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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 14, 2011

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

(Opening statement) - “A little change in plans on the schedule of course, but good practice.  Colt McCoy wasn’t here at practice.  Seneca (Wallace) took the reps.  If Colt doesn’t play Sunday then of course Seneca will be the starting quarterback.  Other than that, if there are other questions about injured guys of course I’ll answer them for you.”

(On if there is a timetable for McCoy’s return to practice in order to play Sunday) - “We’re evaluating his concussion as we go here and at some point, if he can’t go we’ll let you know.”

(On if T.J. Ward practiced today) - “He came out and did some individual.  He’s making progress on his injury as well.”

(On if he’s preceding as if McCoy will not play on Sunday) - “He’s not at practice and Seneca is taking all the first team reps right now.”

(On if he was aware of the impact of the hit McCoy took from James Harrison) - “I saw a lot of big hits the other night.  If I had known he had a concussion I wouldn’t have put him back in the game.  I think that’s the issue that I’m sure we’re all going to come to grips with.  I’ve seen a lot of plays.  I’ve seen a lot of players get injured.  I’ve seen guys run down the field, get injured, be lost for the season and never be involved (in that particular play).  I’ve seen guys get piled up where you look at it and say, ‘Boy oh boy’ and then he goes back out the next play.  You see guys get tackled and you say, ‘Oh my goodness’.  As coaches, we see a lot of things at field level without the benefit of replays in HD and all that stuff.  We see a lot of things and that’s why you have protocol.  I think I answered the question that we followed that and I know Mike (Holmgren) went into detail.  That’s why I answered it that way.”

(On if it crossed his mind at any point when Joe Sheehan said McCoy was ‘good to go’ that McCoy had just been laid out) - “I think what happens is your starting quarterback is deemed ready to go.  We can all talk about whether he was playing well or not.  Had he not thrown that interception in the first half, I think everybody might say he was fighting through a gritty game.  Now do I have confidence in Seneca when he’s in there? Absolutely.  If I knew that Colt was injured and couldn’t continue, I wouldn’t have put him in. Just wouldn’t have done it.  I think that’s the issue.  As a coach, there are procedures, there are processes when a young man gets injured or has an episode on the field. You follow them and then you move forward.  You’re right, there are a lot of decisions being made.  As a play caller, you’re making 65-70 of them within 25-40 seconds.  Not to mention all the other stuff that goes on.  Again, (we have) an outstanding staff of people that help execute the game and I trust their judgment.”

(On if there should be a change in the concussion procedures) - “I don’t know what changes need to be made.  I’m not a doctor, as you all probably can tell.  I’m all for player’s safety and any way we can make players compete in an arena that’s safer. I’m all for anything and any changes that need to get made.”

(On what he expects from Wallace if he plays on Sunday) - “I’d expect him to be able and go in and execute.  I’ve seen him execute in practice extremely well.  I know he’s got a history with us and our offense.  I’d expect him to go in there and take us to a victory.  That’s what I’d expect and I think he’d expect that for himself.”

(On if Wallace has shown any frustration from lack of playing time) - “No, I think Seneca is a true pro.  His feelings and emotions ride the roller coaster like all players, whether they competed in the game or not.  I have a lot of respect for Seneca.  I think if he’s the guy that we go with on Sunday he’ll do a great job.”

(On if Peyton Hillis’ status) - “He looked good today.  We’re just working him in.  I know he’s fighting through it.  He’s had a season of injury so to speak and he’s fighting through it.  I’m looking forward to him having a good day.”

(On his thoughts on Holmgren saying he will be the coach next year) - “Well that’s good news (laughing).  I obviously didn’t hear the whole press conference.  When you talk to Mike, tell him I was out here working.”

(On his thoughts about Holmgren saying he will be the head coach here for a long time) - “Mike and I communicate behind the scenes often about a lot of different issues.  When he communicates with you publicly it’s big news, which it should be because he doesn’t do it all that often, by design.  He and I have conversations that are good and I understand the direction I want to take this team.  He’s the President.  He has strong ideas and feelings about things and fortunately, our ideas match on a lot of topics.  I think that’s why we have a chance to move forward.”

(On how comfortable he feels being the head coach after 13 games) - “I think I’m like anybody that wants and knows that we want to win games.  My job is to move this team forward, develop the players we have, decide which ones we’re going to go and get new and win games.  I’m not necessarily a comfortable guy, just by nature.  I’m not necessarily very patient.  I’m just working through it and trying today, to work on what we have to do today to put a plan together to go beat Arizona.”

(On why the Cardinals are playing so much better) - “I think they’ve won some close games.  They beat the Rams twice, close games on punt returns.  They’re just finding a way. They started out extremely slow.  I’ve got a lot respect for their head coach, their organization and what they try to do.  Had a chance to learn about them intimately the last two years being in St. Louis.  It’s no mystery to me.  They’ve got very talented players.  They’ve injected some youth into their team, which we all know takes a little while to get them up and running.  They’ve got good systems.”

