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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 10, 2011

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

(Opening statement) - “Everybody’s back from the bye.  You noticed today in practice Joe Haden wasn’t out here.  He’s continuing with his rehab and we felt leaving him inside was the best approach right now.  Alex Mack, as you saw, was out here.  He was able to get some mental reps on some of the stuff we’re getting ready for Oakland, but he wasn’t able to perform either.  Joshua Cribbs was out here, he was limited.  He’s feeling much better so he was out here and did some things a little more than we thought, so, he’s moving forward there.  It was a good start to the week. I thought the guys practiced fast and they seemed like there was a little bounce in their step, which is typical coming back from a bye weekend.  As I mentioned before, I encouraged them that they weren’t off they were away and it appears that they all took care of themselves pretty well.”

(On if Joe Haden has a good shot of playing Sunday) - “It’s too early to tell, too early to tell on both him and Alex (Mack).  Once we make a determination one way or the other I’ll make sure you guys know.”

(On if the Al Davis factor plays into how this game will unfold Sunday) - “Well, I’m sure it’s been a very emotional weekend for the Oakland Raiders organization. Al Davis is the Oakland Raiders.  I didn’t know the man all that well, I met him once early in my career, but I’m sure it was a very emotional weekend for them in Houston.  I had a chance to watch the game on TV and you could tell by the reactions from the coaches and the players that they were very happy about the victory I’m sure with Al’s memory.  I don’t know how that’s going to affect this week, but I do know that he’s meant so much to that organization and I’m sure they’re going to play hard.”

(On what area’s he is happy about and what area’s he feels needs improvement coming out of the Bye Week) - “What you’ve noticed from the first four weeks is we’ve got some good young talent that’s out there getting better each week.  I feel like our schemes are in place.  As I mentioned earlier, there are some things that we’ll do more and emphasize and then there are some things about our scheme that we’ll, both sides of the ball and our kicking game that we’ll set aside. I felt good about that.  I think we need to find a way to start fast in all our games and we looked at some of the areas that we can do better.  We looked at some of the specific personnel issues that as we move forward like you saw today watching practice.  Greg Little has played over 200 snaps, but as it goes forward here we’ll just put him at the “X” (position).  We’ll get him in there and get him starting as the “X” and then typically he plays in the slot when we go to three receiver sets.  Some of those things, again, I’m optimistic as we move forward and I’m looking forward to playing Oakland.”

(On if they would be better off if they shortened the receiver rotation from four to five guys down to two or three) - “I think there are things that you look at in terms of playing personnel groupings. When I look back at a four game total of play there are certain guys that need to get on the field more.  We mentioned this about the ball carriers. That game got a little bit away from what we wanted to do, so that’s a one game sequence.  Evan Moore needs to be in there more. We’re going to make sure we keep putting Greg Little in there and Joshua Cribbs. I think Benjamin Watson is playing at a very high level.  He’s a three down tight end so when you put in Evan Moore a lot of times it’s in a two tight end set. Those are the things you look at.”

(On if the Peyton Hillis story is becoming a distraction) - “Well, because I keep getting questions about it that’s why it won’t go away.  I’d like to move on.  We’re talking about playing the Oakland Raiders. Whatever happened has happened three weeks ago and I’d like to move on and get ready to play the Raiders.  That’s the way I’m approaching it.”

(On if he has felt the need to talk to Hillis about the situation) - “I’ve talked to Peyton. I’ve talked to him every day and I think as we move forward we’re just looking forward to going and playing the game.  At least that’s where I’m at, I think that’s where he is at. You’d have to ask him and I think beyond that everybody’s going to have an opinion on all of it. Anyone that’s involved.  From a coaching standpoint, I want to move on and watch him play against the Oakland Raiders and I think that’s where he’s at as well.”

(On what he took away from watching the Oakland/Houston game and what kind of problems will they give him offensively and defensively) - “I think they’re a very talented team.  They’re some of the best looking players you’re ever going to see in the league.  I think they played a very resilient game. It wasn’t a whole bunch of scoring, a lot of field goals.  They made three field goals over 50 yards and I think they just battled all the way through that.  Again, in a weekend that was probably very emotional for them and I think (Raiders head coach) Hue’s (Jackson) done a nice job of getting that team ready to play, they’re obviously playing hard.  Defensively, they gave the Houston Texans fits. They batted a lot of passes, they play a lot of man-to-man coverage although they did pressure and play some zone, which is a little more than what we’ve seen from them in the past.  They’re a very talented team that has a lot of confidence now and they won a game in a weekend where it was very tough for them.”

(On if he has found something that would galvanize the team and solidify unity) - “I think we’re a team that needs to come out here each day and get better.  I think there are things that happened in the first four games that we can build on. I wouldn’t say there’s one theme other than we need to improve each day on the practice field and then put it into play on the weekend.  It just so happens that we’re playing a very good football team that’s dealt with an organizational death.  That’s where we’re at and I guess coming back from a bye weekend you tend to get just a little bit more sleep and so I’m eager to get at it.”

