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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 19, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters before his team practiced today in preparation for its upcoming game against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “I’ll start like I do always with injuries, and again, all these guys are guys that it’s too early to tell for this weekend.  Joe Haden is making progress, steadily.  Scott Fujita, we actually sent him home today.  He wasn’t feeling well so we sent him home.  Again, I won’t be able to tell you what’s going to happen for this weekend.  Ray Ventrone has got a hamstring, he injured his hamstring and he’ll practice and do what he can, but he’s dealing with that.  Peyton Hillis, of course, he had his left hamstring strained and he’ll see what he can do as we move forward.  All four of those guys I can’t tell you their status on the weekend.  As we get ready for Seattle it’s going to be a tough test.  They’re a team that’s making improvements, they’re getting better. They’re a team that’s the same schematically as they were a year ago on defense, they’re making improvements there. They’re good against the run, they’re a stingy defense and they play well. On offense the last game and a half, they’ve found a way to move the ball and score points so it’s going to be a tough test.”

(On if Scott Fujita’s sickness is from symptoms from his concussion)- “I think he’s dealing with the concussion symptoms.  He went home.”

(On if Haden will try to practice with the team today)- “He’s going to do more than he did last week.  He’ll do some things, but I can’t tell you exactly how much he’ll do in practice.”

(On if there’s a possibility Hillis could practice in the next day or two)- “Sure, there’s a possibility.  We’ll see how he improves as he goes forward.  I think he’s going to do some light running today just to see where he’s at, but you won’t see him out there on scrimmage downs.”

(On signing Chris Ogbonnaya)- “Chris Ogbonnaya, it was my bye week project to learn how to say his name the first year we had him (joking). Chris played at Texas, we had him at St. Louis for a year, he played a lot for us and then he was on and off the active roster for Houston through last year, training camp and this year.  I think he’s a good zone runner, he’s good in pass protection, he catches the ball well and I have some history with him.  When he was available and we’re not sure of Peyton’s ability as we move forward, we felt like a need to go get a guy who has logged more time in the league than Armond (Smith) at this point.  That’s why we did it.”

(On if it’s nice having a history with Ogbonnaya and knowing that he played at Texas with Colt McCoy)- “I think he and Colt know each other. He’s got some experience in the league, which I think is important if he’s called to duty here.”

(On if they will put Armond Smith on the practice squad)- “He has to clear (waivers) and all that so we’ll see.  I wouldn’t want to say yet because I don’t think we’ve gone through that process.”

(On if Kaluka Maiava will fill in for Fujita)- “I’m sorry I should have said that, Kaluka will play in place of Scott and you’ll see him out there practicing today.  He actually performed very well stepping in for him at the end of the game.  I’m pleased with what he did, had a lot of production, was where he was supposed to be and he contributed.”

(On if Maiava will go to weak side linebacker and Chris Gocong will move to strong side)- “He’ll just take over (strong side).”

(On throwing deep more against Oakland and if they will continue to try to focus doing that)- “I think it’s important that we get completions. There were some plays that we called where we knew we had one-on-one matchups and there’s reasons why the ball goes down field and there’s reasons why you throw it short and intermediate.  We took a couple of shots to try to change the game a little bit and that’ll always be a part of what we do, we’ve got to hit on them.”

(On the deep throw do Greg Little and if it was an awkward catch to make)- “He missed on it.  I thought he made a strong effort to get the football.  Running down the field with a corner on his hip, I thought he made a strong attempt.  I don’t know about awkward, he had to dive for it I think.  We need to do a better job of connecting on it.”

(On if defenses will change their defensive game plan like the Raiders and play more zone because of McCoy’s yards-per-catch ratio)- “I think the Raiders played a little bit more zone then they’re use too.  I think it’s important that we get completions whether we’re throwing the ball down field or not.  Typically, you have routes that attack man and you have routes that attack zone in all game plans so we’ll adjust as they do.”

(On what his overall philosophy is on the run/pass balance and if he wants it split 50-50)- “I want to do what it takes to win the ball game and I think that’s an important thing.  People obviously characterize balance differently.  I think it’s important that you run the ball efficiently, but I think it’s important that you score points so you’re always wrestling with maximizing both.”

