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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur calls a timeout during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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

(Opening statement)- “I don’t know if you’re all aware of this yet, but we had to make a couple of roster moves.  Titus Brown and Alex Smith, we put them on IR.  They had season ending injuries and then we elevated Brian Smith from the practice squad and we signed Dan Gronkowski, a tight end, to replace Alex.  We have two other practice squad players.  We added Torrey Grissett and then Craig Robertson, a wide receiver and a linebacker.  Those are the roster moves.  Today’s practice, there’ll be guys in-and-out, but nothing really new to add to anything.  Joe Haden is a little bit sore today with a thigh contusion so he’ll be somewhat limited, maybe not do much today. Being it’s a short turnaround from Sunday’s game, there’ll be some guys that won’t be able to compete as much as you’d like if this were truly a Wednesday. I’ll answer any specific questions there.  Otherwise, preparation for Baltimore, the last game is fresh in my mind, it just happened a couple weeks ago. I told the players we had an opportunity to be 10-7 late in the third quarter and it ended up being 10-3 and quickly changed from there.  We need to do what we can to put together a good plan to go in there and try to get a victory as we move forward here through the last couple weeks.”

(On what the quarterback status is)- “Seneca (Wallace) right now will take the reps and Colt McCoy is making progress.  It’s too early to tell whether he’ll be available this week.  There are a lot of steps he has to go through before he’s ready to play.”

(On if McCoy has been medically cleared)- “Not at this point, no.”

(On if McCoy was tested today)- “He was in today and he went through the treatment process, but the specifics of the testing, it wouldn’t be fair to say.”

(On if he can say McCoy is still suffering from symptoms from the concussion)- “I don’t know the wording of it.  He was here, he had treatment, he went to meetings and then he won’t be at practice.  Does that help?  I’m not trying to hide anything.  He was here, he went through meetings and this was the first time he’s gone through meetings in awhile so he’s making progress.”

(On if McCoy will be here all day but just not out at practice)- “He’s not going to be here.  After meetings he’ll be going home.”

(On playing Baltimore recently and how that changes the dynamics of the game)- “It happens quite frequently.  It has happened other places I’ve been where you play a team within maybe three weeks or a month.  The big bulk of the preparation you’ve done, but teams change things the second you play each other so we’re aware of what they may do differently. I’m sure they’re going to have a few surprises for us like we will for them.  But, generally how they line up, philosophically how they like to play and then we all kind of divulge to one another how we handle matchups, but things could change.  We have a different quarterback playing and they have a couple different players involved in the game.  Ray Lewis didn’t play the last time we played them so he’ll more than likely be in the lineup.  There are some differences, but it’s two teams going at one another that basically know each other pretty well.”

(On if Sheldon Brown has a future in the league)- “I’d like to think he’s got a future in this league.  He’s played extremely well for us and I’ve mentioned before I’ve got a lot of respect for Sheldon, not only his play on the field, but his professionalism and what he is as a person.  I’ve known him a very long time and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.  We’ll see, but as you get up there in age we all know, you can’t play as longer as you did when you were younger.”

(On if he’s ready to say that Seneca Wallace will start against the Ravens)- “At this point I’m not ready to say, but more than likely he’ll be the starter, for sure.”

(On if he knew Wallace before he re-signed in March and how well they have meshed since then)- “I knew of Seneca and I got to know him quickly.  I feel like I can get along with most folks and we have a good relationship.  Again, I mentioned it last week that he’s been very professional in his role as a backup and now, I was impressed how he handled his role as a starter, which I expect it to be good.  Obviously, I’ve had conversations with the people that knew him very well that our in the building and that helped me understand how he thinks and how he plays as we put the plan together. I’ve got a lot of respect for guys that have played in this league for a long time and play their role, which he was for a large part of the season as a backup and then he went in there and played as a starter last week.”

(On if it’s easier for Wallace to be more demanding of the players in the offense because of his experience than it is for McCoy)- “I don’t know about more than another.  I think that’s generally part of the characteristics that quarterbacks have.  They like knowing what they’re doing and they have no trouble talking to other people about what they’re doing.  I see that at home with my son.  He’s very quick to tell somebody what to do (joking).  I think that’s just part of the quarterback DNA because you’re somewhat responsible for what goes on.  But, before you can do that, you have to be really confident in what you’re doing and that’s where the confidence to do it breeds that.”

(On if Greg Little is where he thought he’d be at this point)- “Greg, he had a good game this past week and I think he’s developed. I didn’t really know where he was going to be at the end of the season and I think he’s made a lot of improvement. Part of being a pro is dealing with success and then dealing with games that aren’t so good and being able to rebound. I’ve seen him do that.  Now, the other part of that is to play at a consistently high level for a bunch of games.”

