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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 22, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, left, argues with side judge Larry Rose (128) and head linesman Tom Stabile (24) 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)- “Colt McCoy and Jordan Norwood will not be ready for the week so they are out.  We’re going to make a roster move this afternoon.  We’re going to put T.J. Ward on IR. We still haven’t finally discussed it, but it appears that we’ll move Rod Windsor up from the practice squad as a wide receiver. The rest of the guys practiced today so I’m hopeful that everybody else that was out here today will be ready for the game.”

(On how Mohamed Massaquoi looked today)- “He looked good today.  He was a little bit like some of the guys on a compressed week.  He was a little bit sore early in the week from his play last week, but he looked good today.”

(On how Joe Haden looked)- “Joe practiced and he looks much better than he did earlier in the week so I feel good about that.”

(On if McCoy was in the building today)- “Let me answer the Colt McCoy questions.  Colt was here today, he got treatment, he did a little bit of physical activity, he was in the meetings and then he went home.  He won’t travel with us and until he’s cleared to practice he’s really not available to speak. That’s where he’s at and he’s getting better.”

(On if McCoy had been advised not to play again this year)- “Not to my knowledge, no.  I think he’s like any player who is fighting back from injury.”

(On if he expects more out of Seneca Wallace this Saturday after having one start)- “Yeah, I think so.  I think any player, and you see it quite frequently early in the year, there’s a huge improvement from game one and game two and I think I’m looking for that.  He’s going to be, as I mentioned earlier in the week, more comfortable with the speed of the game. He’ll be more familiar with the receivers he’s throwing to and just generally more comfortable and I’m hoping that will mean he’ll play even better.”

(On what went into the decision to finally put Ward on injured reserve)- “We were looking at his recovery and games left available.  We had some players that got knocked out of action this past week and it’s a move we needed to make.”

(On why Windsor was brought up)- “Jordan Norwood is down so it was a receiver and Rod’s done a good job on the practice squad. If he’s up and available, I’m sure he’ll do a good job in the game.”

(On if Ward has had any setbacks and if he needs surgery)- “I don’t think he’s had any setbacks.  We knew it was going to be an extended recovery period and at this point no surgery.”

(On what Ward’s injury in)- “He’s got a sprained foot.  I’m going to med school here in the offseason (joking).  That’s part of what I’m going to do, but he’s got a sprained foot.”

(On if there’s a comfort factor in the locker room with having a veteran at quarterback)- “I think that’s a better question for the players, but I think Colt was executing practices and games and improving.  Seneca, there’s a presence that a veteran has and I think this being his second game this year I think we’re looking for some of the improvements that we talked about. I think that might be a little better question for the players.”

(On if Montario Hardesty is healthy)- “He’s healthier than he’s been the last few weeks so hopefully we will get him in there a little bit.  I’ll tell you what, to get three backs involved is a very difficult deal. You saw that Peyton (Hillis) had a real nice game and Chris Ogbonnaya does some real nice things on third down.  It is not easy to get three backs involved, especially when your number one guy is healthy and rolling.”

(On penalties on punt returns and kickoff returns not necessarily on his team)- “I think there’s quite a bit of blocks in the back, holds.  You’re talking about a play where you’ve got 22 players spread out all over the place so I think it’s easy for guys in coverage to get on edges and then guys blocking them want to get their blocks and you can’t hold, you can’t block in the back. But there’s a lot going on and a lot to see and I think that’s why you see it a lot.  You’ve got a lot of guys out in wide open space so that’s my personal opinion why you see more of it. You’ve got guys that are competitive, they want to get their block and now, they can’t do it.  But, I think everybody here will say that anytime you see a big return run out, you don’t even see the rest of the return, you’re looking behind to see if there’s flag and I just think that’s typical.”

(On who the better blockers on the punt return team are)- “The guys that are out there I think are good.  Typical, guys that are good blockers on punt return are good athletes, big athletes that are long so that’s why you use your linebackers and your defensive linemen, tight end types, full back types.”

(On who he would single out as his better return blockers)- “I think we’ve got a lot of guys that have done well.  I probably wouldn’t single out any of them at this point.”

(On if the league need to take a look at its rule because guys stopped on the Wallace fumble against Arizona because the whistle blew)- “There’s a lot of conversation about when the play ends and as coaches we tell the players to play through the whistle, then you hit a guy after the whistle.  There’s a fine line as to when the play ends and I would say this, it’s important that the players play all the way through the whistle.”

(On Wallace saying that he knew his place as a backup and now knows his place as a starter and if he’s noticed that in him)- “I have, I’ve seen him exert himself in a way that a started does. I’ve talked about the quarterback room in the past, there’s a maturity that you have to have as a starting quarterback and as a backup quarterback.  Even though your presence might be strong, there’s a certain way you carry yourself when somebody else is the starter, you just do.  You’re in more of a supportive role and you do what you can to help the starter be successful.  Now, when it’s you turn to start then that’s when you amp it up a little bit in terms of taking center stage. There’s maturity there and the fact that he acknowledges the difference and understands it I think is a good thing.”

(On if the stability of the offensive line has helped with the improved play up front)- “I think so.  Anytime the line can play together for extended periods of time I think what you find, assuming they’re good players and we have good players, you’ll see their performance improve. I think we’ve seen these guys battle through against some pretty stout fronts.”

(On James Harrison stating he didn’t find anything wrong with his hit on McCoy and if he finds that troubling as a coach)- “He plays for the Steelers, I would probably comment if it were a Browns player.  You see and hear a lot of things and I think it’s important that we all play hard, we play physical and we try to teach are guys to play hard, play physical and play by the rules.  I think at times we’re all being educated as to what the rules are.  I think that’s just part of it because the underlying deal is safety and we’ve gone through that here the last couple weeks. As coaches, we are all for players safety.  That’s a long non-answer (joking).”

(On if he has a comment for James Harrison saying the Browns should also be fined)- “No comment.”

(On John Harbaugh saying today that Anquan Boldin will have surgery and how that will affect them defensively)- “He’s a football player.  I’ve always admired his style of play, he’s big, he’s physical, he makes plays and when you watch him on the field, he’s got a very strong presence.  We don’t want anybody to be hurt, but with him being out of the game I’m sure they’re going to find a way to put guys in there to try and do what he does. He’s been a good player for a long time.  I don’t think it’ll change what we do defensively.  I think it’s important that we go into this game, regardless of who plays, trying to minimize the effect the run game has and then when they drop back to throw we’ve got to get pressure on (Joe) Flacco and challenge the receivers.  Regardless of who’s in there, our plan will be the same.”

(On how Ward was playing before he got hurt)- “I thought he was playing well.  He was playing at a very high level. It seems like just yesterday he got hurt and it was in the Houston Texans game, but he was playing very well. I’m sure it’s been frustrating for him not to be able to make it back, but I know he’ll have renewed injury here to get ready for next year.”

(On how important it is to get young guys like Buster Skrine and Jordan Cameron some snaps over these next two games)- “We started that last week actually and they showed up well.  We’ll continue to put are best guys out there and, fortunately for us, some of those guys you just mentioned are our best guys so they’ll be out there playing getting valuable reps, trying to do what we can to win a game.”

(On if they expected Ward to come back, but it just never progressed the way they had hoped)- “That’s fair, yeah.”


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