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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 24, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today after his team defeated the Seattle Seahawks 6-3 on Sunday. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement) - “Let me start with injuries.  I’m sure you’ll be interested in knowing how our guys pulled out of this.  Phil Dawson, he had a little bit of a thigh contusion early in the game.  He actually gutted it out pretty good and so I wanted to mention that to you.  He probably won’t be kicking early in the week because he’s a little bit sore.  He didn’t have any setbacks as the game went on and I don’t want to predict what it’s going to be like for Sunday, but we’re anticipating he’ll be there. Peyton Hillis ran today and he’s progressing well and again, he’s day-to-day.  Shawn Lauvao left the game and he has a knee bruise and so he’s day-to-day.  Mohamed Massaquoi left the game with a concussion and he’s day-to-day as well, we’ll see how he progresses.  Ray Ventrone started the game as we knew he had a hamstring issue early in the week.  Started the game and then couldn’t finish, he was out of the game quickly.  Benjamin Watson left the game as well with a concussion and he’ll be day-to-day.  Others that didn’t play, Scott Fujita is making good progress.  Again, day-to-day I won’t know.  Joe Haden who did play, as you might expect, is a little bit sore today, but I don’t think we set him back in any way and he played an outstanding game.  Artis Hicks is better today.  Tony Pashos made it through the game fine. Buster’s (Skrine) fine and then Joe Thomas little bit of a glute strain, but he’s fine.  I really don’t have much more to add than what I talked about yesterday in my post game comments, but I thought the defense played an outstanding game.  When I watched the tape you just see guys battling all over the place. Upfront, I asked the guys to fight to control the line of scrimmage, which they did.  Really eliminated any big plays.  In the secondary, especially when they were throwing the ball, my goodness, they challenged the receivers from the first snap to the last and I’m very proud of their efforts.  Proud of the scheme that we put together.  I mentioned yesterday, I thought the coaches did an excellent job of getting them ready to go.  We practiced all week against their no-huddle.  They used it some, but I don’t think it was as near effective as it had been in the game and a half previous.  It was a great performance and I think that’s something you’re looking for from a team that’s going to try and win games consistently, a defense that does that and they’ve done a good job for the most part most of the year.”

“On special teams, we’ll focus I’m sure, on the blocked field goals.  We had issues in the left guard area.  We had one player there early, then we moved him, had another player there and it was in that left guard area and part of it is the matchup.  I thought Red Bryant, he’s a big guy and he did a nice job of getting penetration there.  We need to clean that up, we can’t do that.  The execution of the field goal wasn’t to my liking and you can’t have them blocked, you just can’t.  You get what you emphasize and we’re going to work our fanny off to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  I thought for the most part, our coverage units were good on kickoff.  We had some outstanding stops there, but the one punt return that broke out on us we can’t have that happen.  Much like any kick that breaks out on you, you have a guy get knocked out of his lane, somebody did not squeeze enough and then it just snowballs once the runner hits it up the field.  Again, things that are correctable.  As we do each week, on all our teams units, we’ll look at personnel, schemes and we’ll try and make sure we tidy that up so it doesn’t happen again.”

“Offensively, I think it’s important we score points, I think it’s very important we score points.  I think we held the ball for 43 minutes almost, which I’ve never been around that.  That means we were 50% on third downs so that means you are staying on the field.  We ran the ball a bunch.  You’ll see when you play a game like that and you get two field goals blocked and you throw an interception in the red zone, when you play a game like that, when you have scoring opportunities, you have to capitalize on them. You can’t count on a performance of the defense like the defense did.  That style of game to get it to where you breathe easier, for at least the last few minutes when you have scoring opportunities, you’ve got to take advantage of them because it’s very difficult sometimes to score a bunch of points.  I felt like it was important for us to run the football, even though they were good against the run, we found a way to carve out yards when we ran it.  We didn’t have very many minus yardage plays, we didn’t have a lot of large runs, but I thought the guys did a good job of sticking with it.  I thought Montario (Hardesty) ran extremely hard, he had a nice game.  He really did what we asked him to do.  He pass protected well, he caught the ball when we threw it to him and then he carried the load for us a bunch.  I thought Chris Ogbonnaya stepped in and did a nice job.  He had a couple third down conversions that were great.  You’ll notice three of the conversions I chose to run the football on third and medium, which I think it’s a little bit looser in there when they’re into their pass rush stuff and I felt like that was something we could do this week and it helped us keep drives alive.  Some of those things are good.  There were times during the game I thought we were efficient throwing the football.  Again, we missed on a couple early that I’ll go back on.  A couple of the throws that we missed on early, for whatever reason and I’ve watched it, then you have a chance there to keep the drive alive and really, those plays would have been decent gainers where you’re feeling better about things.  I do think it’s important that we won the game and each game you win or lose it in a different fashion. The fact that our guys found a way to win it, just like yesterday, I’m proud of their effort.  Now, we’ve got to get it out of our system.  When I leave here it’s all about the 49ers, who have only lost one game and it was in overtime.  They’re playing well on special teams and they’re extremely physical on defense. I’ve got two years of experience playing them twice a year and they’ve got the offense rolling.  They’ve got Alex Smith playing well in their scheme, they’ve got a running back that’s had many, many large runs already and so it’s going to be a tough test.”