(On if he expects a jump in Wallace’s performance because he’s seen and played a whole game)- “I think it will help him.  The real speed of the game to be out there and be involved in it I think will help him as he moves forward here this week.”

(On Jordan Norwood’s upside and his future with the team)- “I think he’s showed up extremely well.  He’s steadily made more and more plays as the year has gone on.  I think he definitely has a future with us.”

(On the injuries to Titus Brown and Alex Smith and if they need surgery)- “Titus has a knee injury and I think he’s going to require surgery.  Alex Smith has a shoulder injury that at this point won’t, but it’s enough of a time where he wouldn’t be back until past the end of the season.”

(On what he has seen from the run defense to indicate that they will do better against Ray Rice this time around)- “That’s one of the things I remember from the game is he had a huge impact running the football.  I think we’ve tightened up our run defense that last couple of weeks.  That’s the way you stop the run.  It’s got to be a team thing.  I feel like we’ve done that and we’ve done a better job of that the last couple of weeks.  That’s the goal is to minimize his effect on the game.”

(On what he did to tighten up the run defense)- “I think part of it is we’ve done some things schematically to help us and I think we just keep emphasizing that everybody’s got to play better.  I’ve seen that.”

(On the linebacker core being very active against Arizona)- “That group played pretty well and I think Chris Gocong showed up well again.  Kaluka (Maiava) makes a lot of plays.  It’s rare when D’Qwell (Jackson) isn’t our leading tackler.  That’s a good group and we got good production from them this past week and really the whole season.  I think that crew has done a fine job.”

(On if Jordan Cameron played cautiously and if he is up to NFL game speed)- “No I don’t think he played cautiously.  He was in there this past week by design because Ben (Watson) was down.  Now with Alex out, he’ll even play more this week.  I don’t think he was cautious.  He did some good things.  I think much like any player now he was in a real regular season game and the speed is different than some of the preseason action he saw.  I anticipate he’d do even better this week.”

(On if Cameron needs to play more physically on offense because he got drive back after making a catch last week)- “I think the play you’re talking about he caught the ball running to the flat and the player hit him before he can get his shoulders turned.  That happens to a lot of guys.  I think he’d be the first one tell you that as he plays through the season and football is a game you’ve got to practice to get better at.  I see him getting better in each practice.  The game competition will speed that up.”

(On if Norwood, Benjamin Jacobs or Owen Marecic will practice today)- “Norwood no.  Jacobs not yet and Marecic was out there today.”

(On if McCoy has sought a second opinion from any specialists)- “I don’t know that.  We’re going through the process of getting him back. He’s been evaluated by all of our specialists, our doctors.  We are going through the process of bringing him back from what was deemed a concussion.  I can’t speak for what he’s done behind the scenes or the second opinion stuff.”

(On if he spoke to McCoy today)- “I did for a long time.

(On what McCoy’s spirits were like because the media hasn’t talked to him yet)- “Which is typical of a player that’s injured, you shouldn’t talk to him until he’s back active.  His spirits were good.  Like anybody that wants to play, he’s anxious to get back out there.  But, he understands there is a process that you have to go through before he will be able to play again.”

(On how concerned he is about Marecic’s health at this point)- “I’m concerned for all of their healths.  In any game there are lots of collisions.  You think of fullbacks in lead blocks and all that, but when he’s healthy and able to play then he will play.  Again, we always keep their safety in front of this.  If he wasn’t able to play we wouldn’t play him.  I think that’s an important piece.”

(On if McCoy is done for the season)- “I don’t know that yet.  We’ll have to see.  I don’t know about his availability for this week and we have one game after that.”

(On if someone advised McCoy not to play again this year)- “No, not to my knowledge.”

(On how difficult it is to decide when a player should return from injury with Ben Roethlisberger being an example)- “I think each injury is different.  You’re talking about a concussion and then you’re talking about an ankle.  Again, keep in mind that we all are aware that the safety of the players is first and foremost.  That’s important.  We have to factor in whether he’s going to be on the field and at risk to do more damage to himself if he’s less than 100 percent.  That’s what you go through.  We don’t want to put a player at risk if he’s going to get himself hurt worse than he is for sure.”

(On the commissioner saying that there will be a medical professional upstairs and if that will start this week)- “I don’t know of any changes yet.  There are things that are being talked about as far as changing the procedure for having officials responsible to see activity on the field.  I don’t know of anything yet.  I’m sure it will become public knowledge as soon as we know.”

(On Joshua Cribbs’ injury status)- “He was out there this morning and he’s going to practice today.  He’ll play.”

(On if he’s made any adjustments getting the plays into Wallace with him being new on gameday)- “No, it was smooth.  I didn’t notice any problems.”


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