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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 9, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “For today’s practice, Auston English, Montario Hardesty, Peyton Hillis, Mohamed Massaquoi, Dimitri Patterson, T.J. Ward and Usama Young won’t practice.  Some of them will be inside, but some of them will be outside.  If you’re out there then you’ll see that, the rest of the guys will be out there. We thought we could go outside, but we got rained on.  The weather man was a little off so we’ll probably go back inside.  Other than that we’re playing the Rams and I’m familiar with them in ways that I don’t know how it affects the game, but I have a lot of people that I’ve had relationships with because I worked there.  I mentioned it two days ago, let’s not look at their record.  I know they’ve got a team that’s eager to get a victory, they’re well coached and they have good players so I anticipate it’s going to be a tough test.”

(On Ward’s status)- “He’s not going to practice today and I can’t tell you what’s going to happen for Sunday. We’ll have to see.”

(On if Ward had an MRI on Monday)- “He’s in a cast, he’s getting it settled down and we’ll just see.  As we move forward I’ll give you more details, but he won’t be at practice.”

(On if Ward is in a foot cast)- “Foot cast.”

(On if Tony Pashos will practice today)- “He’s out there.  I’m sorry if I didn’t mention that.  He’s limited, but he’ll be out there for sure.”

(On what is wrong with Massaquoi)- “He’s got symptoms and again he didn’t have any specific episode in the game to make him what we consider worse.  He came in this morning and he had some symptoms related to his concussion so we sent him home. That’s where he is at.”

(On being in St. Louis when they drafted Sam Bradford and seeing his growth over the season)- “Last year Sam was a guy, we drafted him and he had the benefit of a full offseason with minicamps, training camp and really he had a chance to develop in an offseason.  We went through training camp and really didn’t name him the starter until the week right before the first game and then he was in there pretty much every snap.  He helped the St. Louis Rams win seven games and I think he’s a fine quarterback and I’m assuming that he’s making that same progress this year.  I know he’s had injury that’s kept him out, he got injured at the end of the Green Bay game. It kept him out a couple of weeks, I know they have a very reliable backup in A.J. Feely. Based on what I saw last week, Sam went in there and executed pretty well.  You could tell he wasn’t totally 100% physically, but he’s a tough guy and I think he’s developed well and he’ll continue to develop within their system.”

(On if they’re anticipating that they might face Feely this week and what he’s like as a quarterback)- “I think A.J. is a fine thrower, he looks like he’s picked up their system and executes well within it. He helped them beat the Saints, which is no easy task, and he’s the same style of quarterback as Sam.  Regardless of who’s in there, I’m sure the system will be the same.  We’ll be ready to play both because we’re planning for their system.”

(On if he’s talked to Bradford at all this year)- “I haven’t.  We have communicated periodically through texts.”

(On what they will do if Ward and Young are unable to play Sunday)- “Well we’ve got our backups that’ll get in there, (Eric) Hagg, and then we’ll have to cover those spots with some of the corner position guys.”

(On Steven Jackson being one of the league’s elite running backs)- “Wow, he’s a very physical runner.  I think he’s had two outstanding games here back to back.  He dealt with injury early in the year, which didn’t allow him to play, but it appears to me like he’s healthy.  He runs with a lot of emotion and he’s a tough guy to bring down.  He’s a key reason why I think in the last couple games they’ve found a way to move the ball.”

(On if Josh McDaniels is trying to do in St. Louis what they did in New England when he was there)- “I think you see similar concepts.  Just like any coordinator, you try to use the pieces that you have available to you and make them fit.  They’ve had to deal with injuries as well at the receiver position, they’ve been in and out.  It appears that Brandon Lloyd is becoming their favorite target, which doesn’t surprise me.  You have Sam Bradford, you have Steven Jackson, Brandon Lloyd and a lot of the other pieces, the tight ends and the receivers that they have that do a good job of getting their catches when they come their way.  But, I see a lot of the same concepts that they employ in New England.”

(On if he knows McDaniels at all)- “I really don’t know Josh all that well.  I’ve been in his presence a couple of times and we’re friendly, but we’ve really never crossed paths much.”

(On if preparing for Jackson will be easier than preparing for Frank Gore or Arian Foster because Jackson is more of an inside runner)- “I think they’re both hard to prepare for, but when you look at the scheme and the style of the runner that’s obviously what you get ready for.  But, you mentioned Gore and Steven Jackson, they’re both in some ways different style runners for sure.”

(On if learning two new systems early in a career can stunt a quarterback’s growth)- “I think quarterbacks at this level are here because they know how to play the game.  You learn a system and then in order to execute efficiently you’ve got to get use to the pieces around you, timing with you receivers, the thought process of the play caller, how well you block them, the types of runs, if you have a system where audibles are used.  Some system’s there aren’t many audibles.  You call the play that’s run and other systems there are lots of audibles where you make the decision at the line of scrimmage and most systems are somewhere in between.  Those are all the things the quarterback has to get used to, not to mention the verbiage.  When you have a chance to be in a system for a long time it helps.  As you’re learning it then everybody has to kind of has to grow together and I think at sometimes it affects the quarterback.”

