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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 28, 2011

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

(Opening statement)- “A couple comments about some of the things that have happened, as you saw in the release, Josh Cribbs was nominated by the Browns for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his excellence one the field  and in the community.  We all know what he means to the community, we all know what he can do on the field and we’re proud to make him our nominee.  We can talk in length as to what Josh has done for this organization.  Also, I’d like to congratulate Joe Thomas who was selected as the starter in the Pro Bowl along with D’Qwell (Jackson) who was chosen as an alternate as well as Josh Cribbs, who was chosen as an alternate.  That’s a high honor to be recognized by the coaches and the players in the league as well as the fans so my congratulations go to them. They’ve done a nice job.  In terms of injuries, Colt McCoy has not been medically cleared to play yet. When he is, at that time we’ll talk about his availability for Sunday and his role.  At this point there’s nothing more to say.  Jordan Norwood is the same, he hasn’t been cleared to play.  Tony Pashos will miss practice today, he was sick yesterday, we anticipate he’ll be back tomorrow. We hope to have Quinton Spears back tomorrow at practice as well and then the others guys that you may have questions about are limited and will be in-and-out of practice today so that’s what I have.  Preparation this far has been good, good walk-through and then we’ll get ready to go out and practice and get ready for the Steelers.”

(On what McCoy is suffering from)- “He’s rehabbing from his concussion. There’s nothing really more to add.  He needs to be medically cleared before he can practice and play and that hasn’t happened.”

(On what parts of the concussion test McCoy is not passing)- “He’s not passing it so until it’s passed he can’t play and that’s pretty cut and dry.  It’s been that way with all our guys coming back.”

(On if McCoy has increased his physical activities)- “He’s much better and he feels a lot better and he’s doing more, but until he’s cleared to play he can’t.”

(On how often McCoy takes the test)- “They go through the process daily.”

(On what the upside is of looking at Seneca Wallace for one more game)- “I think Seneca has done some good things the last couple weeks. He’s like the rest of the players, we just all have to step up our game enough to get a victory.”

(On who else he would have liked to have seen get in the Pro Bowl)- “I’ll keep that private.  I think that the Pro Bowl selection process is something that happens behind the scenes and then the candidates are released.  As coaches we all have strong feelings for our players and I don’t want to turn it into something more public than it is.  I think it’s a private voting thing and I’m just happy for our guys that have made it.”

(On if Wallace is likely to start)- “It will probably be just like last week. He’s taking all the reps and the longer it goes in the week, there’s a pretty darn good shot he’ll be the starter.”

(On if he’s spoken to the team about not retaliating against James Harrison)- “I coach and we coach our players to play fast and physical between the snap and the whistle. We teach our guys to play by the rules and, quite frequently, if you do things outside the rules you get penalized.  That’s what we try and teach our guys to do, play fast and physical and do it from the snap to the whistle.  Beyond that, I think it detracts from what we’re trying to get done.”

(On if McCoy will be around today)- “Colt’s around, he’s here. He was in all the meetings.”

(On if McCoy is allowed on the practice field)- “He was not at the walk-through.  No, until he’s cleared to practice he can’t be out there.  But, he’s in the building, he was in the meetings and he’s participating in what he can.”

(On if the media is still not allowed to speak with McCoy)- “Until he’s cleared, that’s the rule.”

(On if McCoy does any physical activity he should be able to speak to the media)- “He hasn’t been cleared to practice.  I don’t know if we’re splitting hairs there, but until he’s cleared to practice.”

(On what McCoy’s been doing)- “Physical activity, he’s exercising, doing rehab, taking care of what he needs to do to get back healthy.”

(On if McCoy is lifting and running)- “I would assume so, yeah.  Physical activity.”

(On if McCoy has expressed a desire that he wants to be back on Sunday)- “He’s trying to get back as quickly as he can and he’s expressed that.  He wants to get out there and get competing. He’s expressed that, sure.”

(On if he and the medical staff have been surprised by how long it has taken McCoy to get back)- “Nothing surprises me.  Injuries are all different and the length of time it takes players to come back is all different so I’m not surprised.  I know there’s a process you go through and we’re taking him through that process just like we would anybody else that’s injured.”

(On if he was anticipating a shorter timetable for McCoy’s return)- “Like I said, I’m going to medical school this offseason so that’s a better question for the spring (joking).”

(On the league office saying that if a player has been cleared to lift weights and run that they are allowed to talk to the media)- “I don’t know anything about that.  We’ll have to get that cleared up.  I’m not trying to keep him from anybody, but he’s not cleared to practice. He’s not cleared to do anything with the team and that’s where it’s at.  Listen, as you know, you’ve got access to our players within the rules as we know them.”

(On how confident he is that the communication will be better between Wallace and him)- “We’re talking about what, the last play before the half? Is that what we’re talking about?  I’m confident that we’ll be communicating perfectly.”

(On what he has learned about division rivalries here)- “It’s a very physical style that gets played in this division.  Everything in the NFL is physical, but just the nature of it.  Most of these teams are defense driven.  They’re teams that can play well on offense, but there’s a lot of good defense played in our division.  That makes for physical style.  That also makes for good special teams.  The rivalries are deep seeded.  I think that’s something you can feel when we play the games. As you go through it, you gain more of an appreciation for it.”

(On if that changes the way he calls plays)- “No, I don’t think so.  I think you always try to do what you can to do what you do best and attack the defense, and hit them in their weakest spot.”