(On when Dawson got hurt) - “Earlier in the game I can’t tell you specifically. As the game went along Joe (Sheehan) said, ‘hey, he’s got a thigh bruise.’”

(On if he knows exactly how it happened) - “I’ll go back and get that information for you.”

(On if Lauvao’s MRI only revealed a bruise) - “Yes, he’s got a bruised knee.  What do you call it? A contusion, I think that’s a bruise, right?”

(On how bad the concussion’s sustained by Massaquoi and Watson are) - “No, they’re day-to-day.  You know, enough where they were out of the game for at least half the game.  I can’t tell you, each guy’s different as they come back from those.”

(On when the training staff found out Massaquoi and Watson had concussions) - “They stayed in the game and then they were out.  They show up differently.  I know in Ben’s case I think he stayed in the game and then was out.  Mo (Mohamed) I think did the same as well.”

(On how he views running the ball even though a West Coast offense favors passing) - “I think it’s a byproduct of a win.  You want to do what you have to do to score points and then if you’re ahead in the game that’s when you get more runs because you’re able to bleed the clock some by running the football.  I think 40+ runs is a byproduct of a good game.  It must mean that you were in a position where you were able to stay run/pass for most of the game and at the end of the game you were ahead so you were able to run it more.  I don’t know if I’m answering your question.  I think it’s a good formula.  If you can run the ball a bunch and score enough points to win I think it’s a good formula.”

(On the ideal run/pass ratio of a West Coast offense) - “What it takes to win. You’d like to be able to stay run/pass as long as you can scoring points and then get to a point at the end of the third quarter, end of the fourth quarter where you can run it more because you’re ahead.  I don’t know what that number is, it’s just whatever it is, it is.”

(On if they will bring in another kicker this week for practice) - “No, at this point as I sit here right now we don’t plan on doing that.”

(On the difference in the offense from preseason to regular season) - “I think we’re doing a lot of the same things.  I think in the preseason you don’t play games that are comparable to the regular season because defenses; you’re not playing your starters the whole game and what not.  I don’t know what it is, we’re just working on getting efficient and there were some indications of efficiency.  We didn’t score enough points, that’s what I’d say about yesterday.  I mean we battled, to be able to convert half of your third downs I think is good and most of the ones that we had were in the shorter range, which means that your gaining at least some yards on first/second down.  Those types of games, sometimes, when you don’t score when you have a chance to, they become nail biters like we saw yesterday.”

(On assessing Colt McCoy’s performance and if he is getting hit too much) - “Well, it seems like a two part question.  I think Colt’s improving and I’ll stick with what I said yesterday.  I thought he battled yesterday.  He scrambled once and got a first down, he got outside the pocket a couple times and got yards and got out of bounds.  He did a lot of good things yesterday.  My focus because it’s become the focus of everybody in Northeast Ohio is a fast start, so I look at the first two or three throws and I still think we can get better there.  I think that’s something that we can still do better, but I do think he battled and he’s part of the reason we found a way to win yesterday.”

