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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 10, 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)- “Mo (Mohamed) Massaquoi, we sent him home this morning.  He still wasn’t feeling right so we sent him home, felt like that was the best course of action.  You won’t see Phil Dawson out there he had what can be described as migraines.  We sent him home and he won’t kick today, but we don’t feel like that’s going to be anything that’s going to affect Sunday. Otherwise we’ll just let the injury report stand at the end of practice.  There’ll be guys that will practice fully and then there will be other guys that aren’t out there so there won’t be much change from the guys that are out from yesterday, generally speaking.”

(On where this teams falls on a scale of how much they audible compared to other teams)- “It’s hard to say.  I know there are some systems where you call the play and run it, there are other systems where the quarterback is at the line of scrimmage with maybe three or four options on a play. That being the case, I would imagine we’re somewhere in between.”

(On if McCoy has audibled at different times throughout the year)- “That’s part of what we do, depending on what play is called and then everybody has situations where you call a play and run it.  Then there’s other ones where the play is being run into a look that’s unacceptable and you make a change.”

(On what kind of challenges he sees with facing Chris Long)- “I think he’s having an outstanding year.  When we went there three years ago, I was impressed with him and he was a young player at the time.  He was a very talented young player that was doing better and right now I think he’s having outstanding production.  He’s a very good pass rusher, I think he’s very sturdy in terms of the run and he’s got to the point where I think he’s very good with his hands.  If you screw up on your set he can hurt you.”

(On Tony Pashos’ availability and the situation at right tackle)- “We’re going to go into the game the same as we were last week.  My thoughts are that Tony will be there.”

(On if Sam Bradford improved over the two halves last season and how that applies to McCoy)- “I think Sam made steady progress last year, first game to last. I don’t think his progress could be defined in halves.  As you go through the season the season tends to ebb and flow in terms of performance for everybody.  A guy might have two or three good games and then one he’s not so fond of and then he’ll have another couple.  I think that’s the same for all players and I think Colt is improving and I anticipate that he’ll do the same.”

(On if a player like McCoy can bolt out of the blue and look remarkably better then he has)- “I think you’ll see that from players at different times in their career, that’s for sure.  I think his next great performance is Sunday and that’s what we’re hoping for.”

(On how Eric Hagg looks at practice)- “Eric’s done a nice job.  He looks much more comfortable in there than he did when he first came back from injury a couple weeks ago.  He had a good practice yesterday and he’ll be out there, we’ll get a chance to watch him move around again today.”

(On how he would describe Hagg)- “Eric is one of our young players that improves and sees something new every day. I think he’s a very aware guy.  I think he’s a physical tackler and at least the practices and competitive situations I’ve seen him in in training camp, we felt really good about the progress he was making in those competitive situations, which is pretty much the last time we saw him do that.  We’re anticipating he’ll play well.”

(On if they considered putting Hagg on injured reserve when he got hurt during training camp)- “We evaluated that, but we knew that he would be back in time to play a good chunk of the season and because he had done so well in our mind in training camp, we just didn’t want to put him down so that’s why we kept him up.  But, we had those discussions.  We do with really every injury depending on the length of time it takes for them to return.”

(On what they could do to make the second half of the season look better than the first half of the season)- “Win eight games.  That’s starting with the first one we play and I think, in my mind, that’s the ultimate improvement on the first half.  As we move forward though in terms of system, in terms of the players that are playing, you’re looking for general efficiency, guys doing more things right all the time whether it’s being their alignment, their assignment, their ability to make a play, you’re looking for guys that are giving great effort on every play and you’re looking for overall team production.  That to me is what I will evaluate on whether we’re making improvements.”

(On if he looks at the season in quarters when breaking down progress)- “I’m a little bit more narrow minded then that.  My focus right now is on our next practice and I don’t mean to be cliché and then it’s Sunday then we reload and play the next game.  We’re at the halfway point so that’s typically when you sit and take a little inventory as to where you’re at, but you can’t do too much of that at this point because you’re team constantly changes as to who’s in the game, the team you’re playing and you try to keep your focus on the next opponent and as we focus on our next opponent, today’s task is to get the short yardage, goal line and third down ready.”

(On if T. J. Ward is out for this week)- “There’s a good chance he’ll be out.  I don’t want to rule him out yet, but there’s a very good chance that he won’t play.”

(On if Ward is still in a cast)- “Yes.”

(On Hagg being known as a ball hawk in college)- “I think those are the instincts we saw in terms of being a ball hawk.  He got his hands on a lot of balls in training camp when we were competing against one another.  In fact, I’m remembering back to when he hurt his knee in practice, it was a red zone drill where he made a play on the ball and then he kind of just fell on his knee.  We had remarked just in the personnel meeting the night before how well he was doing because he had gotten his hand on a lot of balls.  We’re hopeful and that’s really an important skill for a safety and we’re hoping that he’ll do it Sunday.”

