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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 12, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “Good morning.  As we get started here, you’re all aware that Marcus Benard was involved in an accident so we’ll make a move with him and we’re going to put Auston English up on the 53.  We also brought in Kiante Tripp as a practice squad player, he’s a defensive lineman.  That’s the change there.  In terms of injuries, Joe Haden’s making progress. He probably won’t be out at practice today.  Alex Mack is also making progress and he will be out there, he’ll be watching.  They’re both getting better every day.  It’s still too early to speculate as to their availability for Oakland.  Other than that I think you’ll see most everybody out there practicing and ready to go.”

(On if Benard is out of the hospital)- “I talked to Marcus this morning and you’ll have to get the details on where he is.  We spoke, but I think he’s still in the hospital, you’ll have to get that from Joe (Sheehan).  I spoke to him today, I texted him this morning and we spoke.  I’m thankful he’s okay so that’s what I can give you.”

(On if they were aware that Benard had been driving a motorcycle)- “No, I wasn’t aware.”

(On if Benard will go on injured reserve)- “We’re going to make a move, it’s some kind of injury list.  You’ll have to get that from Tom (Heckert) officially.”

(On if there are any more details on Benard’s injuries)- “I think he’s got a broken hand and whatever else.  I don’t have any details on that.  If I get some more, I’ll let you know.  I just want to make sure I’m accurate in what I say.”

(On if he feels the need to address the team on activities like that)- “I have addressed the team on numerous occasions.  We want and I want our players to avoid any and all risky behavior.  I think it’s obvious what some of that may be so it’s been addressed.  Obviously, when something happens you try to reinforce that that shouldn’t be something that our players are involved with.  But, yes it’s been talked about and again it’s like anything, you just have to keep going back and revisiting things.”

(On who will replace Benard)- “We’re going to put Auston (English) up.”

(On if English will step into Benard’s role)- “He’ll end up playing.  He’ll play special teams and he’ll play defensive end as well.”

(On what you say to Benard as far as ‘we told you not to do those things’)- “You reinforce it just like we would as parents.  You tell somebody to do something or they’re aware of the fact that they shouldn’t be involved in risky behavior and they do and you tell them again.  At this point and again, I’m just thankful he’s okay.  We’ll have to make a move and he’s not going to be able to play for awhile.”

(On if he will impose penalties on Benard)- “I have ways of disciplining the players.  At this point, when something happens like this we just want to make sure he’s okay and then we’ll move forward from there.”

(On if Benard has a future with this team)- “I think so and I’m hopeful that he’ll come back healthy and rearing ready to go.  Unfortunately, in a situation like this you treat it just like he may have, in terms of what happens on Sunday, he got hurt in practice.  So you make a move and that’s kind of where we’re at as we move forward.  We all know it’s not the case though.”

(On if he’s still hopeful Haden will be ready to play Sunday)- “Until I can sit up here and tell you he’s not available then I’m hopeful.”

(On if Mack needs to practice before he can play)- “The best situation for Alex would be to be able to practice, but all the way up until the game we’ll make that decision.”

(On if he knew how sick Mack was before the Tennessee game and what it says about his toughness)- “I knew that he came to the stadium and that he saw his breakfast again so I knew some.  I’m aware of a lot of things that go on and I knew he wasn’t feeling well.  Again, that happens to a lot of guys where they get sick and they play.  I do know he’s a very tough guy, he’s a very fine center and we need to be strong up the middle here to be good and I’m really glad that he’s our center.  I’ve got a strong appreciation for what he is as a player.”

(On if English will get some serious playing time)- “I think he will.   I think you’ll see him immediately on special teams.  He’s a big athlete, a guy that can run and he’s been a guy that’s showed up on the practice field in special teams situations and then we’ll try and get him in there and get him some snaps.  He had production in the preseason, which speaks well for him.  Again, it’s like replacing any player that gets injured, you put the next one in and let’s roll.  For him unfortunately, it’s a situation where he’s filling in for Marcus who’s injured.  I’m happy for him to have an opportunity and as the coach I’m looking forward to him going out there and playing and being productive.”

(On if he wants to give his defensive ends some rest after piling up so many snaps)- “I think it’s important that there’s some form of a rotation with your defensive linemen.  Typically, the guys that are active need to play. I think that’s fair, Tony (Grossi).”

(On Kamerion Wimbley and how Phil Savage liked him when he drafted him)- “He’s playing a lot of snaps for them, he rushes, he drops, he’s a good player. I don’t remember the specifics of him as a player when he was drafted, but I know he’s a productive player for them and their defense.  He does a solid job against the run, you’ll see him in coverage at times, he does a nice job there and I think he’s got pass rush ability.  He’s a very good player.”

(On if Richard Seymour is playing at his prime even though he is 32)- “He’s playing very well.  He’s very disruptive, always has been.  Tangled with him when he was in New England and we were in Philadelphia.  I remember the first play of the Super Bowl he planted Donovan (McNabb).  I’m very well aware of what he is as a player and I think he’s playing at a high level.”

(On how difficult it is to be inactive for four games and then be asked to start at center like Steve Vallos might be)- “Linemen in practice get lots of reps, whether it be rotating through with the active guys or the look squad reps.  I feel it’s always best if you’re getting a bunch of reps, but it’s not like he’s been on the shelf.  He’s been getting a lot of practice and he’s got experience so I’m very confident that if he gets in there that he’ll do a good job.”

(On centers having to make a lot of calls at the line of scrimmage)- “They practice that, they’re communicating.  If you’re not in there you’re getting a mental rep and in all the meetings.  They’re always ready to go so I’m confident he’ll do a good job.”

