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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 18, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters on Monday, a day after his team's 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement) - “As usual I’ll start with the injuries.  I don’t know if there’s much to add from last night I don’t quite remember exactly what I gave you. Scott Fujita had a concussion and we’ll have to see as we move forward here how long that will affect him.  Joe Haden, as you know, didn’t play and he’s continuing to progress.  Again, I won’t know early in the week how it will effect at the end of the week.  Peyton Hillis sustained a hamstring injury, he’s been evaluated and we’ll just have to see how he does as we get ready for this week.  Ray Ventrone also has a hamstring strain.  The other guys that played that we talked about last week, Alex Mack played, he’s got general game soreness but he’s fine.  Titus Brown, who played, had no setbacks as well.  When you look at the game after watching it we talked about a couple of the big plays that didn’t go our way or went against us that we’ve got to correct.  I thought other than the first drive the defense really settled in and they held (Darren) McFadden in check.  We were concerned about big plays over the top, that’s why you could see at times there was some underneath stuff that they got.  I felt for the most part they battled and Dimitri Patterson stepping in for Joe Haden did a pretty good job.  Other than that, you talk about good things in a game where you don’t win you, don’t play good enough to win, no one played well enough.  Other things, I think (Brad) Maynard had a good day, one of his best days as a Brown.  You saw at the end there on a questionable snap he got the ball down and we got it kicked through.  Greg Little had six catches in his second start. I still think he can play a lot better than he did.  I thought all-in-all we gave ourselves a chance at the end to go down and tie the game and possibly win it and we didn’t get that done.  Disappointing because we lost, but once I get off the stage here we’ll get ready to get after Seattle.”

(On Colt McCoy having trouble throwing the ball down field) - “I don’t know about down field.  There are times in the game when he was off the mark.  We’ll just keep working on getting him better.  There’s nothing specific, each pass play has a component of protection, a component of a route, route depth and then an accurate throw tied to mechanics. We just have to get better at all of it.”

(On if McCoy is rushing throws because of defensive pressure) - “I wouldn’t say that as a general rule.  I think he’s just got to drop back, see it and throw it.”

(On if McCoy does a good job of recognizing blitzes) - “There were a couple times when we had pressures that should have been picked up that weren’t and there were reasons for it. It may have appeared that Colt didn’t see it coming, he saw it coming and thought it was picked up.”

(On if there are consistent problems with the offensive lines protection) - “I wouldn’t say there’s anything consistent.  We’ve just got to get better.”

(On if McCoy has the ability to audible) - “Yes, absolutely and he did audible yesterday.”

(On if he thought about using a timeout to slow things down after recovering the onside kick) - “No, we gained seven yards on the first play and then we had three incompletes.  We had plenty of time in the huddle to get plays called.  Had the clock been running of course we would have used them, but I don’t think there’s anything strategically different there.”

(On if he thinks McCoy has lost confidence) - “No, I don’t think so.  I think he’s a young player working through what it takes to be an NFL quarterback.  I think his confidence level is high. He’s disappointed we lost, there are plenty of things he needs to work on and that’s what we’re going to be about.”

(On the amount of latitude Shurmur and Mark Whipple give McCoy in diagnosing plays pre-snap) - “I think he does a good job of knowing what’s happening pre-snap, he’s just got to drop back and make the throws.  We talk about it all the time, that’s what we do.  We’ve mentioned the pressures. I think there were a couple of pressures that were blocked, the defender leaped over the top and we can do a pretty job of blocking them.  Now, did Colt know where they were coming from absolutely.  There were two later in the game that came where we should have had it blocked.  I think he does a decent job of knowing exactly where to throw the football and he’s just got to get better.”

(On the Raiders fake field goal) - “We sold out on the play and that’s my responsibility to make sure. It was a 53-yarder, he was 5-of-6 from that range, we pushed and we didn’t cover.  It was a look we hadn’t shown either so it was obviously surprising to us that they had a fake called, but it was a good job on their part.  My responsibility to make sure that gets covered.”

(On if Peyton Hillis is on the trading block) - “I don’t want to talk about trades. I don’t think that’s something that you could, no, he’s not on the trading block.”

(On Joshua Cribbs’ postgame comments) - “I think you have a player after a game that’s disappointed and I know how hard it is for me to get my emotions in check with that little 10-minute window so I’m sure it’s the same for players.  Josh was probably disappointed we lost. I think he had an impact on offense, he did some good things for us and I’m glad that he wants to have more of an impact and more of a role on special teams.  We’re obviously trying our darndest to make sure he gets his returns and I’m glad he wants to help.”

