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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 20, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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

(Opening statement)- “I’ll start with injuries.  Scott Fujita is improving, but we did send him home again like we did yesterday.  I felt like that was the best course for now.  Joe Haden, I would consider him day-to-day.  He ran yesterday and he’s going to do the same today.  Peyton Hillis is day-to-day, he did not run yesterday and he’s going to run in the pool today so that’s the course that we are going to take with him.  Bubba, Ray Ventrone, is day-to-day.  I would say he’s improving and unless something changes here I think he’s going to run in the pool also.  Buster Skrine was dealing with a hip issue yesterday.  He’ll be at practice today, consider him day-to-day as well.  Artis Hicks missed practice, he had back spasms and he’s feeling better today, but he’ll be somewhat limited.”

(On the symptoms Fujita is dealing with)- “The specifics of it are probably symptoms of what would be related to his concussion.  We’ve just felt like it’s been best to send him home the last couple days.”

(On if Fujita has any past history with concussions)- “I would say no, that I know of.”

(On if Fujita has been ruled out for Sunday)- “None of these guys I’m going to rule out yet.  We can get a feel as we go along here, there’s a time frame that has to pass when you don’t have symptoms.”

(On if it’s more difficult for Haden to return at less than 100 percent knowing that speed is a big part of playing cornerback)- “I think at this time of year, guys at all positions are less than 100%.  Of course, he’s always out there on the perimeter covering guys that have speed so if he’s out there he’ll be ready to go. Guys that have dealt with a leg injury that are playing inside, they’ve got to drop their weight and use power and when you’re playing outside it’s more about speed and quickness.  It’s no more one than the other I don’t think.”

(On if it’s problematic not knowing if Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst will start Sunday for the Seahawks)- “Well we don’t feel like it’s going to be a problem.  We know what both quarterbacks are good at and it starts with them being able to execute their offense from the pocket and the no huddle type of system that they have now, which they both do extremely well so we prepare for that.  Other than that we’re well aware of the fact that Tarvaris Jackson when he breaks the pocket is a little bit more elusive as a runner, that’s natural.  In terms of having two separate game plans, that’s not the case.”

(On the cornerback situation is Haden and Skrine are unable to play)- “At this point my feelings are that they’ll both be there and we have contingency plans if they’re not.  But, right now (James) Dockery will slide down and play and then you always have contingency plans with the possibility of one of the safety type players having to drop down so we always go into games with that.  Some of its strategy I’ll just leave for Sunday.”

(On what his relationship is like with Mike Holmgren)- “I think our relationship has been the same since it has been from day one.  There are times when we talk about football and then there are other times when we talk about everything from what things are like as a head coach.  ‘How do you handle this?’ I’ll have questions about that.  ‘Coach, think back when you had this situation, how did you handle that?  Coach, after a victory? Coach, after a loss?’  I talk to coach Holmgren and I call him coach because that’s what he is, that’s what he always will be and I think that’s how he sees himself and I think that’s a term of respect as well.  I talk to him about lots of things all the time, from an interaction on the field to whether we sit in his office of mine.  I think there’s just a natural, normal interaction of a guy that’s been there done that trying to help and assist a guy that’s going through it for the first time.”

(On if Holmgren gives him advice on how to handle tough times)-“I think there are conversations like that.  I try to keep my cool, but I was a linebacker/center so I’m at peace with all those other emotions.  I think we’re all extremely competitive and we all don’t like to lose.  Unfortunately, as the guy that’s the face of the organization in these situations, you’ve got to keep your composure.  I’ve talked about it in the past, it sure would feel good to just run in a room and start throwing furniture, but that’s not the way you react.  The reality of it is we win the next game now you’re talking about how you handle a victory.  You have to keep it together.  I think that’s part of the advice you get.  I don’t know other people, but I can tell you this nobody’s more excited when we win then I am and nobody’s more disappointed when we lose then I am.  Being able to try and control those emotions and keep an organization moving forward I think that’s something you have to deal with as well.  If you’re an assistant or a guy that doesn’t speak to the press or you’re working with a smaller group of players, it’s very easy to deal with your week as you go forward.  It’s different when you’re the head coach and I’m aware of that.”