(On how they compensate for the Raiders defensive line leading the NFL in batted balls when they have a shorter quarterback and possibly a backup center)- “I think they had seven last week which is a huge number.  They do a good job of getting their hands up and they’re so tall there’s not a lot of jumping going on either, it’s just hands going up.  It’s important we throw in lanes, it’s important that when we throw the ball inside that we do a good job of getting their hands down and change up how we pass set them, then you move the quarterback at little bit as well.”

(On what the Raiders do well)- “Offensively, they’re very explosive, they’ve got good players that are playing well.  On defense, I think they’re a team that likes to play man-to-man, that’s been documented for years although they do play some zone and they’ve pressured. They’re a little bit more multiple than I think you would have seen from them in past years although the signature man-to-man coverage is still there.  They’re very good at just rushing one-on-one.  Big, physical, good looking guys and they’re playing well.  Then the kicking game is outstanding because of Sebastian Janikowski and (Shane) Lechler, two fantastic punters and kickers. Talent on the defensive side of the ball then usually translates into a good special team units in terms of coverage and blocking so they’re a very talented team and they’re playing well.  I’ll tell you what, they won an emotional game. We’ve all been involved, reported on or coached in games that are emotional for a lot of reasons and they went out and won a game last week on the road against a very good Houston team and found a way to do it at the end.  That’s a good thing for their team and I’m sure they’ll build on that.”

(On if the Raiders throw the ball vertically directly because of Al Davis)- “I don’t know that.  I think they throw the ball down the field, but not always.  I think you see a lot of possession throws from them as well.  That has been a signature of what everybody’s talked about an Al Davis team to be, play man-to-man coverage and throw the ball vertically. There is a component of that and I think you still see that in the way they play.”

(On Darrius Heyward-Bey improving his game this year)- “I think he’s a very talented young receiver that has improved.  Some of his big plays were not throws down the field, he caught a hitch the other day in a full blitz mode and broke a tackle and scored.  It wasn’t like they just bombed it down the field to him.  I think he’s improved his total game. He’s catching the ball well and he’s a big athlete that’s hard to tackle.  I think Hue (Jackson) and their staff has done a good job of bringing him along.”

(On if the weather factors any their offensive game plans at all)- “No, I am glad it will be a nice day. Is it supposed to be?  If the weather’s good it normally allows you to do whatever you want to do.  Typically when the weather gets to be extremes than every once in a while you got to think about how you’re going to do certain things.  But, when the weather is good typically everything is at your disposal.”

(On how the receivers did with yards after catch in the first four games)- “I think we were good, not great and I think we can get better.”

(On what the key is to getting YAC)- “The ball needs to be accurately thrown and we’ve already kind of touched on that.  It’s important it’s thrown where it needs to, so the receivers can catch the ball in stride and all that business.  I think guys that have the ability to make a guy miss because typically you’re catching the ball in front of somebody or in between defenders and make a guy miss and finish it down the field. It’s a combination.”

(On how many times he has coached in Oakland)- “Once, played them there last year.”

(On if Oakland is a strange place to play at)- “I don’t know.  I think every away venue has its things that make it different.  I visualize an infield, which they are not going to have now since baseball is over.  I think it’s similar in a lot of ways. It’s obviously an older stadium.  I am sure there fans are going to be wound up and ready to go like most home crowds.  I remember last year when we played them there, it was early in the year.  It was beautiful, another one of those beautiful days and it was very loud.”

(On how he will prepare his team for the emotion that Oakland will have)- “I have made the team aware. I’ve had two team meetings so far, one Monday and then one this morning and I’ve made them aware.  The players are very well aware of what the organization is going through with the passing of Al Davis.  There aware of it, you make them aware of it.  You take them to the game and then what you try to do is when the game starts you try to just kind of get that all out of your system and go play and let it be about the players. But, there aware of it and we’ve got to try to not make that something that distracts us.”

(On if he was breathing a sigh of relief after getting through the bye week healthy and then the incident happened with Benard)- “I trust our players. We really have a great group of guys in that locker room.  I really do think they always try to do the right thing.  I’m glad they made it back and I am thankful that Marcus is okay.  I think that’s where you get to.  You think about a player in a lot of ways you would think about your children, you get the call that something happened and you hope there okay then you move on after that.”

(On if Benard will be out for the season)- “I think that would be the case, but it’s kind of new right now, so I will let Tom and the official release handle exactly what that is. I’m trying not to misspeak.  I don’t think that’s good for anybody, I don’t know exactly.  I just know this we’ve activated Auston English and Marcus won’t be up this week.”

(On what Benjamin Watson is doing that constitutes him playing at a high level like last year)- “I think he’s blocking extremely well.  Relative to last year, he had a lot of production as a receiver and I think he’s doing the same thing this year.  He’s had quite a few big plays for us, touchdowns.  When you see him do it last year you kind of are hopeful and you expect to see it again and I think he hasn’t disappointed me in one bit.  You guys all know him very well, he’s a tremendous human being and a very tough competitor.  I consider him one of the leaders in that locker room and he’s a true pro. He’s a new dad.  He’s a fine example of what you want from a professional football player.”

(On if Watson is in the upper tier as far as speed for a tight end)- “I don’t know, I think he plays deceivingly fast. He’s one of those guys where his run after catch has been very good.  We throw him screens, shallow crosses, we throw him the ball up the field and he’s done a good job of really executing everything we’ve thrown to him. He’s doing well there.”

(On who will be the third cornerback if Haden is out)- “Buster (Skrine).”

(On if there is any thought to using Usama Young or Mike Adams at corner)- “It will all be all hands on deck.  If for some reason you don’t have a starter then the next guys move up and then the guys behind have to fill in on different packages.  There’s a possibility, but yeah, Buster would be the third.”


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