(On what they have to do to be more successful running the ball)- “We need to run it better.   We have to look at every phase of how we run the football.  The runs we run, the ones that are good we’ve got to go back to more and then we’ve got be able to consistently run the ball throughout the game and I think that’s an important piece too.  Most NFL games, you’ll see a lot of two-yard, three-yard, five-yard gains and all of a sudden after awhile boom you break one.  You look at the game the other day, they had a 24-yard run to start the game. That pads that average right away.  Then, after that there were not a lot of explosive plays.  I think the more attempts you have you obviously have more opportunities to get that average up, you’re always trying to get yards on every play.”

(On if he sees his program and Seattle’s in similar stages of development)- “We’re in year one and they’re in year two so that’s the first difference.  I know when Pete Carroll went in last year they made a lot of changes personnel wise.  Coach (Holmgren) and I were visiting yesterday and I think there are only eight players left from his 2008 team so there’s been a lot of change there for them, lots of change.  In terms of similarities, I think we’re both young programs.  They’re one year ahead in terms of what Pete Carroll has in place, but I think there are some similarities in young programs.”

(On if he expects other team defenses to bring pressure like the Raiders did until they find a way to consistently beat it)- “I think this is a copy cat league to some degree so teams will continue to scheme up things to affect you.”

(On how McCoy is getting through these last two games mentally)- “Fine, Colt’s doing great.  He’s dealing with victories and losses the way I would anticipate a quarterback that’s developing and learning how to play in this league does.  He comes in after each game, he’s very critical of his errors, he tries to build on the things he did well and then he tries to put that improvement in the play against the next opponent and I think that’s what he’s doing.”

(On McCoy’s accuracy and what it can be attributed to)- “He needs to just get better.  I don’t think there’s any one thing.  I go back to footwork all the time, it’s footwork, timing, accuracy and we just continue to work on it.”

(On if he has talked to Joshua Cribbs)- “I talked to Josh yesterday and today.”

(On if he talked to Cribbs about covering kicks and his comments on being insignificant on offense)- “I would say much like the case with any of my players, it’s between me and Josh.  Once again, I’ll go back, you folks find a way to find out what gets said, but what we talked about, we talked about the game, we talked about what was written, I read it and we talked about as we move forward.  We had a nice talk, good talk.”

(On if Cribbs’ role will change this week)- “We’ll see, some of that’s strategy.”

(On if McCoy’s accuracy issues have to deal with his confidence or if it’s mechanical)- “Its fundamentals, it’s learning to make all the throws necessary and doing it over and over.  I don’t think this young man lacks any confidence and he’s ready to go and get ready to play Seattle.”

(On if there is a prototypical type of running back for the West Coast offense and if they have a running back like that)- “I like the backs on our team and they fit what we do, but backs come in all sizes, shapes, degrees of talent, speed.  I like the backs on our roster and I feel they can do a good job for us.”

(On what he meant when he said they eliminated some of the fluff runs)- “Typically, you carry a list of runs.  I think you want to find efficiency in things you do well, you look back and try to evaluate the types of runs that may not be obvious to the people that are watching the game and you don’t see the play card that I have so in my mind I eliminated some runs that I didn’t think we were good at.”

(On preparing for Tarvaris Jackson & Charlie Whitehurst and the different styles between the two)- “We feel our basic plan will be the same regardless of who is playing quarterback.  They’ve both found a way to be efficient in their style and within their system and they’ve both actually executed very well since they’ve gone to some of that no huddle. It won’t be a considerable difference.  Tarvaris Jackson is obviously more of a threat as a runner, but I think Whitehurst does a good job of if it’s not there being able to push up in the pocket and get yards.  We’re going to need to really attack their scheme, defend their scheme and I wouldn’t say it’s so much of a huge difference.”

