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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: June 6, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this morning before his team practiced during the second day of its mandatory minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “It’s day two and I think the guys responded well yesterday to the new procedure of how we do our minicamps based on the new rules and we’ll just repeat it today. The energy level was good in the walkthrough and we will go out there and compete and get better.”

(On what he has seen out of Mitchell Schwartz and his intelligence level)- “I think he’s very intelligent. He’s very technically sound. He’s a big-body guy, but he responds well, at lease it looks like, to some of the speed rush that we’ve seen from our guys. He’s done a good job with that and then I think he understands the concepts pretty well and it’s showing up in his play.”

(On how Ryan Miller is fitting in)- “He’s doing a nice job. He’s like all young players, Mitchell included, he’s grinding to learn the system and put it in play our here. I think he’s done a nice job. He’s getting better each day.”

(On what he has seen out of the rookie defensive tackles)- “It’s the same thing, it’s hard to totally evaluate the linemen until we put pads on, but they’re doing a nice job. It looked like they’ve got good get-off. They use their hands well. You’re talking about (Billy) Winn and (John) Hughes right? They use their hands well. It looks like they can separate from blocks well and obviously we are not just knocking each other back so it’s hard to evaluate that, but they’re doing a good job.”

(On if Hughes is still a candidate to start at Phil Taylor’s spot)- “Absolutely, I think those guys are competing to be one of our defensive tackles and that’s why we drafted them.”

(On if there is any consideration to moving Ahtyba Rubin to other defensive tackle spot)- “No, I think the way we play our guys, I think we like what Rubin’s done and where he’s at. We’ll do whatever we can to not disrupt him and try to fill in accordingly.”

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi looks better this year and what the difference is)- “He is looking better and I expect a lot from him. He expects a lot from himself, I’m sure when you go ask him, he’ll tell you that. I see a much healthier Massaquoi. Mo looks good, he’s making plays. I think he’s getting comfortable with all of the quarterbacks and he’s having a good camp. I think we remember seeing him coming into camp last year injured and he had to fight through getting healthy before he could show us what he can really do. Now he is beyond that, knows a lot more about what we’re doing and it’s showing up.”

(On seeing the improvement Brandon Weeden made between his junior and senior year of college)- “I think that’s important to see. I think when we’re drafting players you don’t want a guy that’s only done it once. You like to see a guy that’s had consistent success throughout his career and of course that means they improve. Yeah, that helped us make our decision.”

(On how much Weeden improved in college)- “I think he improved enough where we liked him, so once you decided you like him then you go back and you look at why. I think he obviously worked at it. I’m sure he was one year more used to the receivers he was throwing to and again I think that is very important for quarterbacks too.”

(On Weeden’s competitiveness and him not being afraid to hit a player when he was pitching)- “He’s very competitive and I think that’s part of why we drafted him. We know he knows how to compete. I don’t know this because I don’t coach baseball, but you see enough in the highlights where there’s pitchers willing to do that and so it sounds like that’s part of what they do.”

(On if the Browns will use Spencer Lanning as a kickoff specialist)- “We’ve worked on kickoff and we can see that he has a big leg, but our kicker is Phil Dawson. I think the world of Phil. Again, he’s one of those guys that I know is going to do outstanding work for us.”

(On if he would be open to carrying a kickoff specialist)- “If a guy has a rare ability to touch the ball back every time he kicks it then I think we’ll have that discussion. I think you have that discussion, but our kicker is Phil Dawson, lets make no mistake.”

(On if the Browns will signed Spencer Lanning to possible be a kickoff specialist)- “No, I think we go into camp having players that can back up that position. Whether he is a guy that punts and kicks and he happens to be our guy this year and then we’ll let him compete and see how good he can get.”

(On Frostee Rucker and what he has seen out of him)- “I see initial quickness. I think he’s a guy that can rush the passer and he’s got good size. When he’s out here playing he’s bigger than you might think so that’s good. He can stand in there against the run and I’ve noticed a veteran presence about him, just about the way he goes about his business. From the meetings to the practice field, I see a presence what will help that room.”

(On if Rucker’s presence was needed for the young defensive line)- “I think it was a young group of defensive linemen, with him and Juqua Parker, I think we added two veteran guys. Anytime you add veteran guys who have been there and done that, I think that helps and it’s good.”

(On what Jordan Norwood has shown)- “He’s obviously a very good returner and we use him primarily as a slot receiver and he made plays for us. Sometimes guys have a skill and ability to get open in that slot area and I think that’s where he does his best work.”