(On his impressions of Robert Quinn)- “We did a lot of work on him, as you know we were looking for defensive linemen and we had him in on one of our visits.  I met with him three times, at the combine, one other time and then here.  As an organization, we obviously met with him a handful of times more and we were very impressed by him.  We felt like he was going to be an outstanding pro.”

(On Quinn’s production)- “He’s done a nice job, the last couple of weeks he’s gotten production.  It appears like they’re using him in their nickel where they move James Hall inside as kind of a hybrid, joker, spinner or whatnot.”

(On if Massaquoi will have to endure around round of tests with his concussion like symptoms)- “We’ll have to further evaluate how we’re going to progress.  At this point, he’s receiving the attention he needs from our medical people and it’s not uncommon for this situation.  He comes in in the morning and he doesn’t feel well, to then send him home.  We’re on top of the situation, I don’t know if you can categorize it as a round of tests, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure he’s going to be right.”

(On how long it took him to feel comfortable on attempting long field goals with Dawson)- “I don’t ever really remember flinching when I look over and I say punt or field goal? ‘Let’s kick it.’  I’ve never flinched on him, I trust him.  I’ve never had a thought process where I needed to feel comfortable with him, I trust him.  When he sets his mark and he says, ‘Get it to this point and we can kick it.’ When we get it to that point, we kick it and I think that’s how much I trust him.”

(On how much of the second half of the season is consciously about foundation building)- “I think we’re looking to get better every day and I think that’s how you build a foundation.  But, I don’t think you say, ‘Okay, were getting ready for…’ The future’s now and I think that locker room understands that.  We’re trying to compete and win as many games as we can and add them up at the end.  I think if you start thinking beyond that, at least in my way of thinking, you start thinking beyond that then that locker room mentally changes.  I don’t want that.”

(On the media witnessing one-on-one drills with the wide receivers yesterday in practice and it that is something new)- “We just moved it up in practice. Because we were limited in numbers, I cut the time yesterday on the competitive part of practice by 10 minutes. You benefitted from by being able to see it.  That’s one of the first things you don’t see and you just happened to see it. We do it every practice, we do one-on-one and you just had the nice surprise of seeing it.”

(On if John Greco has been a victim wanting to get younger players more experience)- “I think with those guys we’re trying to put the guys we think are going to do the best job in there at this point.  John’s ready to go, John’s a pro and he’s like any player, he wants to get in there and compete.  We’re not trying to get the guys experience,  the nature of the way our roster is, they’re getting it and I think that’s where you’re at.  We’re trying to do what we can to win games and as you put things together and you go out and compete that’s where the performance comes in terms of us being able to evaluate how they’re doing.”

(On if he talked to Shawn Lauvao about the altercation he had with Brian Cushing)- “I talked to him.  That’s between the player and the coach.”

(On wanting hard and aggressive play, but there being a fine line you can’t cross)- “Obviously, you  want guys that are going to play fast and physical, but there’s also a thing called using good judgment and that’s something that we and I preach quite frequently.  I think it’s important you use good judgment in everything that you do.  Whether it’s me talking to you, playing the game or how you choose to drive home at night.  I think that’s just normal and natural and we talk to our players about that all the time because it is a fine line.  It’s a physical game where you’re trying to win your matchup and you’ve got play it between when the ball is snapped and the whistle.  You can’t do it after.”

(On how much room for improvement he sees with the offensive line)- “I think there’s plenty of room for improvement and I’d like it to be steady.  Meaning I want Sunday’s game to be better than the last and then the next game to be better than the last.  I think that’s what I’m looking for.  I think offensive linemen, regardless of their skill level, the longer they work together the better they get and I think when you talk about linemen you’re talking about guys winning their individual battles, but the success of that group is based on how well they all work together.  I think the longer they play together the better they get.”

(On Joe Thomas having some false start penalties this season)- “He just jumped and there’s different reasons for it.  I don’t think there’s anything significant other than he can’t jump.  We talk about it.”

(On if Dimitri Patterson will practice today)- “Patterson will be out there.  He’ll be limited.  Usama (Young) will be out there as well.  I don’t know what we’re going to finally list them at.  They’ll do some things, but I don’t know how much yet.  We’re going to have to see.”

(On how McCoy and Bradford are different as people with their personalities)- “I think they’re very similar in a lot of ways.  It’s really hard to separate them personality wise.  They’re very competitive, very hard on themselves, want to do everything perfect.  They root for different schools.  I think there are a lot of similarities there, there really is and it would be hard for me to characterize any significant difference.  I think as quarterbacks, they’re both wired right.”

(On if Bradford is a coach’s kid too)- “Sam’s got a tremendous mother and father.  They would compete eating ice cream cones, they’re very competitive guys and I think that’s what helps drive them to succeed.  Both of them have probably been very successful on any team they’ve ever played on.  Growing up they both played multiple sports and they both had great success.  I think that’s part of what drives them.”


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