(On if coming from St. Louis, he is more comfortable playing Seattle since he faced them many times)-“Defensively they’re the same, offensively they’re different because they have a new coordinator, new offensive line coach and a new quarterback.  From a defensive standpoint you see elements of the way they played defense last year.  They’re good, they’re a good solid defense and they play the run well.  They do a good job in the back end of making sure they match up the routes.  Familiarity, yes, knowing we expect to see, I think it helps.”

(On Seattle’s talented two young safeties including Earl Thomas)-“I think their safeties are very good.  Thomas does a good job.  He’s very disruptive, very disruptive.  Whether he’s playing the deep ball or close to the line he’s a very aggressive, physical guy.  We need to be aware of where he is.  They’re safety tandem is very good.”

(On Kam Chancellor’s size)- “He’s a big guy.  He does a good job.  He’s in bump and run quite a bit.  He’s got long arms and he does a good job of jamming receivers, very physical to fit the nature of his size.  It will be a good challenge for our guys lined up on our left.”

(On if it’s an important reference point to remember what happened against Seattle last year when he was in St. Louis)- “I went back and watched the two games from last year.  They’re different teams and its different situations, different players, but I watched them.  We beat them last year early in the year and at the end of the year, I wish we would’ve played better.  I think we dropped seven balls in the game.  They did a nice job.  They won the game, won the division. They are good reference points, gets me a little fired up.”

(On Seattle’s crowd being loud)- “It is a very, very loud place to play, very difficult in terms of hearing.  That’s got to be one of the loudest stadiums, if not the loudest and they were revved up for that game.”

(On if he used a different offensive game plan when playing in Seattle)- “We handled it like we typically would. Even last week we used silent count a portion of the game and we’re ready for that.  When you structure it you can’t get too fancy because you need to be able to execute.”

(On if McCoy needs to up his game by completing more passes)-“I think its general efficiency.  The offense is seen through the eyes of the quarterback.  In order to be good, you have got to be physical up front.  When you call runs, you need to get yards, you can’t drop passes and you need to execute.  I would say if time permitting we would all go through and I’d point out all the errors for you, time permitting.  It’s spread around.  It’s general efficiency, but if you’re going to win games, the quarterback needs to play well.  I really believe that.  What ‘well’ means is that he’s got to play well throughout the game or if early in the game he’s not playing well, find a way to get on track and finish the game strong.  I think that’s a fair statement.  I think that’s fair in any offense.”

(On how McCoy has played really well in the second quarter this year and if they have broken that down)- “We did break it down, oh yeah. He’s done a good job. We’ll just start every game in the second quarter (joking).”

(On McCoy playing from behind)- “There in lines the answer, we got to start faster and we’ve talked about it.  I’m aware of the numbers as we start.  We’ve got to find a way to get him on track quicker. He’s got great numbers in the second quarter and we find a way to score in the second quarter.”

(On if McCoy’s play in the second quarter should look that way for the whole game)- “Yeah, that’s fair.”

(On if running the no huddle could help McCoy find a rhythm earlier in the game)- “I think so. That works for teams. We did it some in St. Louis.  We practice components of no huddle type offenses.  I think your first reaction is to say, just like at the end of the game when we found a way to do well in two minute, its different scenarios though, two minute and no huddle.  It’s different. But it works for some.”

(On if Seattle is committed to run no huddle from start to finish)- “We’re preparing for it.  I think they’ve had success with it.  We’ll see.  We need to defend it front to back.”

(On the rookies on the offensive line making leaps week to week)- “I think that unit is like having two rookies on the defensive line.  It’s like having a rookie competing in the receiving core.  They’ve got to get better.  I think it’s fair to say those young guys have made incremental jumps of improvement that you don’t see in veteran guys.  Having rookies playing isn’t bad if their good players and they just need to improve.  We feel like the guys we’ve got in there are good players.  It’s actually fun to work with guys that you see improvement from that have a chance to be good players over the long haul.  That’s what we’re looking at.”

(On Tony Pashos’ performance in the last two games)- “He’s done a good job.  He’s been steady. He doesn’t get to have a full week of preparation because of his foot, but he’s done a good job.  He’s added some stability there since he’s been back.”

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