(On if Cribbs assumes more of a special team’s role would that take away from him playing wide receiver) - “No, I think we put our best players out there every time we can whether it’s special teams or offense. I’m glad he sees himself and I know he’s a dynamic special teams player.  We’ll give him every opportunity to make plays.”

(On if he would put Cribbs on coverage teams and still have him on offense) - “Absolutely, I’ll put him out there the whole game (joking).”

(On Cribbs not getting many looks during the game part of his frustration) - “I don’t know.  We threw him one earlier, we threw him that one and then he had another opportunity in there.  I don’t know, again, I’m not going to read his mind.  I’ll talk to him about it.”

(On if he has spoken to Cribbs) - “No, I have not yet.  Some of this is news to me. We all got home late and got right to work.”

(On if McCoy was having trouble getting the plays in at the end and are the plays scripted for a two-minute drill) - “No, we have a list of plays that we use and I don’t think he was having trouble getting the plays in.  We got the plays off and run on time.  We got the first one run for seven yards to Cribbs.  Seven yard gain on the smoke screen and then we had a throw to Greg Little, which was a play he knew.  Had another throw on third down that went to Benjamin Watson and then the last throw went to Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi).  They were all plays that he knew and because the clock was stopped we had the ability to call them from the huddle.”

(On how important it’s going to be to throw the ball down field more consistently) - “I don’t want to categorize everything as throwing the ball down field.  I think what we need are completions. We need general efficiency and then when we do throw it down the field we’ve got to do it better.  You just keep working at it and we just keep honing in on the fundamentals of throwing and catching.  That’s what we need to do.”

(On if this game should have been sharper coming out of the bye week) - “That’s the first assumption that we should have been sharper in all areas, but I think each week presents its own problems and we need to play better this week.”

(On the Hillis hamstring situation) - “That’s an easy one. You can be assured that he had a hamstring injury.  That you can be assured of. I’m sure that will get quoted here very quickly (joking).”

(On if a player got out of their lane on Oakland’s kickoff return for a touchdown) - “A player got out of his lane and they were a team that they’re kind of a bounce return type team.  We got out of our lane and over played it and they nailed us.”

(On what Hillis’ MRI showed) - “He has a hamstring injury.”

(On how long Hillis will be out) - “It’s hard to say right now. Those injuries can take a couple days, they could take however long, but it’s a hamstring injury.  Let me just make sure I’m right here, to his left leg.”

(On Hillis wanting to come back in and contribute) - “I think he was willing to come back in and I think he was injured.  At that point, you don’t want to put a guy out there that doesn’t have all his faculties and so that’s where it was.”

(On if Hillis talked him into letting him go back in for two plays to pass protect) - “No, he kind of ran back in there.  We knew that he was injured and that he was just as a last resort if he had to go in there and play. That’s what it was.”

(On if he pulled Hillis after he went back in) - “I was calling the plays and we have guys that substitute.”

(On the offense only scoring three points in five first quarters) - “Slow start.  We got stopped on our first drive, they had a 15-play drive so that dwindles away quite a bit of time.  I think the important part was we fought ourselves back, got in the end zone and made it 7-7 and then quickly it was 14-7.  We talk about it every week, about starting faster.  From all the stuff you do from plays you ran in training camp to the basic stuff just getting off and going faster.  We need to get it done.”

(On if McCoy is struggling more with hot routes) - “No, I would say there’s one significant type of route.  We’ve just got to get better.”

(On what Oakland saw during the fake field goal not having seen the sellout rush on tape) - “That’s a good (point).  They got us and I’ve looked at it a bunch of times already.  I’m not sure what it was.”

(On how he feels about players questioning him) - “You have guys that are very highly competitive that want to make a difference in winning football games.  When you don’t win, they are asked questions and they answer them.  The fact that they want to make a difference I think is tremendous and we’ll help them do that.”

(On if he feels annoyed about little off the field issues) - “No, we just move forward.”

(On when Scott Fujita got his concussion) - “It was later in the game.  I would want to say the first part of the fourth quarter I think.

(On if it was on a collision) - “Power roll play.”

(On if Hillis went back on the field on his own) - “He went back on the field and we were aware he went back on the field.”

(On if he was sent out by a position coach) - “Just to pass protect, yes.  He didn’t go out there on his own.”

(On if the guards are having communication issues) - “I don’t think so.  I don’t think recognition communication is a problem.  They’re young, they’re playing and they’re getting better.  They’re not where we need to be at though.”

(On the impact of missing Eric Steinbach) - “When you lose a very veteran guy who has talent and has played with those guys between Joe (Thomas) and Alex (Mack) of course you have to compensate.  You put the next best guy in there and right now that’s Jason Pinkston.”

