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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 30, 2011
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur looks on from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

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

(Opening statement)- “As you saw Colt (McCoy) wasn’t out here today.  Tony Pashos and Jordan Norwood, those three guys will be out this week.  Those three guys will miss this game.  Obviously, Seneca (Wallace) will be the starter and barring anything that changes, Thad Lewis then will be the backup so that’s where we’re at at quarterback.  At tackle, with Tony being out, it looks like we’ll have the three guys that have been playing.  Artis Hicks will start, then you’ve got Oniel Cousins and, of course, you’ve got (John) Greco.  Those three guys will cover that spot probably with Artis starting.”

(On is Pashos just has the stomach flu)- “He’s having a stomach issue and it appears like it’s going to be hard for him to make it this week.”

(On if Pashos has something worse than the flu)- “It’s not the flu.  I didn’t say it was the flu.  Who said it was the flu?  He’s just dealing with some stomach issues that’s all.”

(On if Pashos has appendicitis)- “No.”

(On this being the last practice of the year and if it’s felt like it’s been a long year)- “No, I enjoy going through the process of preparing for the games and I love gameday.  It doesn’t feel like it’s been a long year.  As coaches that’s what we do.  I think what happens is when the season is over you come in after the game then you start to say, ‘Okay, now what am I going to do with my time.’ But, we’re not there yet.”

(On McCoy hoping he could contribute in some way on Sunday and how disappointed he was when he told him he was out)- “We haven’t talked about the final deal yet, but I’m sure he’s wishing that he could be out there.  It looks like he’s not going to be.”

(On if McCoy can be on the sideline and not be in uniform)- “We’ll have to talk about that.  There are reasons why I’ll leave guys that aren’t playing on the sideline and there are reasons why they’re not there.  Each situation is different.”

(On if McCoy will be traveling with the team)- “It’s a home game.  It’s been a long year, huh (joking).”

(On D’Qwell Jackson being named the Browns Player of the Year by the local media)- “That’s a good choice.  We all know what he’s been as a player on the field and I’ve commented frequently about what he does behind the scenes.  He’s a tremendous leader, a fantastic player and you chose well.”

(On if Jackson could be worthy of the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award)- “I think he’d be a very worthy candidate, for sure.”

(On if it’s hard to imagine that Jackson picked up right where he left off after missing 26 straight games)- “I wasn’t here for that, but I’ve heard people talk about it. I know how thrilled he is to be able to have competed this whole season.  I think it’s great.  It’s a credit to him and his ability to come back from injury, which is part of being a pro and then be able to perform at a high level.”

(On Mike Adams being named the Good Guy award winner by the local media)- “That’s another good choice.  You guys chose well.”

(On what kind of performance he expects against Pittsburgh)- “I thought the preparation was good. I didn’t see many repeats during practice, the guy’s energy levels were high and they looked like they were on task getting ready for the game.  We’ve seen a tremendous effort from our guys the whole season and I’ve challenged them to play smarter and more efficient so if we add those three things together the effort, playing smarter and being more efficient then I anticipate we’ll have a great showing.”

(On him usually saying they had a good practice and if they’ve had any bad practices)- “No, I think our guys practice well and that’s what contributes to them playing hard. There have been some practices that I haven’t felt very good about.  There’s times during practice where we need to get better, but I think for the most part when you look at a practice you look at the level of execution, you look at how fast they’re moving around and if we have to repeat things and that’s kind of what I gauge it on and we haven’t had much of that.”

(On if the players play hard is a reflection of him)- “I don’t know.  I think it’s a reflection of the character that these players have and they understand that to get over the top and win games it starts with great effort.  We can’t confuse great effort with results, but they know it’ll never happen unless you play hard from the first snap to the last.  It’s a credit to them.  We talk about it, we coach it and they’re listening.”

(On how Sunday’s game affects the mood of the organization as they go into the offseason)- “I think you remember what happened most recently and I think anytime you can win your last game I think it makes you feel good as you move forward.  Then regardless of what happens, there are ways that we have to improve so that’s not lost on me either. What’s at task now is playing the Pittsburgh Steelers and doing what we have to do to get a victory.”

(On the familiarity of facing a team the second time around)- “You get to the point where you know each team pretty well. We’ve had some young players that didn’t play Cincinnati, didn’t play Baltimore, didn’t play Pittsburgh and once they’ve played it there’s probably a bigger familiarity for those young players and maybe it has something to do with it.”

(On what’s going to happen next week)- “It’s very structured what we do typically on Monday, starting Sunday and Monday.  Everything from exit physicals to conversations with the group to conversations with them individually and then giving them a heads up on what they can expect in the offseason.  It’s very structured and a lot of that will happen on Monday.”

(On if there’s any excitement to getting his first full offseason with the team)- “I think the one thing that’s a little bit reassuring for me is I can visualize what the offseason is going to look like.  Last year, we were just waiting so there was some uncertainty and uneasiness with that.  This year, I’ve got it all planned out down to the day already, all the way through the summer time.  From me, I like to be able to do that and that will allow me to direct us the right way.”

(On if the approach to facing Ben Roethlisberger changes at all if he’s gimpy on his ankle)- “I don’t think so.  I think you have to prepare for the Steelers offense and then we just know the added value that he brings.  You can get home, but you’ve got to knock him down. He’s very difficult and we understand that we have to stay in coverage longer because he could break a tackle and keep the play alive. We know what he is as a player, but regardless of who the quarterback is you’ve got to prepare for their offense.”

(On if it’ll be easier to get to Roethlisberger because of his lack of mobility)- “I don’t know that, we’ll see. There are a lot of factors involved with that, but how they attempt to throw it, how well they’re protecting, how well we’re rushing, how quickly he gets rid of the football, there’s a lot of factors involved and that’s why you play it.”

(On if he’s seen players in the past quit in situations like this)- “I haven’t.  We were building something in Philadelphia for a few years and I watched our guys compete. I saw it happen in St. Louis where guys competed and we were trying to build something there.  My experience with it, I haven’t seen it with the teams I’ve been on.  But, there are conversations that it happens places, I just haven’t been involved with it.”

(On what he thinks the outcome is going to be Sunday)- “I usually don’t try to predict, but what I do know is our guys are going to play and do everything they can to win the football game. We’ll just play it out and see what happens.”

(On how he would characterize McCoy’s season)- “We’ll talk about that next week, of course.  His season? I think he improved quite a bit from the first game to the last game he played in.  I think I’ve said that all along.”

(On if McCoy’s season ended with positive feedback)- “Again, we’re starting to talk about the offseason stuff. At this point our focus is really getting ready for Pittsburgh and unfortunately he won’t be able to contribute.”

(On if he has scheduled visits with Randy Lerner)- “I’ve talked to Randy frequently over the year just like I do with Mike Holmgren.”

(On if he meets with Lerner on Tuesdays)- “That’s private when we do those.”

(On what it would mean emotionally and psychologically to close out a close game with a win)- “That’s what we’re trying to do.  We’re trying to win the game however it happens.  We would like to have one where we’re ahead from the beginning.”

(On if there would be an emotional or psychological advantage going into the offseason with a win)- “I think so.  When you’ve proven that you can do it the first time then you start to talk about how to do it consistently so that’s a step as we move forward.”

(On if he watched the Baylor game last night)- “I got home in time to see the start of the game and then I got distracted, but I woke up this morning and it looked like a basketball score (joking). I didn’t see enough to really comment. I just saw the score.”


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