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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “There’s nothing new on the injury front.  T.J. Ward and Quinton Spears are the only two guys that won’t participate in practice today.  One announcement that I think has been released is D’Qwell Jackson is this year’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. There’s nobody more deserving of any award than D’Qwell.  I’ve gained a strong appreciation for what he is as a player, as a man, as a professional.  He’s the full package in my opinion and his production has been great.  What he means to the team behind the scenes is outstanding and he could be the recipient of a lot of awards in my mind just because I think the world of him so that is this year’s recipient.  With that, we’re getting ready for the Steelers.  Today is really our full day of practice as we prepare and then we’ll have our walk-through tomorrow and go down to Pittsburgh and play the game.”

(On how Colt McCoy is doing today)- “Colt’s fine. I think there were a lot of guys yesterday that were game sore and I think he’s ready to roll.  He was out at the walk-through this morning and he’s slated to do everything.”

(On Peyton Hillis’ status)- “Peyton will be out there as well.  He’ll do everything. I think he’s a little bit sore, but ready to roll.”

(On how Phil Savage tried to mimic what the Steelers did to try to catch up to them and what this regime’s overview is of what Pittsburgh means)- “I don’t know about mimicking.  I do know this, that we need to try and get better in every facet in terms of how we coach, to how we do things day-to-day, we’re always looking to get better in everything that we do.  Pittsburgh, obviously, they’ve been very consistent and strong performers.  They’ve won multiple Super Bowls and they’ve found a formula that works for them and I think what’s important is we keep building and try to find the one that works for us.”

(On a few examples of what Jackson does behind the scenes that are valuable to the team)- “I think he’s a guy that’s very in tune with what it takes to play this game, how you have to prepare in order to get yourself ready to play.  There’s probably no better guy in this building from a players standpoint that has the pulse of our locker room.  He’s helped in numerous ways, our young players understand how to prepare and be pros and he’s constantly keeping an eye of that.  From that standpoint, I think he’s very valuable.”

(On if he wants Jackson to be here long term)- “Absolutely, he’s a tremendous player and we’d love to have him here.”

(On how they handle the speed the Steelers have a receiver)- “They’re very fast just like some of the receivers we’ve played this year are very fast. It’s important that you’re aware of where they’re at and how they’re lined up.  We’ve got to be very aware of when they’re going to try and run routes and get behind the defense and then we’ve got to stay with them and run with them and when the ball goes up we’ve got to defend it.  There’s no real mystery to it.  They’re very fast and we need to be able to try to run with them or if we’re playing some kind of zone, keep them in front of us.”

(On how to defend Ben Roethlisberger)- “What he’s proven is he can make plays no matter how pretty it’s supposed to look. He finds a way with guys hanging all over him to get a ball out and it may be a five-yard pass that turns into a 20-yard gain.  He’s also done that by throwing the ball down the field, but like all quarterbacks you need you need to find a way to get pressure on him and then I think that’s the best way to try to disrupt him.  We’ve got to get pressure on him and then try and see if we can knock him off his mark.”

(On what makes Mike Wallace a challenge)- “I think his speed and I think he’s developed into a fine receiver.  I think he runs good routes, but I think he’s extremely fast as well.  Anytime you’ve got a guy that can run really fast and a guy that can run good routes then that’s the type of receivers you want.”

(On how Roethlisberger is so successful when he’s under duress)- “Ben is a big man so he can be standing there with guys hanging all over him and maybe get something done that some guys can’t.  I remember in years that we played him in the past where he just finds a way to just keep it alive.  Sometimes it’s not very pretty, but it sure is quite effective.”

(On if he plans on addressing the team about the Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry)- “I will and I have mentioned it.  I think we all understand what the AFC North rivalries are.  I talk about it through the week in my team meetings and how important it is to win a division game.  I think the most important thing is this is our next game and I think we need to keep that in mind as well.”

(On if he can comment on McCoy’s first start against the Steelers last year and how he looks at it)- “I don’t know how you would look at it, the Pittsburgh Steelers for your first start.  Obviously, we have a great deal of respect for them.  I can’t really tell you what was going through his mind, but he went out there and battled and he did some good things.  I’m sure that that experience will help him as we play this team this year.”

(On how difficult Roethlisberger makes it on defensive linemen with all the rules protecting quarterbacks)- “I don’t know.  The target for a defensive lineman on a quarterback has shrunk, the strike zone is much smaller. I think our guys understand how you have to try and sack the quarterback and, as I mentioned, he’s a very big man, which bigger guys are at times harder to get on the ground. It’ll be a challenge.”

(On how Jabaal Sheard’s performance was against the Ravens’ run game)- “He had a couple plays in the run game, tackles for loss.  He battled, but again, when you give up rushing yardage and I’m sure you’ll have this question for Dick (Jauron) when he comes down.  You’ve got to defend the run as a team.  There are reasons why it didn’t happen and there are ways that he can play better and we need to have that happen.”

(On if it’s the run game where Sheard could play better)- “I think he does a good job generating pass rush and he does do a good job against the run. I wouldn’t say it’s one or the other.”

(On Sheard mentioning on draft day he wanted to model his game off of James Harrison and if he can envision him having that kind of impact as he develops)- “They really do play different positions although they’re on the end of the line of scrimmage.  Those linebackers at Pittsburgh are very fine players.  Of course, we all know what Harrison is as a disruptive force.  Yeah, we’d like him to be that disruptive for sure.”

(On if being disruptive is within Sheard’s game)- “I think so.  I think Jabaal can be a very disruptive defensive end in this league, hopefully, for a long time.”

