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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 14, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur yells during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. The Rams won the game 13-12. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today to discuss his team's 13-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement) - “For this week’s game I’m going to rule out Peyton Hillis and T.J. Ward.  Everybody else you can call them questionable, limited, full go, everybody else will have a chance to be there.  Peyton’s obviously rehabbing his hamstring, he’s continuing to make progress but I’m going to rule him out.  T.J. Ward, he’s being further evaluated, they’re going to change his cast today, get an X-ray, see where he’s at and we’ll decide how we move forward with him.  But, there is no way that he’ll play this week and then we’ll see how we proceed.  I’m just like every other person in the city of Cleveland that woke up this morning disappointed we lost.  I feel the same frustration. I’m disappointed, but not discouraged.  I feel it, I’ve lived it.  I’m from this region, I understand what everybody feels when you don’t win and what we’re trying to do is change that. When you don’t win, it’s hard for me to sit here and talk about the good things that happened.  I’ll let you ask me and then we’ll take it from there because I know we made progress in some areas, but we didn’t play well enough to win.  The focus could be the last play of the game, there were things that happened in the middle of the game where we could have stretched the score out and we didn’t get it done.”

(On if Hillis or Ward could be placed on injured reserve) - “At this point I wouldn’t say.  I think they’ll both have an opportunity to be back this year and I’ll know more on T.J. here later in the afternoon.  Peyton’s making progress where we’re hopeful he can be back after next week hopefully, we’ll see.”

(On if he knew Alex Smith was in the game instead of Owen Marecic) - “In the course of the game, I was calling a play based on the fact that it was a fullback play and Owen not being in there happened in that time frame.  We were handing the ball to the fullback. Alex knew he was getting the ball, Colt (McCoy) knew he was giving it to him and they’re football players.  Had I known now, I would have tried to call a timeout, but the clock was already off on the communicator to Colt and they were ready to play. So that’s what happened.”

(On if McCoy should have called timeout) - “No, because Alex knew he was getting the ball.  They did it all right except make the exchange. ”

(On if McCoy was not allowed to audible in that situation) - “I wouldn’t say that’s correct.  He’s the quarterback, but in that situation we were trying to run the football.  Not allowed? I don’t know the wording he used.”

(On if he wouldn’t have had time to audible due to the play clock) - “No, I don’t think so.”

(On if there is someone with a headset on as a backup) - “It happened all at one time and then everything was away from me.  I couldn’t get to an official. It was one of those situations.”

(On why he did not take a knee in order to set up the field goal) - “You could pop a run.  You can score on a run play just as well you can on a pass play.  I was not trying to not score.  What I was trying to do was run the ball and score. If we didn’t, then the advantage to doing that was the clock is running and you are forcing them to use a timeout.  If we didn’t get the touchdown, then we were in a position to kick a field goal and go ahead. That’s what I was trying to do.  The defense was playing extremely well.  I felt confident that if we kicked the field goal and went ahead then we’d have an outstanding chance to win the football game.  We could have thrown the ball and we could have thrown a touchdown or we could have had an incomplete and stopped the clock. There could have been a lot of things to do.  We had done a nice job of moving the football basically into that area by running it, we were having some success and I continued to do it.”

(On if a penalty should have been called on the field goal attempt) - “As you might expect, I was flooded with information when that play was over about what everybody thought happened.  The view I saw today, I didn’t see a penalty on the coach’s tape from behind.  I didn’t see a penalty, but not to say that the TV copy might have showed something different or an announcer might have said, I don’t know that.”

(On what he saw from the coach’s tape) - “The snap needed to be better.  It appeared to me like the ball hit the foot of our left guard.  That’s what it appeared like.”

(On if Ryan Pontbriand double-clutched the snap) - “Not from what I could tell, no.  Now, the rest of that play I thought (Brad) Maynard did an outstanding job of getting the ball down.  It obviously was a shocking setup for Phil (Dawson), who has made those kicks before.”

(On if the field goal attempt was blocked) - “No, I don’t think anyone blocked it based on the copy I saw.  Again, I didn’t watch the TV copy.  The end zone copy from behind that I saw, that’s what I noticed.”

(On if they have ever practiced the play where Alex Smith takes the handoff) - “We run it all the time.  Not always to him, he’s practiced it, not of late.  But, you know what’s interesting is, you run a lot of plays in the game that the backup has to execute, that he may not have done.”

