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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 15, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “As far as the guys that were injured in the game, we talked about concussions a lot yesterday.  Colt McCoy won’t practice.  He was here this morning and he went home.  Ben Watson and Owen Marecic will both not compete in practice.  Again, we’re trying to get them back from their concussions.  T.J. Ward competed yesterday. He was a little bit sore so I’m going to have to back him off.  Then, Josh Cribbs will be out and be a little bit limited.  Artis Hicks is a little bit sore from practice yesterday, his shoulder. He’ll be fine, he’ll be out there.  That’s what I have.   I’m sure you’ve got some questions.  It’s just a Thursday preparation for the Arizona Cardinals.  We kind of covered it yesterday, I think they’re a very talented team that’s playing well and they’ve found a way to win some games here in the last few weeks. They’re playing with some confidence so it will be a challenge.”

(On if Seneca Wallace will start)- “If Colt can’t go then Seneca will start.  He’s taken all the reps too this point and in the event that Colt doesn’t play and the longer he goes here this week without practicing the more we can assume that that may be the case.  We just haven’t ruled him out yet.”

(On if he expects the offense to run differently with Wallace at quarterback)- “We’re expecting to score more points.  I think we’ve talked about that.  We need to score more points.  There are some things that we’ve done well.  There are some elements of our offense that have improved, some of the stuff we’ve done on third down, some of the things we’ve done to ball control with certain guys in-and-out of the lineup. We’ve talked about eliminating drops, some of those things.  As we move forward you’re always fighting for, offensively, efficiency which means you’re gaining yards on every play and everybody executes properly and when you get close, you’ve got to score. That’s what we’re looking forward.”

(On if he thinks Thaddeus Lewis is capable of entering a game right now)- “Absolutely and in the event Colt doesn’t play, he will be listed as our number two quarterback. I’ve seen him go in and play, that’s partly why he’s here.  I watched him execute in St. Louis.  My thoughts go back to, it was a preseason game against the New England Patriots and he went out and executed extremely well.  Now, it was a preseason game, but I watched him do some things that make me think that he has a chance.”

(On when he will declare Wallace as the starting quarterback)- “When we decide that Colt’s not playing. I can say this, he’s taken all the reps and as the days go by and Colt hasn’t practiced, it’s two plus two.”

(On if Ward suffered a setback with his injury)- “I think every injury is different, every rehab is different and we’re just kind of working with him.  I wouldn’t consider it a setback, but yesterday was the first time that he’s really gone out and done football type drills so you just bring it back.  We’ve watched it happen with Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi), we’ve watched it happen with Montario (Hardesty), so we’ve got a little experience this year with that happening.”

(On how concerning it is that Marecic and Watson have had multiple concussions in a single-season)- “It’s something we need to look at.  I think it’s important that we treat the injuries specific to the actual injury, but then be aware of the fact that there’s been a couple strung together there.  We’re looking at it and we’re trying to prevent it from happening.  Unfortunately, this is a physical game where guys get knocked around so we try to teach and play a physical brand of football where they can be aggressive and yet be able to function and not get themselves hurt, but it happens sometimes.”

(On if Watson saw a specialist)- “He did see a specialist so we’re just going to see how we progress here.  We hope to get him back this season, but there could be a chance there that he doesn’t.”

(On if McCoy is doing anything to prepare game plan wise for Arizona)- “We’ve done this with the other guys that have had concussions, they come in in the morning, we evaluate how they’re doing. If they’re symptom free enough to go through the process of preparation for the game, even if they don’t practice, just being in meetings then we let them go. If there’s something there that makes us think that they’re better served being home then we send them home.  At this point we’re sending him home.  There are no take home tests (joking).”

(On why they wanted Wallace back and what he was told about playing time)- “We wanted him back because we think he can play. He was well aware of the fact that we were going to move forward with Colt as the starter, but I would say this, everyone earns their job each week. He knew that he would have a chance to compete here in a system that was familiar to him and we’re glad he stayed.  Now he’s having his opportunity and we’ll see.  I’m anticipating that he’s going to go out and execute extremely well.”