(On using Evan Moore as more of a wide receiver) - “You did a very good job of answering your own question and really what you look at when you put players on the field is if you put one on the field then somebody’s not there.  And so, I think it’s important that we play all the players and you just got to find the right mix and when you put him out there try to use him in the best way that you can.  When you put Evan on the field you can’t always throw the football.  And so, when you use multiple receiver sets same thing, you can’t always throw it and so, you kind of answered your own question by saying those are the things that you factor in when you go to attack an opponent.”

(On having difficult matchups (personnel) when a tight end is split out as a receiver) - “Play systems, matchups, their strengths, our strengths, the plays that we execute well and putting our guys in the right spots.  I think that’s the important thing.”

(On if he was intimidated when he met Al Davis) - “No, actually I met him so long ago.  I really enjoyed meeting him and it wasn’t much of a conversation but, for whatever reason when I was in Philadelphia we didn’t play Oakland much.  Then, when we did play him I didn’t see him before the game.  I have always admired their organization and what it stands for. When you think of the Oakland Raiders and really when you think of the NFL he’s had a huge impact on both that organization and the NFL. So, it’s hard not to think of Mr. Davis.”

(On if he would prefer to have one receiver, one tight end for every snap) - “I think we need to use all the players that we think that can go out there and make plays for us.  I have always believed that you mix up the personnel because it causes the defense to have to adjust.  Typically, if you put a third receiver on the field that causes them to put a nickel back on the field.  I think it’s important that you just mix them up. I think that’s why I’ve said in the past, sometimes catches come in bunches.  A guy may get three or four one game he may get six the next.  He may go a game where he gets two.  The key is to put him out there and give him the opportunities.”

(On if timing and rhythm are the key elements for Colt McCoy to be effective) - “I think timing, we’ve talked about that in the past.  I think timing is extremely important when you are working with your receivers and the more you work with them, the better the timing gets.  That’s an important piece and then the ball has to be delivered at the right spot and the guys have to catch it and then we got to block for them.  So, there’s a lot going on there and our guys work on it all the time.  In fact, they are doing it right now.”

(On if Colt McCoy is throwing behind the receivers more then he should) - “I wouldn’t say that’s a general statement I would make.  He’s had some inaccurate throws, but I’m sure your thinking specifically of one or two or three.  But, he can’t do that.  Balls got to be out front when a receiver is moving away from you.”

(On re-evaluating yourself during the bye week) - “Some of it is strategic so I’ll hold that, but I think it’s important that we move forward and focus on the details of playing and coaching. (It) gave me an opportunity to look back at all the games, all the situations.  There’s obviously a thing or two that I would do differently within the games.  But again, some of that is strategic.”

(On comparing the development of Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford) - “It’s the same process we are going through.  I wouldn’t say there is much difference right now.  You know we’re in game five and Sam had his ups and downs early and then found a way to have a real good stretch in the middle of the season. I think they are similar in some ways. Although these two quarterbacks have very similar characteristics to some degree they are different in others. I think there are certain things that Colt executes better than Sam and vice versa.  That’s where the plays in our system that we want to focus on will do that more.”

(On if he has grown by leaps and bounds as a coach in the first four weeks) - “I think I’m growing for sure.  I think this is a great football town.  This is a great organization to coach football in.  Got a lot of terrific players and a lot of tough opponents.  It’s hard not to and I feel like.  My focus always every day is to get better.  I think that’s what everybody does whether you are a first year coach or you’re a coach that’s been doing this a long, long time.”

(On if there is anything he has learned or grown from the most in the first four weeks) - “It’s hard to say.  There are probably a lot of things I would say from how to structure a practice, although I had an idea of how I wanted to do it to working with the players both on offense and defense and in the kicking game.  Inner workings of the staff, when it’s the whole staff, not just the offense, those type of things. Then being able to delegate some things that you typically did when you were either an assistant or coordinator.  I tend to do some things still that I should probably delegate. Those type of things.”

(On if Colt McCoy can learn something from Aaron Rodgers) - “I think anytime you watch quarterbacks from a similar system I think you learn something.  A lot of the route combinations are very similar.  He could learn something by watching him.  Sure.”

(On if he transplants items from Rodgers) - “I don’t know about transplanting items.  I think there are things about his play that when we crossover and watch the Packers play against our opponents that you can show that are similar.  Some of the timing and execution of course, but yeah I do.  I watch Rodgers.”

(On if teams are trying to contain McCoy inside the pocket to reduce his vision) - “I don’t know if it’s a vision issue with Colt.  I think he sees well in the pocket.  There is a certain percentage of our offense where we have him out of the pocket already.  Certain teams it’s easier to do that against then others.  In terms of Michael Vick, he’s such an explosive runner.  You’d have to ask defensive coordinator’s how they see Colt and Michael in a similar way.  I think it’s important that you do move the quarterback some.  I think in order to be good in this league you have to be able to execute efficiently from the pocket, regardless of what the defense is trying to do.”

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