(On if Alex Mack was bothered physically after returning from surgery) - “No, he battled.  He played very hard.  It was typical of a game that he would play.  He battled and he got us going in the right direction.  He had some plays he needs to be better on, but I’m glad he was in there.”

(On the situation with Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh) - “I didn’t see that.  I was made aware of it though.  I don’t know.  Again, it’s emotional. This is an emotional game.  The handshakes are harder for the team that lost.  I didn’t see it.  I don’t know what was said, I don’t know what was perceived.  I’ll leave it at that.”

(On if he will be thinking about that next week against the San Francisco 49ers) - “I want to shake hands with a victory.”

(On if managing a game and calling the plays is getting harder or easier) - “I think it’s easier once you do it more and more.”

(On if there was an illegal block on the Raiders kickoff return for a touchdown) - “I don’t know we saw a lot of things yesterday.”

(On if it’s tougher being beaten on trick plays) - “It’s frustrating when you get beat on explosive plays like that.  Sure, it’s frustrating. When you have a runner like Darren McFadden and he had a 24 yard run to start the game. After that, he was pretty much held in check.  He’s a scary guy with the ball in his hands and their receivers, for the most part, we kept them in front of us and made them go the long way.  There were some things in there that you would like to say would have helped you win the game and then we lost.”

(On what the wide receivers can do to help McCoy) - “I think everybody needs to be where they are supposed to be.  Route depths, timing, everything has got to be perfect.  I think that’s how you help the quarterback the best.  When you hand the ball off you need to get yards.  When you throw routes, if they’re supposed to be at eight, they got to be at eight.  If it’s bump and run, you’re supposed to hit it on the run, you hit it on the run.  I think that’s how you help the quarterback.”

(On if Hillis wanted to go on his own) - “Hillis was injured and at the point where we were throwing the ball and they were pressuring us he went back in the game.  We were aware he went back in the game.  I’m not trying to keep anything. No, they don’t do that.  We knew he went back in.”

(On being told in the press box that Hillis was not injured) - “Who said that?  My trainer told me that Peyton Hillis had a hamstring injury only to be used in emergencies.  That’s what my trainer told me.  So, I don’t know where you got or where?

(On if there was just a miscommunication) - “I’m assuming so.”

(On at what point did the Browns trainer tell him about Hillis’ injury) - “In the first quarter.  Now I can see your confusion, but I was aware in the first quarter that he had sustained a hamstring injury.  I can tell you when it happened.  Toss to the left toward Oakland’s sideline, came back in.  He caught the ‘keeper’ to the right.  Made a nice run, but we had a penalty, so that was it.  I’m assuming that’s the sequence when he was hurt.”

(On if an injury has to be reported to anyone for it to be announced) - “I’ll talk about procedure. In the heat of the game the last thing I’m thinking about is letting the press box know we got an injury.”

(On if there is a rule that an injury needs to be reported) - “I don’t think there was anything to try to keep it from somebody.”

(On if Hillis’ injury was a coaching decision on whether he could still play) - “He was evaluated.  He had a hamstring injury and that’s what I was told by our trainers.  What those guys talked about I trust our guys to know exactly what the injury is and that was the case.”

(On Montario Hardesty’s performance) - “He can play better.  He stepped in and he did some good things, but he can play better.”

(On hoping to be 3-3 after Sunday) - “That’s what I’m worried about.  That’s what we’re focusing on right now.”

(On if he is caught off guard by the frustration of the losses) - “No.  I’ve lived this before and coached for 10 years in Philadelphia, two years in St. Louis.  I get it.  I understand it and it’s about winning football games.  Our focus, as soon as I leave here, is getting this team ready to play the Seattle Seahawks and being 3-3.  That’s the focus.  I’m not surprised by any reaction to anything.  I anticipate it quite frankly.”

(On what he told the team to build on after the loss) - “The locker room talk’s, I’d like to keep between myself and the players.  There was a message in their just like that.  It’s a 60-minute game as ugly as it might be.  During portions of the game, if you have a chance to win it at the end we got to make our best plays at the end.  That’s part of the message.  Then the other message is play better sooner.”

(On if it’s normal for players to get emotional after a game, win or lose) - “I think what I said is what I would stand by.  You have guys that want to make a difference and they get asked questions in emotional times.  I’m quite certain after a victory.  After a victory, you would go to a player that maybe didn’t have much production.  You say, “Yeah I’d like to help more.”  That’s the way guys are.  They’re competitive.  They want to help make a difference.  That’s why they’re playing at this level.  They have talent and they know how to compete.  They’re asked questions when their emotions are going.”


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