(On what Wallace’s strengths are)- “I like the way he handles the huddle and the line of scrimmage.  I like the way he plays with tempo.  He’s very decisive when he makes his throws. He can work from the pocket, but yet when things break down, and they frequently do, he has a way to extend plays and then he makes good decisions outside the pocket as far as either making a throw, throwing the ball away or running from some yardage and I think that’s important.”

(On if they have made a decision on McCoy’s future)- “I don’t want to pile on what I’ve already said, but any of my offseason evaluations I’m going to save for then.  I’m already working on a yellow pad on the things that we need to do better next year on everything from operation, to how we practice, to what we practice within the system that we have.  I think we’re all charged with getting better at what we do and that’s part of what happen in the offseason.  But, I’m going to save all those discussions for when the year is over.”

(On why Wallace hasn’t become a more of a consistent starter in the NFL)- “I think he has an opportunity to.  Some of it has to do with where you are at what time.  He played in Seattle behind Matt Hasselbeck and then he came here last year, had a chance to compete and then got hurt.  It was extremely rare that you have three high ankle sprains at one position group, but that’s what happened. He had a chance to go in and he did some really good things.  Some of it has to do with circumstance and he’s going to get his chance.  I’m anticipating he’s going to perform well.”

(On if last week was the most aggressive his team has been so far)- “I thought we played physical and hard in most every game we’ve played. The score has gotten stretched out on us a couple times. It was under the bright lights in HD and I think more people got a chance to see it and it was fun.  I mentioned after the game, that was a fun environment to coach in because of all those reasons I just mentioned.  But, our guys played extremely hard and I don’t think you’re ever going to have to worry about that here with this locker room and this group of guys and the way I try to do business, that’s important.  What we need to do is play more efficiently and better.”

(On Arizona’s defense and if he sees similarities to the Steeler’s defense)- “Absolutely.  The blueprint of how they play is very Steeler-like in terms of the structure of how they lineup and some of the things they try to do.  There are a lot of elements to their defense that resemble the Steelers, for sure.”

(On if he was he involved in discussions with Tom Heckert on drafting Kevin Kolb when they were in Philadelphia)- “Sure.”

(On what were some of the things Heckert and him discussed before drafting Kolb)- “Typical of when you pick any player, you talk about their strengths and weaknesses, their value for you when you pick them at your organization at that time.  We chose to pick Kevin Kolb at that time when Donovan McNabb was the starter. We liked him and for all the reasons that we think he’s a good quarterback and he’s displayed that.  That’s just a normal interaction that you have behind the scenes.  You evaluate the player, you try to highlight whether you have a need or not at that position and if that player fits. At that time, we felt like that was the case.”

(On what his reaction was when the Browns drafted Brady Quinn right before Philadelphia drafted Kevin Kolb)- “We liked Brady Quinn as well, but I didn’t really have any strong feelings at the time.  I wasn’t part of local history yet.  There are a lot of fine players and there have been a lot of examples of guys picking high that didn’t work and there are a lot of examples of guys picked low or not picked at all that do work out.  I think you just kind of move on and try to find the right guys for your team.”

(On if the Eagles had Kolb rated higher than of Quinn)- “I’ll keep that private.”

(On if there’s a difference between playing hard and having intensity)- “I think they’re very similar.  I would probably define ramped up, play hard, intensity - those are all pretty good definitions of playing a good physical brand of football.  It’s always about winning your individual battles and then fitting in next to the guys you’re playing with.  I think you try to be efficient and then make plays.  When we force turnovers, that’s making plays. When we have a goal-line stand, that’s making plays. When we move the ball down the field in the first drive and kick a field goal, that’s making plays. None of that happens unless you’re playing hard.  I wouldn’t say there’s a huge difference between the words you’re talking about.”

(On what challenges Beanie Wells presents)- “He’s another in a long string of runners that we’re facing and he’s had some high watermark games this year. He’s physical, he’s strong, he can break tackles, he’s got quickness through the hole and when he gets out on the perimeter, I think he can score with it so those are the challenges.  Again, it goes back to playing good team defense.”

