing picked up,’ those types of conversations.  After the game, win or lose, it just comes from me, I’ll say these are the five things you need to do better and typically he’s right there.  Quarterbacks know almost immediately when they walk off the field if the screwed up or not, they really don’t need to see it.  Now, seeing it reconfirms it and brings back those thoughts, but normally he’s right there.”

(On if he and McCoy are on the same page)- “I think we are and it will even get better as we move forward. But, yeah I think we are.”

(On what Mike Adams has done to make the rotation at safety work)- “I think he’s a steady performer and I think he’s generally played well so that’s where he fits.  He’s exuded himself as a leader and he’s handled kind of rotating in there well, which is part of it.  I talked about this with the skill players.  Guys get selfish about playing time, they want to be in there all the time.  When you’re not, the most important thing is how you handle it and I think he’s handle that well too.”


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