(On if he feels like McCoy’s getting hit too much) - “When you look around the league in terms of quarterbacks getting hit, there are a lot of quarterbacks getting hit, in my opinion, quite a bit.  I think he’s avoided some sacks.  I think because we see it on a daily basis we try to eliminate any time he has an opportunity.  Either get rid of the football or what not.  I try to make sure I call ‘keeps’ and ‘nakeds’ to get him on the run and every once in a while he’ll take one there.  Yesterday, we had a screen called, couple of screen calls where he gets rid of the football and it’s kind of a glancing deal.  We try schematically to make sure and eliminate that and we fight to make sure it doesn’t happen.  I feel like he’s improving and I’ll stick by that.”

(On if he should put McCoy in the shotgun more) - “Well first of all, they actually pressured less than they normally do yesterday, that’s number one.  Number two, there was only one full blitz yesterday and that was on a screen where Colt ended up scrambling for eight.  It was like 3rd and 11 and I called a flanker drive screen.  OB (Chris Ogbonnaya) got knocked off.  Had OB (Chris Ogbonnaya) got through it would’ve been a great gain.  But OB (Chris Ogbonnaya) got knocked off on the pass rush and Colt sold it and took off and ran.  That was the only real full blitz.  I don’t feel like they’re coming after him more than we planned for.  It’s important you block the pressure, you’ll see it again and again.”

(On if he noticed if McCoy was hitting receivers in stride) - “Yes, it was in the meat of the game where we were finding a way to move the football.  He was doing that and yeah, I did notice it.  He could feel that and that’s what you’re looking for.”

(On if McCoy was banged up today) -“He’s fine.  I was just up there with him.  He looked good.  I didn’t see him run today, but he was walking straight.”

(On if he is trying to build McCoy’s rhythm up and his confidence) - “We’re constantly looking for the things that are part of what we do that he does well.  That was the emphasis in this pass game.  They’re a pretty fine defense we played.  They’re front seven is very physical.  We knew it was going to be a challenge.  We knew it was going to be a tough game.  We knew that was going to be the case and we’re always looking for ways to get him going quick.”

(On his thoughts on if an offensive coordinator could be hired next year) - “We’ve talked about that in the past as well. I think the normal way to look at that is we’ll sit down at the end of the year and see if that’s the case.  I think it’s a normal structure for the head coach to call the plays.  I’ve got guys on my staff that are doing things and that staff on offense is working together in a way that I would expect to see it next year, if we have an offensive coordinator in place. That’s an offseason discussion.  I think it’s a natural thing to have a head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and special team’s coordinator.  I don’t think it’s abnormal, a team scored 62 points last night and their head coach calls the plays.  I don’t think it’s abnormal to see it go that way.”

(On if the offensive coordinator would want to take charge on calling the plays) - “I don’t know that, but it doesn’t happen that way all the time.  I don’t know the number around the league.  There are quite a few structures where the head coach calls the plays and they have an offensive coordinator.  I’m thinking of two right now.  The one I mentioned last night (New Orleans Saints) and then the Green Bay Packers.  Those are the two that come to mind right now, but it’s not abnormal.  When we first went to Philadelphia Andy Reid called the plays.  He had an offensive coordinator.  I know Coach Holmgren his whole career he called the plays and he had an offensive coordinator. I don’t know if I’m answering your question, maybe I’m adding light to it.”

(On if Colt is where he should be at this point) - “This is a little uncharted, playing without an offseason.  I think it’s important that he just improves each week.  At the end of the year we’ll just add it up and see where it’s at.  It’s a little bit hard to define right now.  If we would have had a full offseason with all the OTA’s you would have had a better idea where he was during training camp, then you can judge the improvement during training camp and then so on.  This is a little bit uncharted as far as marking the progress I think.”

(On what McCoy would have to improve right away) - “He did a good job yesterday.  He got us out of a couple plays.  He overed (audibled) a couple of runs.  He did some things yesterday that may not be obvious that were real good.  You just need to get more completions.  I think that’s an important piece for a quarterback.  Get completions.  If you’re running crossing routes hit him in stride, so they can run with the football.”

(On why the defense is playing well compared to the offensive struggles) - “I’m just glad they’re playing well.  I think the scheme is sound.  I think the coaches do an excellent job and we have some very talented, some being young but some very talented players there.  I think the leadership that D’Qwell Jackson’s providing is outstanding and we have a secondary that challenges.  I think that’s important and a defensive line as a unit that’s improving.  I can’t explain why they’re playing well, but I’m glad they are.”