(On if he used Seneca Wallace as a receiver strictly for Wildcat purposes) - “No, I thought there we some things in the game, we were down receivers, just trying to freshen it up a little bit. We used him in a way that I’m sure they weren’t expecting it.  He was used a couple of times without any running backs in there.  He was actually the running back in a situation. We lined up in empty and that has an effect on teams that give you an opportunity to do something with the football, that’s all.”

(On if he will continue to be creative with his play calling going forward) - “I think we’ve been creative to this point, it just hasn’t been within the boundaries of what some people think is creative. Yeah, we’ll continue to be creative.  We’re going to do everything we can to try and score points.  With the players that we have, try to score points and win games.”

(On if the offense is pressing too much in the red zone) - “No, I think yesterday was a poor performance in the red zone.  Prior to that, we had a couple games where we didn’t get down there much and then prior to that, we did a good job of scoring in the red zone.  No, I don’t think there’s pressure.  There’s always urgency in the red zone to score.”

(On what they could have done better in the red zone) - “Score.  There were times when we got down there before the half and threw it and we didn’t make it.  We took a shot to Evan (Moore) and he got a facemask, which backed us up and made the field goal.  All those things that happen during the game that plays into a little bit to what the strategy is at the end as well.  I thought they did a nice job, let’s give them credit, they did a nice job in the red zone of defending us and that was it.  There were some sequences in there where I ran the football, then there were other ones, as you saw, where I threw it and we had limited success.”

(On if he wishes he had thrown into the end zone once on the last possession) - “No. I’ll go to the well with what I did. I’ll go to the well lining up to kick the field goal, making them use timeouts and leaving them nearing two-minutes to try to drive and beat us.  I’ll do that again.”

(On if he did not know who was in the game on the Alex Smith play) - “I knew who was in the game.  I knew who was in the game and I chose not to stop the play.  Partly, because I couldn’t get to an official and then I couldn’t get to Colt to communicate and Colt talked to the fullback who knew he was getting the football. So there are no problems with that.  My staff, the guys on the sideline said, “Owen’s out, Alex is in” and so I just did it.  We want to get this all cleared up about that one play. We could have handed the ball to (Chris) Ogbonnaya or Thomas Clayton or somebody on an (end) around and they fumbled as well.”

(On if this was McCoy’s best performance of the season) - “I think he made big progress.  I think he didn’t play well enough for us to win, but he did some things in the game where he was generally efficient.  The play that we hit to Greg Little before half was the same play he missed, I think it was the first third down against the Miami Dolphins.  Just that one play, he got better.  But, there were other things that I think he made progress in as well.”

(On utilizing several trick plays against the Rams) - “When you run the football there are ways to give the defense misdirection.  The (end) around’s and reverses, I think were effective for us.  I think we had two explosive plays.  One that was called back because of a hold that were effective.  As hard as it is to write articles, it’s a challenge sometimes to move the football and you just try to do what you can to do both.”

(On trying to shake the culture of losing in Cleveland) - “Your first part is sort of right.  I’m from this region.  I’m from a town that has dealt with this type of fans loving their team and not having it go their way all the time.  I get that.  I’m not from Mars.  I get that.  I haven’t been here the previous twelve years.  I can sympathize with those feelings, I understand that.  Like I said at the outset, I came to work as somebody who lives in Cleveland disappointed that we lost.  I just happened to be in a position right now to help inspire a bunch of guys win a game.  That will make our fans extremely proud.  So that’s where we’re at.”

(On if McCoy understands the reasoning for running the ball in the red zone) - “I think so.  Again, I’d do it again that way.  I think you can run the football in the end zone as well.  We were having some success with some of the schemes that we were running and making yards with the backs that we had in the game.  Just because you run the ball doesn’t mean you’re giving up.  I think we’re all aware of the fact that they ran the football here a lot last year and had success.  So because you choose to run the football doesn’t mean you’re giving up.  It’s just what you choose to do and there are reasons for it.  The clock runs, you shorten the game.  Steve (Spagnuolo) took a time out because he wanted to preserve time.  It all happens.”

(On if the pass to Little was McCoy’s best deep ball this year and how he handled the wind factor) - “I think the wind was a factor.  The wind affected things yesterday, kicking and throwing.  I think Greg (Little) adjusted to the ball well.  I thought Colt made a good throw.  The wind did affect it though.  That ball took off a little bit.”

(On how McCoy handled the wind all game) - “He was pretty accurate yesterday throwing it, I thought.”