(On Greg Little saying he could have played better against Oakland and what he thinks Little could have done better)- “Even though he’s played a lot of football, he didn’t play last year.  They learn what do to and to the naked eye what they’re doing is generally right.  When you know the details of what we’re trying to get done, when he says he needs to play better, he’s talking about is it a 12-yard split when I should’ve been at a 14-yard split.  Was the route depth at 12 when I ran 10.  Now he may have caught the ball and made a play, but in his mind and in my mind it was kind of good and I think that’s what he’s talking about.  As they get more and more playing together, the quarterback and receivers, playing together and they end up coaching themselves and that’s what you want.  When the offense becomes theirs and they come back and they’re self-correcting each other, but you can only do that if you keep repping the plays and I think that may be a little bit of what he’s talking about.”

(On what aspect of the running game needs to get better for Montario Hardesty)- “I think everything from the types of schemes to the making sure we block them properly and then as a ball carrier, we could all run up into a hole that’s perfectly blocked, but ball carriers know that they need to break an arm tackle, make a guy miss and all that to get those explosive runs so that’s what we’re looking for.  Every play is designed to have success and we’ve got to carve out those four to six yards and from his standpoint if he can make a guy miss and turn six into 20 then that’s what we’re looking for.”

(On if there is a way to have the game slow down for Colt McCoy)- “Well we’re going to call (Seattle) and see if they’ll play the game at half speed, I doubt it (joking).  But, you’ve heard people talk about for the quarterback where the game slows down, the process of making corrections that always goes fast.  You run a play time and time again and you execute it well and then all of a sudden you’re throwing it to one or two in the progression.  Then all of a sudden the defense sees it, they take away one or two and you get back to three, those types of things.  That’s what we see and that’s what I’m sure some it he’s looking at.”

(On seeing the little victories and how tough it is to stay patient with a young team)- “The little victories you’re talking about, we talk about those as we encourage and empower the guys to improve.  I think it’s important that’s part of the process.  For me to sit up here and talk about it, I’m sitting here and talking about what we have to do to improve and win and so behind the scenes we’re trying to get that done.  As I mentioned, ex-players typically aren’t very patient and that’s what most of us are as coaches and so we’ve got to try and balance that.  I think the thing that’s nice about this team is we’ve talked about our youth.  You get a chance to watch part of practice, but the practices have been fast, the guys are playing fast, they’re making mistakes granted , but I think what they’re seeing is they’re now able to help correct those mistakes.  I’m sure there weren’t any perfect games this past week.  We’ve got to do a better job of making them more perfect and so that’s where I think we’re at.”

(On if he’s surprised at how well the defense is playing)- “I’m not.  You obviously come into this for the first year, some of the things you know how to expect, some of the things you don’t.  But, when I watched our guys develop during training camp I feel very good about the talent level of the guys that are playing and we’ve talked about specifics of guys and what they’ve done so far.  I’m not and then I think our coaches on defense do a very nice job of making sure they keep them going.”

(On what he would have liked to have seen on the deep pass during the game from McCoy to Little and who should have made the adjustment on that play)- “It was just called all go and Greg had, it was DVD (Demarcus Van Dyke) right? He had him beat down the sideline and we just missed the throw.  My view of it is he was out in front of the defender and he had to dive to catch the football, that’s how I viewed it.  Is that the one you’re talking about?”

(On the fourth quarter play between McCoy and Little with the jump ball near the pylon)- “That was a slant and go and he had jumped the slant before and this was a longer yarded situation.  He ran a sluggo and he was deep on him and the ball was up in the air and it’s just a matter of him going and getting the ball.”

(On if it’s natural to think the defense is ahead of the offense because of how Tom Heckert has spent early draft picks on defensive players)- “When the team gets put together I don’t think of that.  Now, if that’s the case that’s good because we’re doing some good things on defense.  But, I feel good about the picks that we’ve made on offense here the least year, at least in the last year since I’ve been here, the guys that are out there competing and contributing.  We have a left guard that’s a rookie.  Typically, if you’re not talking about linemen sometimes that means they’re doing some things right.  We’ve got a receiver, two guys in there starting, and we’ve got some other players in there developing that are doing a good job.  You want the whole team to play well and I’m extremely happy that our defense is having success.”

(On if there are any disadvantages to having Holmgren above him such as people always wondering what he think about situations)- “Not in my mind.  I guess if you’re a guy that is looking over your shoulder worrying about what people think that might be an issue.  If you’re a guy that’s not a good listener or you’re a guy that’s maybe not insightful enough to have a guy in your building that’s been there done that and won Super Bowls.  To not think that’s a great resource then maybe, but not for me.”

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