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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: June 12, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today after an organized team activity practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “It’s Week four. I thought there was good work out there today coming back off of kind of a four day weekend. I thought it was a little bit sloppy, but the effort was great. I think they will all agree with me there are some areas that we can get better, but I think they practiced hard, they practiced smart. I was pleased with what we tried to get done, and we’ll come out tomorrow and get one day better. I know you guys won’t be with us here for the next three days, but we have three more of these and then the structured teamwork prior to training camp will be completed. They, of course, will continue to fine tune their conditioning through the summer. The rookies will be here, as you know, for a couple more weeks for their little symposium and then we’ll get after it. For those of you I won’t see, enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you back here during training camp I’m sure.”

(On if practice was all around sloppy)- “No, I just think there is a lesson in there that when you come back, it’s to get the motor running again, and  get back on point and being detailed. I wouldn’t say it was a bad practice, I just think there was areas that we could have played better.”

(On what areas the team has improved and where they still need work)- “There is probably a long answer in there. I do really feel like the players that were here a year ago, to a man, understand much more in detail what we want to get done system wise, that’s number one. I think it’s a credit to them because they’ve devoted and committed so much time to this offseason. I think the rookies, in the years that I’ve been doing this, have done an excellent job of getting up to speed so that they can come to training camp and function at a high level. Those two broad views of our team, I think are what I’m taking away.”

(On if a specific position group needs adjustments)- “I think all the positions have done what I’ve talked about. They’ve all improved from last year, and the new guys are doing a good job of getting up to speed. We will always look to improve our roster if that’s what you’re getting at, in terms of personnel. We always investigate all the players that are available that we think will help us. That’s an ongoing process.”

(On how he feels entering his second year as head coach)- “I feel better about what we’re getting ready to do because I know our team much better, I know our coaches much better and I feel more ready to do what we have to do. Now we just got to go out and do it.”

(On an outlook at backup quarterback and if Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace could both be on the roster)- “Yes, I think that’s still very real in my mind. That question leads into the assumption that Colt (McCoy) is the backup with Seneca (Wallace), and again sooner than later I’ll make sure I name a starter for you. I don’t see the urgency right there, but in terms of the backup situation, I can see a scenario where all three of the players you’re talking about will be here. I think that’s fair.”

(On who will be second and third quarterback)- “I’ll let you know sooner than later, how’s that? They’re out here practicing, and I have an idea of how this thing’s going to work out based on what I’m seeing, but they have to come out here and do it, so we’ll decide.”

(On if he is surprised at how quickly Brandon Weeden is grasping everything)- “No, I’m not surprised. I see the process each day of learning and I feel good about his ability to learn it and come out here and execute it. I’m not surprised by that. I still see some mistakes that you see from a first-year guy out here doing it, but it’s very rare that you see mistakes repeated and I think that’s the beauty of practice. When you look out there and you say, Quarterback A missed this throw or that throw, well when he had it again in practice, it may not be obvious because he completed it, but there was some learning that happened between the two plays because you repeat plays. I feel good about what he’s accomplished to this point just like the other quarterbacks.”

(On if McCoy is rattled because they drafted Weeden)- “No, I think competition in this sport, and all sports, is very real. I think we’ve discussed this before, at all levels of the game, players get used to competition in that every year they are going to bring somebody in to replace me or make this team better, so I don’t sense that at all.”

(On what characteristics he looks for in a backup quarterback)- “I think there are a couple things that are important about a backup quarterback. Let’s talk about during the season now. He has to a guy, because the starter, and we covered this last week, gets almost all the reps during the week. Because the starter gets almost all the reps during the week, the backup needs to be able to come in and function efficiently and not have many reps, that’s one characteristic. Typically, your backup quarterback, I like the fact that he may have mobility, because the game may be in a situation where you’ve lost your starter and you want to have everything available to you, whether it be movement throws, drop back throws or what not.”

(On if have experience is a factor for deciding a backup)- “Absolutely. Anytime you get an experienced player either as a starter or a backup, I think it helps them.”

