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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 2, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “Let’s see, Auston English and Montario Hardesty most likely won’t play this week.  Dimitri Patterson will work inside today, he’s day-to-day.  Peyton (Hillis) and Ray Ventrone will do some running.  They’ll be at practice and we’ll just see how much they can do.  For everybody else, if you’ve got a specific question I’ll answer it.  Other than that, I’m excited to get going. The players came back, we had meetings this morning and we’re anxious and eager to put together a good week to go down and play Houston.”

(On how long Hardesty will be out)- “It’s really hard to say, I don’t know. Guys heal at different rates and with calves, it’s hard to put a time on him.  We’ll just take it day-by-day there.”

(On if Hillis will be able to play Sunday)- “Again, we’ve just got to see how much he can do and if he can get himself back into a position to play. If and what time that is we’ll get him out there.”

(On if Hillis will participate in practice today)- “He’ll be out there, we’ll just have to see.  He was at the walk-through and competed so we’ll just see.  It’s really hard for me to say right now until he gets out there and gets going.  He’s been running around, but the football stuff is different.”

(On if Chris Gocong will practice today)- “He’ll be out there today, he’ll practice.”

(On releasing Brian Robiskie)- “I talked about it yesterday, this is a time of year and we’ve had injuries at running back and then we have to make a roster move. Then you look at your roster and you say, ‘There’s nobody we want to release.’ I like Brian, I have a great deal of respect for him but based on how the roster was shaped we had to make a move to bring in a runner and we made a decision to part ways.  But, we wish him the best and we’re hopeful that he’s playing football soon for somebody.”

(On why Robiskie never panned out)- “I don’t know.  He competed with the other receivers and I felt like he was given his opportunities to play and again, you just make decisions.  Again, I like Brian.  He’s an NFL receiver so we’re hopeful he has a place to go.”

(On if Colt McCoy is focusing on the defensive pressure rather than his receivers downfield)- “I think when I watch his eyes for the most part his focus is down the field.  There may be a specific play or two where a guy just beat somebody and you have a naturally feeling for a guy coming free, but no I think he’s working at making sure he keeps a downfield focus.”

(On how they can coach him to handle the pressure)- “Well if you have a guy coming at you, you throw it hot.  If you have a guy that’s unblocked and you want to make an adjustment, you check the protection or change the play or you get the ball out quick.  It depends on the play call, how many men are in protection, what the route concept calls for and what’s at his disposal as far as an audible.”

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi will practice today)- “He was at the walk-through today.  We’ll just have to see how much he can do.”

(On if it’s difficult to draw up the offense not knowing who they’re going to have)- “I think we move forward generally trying to put a plan together to play with the guys that we think are going to be there.  We have guys that’ll step in then and play if they don’t.  You have to limit, maybe, some of the things you might want to do because some of the guys that might be there might be limited getting reps.  For the most part you go play and do all the things you think you need to do to beat the team you’re playing.”

(On if Hillis is letting the team down if he doesn’t play with Hardesty being down)- “I think in terms of Hardesty being down, he competed hard. I feel bad for him because he’s battled.  In terms of guys coming back from injury, when you’ve got a day-to-day situation you’re just hopeful. I’m hopeful every guy we have on the roster can be ready to go and we have a bunch of healthy scratches when we determine that.  But, the reality of that is, that’s not the case this time of year.  As a coach you try to refresh your mind and get yourself ready to go and coach and play the guys that are healthy and ready to play.”

(On if Joe Haden will be matched up with Andre Johnson one-on-one or if Johnson’s injury precludes them from doing that)- “We’ll have the ability to do both depending who they line up with, but I’m glad Joe Haden’s playing.  We’ve all watched him have a great first half of the year and he’s a pro.  He started out and had some outstanding games, fought back from injury already and it’s enjoyable to watch him practice.  I’ll leave some of the schematics until Sunday in terms of how we’re going to defend the Texans, but if Andre Johnson’s out there I think Joe Haden probably won’t be far away I would imagine.”

(On how Andre Johnson impact’s their offense)- “When you have an explosive playmaker, you have to put a lot of thought in to how you’re going to defend a team, especially a team that runs the ball extremely well.  It’s frequently talk about, the numbers.  You put an extra guy down or you commit seven and a half or eight guys to the line of scrimmage and the coverage gets one-on-one.  But with a guy like Andre, you’ve got to be aware he is.  He is no question one of the best receivers in the league and has been for a long time. He means a lot to their offense.  When he’s in the game they try to get him the ball, which is a very smart on their part.”

(On if Houston’s run scheme is similar to Denver’s in years past)- “They’re primarily a zone team and when you run off tackle zone plays, linemen cut on the backside.  They try to get guys down so yeah that’s similar to what we’ve seen from (Mike) Shanahan, (Gary) Kubiak, (Joe) Gibbs, that style of a run game.  It’s very similar and they do it extremely well with three very good backs.”

(On if there is a fine line between what is a clean block and what is dirty)- “I think some of what you’re saying is teams that have responded to them after they’ve played.  I see them trying to establish a physical style of a run game.  We’ll see how it plays out, but you’re allowed to cut.  You’re allowed to go block low on guys and I’m sure they do that and they do do it very well.”