(On what he’s seen from the Cardinals defense in recent weeks)- “They’ve got some very talented guys at all levels of the defense and playmakers so to speak.  Darnell Dockett is an outstanding player. Calais Campbell, I think I’ve watched him get increasingly better each year and each week so you just talk about those two guys up front not to mention the other guys that are playing well.  The linebackers are solid and steady and really the outside linebackers in their scheme, as soon as you go to nickel, they become pass rushers, which is typical of that style of defense so they can rush the passer as well.  Patrick Peterson, he’s had four touchdowns on special teams and as the year has gone on playing corner, he’s challenging more and more and more against some really fine receivers. He has aggressive style.  Adrian Wilson, he’s a premier safety in this league.  If he walked in here and you didn’t know who he was you’d think he was a linebacker or a tight end.  He’s a giant man.  He’s not typically what you see from the size of a safety, I’m use to that.”

(On what McCoy does when he arrives to the facility in the morning)- “He’s considered a player that needs treatment so he’ll typically go right to the training room. That’s where his day start and then we take it from there.”

(On if last week was the toughest week for him on his job)- “No, I think there’s satisfying and challenging things that happen every week.  I think the fact that we played a tough physical game, two games really within a short stretch, and then everything that kind of came out of that game.  There was a lot of conversation besides getting ready to play Arizona.  Believe it or not, we’re wired for this, to deal with it and move forward and try and get a team ready to play and I think that’s the important thing.  I fancy trying to work through tough situations.”

(On how much they liked Peterson in the draft and his return ability)- “We liked him a great deal.  We had a lot of conversations about him. There’s no secret there, he’s an outstanding player for the reasons that he’s had success this year. When you have a guy that’s scored four touchdowns, two of which won games at the end of the game.  I know for a fact it was the Rams, beat them twice on punt returns.  I’m going to remember that Sunday.”

(On how Chris Gocong has been playing)- “He’s been terrific and he’s played a couple different positions. He’s been solid and stayed healthy and played hard so we’re very pleased with how he’s performed this year and how he’s battle.”

(On how he would describe the progress of their kickoff coverage in recent weeks)- “I think the special teams have contributed in a positive way.  Again, this is not a great year to look at rankings and statistics in anything I don’t think, although we do focus on that.  That’s for a later conversation, but it’s been well documented.  We had the snap-hold-kick problems earlier in the year, but I think there’s been marked improvements in the last at least month or so in our specials teams units. I think that’s what you’re looking for as we work our way through the end of the season.”

(On Brad Maynard having some pretty amazing numbers with zero touchbacks and 24 punts inside the 20)- “He’s been terrific and he’s got double duty too. He’s the holder and he’s done an outstanding job there.  I’m sure he could play shortstop if we asked him.  I’m very appreciative of the fact that he’s here and his efforts to this point.  He’s made a very solid and positive contribution to our efforts.”

(On if he agrees with the comments Mike Holmgren made yesterday about their record being better if they could snap and catch the ball correctly)- “Go back through your transcripts and I think you’ve heard me say those things on a couple of different occasions.  When I say that Mike Holmgren and I are on the same page, I think that’s a fair evaluation.  But, I will say this, I have no regrets.  I wish our record was better, base that on the fact that I’m not a patient man. We’re going to make a solid effort to improve those areas and I think we’re doing some things to make sure that those are not the reasons we don’t have this few victories next year.”

(On how valuable Bill Davis’ knowledge is of the Cardinals is)- “It’s just another example of a coach that was on another team a year ago and he has a lot of knowledge about the players because he was there and helped contribute to their success for a long time.  Behind the scenes we just talk and there are some general things you can pull out of it, but I think it’s always important to watch the tape, see how they’re playing this year.  Teams change throughout the season, what they are and how they’re playing.  Knowing about a player and his strengths is helpful, but you’ve got to watch it on tape and do something to attack it.”

(On the Cardinals success leveling off after losing Kurt Warner and what that says about having the right quarterback)- “I don’t think it’s any mystery.  This is a quarterback driven league.  You’ve got to have a good quarterback, you’ve got to play good defense, you’ve got to be solid on special teams, can’t turn the ball over.  That’s one of the primary elements to winning football.  I’m not an expert on the Cardinals and how that team is built, I do know this, they’ve won a lot of football games. I’ve got a great deal of respect for Ken Whisenhunt and how he runs things. I think their systems are sound and they over the years have had a lot of other players leave and be replaced and I think that may have something to do with it as well.”

(On if Marecic and Watson were sent home today)- “They’re here.”

(On if McCoy had headaches again today)- “He’s still having headaches.”


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