(On if the Cardinals are different based on their quarterback) - “I think the quarterback’s style wise are different, but I think they can be equally effective.  I know Kevin (Kolb) very well.  Kevin was trained in our system, going through his progressions and getting the ball out on time and all that.  I see the same thing from (John) Skelton, but I do see a taller guy that kind of pushes up in the pocket.  He may disagree with me, but it looks like his eyes look for Larry Fitzgerald, which is a good strategy.”

(On if his mentors told him there was no coaching manual before he took the job and if he is surprised with how right they were) - “I enjoy my job.  I enjoy the challenge.  I’ve always kind of prided myself on being able to work through tough situations.  I’m looking forward to seeing us through some of the sticky things we’ve had to deal with.  Again, I don’t have the benefit of knowing the intimate details of the history here of the Cleveland Browns in terms of how the football team operates.  I know how I was trained and what I know I want it to look like.  You just try to build based on that.  I sympathize with people that want us to have success right away.  I do know this and I’ll stick by this, we’ve gotten better in a lot of areas and I’ve already been able to quantify things we need to do better.  I know and I’ve talked about it throughout the year, just something simple as catching the football.  I talked about that on Monday and that’s just not the receivers.  Ball is in the air, you have a chance to break it up or intercept it and you have to do that.  Something that simple.  If we eliminate half of our drops and maybe intercept the ball a handful of times things can be extremely different.  So that’s one area.  There’s a whole list of things that we need to get better at.  I have a list of things myself that I think we need to improve on to move forward.”

(On how Montario Hardesty and Hillis’ overall health) - “It’s probably safe to say we’re getting as healthy as we’ve been.  I’m looking forward to seeing Peyton playing quite a bit.”

(On comparing Wallace and McCoy’s styles at quarterback) - “I think they’re similar style wise.  I think they’re good from the pocket, but they tend to be mobile.  If they get outside the pocket they can extend the play or make a play from that stand point.  Similar in stature and I think they both throw the ball well. I think without telling them how to plan for us I don’t think there’s anything they would do different when they try to defend us.”

(On Wallace accepting his role and his relationship with McCoy) - “I think it has been very professional.  I think the quarterback room is outstanding.  I think they try to learn together.  They try to help each other and you need that, you really do.  That’s part of being a quarterback and being a pro.  I appreciate that from guys that have a strong longing to play.  I think that’s what he has been.”

(On how comfortable he is with Joe Haden going one-on-one with Fitzgerald on Sunday) - “Wherever Larry is, Joe probably won’t be far.  There are different things you do on defense, whether you pressure sometimes when you’re one-on-one.  There are different times when you’re playing a zone and there are two on one.  We have multiple ways to try to cover him.  We’ll use whatever we have because he is one of the finest receivers in this league.  He can change the game with one throw.”

(On Joshua Cribbs’ status) - “Good and he made progress.  He didn’t compete in practice today, but we expect to have him out here tomorrow.”

(On if there is anything specific he learned from McCoy’s concussion) - “First of all, I know hindsight’s 20/20.  I do know this, I trust the people that I work with. I don’t know what to tell you.  I can’t quantify what I’ve learned.  I just know this though, I don’t want to put a player on the field that’s at risk or that has an injury.  This obviously will leave an impression on me.”

(On injury updates regarding Owen Marecic and Benjamin Watson) - “They are day-to-day right now and we’ll just have to see how they progress.  They’re dealing with concussions.  Two good examples, Ben went down and I was like, ‘What happened to him?’ because he hit his head on the ground.  Owen was involved in a lead block.  We’re following the same course of treatment with them that we would be with Colt.”

(On if Marecic and Watson were at the facility today) - “They were here today.  I saw Ben this morning.  He was visiting with some specialist and I think Owen is still here.”

(On if McCoy was at the facility today) - “He was here this morning, I talked to him.  He and I visited for about an hour this morning before he was sent home.”

(On if he will make any roster moves if Marecic and Watson are out) - “There’s a chance we have to do that.  There’s a chance.”

(On if he had a productive conversation with McCoy’s father) - “Yeah, I would call it very productive, but I’m going to keep it private.”

(On if it was a conversation of some length) - “I don’t know.  We’re talking about subjective topics here.  We spoke for a while.”

(On Evan Moore’s progress and contributions) - “I thought he did a nice job the other night.  It’s fun for a guy to get a big catch early in the game. It kind of gets him started.  He’s done a good job for us.  I’d anticipate he’ll have production Sunday.”

(On Cribbs’ status) - “Unless something happens he should be at practice tomorrow.”

(On his planning regarding the quarterback rotation moving forward) - “We always have that in the back of our minds.  There are always a few things that a couple of our guys can do to get us through the game. We’ve had that just because we always go with two.  We’ve kind of had that in place.”

(On if Wallace’s background help him prepare for Sunday on short notice) - “I think his experience will help him immensely because he’s played and won games in this league.  That’s not an easy thing to do.”


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