(On how Houston uses Arian Foster and Ben Tate)- “Very well. Foster, obviously his numbers from a year ago speak for themselves and he’s having another outstanding year.  Then Tate and (Derrick) Ward, they have three runners that a lot of teams would be glad to have and they’re all playing well.”

(On Houston’s defense)- “I think when you have a new coach and their scheme is somewhat new, Wade Phillips has injected some enthusiasm and the players are playing extremely hard. They’ve got some talented guys there.  It’s probably a point of emphasis for them, but in my mind they’re playing outstanding defense.  Every week it’s hard to find a bad defense in the league it seems like, at least the one’s we’re playing.”

(On why they decided to sign Thomas Clayton)- “There are reasons why, but he was a guy that’s been, even though he hasn’t played a bunch, he’s been around.  We had some familiarity with him and went that route.  We discussed many guys, but at this time of year, there’s some limitations in terms of who you can get.”

(On how much he can expect Clayton to learn from Tuesday to Sunday)- “Obi (Chris Ogbonnaya) did it in three days so that’s the time frame.  He’ll be in there playing, he’s active, he’ll be in there playing so I expect him to learn it. We’re answering some of the questions that we posed earlier.  You’ve got to just be careful how much you give him, but you’ve got to give him enough for him to go in there and be able to execute.”

(On if it is against their philosophy to bring in veteran wide receiver like Brandon Lloyd or T.J. Houshmandzadeh)- “I wouldn’t say that.  We’re always looking for any and all ways to improve our team.  Now there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes and we understand how our team is built.  My job is to get the team better and fight to win games.  Through the draft, free agency or whatever we do what we can to improve our team in ways that we can.  You mentioned a couple of specific receivers and we go through and talk about everybody that’s available and try to make decisions based on what’s best for our team.

(On Matt Schaub’s development)- “I really liked him coming out of Virginia so I’ve kind of followed his progress.  He’s executing their scheme well.  They have a very explosive scheme.  He’s done a good job of moving the ball and getting points, which is what you evaluate your quarterback on.  I think he’s played in their scheme now a long time.  He’s had a bunch of years under his belt with Kubiak basically as the primary play caller.  They’ve got a relationship that’s gone on over years.  I’m sure that helps with the familiarity of what he’s doing.  He’s playing well.

(On if the way Schaub was developed in Houston relates to the way they are developing McCoy)- “When you get to the season you put together game plans that are going to attack the team you’re going to play.  You work on the fundamentals of the plays and you try to develop the quarterback every snap in practice so that they can go out and execute it in the game then just try to pile that up.  I think that’s what we’re trying to do and I’m sure that’s what they did there.

(On who would play nickel if Dimitri Patterson can’t play)- “Buster (Skrine) will step in of course.

(On if he is comfortable with Skrine playing in the slot)- “Yeah, Buster will be stepping in and play.  If we get to a situation where we’re playing more than three corners then we’ll save that for Sunday.

(On if starting slow is still a big point of emphasis)- “I try to coach and get better at everything.  We talk about it and we’ll do what we can to change it.

(On if they go over fumbles with everyone involved in the play and if they watch it on film numerous times)- “Every play that we run we go over with the guys.  My emotion, my emphasis goes to those types of plays and other plays that didn’t work out the way we wanted then you talk about the fundamentals of why it didn’t happen.  We go over them all.

(On if it was McCoy’s fault that he fumbled on the second play of the game)- “It’s always on the quarterback to not fumble in the pocket.  But it’s also, the guys have got to block as well.

(On if his play calling changes at all with different running backs in game on third down)- “In terms of third downs, that’s one area where we’ve found a way to be somewhat decent.  Again, you try to go back to the things you do well and how it involves the running back.  There’s times when he free releases.  There’s times when it’s seven man protections. There’s times when it’s six man protections.  You’ve got to practice the ones you’re going to run and then make sure they get the looks you’re going to see.

(On if Ogbonnaya played every snap after Hardesty got hurt)- “There were a couple downs where I stuck Owen (Marecic) in there.

(On if why Lawrence Vickers was not brought back)- “We made the decision to move forward and we drafted Owen.  I think from what I’ve seen, he’s been somewhat limited in his snaps down there, but when he’s in the game he’s doing well for him.  We just made the decision to move on and we drafted Owen.

(On the noise factors at Houston because of the retractable roof)- “It’s an away venue so we’ll plan for crowd noise.  I have only played there once and my conversations with guys that have been on that staff and with guys that have played there is it can be a little louder with the roof closed.  That would be the difference.

(On if he would keep a retractable roof closed to add pressure to the other team)- “I would imagine so.  I think any pressure you can add to an opposing team it would help.  If they open the roof we’ve got to wear sunscreen I guess (joking).  Most away venues are loud regardless of whether they have a roof or not, especially when you have a team that is playing well.  I’m sure there’s going to be a packed house and they’ll be cheering for their team.

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