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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 26, 2011

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “Good morning. As we get started, there’s really nothing new injury wise from what I gave you yesterday.  If you’ve got a specific question I’ll answer that.  Other than that it was nice, we got a chance to go outside today for the first time in a week or so.”

(On who won’t practice today)- “Well there’s going to be guys in and out and they’ll all be limited in some basis.  Shawn Lauvao will be limited, not much.  Mo Massaquoi and Ben Watson will not practice and Ray Ventrone.  Otherwise everybody will either be in there or limited.  Again, we’ll wait to see at the end how much, when we file the actual report.”

(On if it’s hard adhering to the new regulations regarding concussions)- “As tough and as physical a game as this is that we play, safety is first.  There’s rules regarding concussions and guys and in the case of Mo and Ben they were both self-reported during the game by them.  Each guy responds coming back from concussions differently.  There are rules in place and standards and we just have to hopefully get them back as quick as possible.”

(On if Massaquoi or Watson will practice today)- “They’re not going to practice, no.”

(On if Lauvao will participate in practice)- “Yes.”

(On if Peyton Hillis will practice today)- “Peyton will be out there.  He’ll be out there.  He’s a full go.”

(On if Phil Dawson will practice today)- “Dawson, we’re going to limit his kicking, but he’ll be out there.”

(On if there was any interest in keeping Brad Seely on the coaching staff)- “I spoke to Brad Seely like I did with a lot of the coaches on last year’s staff and we visited.  He felt like he had a good opportunity in San Francisco and that’s where he wanted to go.”

(On if he’s made a lot of changes with personnel on special teams)- “The special teams game plan, in terms of personnel, is always a little bit dynamic.  The rosters change each week and that’s where it gets affected.  We’ll have a couple new guys in different spots, which will obviously be revealed on Sunday.”

(On what kind of a test Brad Seely, Ted Ginn and San Francisco pose with their special teams)- “They’re very explosive.  I think your specials teams at times are an indication of your team.  He’s obviously a very accomplished special teams coach, he’s done a great job everywhere he’s been and they’re playing real well.  Ted Ginn has returned two kicks for touchdowns and another that set up a score.  They’re very good on special teams and I think that’s a credit to them.”

(On if he’s confident in Hillis and if he thinks he can have a productive season)- “I’m very confident and we’re looking forward to him performing on Sunday and having a good game.  I’ve told this to players in the past that your next great performance is right on the horizon and we’re hoping for him it’s Sunday.”

(On if Hillis will be the feature back or if he’ll split time with Montario Hardesty)- “He’s our starting halfback and if he’s able to go, he’ll be the starter.”

(On what makes the 49ers run defense so tough)- “I think it’s a combination of number one the scheme as well as the talent of the players that play it.  They’re very good, they’re very good up front.  They have a 3-4 scheme and they play it well.  Against a 3-4 defense there’s not as many of combinations of runs that you can run at it.  There’s five guys standing on the line and they’re very talented.  I’ve seen them four times in the last two years at the last place I was and they’re very good and it’s a credit to them.”

(On what he thinks about 49ers quarterback Alex Smith)- “I think he’s executing within their scheme extremely well. They run the ball quite a bit and the things they’re asking him to do, he’s able to do.  It’s a credit to what Jim (Harbaugh) has done with that team and they’re playing well.  They’ve got talented players, I think they’ve got eight first rounders on offense so they have talented players and a good scheme. They’ve got the quarterback playing at a high level and that makes him very dangerous.”

(On if he thinks the running game should be at the forefront of what they do offensively or if it’s more game plan specific to an opponent)- “I’d like us to become a team that can do both well. When I talk about throwing the ball we need to be efficient and that’s get completions.  In our style of offense, regardless of how you choose to run the football, you should be able to be very good at running it as well.  I think my former team in Philadelphia is first in the league rushing the football, but they obviously throw the football well too.  I think it’s important you’re able to do both and I think when you run the football, you’ve got to be physical up front. It starts with the guys up front, the runners have to be steady and fight for yards and then when you throw the football, you’ve got to get completions and I think that’s what you’re looking for.  You’ve got to be efficient.”

(On if Scott Fujita is back from his concussion)- “Yeah, he’ll be out there today practicing, full go.”

(On if Massaquoi or Watson are in the facility)- “They’re here.  They were in meetings this morning.”

(On after dropping two passed last week if Colt McCoy has confidence in Joshua Cribbs, does he have confidence in Cribbs, if Cribbs has confidence that the ball is coming his way or if it’s getting to be a frustrating experiment)- “Yes, yes and yes and no it’s not frustrating.  I think I’ve got a great deal of confidence that he’s going to play receiver well for us.  I know Colt has confidence in him as a target.  He did drop to balls last week and he can’t do that. He knows that and we’ll keep working on it.  I‘ve got confidence in all the players we put on the field and he’s displayed the ability to be a playmaker and we just need to keep trying to get him the football.”

(On T.J. Ward’s responsibility on defense and trying to defend Vernon Davis and Frank Gore)- “He needs to play the run well and play the pass well and you’ve got to do it against two very, very fine players, not to mention Delanie Walker.  I think they have eight touchdowns and the tight ends have scored six of the eight touchdowns. They’re very fine players and I’ve seen them up close and personal for four games now. But, it’s important that you’re very disciplined playing the run and then with the run comes the play action. He’s one of those guys that studies so if there are any keys or indicators there that he’ll find to help him be a step closer on a pass as well a couple feet closer making a tackle, I’m sure he’ll get that.”

(On what he saw in Ward after watching film from the Seahawks game)- “I saw a guy that was very active, I saw a guy that challenged, he made a couple plays on balls and I saw a guy too that was very physical making tackles.  I saw a very, very solid game from a safety in this league.”