(On if the defense has a chance to be an elite group this season) - “I really just want a defense that’s helping us win ball games.  It’s a fun thing to talk about number wise, statistically and it points to good performance.  I think they’ve got a chance to be a fine defense all the way through the year.  There have been some very, very well played defensive games so far.  I think that’s good.”

(On if he liked the way how Montario Hardesty ran to balance out his average) - “First of all, they’re a sturdy front to run against.  When you continue to call runs, I’m glad he was just getting yards.  You’d like it to be more.  You’d like it to be around four or more, but the fact that he was getting yards they weren’t for the most part loss yardage runs.  We were just advancing the football.  Again, because the defense played so well we were able to do that.  I think that was good.  I think he showed some toughness.  He took some good licks.  He really did and kept playing, which I think is a credit to him.”

(On if Hardesty was focusing on catching the football better) - “You try to get him to forget about it and help him improve on it.  These guys are competitors and one of the things they have to learn is you have to have a real short term memory. Just like after victories, just like after losses, after good performances, bad performances, a good play or a bad play.  You have to move on and try to get it fixed.  I think it’s a credit to him.  He found a way to catch the ball better.  I think (Running Backs Coach) Gary (Brown) worked very hard with him.  We gave him opportunities in practice to catch the football, which he did for the most part.  I think he dropped a couple, but I think that’s part of practice too.  You get through it.  He worked on it and you get what you emphasize.”

(On how he felt about having two rookies on the defensive line at the beginning of the season) - “We didn’t have much choice.  I try not to worry about things you really don’t have much control over.  We didn’t have much choice.  I did know this; they were young, very talented guys that we brought here for a reason.  I did know this; they were going to bust their tail to improve.  I think for the most part we’re seeing that.  Now, improve their productivity, improve their ability to play hard every snap, all those things. I was excited about the fact they were young and talented and eager to do good.  I guess I’m more excited about the fact that their helping contribute to winning performances on defense.”

(On how Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard are playing) - “I think they’re playing pretty well. They each have things that their doing better as time goes on.  In Jabaal’s case, we took a couple games where we put him to the left, which has helped his performance and now he’s getting a feel for how to play over there.  I think Phil is in there battling.  He’s learning how to play hard every snap.  He has a chance to be explosive because of his size and quickness.  I think that’s an important thing.”

(On the 14-play drive in the 4th quarter) - “I think if you can hold the football at the end of the game and move the ball and chew clock.  It’s very demoralizing for an opponent, because they’re thinking we need the ball back, we need the ball back and they start to get anxious.  I thought it was good because there were some things in there that Colt did extremely well.  He managed it, we were getting completions.  Albeit they were short, we were finding a way to move the chains.”

(On if he regrets bringing in a veteran receiver) - “We’ve got some receivers I think that will become very veteran, very fast because they’re young and they’re playing.  Greg Little showed up again.  He had a couple of catches that were fighting for yardage.  There were plenty of things he needs to correct.  I’ll be the first one to tell him that.  He battled.  In terms of the veteran receiver we have a veteran presence there in some ways.  I don’t regret not bringing in someone at this point.  We’ve got guys there that can make plays and we just have to do a good job of putting them in a position to do it.  At this point, we take the team we’ve got and let’s move it forward and fight and scratch, and do what we have to do to try to win games.  I think that’s the message.”

(On if Evan Moore is playing more) - “Evan played a lot more.  I had a plan to play him anyways and then he played when Ben got hurt, so then that allowed us to slide Jordan Cameron in the game as well.  He played the true tight end position more than he would’ve had Ben still of been in there.”

(On evidence of progress from other members of his receiving corps) - “I see some of the things they are doing in the game that sometimes doesn’t involve production.  Before Mo (Mohamed) got knocked out of the game I thought he was making progress. When he comes back he’ll continue to do so.  He’s made some catches, couple of touchdown catches.  He’s been generally productive.  I think that group as a whole is getting better and improving.”

(On if he will spend more time on special teams this week) - “We will just emphasize the work that we’re doing and make sure that we’re cleaning up those issues that have showed up in the last two weeks.”


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