(On the importance of naming a starting quarterback sooner than later so they can get used the receivers)- “I think what you’re seeing is, and again that’s why I cautioned you, the receivers that are going to be in there, regardless of who the quarterback is, they are rolling through there. We’re seeing them working with a bunch of them. Now, when it comes up that these are our receiver and this is our quarterback, then you want to try to do it sooner rather than later of course, but at this point I think he is getting enough work with all the guys that we feel like will have a chance.”

(On using Montario Hardesty more on special teams)- “I think it’s important that guys that can play special teams all assume a role so we’re working him there. He was involved with it last year and would have been a player that we might have used, but coming back from his injury, he couldn’t handle that type of a workload so there’s a chance he could be out there.”

(On if the fade pass was missing from the offense in the red zone last year)- “I think we tried to throw fades early in the year and we didn’t hit on them a percentage high enough. I think the slant means a lot more if the defender has to defend the fade and of course in our offense we like to throw slants. He does have good touch on a lot of his throws and we saw yesterday I think that he made some very accurate throws way down the field so that’s really just like throwing a short go route in my opinion.”

(On if the fade pass is important)- “It can be if you have guys that can, number one, run the route and a quarterback that can throw it.”

(On if throwing the fade or running the route is more important)- “Just like anything in the passing game, they are both very important, but everything starts with the quarterback.”

(On if he has a timetable for naming the starting quarterback)- “Sooner than later, I think once we’ve made the decision, that’s the deal. If you know that he’s going to be your guy, then make it happen so everybody gets comfortable working with that guy all the time.”

(On if the competition at quarterback is what he expected)- “I don’t know what I expected. I expected our guys to come out here and all perform well and I’ve seen good things from all of the quarterbacks.”

(On if he wants to go into training camp with the starting quarterback named)- “I think you name the starter sooner than later. Ideally, we would have a starter now. Teams that are going into this offseason with a starter, that’s the most ideal situation, but when you have a new player that you really like, that’s why you picked them, you just need to see them come in and do it before you make that move. I remember this process when we were in St. Louis and drafted Sam Bradford. Sam Bradford was playing it through, in my eyes, a lot like it’s happening here and we had A.J. Feeley that was there, a veteran quarterback. They shared reps and there were times where A.J. started the drills, there were times when Sam started the drills and then it was the beginning of training camp when we named Sam the starter. He had a pretty good year his first year.”

(On if Bradford started because of Feeley’s injury) - “No, that wasn’t because of that. That was the plan going along.”

(On his vision for Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson)- “I think that guys that aren’t the starter, and let’s assume that Trent (Richardson) does start, guys that are in role player positions need to come in and carry the ball a few times a game. They need to contribute on special teams and be ready to go. I think it’s rare now that a team has one back and he plays all the reps the whole year. I think you’re seeing a situation now where teams have one, two or three guys that can contribute in some way and whoever the starter is will get most of the reps. The other guys will come in on special situations or in a backup-type role and get their production then.”

(On if Jackson will be designated as a third down back)- “That’s a media phrase, ‘Third down back.’ What does that mean? You’re going to throw it all of the time? I think you put the guys in there and you execute whether it’s first, second or third down.”

(On if Brandon Weeden has met his expectations so far)- “I think I’ve seen what we’ve expected from him. I expected him to come in, you knew it was going to take a minute to get going, which he did a good job of getting it going. I think he understands our concepts, I think he’s quickly getting a feel for his receivers. Some things have shown up in practice that may not be as obvious to the people that are watching that aren’t coaching it, is understanding what each receiver can do and why we have mirrored routes and why you pick the one side and not the other. Some of those things have shown up and he’s showing me that he understands how to play this game.”

(On which receiver would be effective with fade routes)- “I think all of our receivers that play outside have the ability to be good fade runners. So you’re talking about Greg Little, you’re talking about Mo Massaquoi. We tried to do it to Evan Moore last year a couple times and for whatever reason we didn’t connect on a few that we tried early in the year. You’re trying to get some form of a matchup that’s in your favor, so typically taller guys that have got a little bit of quickness can go up and get the ball, but that doesn’t mean that guys that are not tall can’t separate and make a play as well. The guys typically that play outside should be guys that should be able to run fades.”

(On Carlton Mitchell)- “I think he’s made progress. He’s made a few plays. I think he is a guy that needs to do it on a consistent basis. That’s why you practice so you can work on it. All of these guys we’ve seen do it once or twice, now you practice so that you build a level of consistency that is professional so I think that is what he is doing. I think he’s got a good start so far.”

(On if the team did a good job run-blocking last year)- “I think we have an offensive line that at times last year we did run-block extremely well. Lets all agree that we need to be better in every phase of our game on offense. I think as soon as I say that you’re going to run in there and ask them all and they will tell you the same thing.”

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