(On if it was obvious that Bradford was going to be the first pick for the Rams last year)- “Bradford was the right pick for the St. Louis Rams, that’s what I’ll say.  I’m enjoying the opportunity to work with Colt here at the Cleveland Browns.  I don’t know what’s obvious or not, but as you go through the draft process you decide which one you’re going to pick.”

(On if injuries and youth have limited the variety of offensive play calls that he feels comfortable calling)- “We talked a little earlier about the longer you play together and worked together you get more comfortable with one another and obviously you can build on what you do.  I think last week every draft pick from last year played in the game.  We’re playing a lot of young guys that are trying to get better.  You can’t do everything you might want to do until they are all up and running on some of the basics.”

(On what has been the biggest challenge through eight games this season)- “I don’t know.  I’m really enjoying it believe it or not.  I probably don’t show it.  I’m enjoying the interaction with the coaches.  I’m enjoying working with the players.  I enjoy the process.  I’m a very impatient guy.  I don’t enjoy the results yet.  I think the people around me need to just tell me to keep going and relax, but I don’t tend to listen to that very well.”

(On how difficult it is to develop a team and win)- “It’s difficult, but I think what you do is you come to work each day and try to get better at something, get better at something, get better at something and then pile it all up and then find a way to win games.  I think what is interesting is we all take notes, as coaches we take notes and track our years.  I went back and looked at our first year in Philadelphia and we didn’t have great success. We were developing Donovan McNabb.  We were really good on defense.  St. Louis we had a tough year the first year.  You go back you try to replay the games and the emotions of it and try to learn from it like we all do.  We’re fighting through it.”

(On if there’s a common denominator in the three situations)- “The feelings are all the same because we want results.  You work very hard.  There’s a lot of people that put a lot of time and effort into the product on Sunday and you want results.  The results in this business are winning.”

(On if he reaches for a vision on what it’s supposed to look like or if he’s too busy going through the process where he can’t really bother with the vision)- “No, I try to sit back and look at the big picture daily as we move forward.  But, as coaches and as educators we tend to focus and very quickly to get back to the details.  We just know doing the details and taking care of the little things more consistently and better, it’s just the reality then the results become better.”

(On if there is a timetable for winning)- “I would like it to be Sunday.  I think that’s what you shoot for.  Once you win one, and we’ve won three, but once you win one then you build for consistency for the next one.  Then you deal with all the issues of becoming over confident and sloppy.  Each week there’s a different set of points you need to make.”

(On if any running back is ruled out for Sunday)- “Hardesty and Hillis will not play for sure.”

(On if it’s too early for Thomas Clayton to flip roles with Chris Ogbonnaya)- “I think they will both play.  He’ll probably play a little bit more than he did.  I think Chris will still have a role on first, second and third down.”

(On what gives him hope for the running game moving forward)- “I think the running game is like on defense stopping the run, it’s a team thing.  The scheme we put together, how well we block them, when you call the runs, those types of things.  I’m hopeful we’re going to be one week better with those two guys.”

(On reports that Joe Paterno is going to retire at the end of the year and how stunning it is to him)- “I don’t have many details on all that.  In terms of Joe, my goodness he’s done so many great things in this profession. To be at one place that long and coach at such a high level and they’re having a great year this year.  I think probably everybody anticipated he would retire soon.  I haven’t heard that report, but if it’s made official, he’s one of the greatest college coaches of all time.”

(On if Penn State recruited him)- “No, a lot of big programs didn’t and they were right (joking).”

(On his and McCoy’s history with Bradford and if there has been any conversations what an exciting game this might be)- “Not much, I think Sam and Colt are friendly from their years playing in the same conference. They know each other well.  Quarterbacks find a way to get to know each other. I don’t know this, but I’m sure they’ve communicated more this year than I have this year with Sam.”

(On if he looked at the Oklahoma-Texas game films when he was scouting the two quarterbacks and if anything stood out)- “I did, but nothing significant no. With both quarterbacks, believe it or not, the scouting department put together a tape of all their throws.  I watched every one of their throws from college, junior and senior year. They all kind of ran together.  When you make the decision to choose a quarterback you just don’t just kind of watch a half and go for a jog.  You watch the games, but then you sit there and you watch throw after throw, after throw, after throw.  You just do that.”

(On if last week was McCoy’s most encouraging performance)- “I think in this business you can’t be very good for very long unless you’re tough.  I think Colt displayed toughness this past week.  I don’t think there is anybody that would dispute that.  You can build on that for sure.”

(On McCoy’s accuracy looking sharper against the Texans)- “I thought so.”

(On if he sees any difference in his team preparing for St. Louis in trying to get a victory for him)- “Not really, we spent most of our time Monday obviously cleaning up what happened against Houston.  Today, we spent most of our time talking about their team and our first and second down plan against them.  No, there hasn’t been much time to discuss what winning or losing would mean.”


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