(On Wallace saying he didn’t help McCoy last year because he was competing with him)- “First of all, I think Seneca is very competitive. I saw that situation a little bit differently than he did. My eyes saw something different. I saw guys competing, and when guys compete typically they help each other and maybe don’t know it. That was my take on it. I’m well aware of what Seneca said at the end of the year last year. I’ve got a lot of respect for Seneca, his experience and I think he throws the ball well, he’s very mobile, and I’m glad he’s here competing.”

(On if he thinks Wallace would be okay with being the third quarterback)- “My understanding is that he would be. It’s important that room is right. There will be a starting quarterback and there will be guys working behind him. I have no reservation about however it works out. I think those guys will handle it in the right way.”

(On if Thaddeus Lewis will play in the preseason to reassure what he knew about him from his time in St. Louis)- “It would help him to get some time, and I think he will as we go through the preseason here. I think that’s the downside to being a backup quarterback trying to break into a lineup. I saw him do good work in the preseason that I was with him and he’s done a good job so far.”

(On Travis Benjamin)- “I think we’ve seen where he can catch the ball in the deep part of the field. It’s nice to be able to run fast but as you’re far away from the quarterback, being able to track the ball is something that you need to be able to do, and I think he can do that.  He is a good route runner. We can’t bump and run in these camps, so I can’t see him against press coverage, but from what I can tell he has the quickness to separate. We’ll know more about all that once we get into training camp.”

(On what the four weeks they just went through means for the rookies)- “I think for all of the players, and if you’re a new player of course you’re doing it the first time, you are fighting to be a starter, and if you can’t be a starter you’re fighting to be a role player. Then somewhere in there, if you’re young enough that we want to develop you further, then you are either fighting to make the very end of the roster or the practice squad. I think that is the very real part of the competition, so I think you can say that about the rookies, in much the same way you would say that about a second-year guy that had limited time a year ago.”

(On Josh Cooper’s progression)- “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen from him. I think he generally gets it. He understands how to uncover in the slot area. There is something to that because you are surrounded by lots of guys, and to understand leverage and how to get open is a skill and a talent. He showed that. He catches the ball well and once he catches the ball he understands how to get yardage, so those are all attributes that are important for a receiver.”

(On if he will keep three quarterbacks)- “I favor that, keeping three. I like that model. I know we’re nearing half of the teams in the league that keep two, but I like having three.”

(On Jordan Cameron)- “He’s one of the players, now I’m only comparing training camp to an offseason, but he’s one of the players in my mind at his position that’s made the biggest jump in my eyes. I see a guy that number one, didn’t’ play much football before he got here. He competed and really showed the world that he had some skill and ability, and now in this offseason he’s gotten his body stronger. He looks more explosive. I think he’s done a pretty good job out here running routes.”

(On if Owen Marecic is showing any big differences from last year)- “No, he’s kind of a steady-Eddie guy in my mind. You know what you’re going to get from him every day. He may not talk to you every day, he’s very quiet, but he’s makes very few mental mistakes. He understands what body position he’s got to play with, he catches the ball well and of course he hasn’t done much lead blocking here in the offseason, but he seems pretty steady and ready for a training camp.”

(On Marecic saying he was in better shape this year)- “Physically, he looks fitter and trimmer. I’m not going to call him fat, because I didn’t feel that about him last year. He’s probably a better guy to ask if having a structured offseason was better for him than an unstructured. I think he’s done well.”

(On what gives him confidence about having a rookie running back and rookie quarterback starting)- “I think we’re talking about, if that’s the way it works out, two really good players that have both played on a very big stage that have experiences that it’s not going to be too big for them. We’ve already seen that, so I have confidence that whoever we put in the game is going to do a good job, especially the young ones.”

(On if they are considering singing any players)- “We’re going to talk about some of the players available, actually we’re going to have a meeting on that this afternoon. We’ll hit you in training camp (joking).”

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