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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 27, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “Let me just touch on the injuries.  For the most part, unless I mention somebody, it’s the same as yesterday. Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) is progressing, there won’t be any change from yesterday.  (Phil) Dawson will kick today.  Joe Haden will practice.  Shawn Lauvao will practice.  Peyton Hillis got a little sore yesterday in practice so we’re going to back him down today, you won’t see him out there.  Tony Pashos will practice, Joe Thomas will practice and then Benjamin Watson is much like Mo, he’s progressing, but he won’t be out there.  There’s nothing new to add from yesterday.”

(On if Hillis’ game status has changed)- “No, none of the player’s status for Sunday will change so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

(On if he knows if Hillis will play)- “Hopefully he does, but I can’t say.  We’ll have to see because he got a little sore from practicing yesterday.  We’ll have to see how he progresses the next couple of days.”

(On if it’s Hillis’ hamstring)- “Yeah.”

(On if they can do anything different in practice in order to get off to a better start in games)- “We practice the plays we’re going to run throughout the week in that say first 15.  We make an effort to practice those plays and then we also emphasize it as we go into the game, we talk about what we intend to do to start the game whether we’re going to stay in regular and run it or play action or spread them out and pass.  We talk about what we intend to do then we just have to go out and do it.”

(On if it’s by design that Seneca Wallace doesn’t stand next to him on the sideline when the offense has the ball)- “He’s listening, he hears the plays and he puts himself in a position where he can watch the play.  There shouldn’t be anything.  It’s not strategic, it’s not by design and then between series they sit together and talk about it.  He’s just trying to get a good vantage point on what the play is.  Sometimes when you call it and you’re near the line of scrimmage from a quarterback’s perspective it’s tougher to see.  I wouldn’t think there’s anything to that.”

(On how much if a help Wallace has been for Colt McCoy)- “I think he’s very helpful.  Seneca’s played a lot of games in this league in this offense so I think he’s been helpful.”

(On if the Browns have any interest in Terrell Owens)- “We did not go to the workout and those personnel decision, of course, we’ll keep to ourselves.  But, we’re not pursuing him.”

(On what makes Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman so good)- “I think they’re a pretty darn good tandem.  Willis has been a terrific player in that scheme for a long, long time.  As a tandem, they’re just playing very well.  They’re obviously comfortable in their scheme, they run, they’re very physical so they can play sideline to sideline and they can play downhill when you run right at them.  They’re good and I don’t know if there’s any magic to it other than they’re good.”

(On if the greatest burden falls on the offensive line when a team runs the no-huddle not in a two-minute situation)- “I don’t know that. I think there’s a reason why it works and it depends on what you’re trying to get done with it.  We saw again last week where a team came in and tried to commit to it that we had practiced it quite a bit and we tended to have success defending it.  I think the biggest burden is, again it’s all how you look at it and what grouping you’re in when you try to go no-huddle, are you trying to surprise the defense to get them to not pressure you.  I think sometimes when you surprise a defense with it then they have a limited package of things they go to or they have to default coverages and fronts.  But, over time if you practice it and they see it then they have the ability to get to the stuff that they want to get to if they were in a huddle.  I wouldn’t say it’s the line that feels the burden.  I think what it comes down to is the plays that you have ready to go in the no huddle because you can’t obviously execute your whole offense from that and then how well you execute them.  That’s the challenge.”

(On if have the bye early in the season can work against you)- “I don’t know if it does.  Again, I‘ve said this before, we all rationalize that when our bye comes it’s at the right time.  Guys that have it early say they had injuries, guys that have it in the middle of the season say they’ve got less games to play.  I don’t know if it’s an advantage or disadvantage anymore, I really don’t.  I think with the way the rules are the coach can’t put his spin on how he wants to handle the bye because you have to give them four straight days off.  How you handle those couple of days before that after the game you just played, there isn’t as much flexibility or a coach can’t use his creativity in order to practice them more or less because it’s just structured.  As we move forward we’ll see the effects of byes.”

(On teams being 3-9 this year coming off their bye and if it has anything to do with the rule changes)- “I don’t know.  I know when we were in Philadelphia, it’s amazing, Andy Reid hasn’t lost a game after the bye.  Maybe it’s the team you’re playing, I don’t know yet.  Again, I don’t have any problems saying I don’t know the effect of that because this is a different setup now.  I’ve been in years where we’ve had our bye early, I’ve been in years where it came right in the middle of the season and you find a way to move on.”

(On if he gets good focus from his players during special teams sessions)- “Absolutely, I’ve said this before, but I think the practices have been good.  We have a good locker room of guys that try to do what we ask them to do.  They try to do what we ask them to do on the field, they try to practice the way we want them to practice, which is fast, focused and smart. With my experience with those special teams practices in other places, we’re having good ones here.”

(On Chris Tabor saying guys aren’t making effort mistakes it’s just guys being in bad spots and not wanting to make the same mistake twice)- “I think that’s the key, you can’t repeat the error. But, when you’ve got a bunch of guys running down the field, one guy making an error can appear devastating and that’s the challenge - making sure everybody stays in their lanes and everybody blocks their gaps.  I can sit here and simplify it, but we all know that’s not the case.”