(On preparing for and playing against Charlie Batch and Ben Roethlisberger)- “Obviously when you play against Ben, you can get home on him and not knock him down and he can make a play.  Charlie is obviously a very veteran guy that executes very well, but he doesn’t have those physical traits that Ben has.  They both execute their offense well.  They’ve got playmakers at a lot of positions.  I’m sure Charlie, if he’s playing, will do a good job at distributing the football, which makes him very effective.”

(On if he expects the team to play better the second time around against Pittsburgh)- “Yeah, we’re expecting that.  We’re expecting them to play better.  Each time you play them again and each week I think we’ve made some progress in a lot of areas.  I expect to see it this week as well.”

(On if performing well in the last game can boost the team’s confidence leading into next August)- “I don’t know about next August, but I do know this, we all live life day-to-day. We all want to put an outstanding performance on the field and we’re fighting to win the game.  That’s what we will remember the most as we move through the preparation for next season.  I think that’s important.  Anytime you do something well you build on it, I think also that’s important.”

(On if he has been worried that the team will lose some of its heart with the playoffs out of the picture)- “Not this team.  I mentioned earlier in the week these guys are prideful and we’ve all commented on how hard they play.  We need to play hard.  We need to play smart and we’ve got to do it throughout the game.  I don’t question that one bit from our guys.  They’re going to play their fannies off from the first snap to the last.  When somebody says the season is over then we’ll move on to the next thing.”

(On if McCoy sees a doctor and a trainer every day for testing)- “I know there are tests he has to pass.  The actual administration of them, I don’t want to misquote the details.  He goes through a process each day to try to get medically cleared.”

(On some sacks this season coming from the right side of the offensive line and Tony Pashos’ pass protection)- “Tony has fought through this season.  He’s had some injuries he’s fought through.  I think Tony has battled hard this year and we played each week against some guys that are pretty fine pass rushers.  I wouldn’t say we’re getting more pressure at the right tackle spot than we are other places.  There’s times our right side or their left side gets the sack, but it could be because there was pressure someplace else.  I appreciate Tony.  He’s very tough.  He has to miss some time during the week so we can keep him going.  When he plays on Sunday, he’s a very tough and a very physical guy.  He’s fighting.”

(On if late season victories can carry over into next season)- “We were talking about that a little earlier, I think anything you do late in the season is what you remember last.  I think it’s important to play well at the end of the year.  It’s important to play well and win.  That’s one of the things you want to do if you’re going to be a playoff team.  You have to play well and win at the end.  You’ve got to stay healthy, you’ve got to be able to play defense, you’ve got to be able to score points and all those things.  At this point because the playoffs are not something that are on our horizon this year, it’s about winning that next game.  Then you move on to the offseason, I think that’s where it’s at.”

(On how he compares his team to other AFC north teams)- “I like our team.  I think we match up.  I go into every game thinking we can win.  We’ve just got to go out and do it.  We’ve got a team that can battle with anybody in this division.”

(On what makes Joe Thomas a Pro Bowl left tackle)- “I think he’s done a good job playing left tackle in this league.  You don’t hear much from the guys that are playing against him and that’s what you want.  He’s a pro, that’s probably the 15th time I’ve said that.  I appreciate what he is behind the scenes.  He’s in control, not only doing his job, but he exerts himself in a way that helps this team move forward.  He’s very talented and he works hard. For all those reasons, I think that’s why he performs well. For all those reasons because he performs well, he’s been recognized for the fifth straight year.  I think that’s an important thing.”

(On if Thomas is the most technically sound left tackle he’s seen)- “He’s very technically sound in terms of pass protection. He takes good sets, he uses his hands well.  He’s very sound technically.”

(On if the players are intimidated by James Harrison)- “I don’t think our guys are intimidated by any team and really any player.  That’s a better question for maybe a specific player.  But, I don’t see it and I don’t sense it.  We’ve got competitive tough guys.  They’re going to go out there and sell out against whoever they’re playing.  I think that’s what we have.”

(On if parts of Carlton Mitchell’s game have taken long to develop than expected)- “I don’t know.  He’s a player I’m getting to know a lot better.  He had an injury during training camp and missed some very valuable time because he would’ve gotten a lot of snaps in the preseason.  That’s where a guy that’s a role player trying to make the team gets a lot of work.  I think if you ask him he’d probably say that maybe set him back a little bit.  Through the practices, he runs fast, he’s a big target and he had an opportunity to play last week.  He caught two and dropped one.”

(On Montario Hardesty being active and not playing for the second week in a row)- “Peyton (Hillis) was going real well and we spelled him a little bit with Chris Ogbonnaya.  There’s nothing to that.”

(On if Hardesty’s calf is keeping him from playing)- “He’s still coming back.  He’s not 100 percent, but if we put him in the game I’m sure he’ll do well.”

(On if he would like to see his team retaliate to guys like James Harrison)- “Do you mean start a fight? A bench clearing brawl? No, what I want my guys to do is play fast and physical from the snap until the whistle.  That’s what I want my guys to do.  We’ve seen around the league and we know that when you do stuff that’s beyond the whistle and you do things that get outside yourself, you end up hurting the team.  I don’t think we want that.  Take care of your business between the snap and the whistle.”

(On if there is a way to retaliate legally)- “You get after them based on how you play the game, based on the rules of the game.  If you’re assigned to block a certain player, you block that player.  If you’re assigned to tackle a certain player, you tackle him.  If you’re designed to defeat a block, you defeat the block and go get the ball carrier.  If you’re designed to cover somebody, you cover that guy.  If the ball goes your way you either pick it off or break it up.  That’s what we do.  I think that’s how you handle it.  I think I understand where you guys are going with this, but I think it’s very important you play fast and physical within the rules.”

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