(On how much weight division games will carry when evaluating McCoy at the end of the season)- “I think you look back on the full season, but how we compete in division games will factor in because we have to win division games in order to win our division. I think that’s the starting point.  That’s how you get in the playoffs and it’s the first goal of any organization is to win your division because then you’re guaranteed a spot in the postseason. I think from a total evaluation standpoint, we’ll have to look at the whole year in total.”

(On if a win over Pittsburgh would take away the sour taste in the mouth given the love-hate relationship between Pittsburgh and Cleveland)- “I think beating Pittsburgh is something that we want to be able to do and that we have to do to move forward as an organization.  Any victory you have takes the sour taste out of your mouth for at least one week and then your next opponent comes into view so I think that’s what we need to keep in mind.  Obviously division games, although we take them one at a time, when you look back on them in the offseason, they’re a little bit more special.”

(On Joshua Cribbs saying there is a big gap between them and the Steelers and Ravens)- “We haven’t played Pittsburgh yet.  I’m sure these comments came after the Ravens game.  The Ravens beat us the other night and we didn’t play our best ball so that’s the way I take it.”

(On how he thought the offensive protection was against the Ravens front and how the Ravens front compares to Pittsburgh’s ability to get at the quarterback)- “I think they line up just a little bit different. In terms of how we protected, there were times where I thought the protection was pretty good the other night, but that doesn’t guarantee success.  There were times where they got us a couple times, but they have a terrific front, they do a good job of getting pressure, as I mentioned last week, which they didn’t do a whole bunch of or just rush four.  When you compare that to the Pittsburgh front, now you see a little bit more pressure and guys moving around and you have two outside linebackers that when it’s time to pass rush they really become the defensive ends in obvious passing situations. They can create the same kind of damage, they’re just a little bit different schematically.”

(On if it seems James Harrison’s motor is always running)- “He’s got a terrific motor.  I think that’s partly what makes him such a fine player. He plays hard all the time and that’s what you want from a player and I’m sure they feed on that defensively.”

(On if his two young guards have plateaued the last couple weeks)- “I don’t think they’ve plateaued to answer your question.  I think they’re continuing to do things better and I’m sure everybody’s going to get tired of me saying that, but I think there are some things that they’ve done in there and it’s not always obvious what a guard does. I think there are some things where they’re starting to see things more and more and they’re reacting to things a little bit quicker.”

(On if it’s important that Lauvao or Pinkston become long term solution)- “We’d like to see them both become that and then I think then we can start talking about other things. At this point, they’ve got a few more games left this year to step up their game even more.  It’s just like any other position, you can substitute anybody else’s name and I don’t think anybody’s plateaued including them.”

(On how much weight division games will carry when evaluating McCoy at the end of the season)- “We talked about that a little bit earlier.  I think we’ve got to look at the year in total, but I do think it’s important that we play well against our division opponents and find ways to win games.  I wouldn’t say game-to-game, when we’re looking a guy and evaluating how a guy plays quarterback, it’s got to be over the full season.”

(On if it’s fair to say the Browns are undecided on McCoy as a future quarterback)- “I wouldn’t say that.  I’m going to hold all evaluations until the end of the year and I think right now he’s our quarterback. He’s standing right next to me battling through this season and I think that’s the important thing.  We just keep battling, that’s what we do.”

(On what makes Harrison so difficult to pass protect against)- “I think he’s very explosive and at times it’s hard to get your hands on him because he’s quick and he can get an edge on you.  There are times when you know where they’re going to be and then they’re fire zoning and moving them around so they get pressure by getting on the edge and he’s one of those guys that can do that.  Then he has the quickness to go by you once that happens.  You’ve got to block him thick and he’s sometimes a hard guy to get square on.”

(On if he could analyze the part of the game when McCoy threw the ball and Haloti Ngata knocked it down and then followed it with an interception)- “The first pass he was trying to check the ball down to Peyton who was open and they ran a line stunt. Ngata appeared and he tipped the ball away.  Colt was trying to do the right thing there.  Can’t throw the interception, that route was obviously covered, you’ve got to pull it down and check it down.  That’s that.  I’m forgetting what the second one was that you’re talking about, but it was an option route.”

(On Ngata being 6-6 and McCoy being 6-1’ and how from the press box is appeared that Ngata was right in front of McCoy)- “From the press box and the sideline it was.  There are times in there and again, for a quarterback it’s never an excuse that I didn’t see him.  I don’t think there’s anything to that other than the fact that if he does recognize that fact that Ngata’s coming out then to scramble a little bit more and make the throw. Peyton broke out on the route, which was proper, and he was running in space and Ngata appeared and knocked the ball down. That’s what happened.”

(On if it’s important to have a nasty aggressive mentality on defense like Pittsburgh’s players do)- “I think you’ve got to be aggressive at all positions.  I think it’s very aggressive and I think they have that and I think we have guys on our defense that are that way as well.”

(On if there’s anyone in particular who displays that type of mentality on their defense)- “I think there are a lot of them.  I think D’Qwell is that way, although he keeps himself calm.  We always think that the tough nasty ones are the ones that are talking.  It’s always the quiet one, I’m telling you. It’s the quiet one or the guys that are in thought that I’ve found are the guys that there’s an inner confidence there and a toughness.  Not that guys that talk a lot aren’t tough, I’m not saying that and I’m not saying that they talk a lot. They have an aggressive aura to them, which is what you want. I do think that guys that are quiet and don’t say much can be very extremely tough.”

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