(On if he’s seen T.J. Ward take a jump forward)- “I have seen his level of play increase and you’re talking about a guy that’s very accomplished for a young guy.  He played fine football a year ago and I don’t know what I’d attribute it to other than the fact that he’s getting more and more comfortable in the scheme.  The safeties, in the backend there’s a cerebral component to what they do.  They have to get the other guys lined up.  All that communication and they’re use to doing it more and more, anything you do more and more you get better at and I think that’s the category that he would fall into.”

(On if Ward is getting stronger in coverage)- “I think his general game has been good.  Coverage, as far as his ability to support the run and tackle the runner so yeah I think he’s doing that.”

(On if he gets a sense that Hillis is frustrated with injuries and that he hasn’t been able to get into the flow of the season)- “No, I talked to him this morning and I think he’s hanging in there taking this thing day-to-day trying to get himself healthy so that he can go out and play.  I don’t sense a frustration.”

(On if their good pass defense is because of an improving secondary, a better pass rush or a combination of both)- “I think it’s a combination of both.  I think when you’re good on defense it’s a team thing because offenses are going to try and run it and throw it.  The game will dictate sometimes how much you do of each.  Again, the other side is just like when we talk about our offense, they want to try and keep the situation where they can play run/pass and then they get ahead by a bunch of points and run it more.  Our guys I think have done a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback and then our corners are doing an outstanding job of challenging the receivers and I think that’s key.”

(On the differences between the San Francisco defense last year and what he’s seen on film this year)- “I don’t see any real major differences.  I thought they were outstanding on defense the last two years and the scheme is relatively the same.  They have a new coordinator, but the defensive line coach is the same and when you watch them play, they’ve got a lot of the same players.  They have a couple different players, but the scheme is the same so I think that maybe jump started their ability to play faster.”

(On if Donte Whitner was a force for them)- “He was a good player last year as well.”

(On what his thoughts are of Whitner)- “I think he’s playing well.  I think the whole unit is, it’s hard for me to sit here and say there’s a weakness personnel-wise to that defense.  I know it pretty well, but he’s play well as a well.”

(On how much the Browns looked at Aldon Smith)- “We had him in for a visit.  We thought he was a fine player.  He would be great to have, he’s had five sacks and he’s playing very well and he fits what they do as well. If you’ve got a guy that can play on the edge and pass rush, he fits in any scheme.”

(On if he has any kind of friendly wager with Randy Lerner over the game between their sons tonight)- “I was hoping to avoid all those questions (joking).  This St. Eds-St. Ignatius, it’s a big week here in town.  This is my first taste of it because our sons are both freshman playing against each other.  The freshmen play tonight at 6:00 p.m.  Let’s just let them play it out.  I think its fun.  I think Max (Lerner) and Kyle (Shurmur) have become friends, they know each other extremely well and I hope there’s a lot of points scored tonight.”

(On Jim Harbaugh giving the 49ers six days off during their bye)- “Again, I was in Philadelphia and Andy, I’m serious now check it out, I think he’s won every game after the bye.  There were many years there where we played the game on Sunday and he’d say see you next Monday.  I don’t know, the bye week, how much work do you really get done?  I think it’s important for the coaches to see where you’re at and how you’re moving forward.  I think you’ve got players who are trying to get healthy, it’s important that guys keep their physical conditioning up, the way it’s structured now it’s hard to go in pads because you only get 14 for the whole year.  Not so much coaches because I think we all understand as coaches what the bye week is.  I think sometimes the people looking outside in on the bye week think it’s more than it is.  Each coach has a different philosophy and it seems to work for teams that have had success after the bye.”

(On if Carlton Mitchell did anything in practice to change his opinion on game status)- “No, I’ll stick with that.  Carlton will most likely be up this week.  He had a good day at practice.”

(On what he thought about Chris Ogbonnaya’s first game after watching the film)- “I think I’ll stick by with what I’ve said.  I think he performed very well. For a guy to come in and in a couple of days, a lot of times you look at a runner and you just look at the stat sheet and see what kind of production he had running the ball or catching the ball, but when he settles in there and has to pass protect I think that’s where he stepped up and did a nice job. He’s very aware, what do you do when you don’t have the ball and that’s partly why I think he had a very successful game. He did a good job.”

(On if he will work Ogbonnaya into the rotation if Hardesty and Hillis are both healthy)- “Yes, he’ll be in the game. I’ll try to get him in.”

(On if Ogbonnaya gives them what they wanted in Brandon Jackson)- “I think they’re similar in some styles. I don’t think I got to see enough of Brandon to see how he would have done in all the other phases, but obviously Brandon’s a fine ball carrier and he was doing a good job pass protecting and for the most part catching the ball. I think your second and third runners, they’re role players so they don’t get a chance to get in there and play themselves into a rhythm.  They’ve got to go in there and get into a rhythm in a hurry.  I think that’s kind of what Obi did.”

(On Greg Little and the impact he of his conversations with him)- “I think he’s made huge strides.  As a receiver you have skill and ability and you can run routes and catch balls and again it goes unnoticed sometimes. You have to learn how to be a pro, you have to learn how to prepare, you have to learn how to handle success and failure and you’ve got to learn what to eat.  Some of these guys have played their whole career on sheer ability and now that helps them to a great deal, but they then have to learn how to be a pro.  I think that’s the important part.  I’m pleased with the progress he’s making.  Again, to be able to work with a guy that has talent that loves to play the game, that’s a good type of athlete to try to mold.”

(On if Mitchell will be active is contingent upon Massaquoi being able to go)- “It’s not contingent anything.  He’ll be up.”

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