(On if the Seattle game was the best Ward has played this year)- “It was one of his better games, I would say.  Again, he started the season coming back off a hamstring where he didn’t have much training camp.  These guys over the course of a long season kind of get into their groove a little bit and I think he’s playing at a high level.”

(On if Massaquoi or Watson have been ruled out for Sunday’s game)- “No, they’re not ruled out.  Nobody is at this point.”

(On what kind of challenges it be if Massaquoi and Watson are out)- “I think the challenge is that the guys that replace them have to come in and play at a high level and that’s why you practice.  Whether you’re getting the reps or not, you’ve got to find a way to make sure you’re either getting mental reps or we throw balls after practice.  In the run game, they’ve got to make sure they’re getting their fits.  It’s important that the guys that step in do a good job.  The challenge is of course that you’ve got to still be able to execute the scheme and then you maybe do a couple things a little bit differently. Other than that you try to still play the game the same way.”

(On how confident he is that the defense can keep them in the rest of the games)- “I’m very confident.  I feel like there’s no reason that we can’t go into every game and expect to have a very fine defensive performance.  I think it’s rare in this league that you hold a team to three points, I think it’s very rare.  I think our guys feel that there is some confidence there that they’re playing well as a defense so you like to think that they’ll build on that confidence and detail their work during the week.  They’ve practiced extremely well each week and I’m anticipating that it will be the same.”

(On what Carlton Mitchell needs to show him in order to get playing time and why he’s only been active for one game this year)- “He’s going to be active this week, I’ll just tell you that right now.  He’s active so he’s shown me enough where he’ll play this week.  That’s a quick answer but he’ll be up this week.”

(On if Mitchell has made a lot of progress)- “He has and he is one of the guys that has been playing as an inactive player so he gets a lot of scout team or look squad reps.  He’s got speed and size and he’s healthy now.  We’ll try to use him.”

(On if Massaquoi’s injury prevents them from putting Joshua Cribbs on kickoff coverage)- “No, Mo’s injury will not prevent us from doing anything.  We’ll play the game and sub somebody in there for him.”

(On if not wanting to lose too many wide receivers due to injury)- “No I don’t want to lose anybody.  We talked about it last week, I’ll put Josh out there as many times as possible.  He did a good job in coverage last week.  There’s a decent chance you’ll see him there again.”

(On how much Mitchell’s finger injury set him back)- “I don’t know about the injury to his finger, but he’s a young second year player that’s developing as a receiver.  He had skill and ability coming out of college and we saw that.  That’s why he was drafted.  There are a lot of things that need to be learned and I think he’s going through that process.  He’s a big, looking guy that can run real fast.  I think it’s obviously a distraction for a receiver if you have a finger injury.  Your confidence catching the football, some of the things receivers need to come to grips with so to speak.”

(On how Mitchell can climb back up the ladder)- “Unfortunately in his case because he wasn’t active it has to be in practice.  When you get your opportunity then you fine tune it during that week of preparation.  Assuming something crazy happens, he’ll be up this week.  He’s going into this knowing that he needs to prepare himself to play both on special teams and scrimmage downs.”

(On if all six receivers will be active)- “There’s a very good chance one of them will be down.”

(On if John Greco would start at right guard even if Lauvao was healthy)- “No Shawn’s our starter.  If he can play, he’ll start much like Tony Pashos.  If he’s in the game, he’ll be our starter.  I think it’s the same.  Shawn, I think is improving each week.  He got nicked up last week. He’ll be a little bit limited here as we go through the week, which is not atypical for a lineman this time of year.  We’ll see where he’s at the end of the week.  We tend to shuffle that sixth and seventh guy around depending on our needs.  The week that Alex Mack was coming back we used (Steve) Vallos to back him up. Now with Shawn being nicked up a little bit, we’ll just see how we’ll shift those guys around.”

(On how Scott Fujita is coming along)- “Great, he was good and he was out there in the walk-through running around and he’ll practice today.  My understanding is he’s a full go. I shouldn’t say that. I need to quit using that word (joking). I know he’s a full go.  I’m trying not to lead anybody down the wrong path.  I’m a straight shooter believe it or not.”

(On what is different about the 49ers new coaching staff)- “Schematically on defense they’re the same.  Offensively under they’re last coach they wanted to be a team that was going to run the football and play action.  I think that’s the same.  I’m sure there are probably some terminology differences. They are finding a way to win games.  I think what’s different is they’ve won games.  I don’t know them intimately.  I don’t know how their operation works so I don’t know how the coaching staff fits.  I think you’ve got to credit, Jim’s done a nice job of getting those guys going.  I think that’s a credit to them.”

(On if he knows Jim Harbaugh)- “I know Jim.  In know the whole Harbaugh family so to speak.  I worked with John.  Tom Crean who’s married to John and Jim’s sister, was an assistant at Michigan State in basketball when I was there.  I knew his sister well.  I know Jim, we overlapped when he was at Michigan and when I was at Michigan State.  I think he’s actually a year and half older than me. I know him, I know the Harbaugh family.  They’re very accomplished as coaches and players.  Jim’s doing a good job.”

(On if Harbaugh has a lot of personality and energy)- “Yeah, I guess.  Again, we never played together and I’ve never coached with him so it would be hard to say.  It seems like the guys that for him play hard.”

(On what he thinks about the 49ers passing game)- “I think they’re passing game is good.  They’re a run, play action team and they’re doing well.  They’re executing.”

(On if he has thought about the postgame handshake)- “Not really, but I figured I’d get asked.  Typically now what I’ve seen in the first few games is before the game the head coaches visit and after the game you shake hands.  That’s what I plan to do.”


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