(On his biggest offensive adjustment since coming from the Rams) - “I don’t know.  Again, it’s hard to compare last year to this year.  This is a different team, non-traditional off-season.  I think what happens is when different runners are in there all the time that takes an adjustment.  I’d have to give Chris Ogbonnaya credit.  He did a nice job yesterday, very nice job and he battled.  We had some other young guys, Emmanuel Stephens stepped in and played extremely well.  I don’t know the statistics or the specifics, but all 10 of our draft picks played. Twenty of our 46 guys were rookies, first or second year players and they all competed.  That’s good.  Greg Little is improving, he’s improving. He’s making plays and I think he’s getting better on the details, still plenty to work on.  There are some things in here that I’m encouraged by. When we leave the stand here I’m done with being disappointed.  I’m encouraged by those things.”

(On if the offensive line did a nice job protecting McCoy) - “I think that’s fair.  I think we did a better job of protecting Colt.  Whoever carries the football, anytime you can run the ball for better than 100 yards then somebody’s doing something good.”

(On what was bad about Pontbriand’s snap other than hitting Mack’s leg) - “That’s a good start (jokingly).”

(On if Mack was doing the right thing during the snap) - “Yeah, he was blocking.  It just happens.”

(On if Mack widened his stance too quickly) - “No, I think he was okay.  He’s fine.  The approach was coming from the left side, so they had to honker down pretty good.  Our left side you know.”

(On if the snap would’ve been fine if Mack’s leg was behind Pontbriand’s legs) - “Not totally behind him. The snap was low, because the foot was on the ground.”

(On his thought process of kicking the field goal when the Rams would get the ball back at the two-minute warning) - “You have a chance to score and go ahead, you do that.  Then you kick to them and you play defense.  There’s no decision there.  I think that’s what you do.”

(On if he would have had a different approach in the red zone at the end if he would have had more success earlier in the red zone) - “No, I was going to run the football there and I wanted to run plays that were going to keep the clock running.”

(On if the snap was not low would it have missed Mack’s leg) - “The snap was low.  I think I just said that.  I mean that’s physics.”

(On if he knew who was at fullback when he called the play) - “No, because in the midst of calling the play and getting the guys in and out of the huddle there were guys coming in and out of the huddle.  Then I realized that he came wobbling out.  I was told by my guys quickly, but not quick enough to get it changed.”

(On his thoughts of how successful the Wildcat was yesterday) - “Josh (Cribbs) carried the ball twice I think for six or eight yards.  It was moderately successful.”

(On if McCoy was in the shotgun more during the game than in previous games) - “Maybe a snap or two more. Not by design.”

(On McCoy’s performance in the shotgun) - “Again, he’s used to being in the shotgun.  There were a couple that I called under center and there are reasons why he’ll pop to the shotgun that the defense presents in terms of protection. Whether they walked up or something.”

(On how the shotgun fits in this offense) - “Fits well.  It’s part of what we do.”

(On Mohamed Massaquoi’s injury status) - “He’s feeling better.  He’s been asymptomatic for a couple days now, so we’ll just see.  Again, we’re going to be very careful with that.”

(On if he was frustrated about the team not executing or how he was going to get it done) - “Nope. I believe in my heart of hearts we can get it done.  There’s no question.  That has nothing to do with my feelings.  I was angry yesterday because we had a game that we had a chance to win and we didn’t.  I’m living in that moment.  That’s the feelings that I was carrying with me yesterday.  Now, I got an average night’s sleep and we’re going to all talk about it right now.  Then when we get done talking about it I’m getting past it.”

(On if his dog bit him when he got home) - “Nope.  We just got a new dog and no, it didn’t bite me.  It doesn’t know me well enough yet.  The dog doesn’t know me well enough to bite me.”

(On what kind of dog he has) - “Bulldog.  It’s a puppy.”

(On where he saw McCoy’s improvement) - “I saw the accuracy on some of his throws.  I thought he was very decisive on some of the throws he made.  There are still a handful of things in there that would’ve made it an outstanding performance that he could have corrected himself.  I think he made progress.  I thought he was generally pretty accurate with his throws.  I thought he knew where he wanted to go with the football on most of his throws, which allowed him to hit his back foot and get rid of it.  There were some audibles in there that he took care of.  He fixed some plays.  I just felt generally speaking he had a pretty good command of what he was doing.  Again, let’s make sure we add not good enough to win.”

(On if the shotgun was used more in the game plan to make McCoy’s job easier) - “Again, that’s probably a question for him.  There are reasons why you’re in the shotgun and there are reasons why you’re under center.  Just like some guys get more catches than others each week.  It just kind of goes that way.  I wouldn’t say there’s any real reason.”

(On how he evaluates himself through nine games) - “I’m a 3-6 coach right now.  That’s how I evaluate myself.  I need to get better.”

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