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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 13, 2012

Modell's death brings back memories of Browns moveBrowns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today before practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “It’s a pretty good morning so far, guys are focused. I thought our preparation yesterday was good. If I had to evaluate it, it was a better Wednesday practice this week than last week. I thought generally speaking, preparation last week was good so some of these young guys are learning how to practice, which is very important. This is a game that you have to practice and regardless of whether you’re in pads or not it’s important that you get a lot done and I think our guys are truly starting to understand that.”

(On if the Bengals are better than they showed on Monday)- “I think it’s important, first off, that you don’t overreact to what happens in the first game of the season. They put out a team where they had a lot of new players and both of us lost so that’s the reality of it. I’ve been very impressed with Marvin’s (Lewis) team. Competing against them last year, as you know, we were ahead and didn’t find a way to stay ahead. They came back and beat us in the end so that’s something we’ve got to work on. Watching tape you still see some of the same things you saw last year. From a defensive standpoint, they’re willing to pressure, they’re big, they’re physical and they do a good job of covering and so that challenges the offense. Then on offense, of course, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, (Jermaine) Gresham, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has filled in pretty seamlessly as a running back for them. He had close to 100 yards. I know they’re working in some young and new offensive lineman, but we can say the same about our team. I’m very impressed with them. I think they do a good job. They way they play offense and defense fits for them and they good job on special teams.”

(On what makes Jermaine Gresham a tough matchup)- “Well, his size. He’s a big basketball player-looking guy and you can put the ball around him sometimes and he’s covered and he can make a play. That’s important for a tight end because there are times when you just can’t get separation and the ball goes up. Usually taller guys have longer arms, shorter guys have shorter arms. I think that’s pretty natural.”

(On if his younger linebackers give him a better chance to cover tight ends this year)- “I don’t know. I think that some of our younger guys run extremely well and the matchup is important. When you throw the ball to the tight end, a lot of times, he’s part of the inside part of the route combinations. We’ve got to get pressure on the quarterback as well to help speed that up or distract that throw.”

(On what is going on with Jordan Cameron and him not being in the game last Sunday)- “He was in there. There’s no conspiracy theory there. He’s working through it. He was part of an offense that didn’t perform very well last weekend, that’s all. I like the progress he’s made.”

(On Geno Atkins and his ability to pressure the quarterback from the inside)- “He’s a tough match because he can pass rush and get pressure from the inside of the defense. I’ve always felt that when the quarterback has pressure in his face, that’s as disruptive as pressure up the field. He does an outstanding job. He’s a top flight defensive tackle for sure.”

(On the importance of defeating divisional games)- “You have to, it’s very important. The initial goal is to win your division because that assures you a spot in the playoffs. That’s what you talk about and you want to become the first one of the 12 and you have to win division games. We understand how important it is. This is an opportunity for us to play a division opponent on the road and you have to win road games so it’s a great challenge for our guys. They understand how important it is and we’ve got to get it done.”

(On if Alex Smith could be used more as a lead back)- “Yeah, as you know last year in fact I handed it to him once. You remember that right? Really and we’ve practiced that numerous times since then so if it ever happens don’t be surprised, alright? See I told you I was a fun guy. No, he can play in the backfield and in fact last year he did play fullback for us. Typically, when you have two tight ends in the game with two receivers there are times when he plays on the line of scrimmage and he plays in the backfield. If something happened to Owen (Marecic), and we wanted to run some two-back stuff. He would be that guy anyways so yeah, I think there’s a place for that.”

(On what happened on the play after Trent Richardson knocked off Kurt Coleman’s helmet)- “It was second-and-one and I ran the ball to try to get the first and they got penetration which you can’t have.”

(On why they got penetration)- “We didn’t block it right.”

(On who ‘we’ is)- “The linemen out there. I can take you through it if you want. It was a bad play. You don’t ever want minus yards and it was second-and-one, Trent had just made a nice run, it went to third-and-one, right? Then I think we had to run a third-and-one play so we lost yardage on that play. That’s all I can tell you. You can’t get penetration when you run the football.”

(On if he remembers if there was anything there for Richardson)- “Yeah, I do remember and we got penetration and we had a minus play. That’s what we had.”

(On if Richardson can make a big jump in his second game)- “I think so. I saw him yesterday practice better than he did the week before. I think if you see it in practice that’s the best opportunity to have it show up in the games. I anticipate that he’ll have a better performance.”

(On if Jordan Cameron is making big strides on his intangibles)- “I do, I think he’s one of those guys who’s improved the most let’s say. I still think there’s a huge upside for him as he gets to play more and more. It’s just like I mentioned at the outset, it’s important that you practice. The more you play this game and the more everything looks like it’s a review to you, the better you get. I think that’s kind of where he’s at right now.”

(On how Mitchell Schwartz performed in his first game)- “I thought he battles pretty well. I think there were a couple of run plays in there I think he could have done a little better job, which would have helped us. But, I thought for the most part he battled. What I will say is he played better against Philadelphia then he did in the preseason matchup so that’s kind of what I would say. Now of course, everybody on offense needs to play better for us to win the games that we want to win and I think I have a hard time passing out bouquets when you don’t win so that’s kind of where we’re at.”

(On how much smoother things are for him this year compared to last year)- “It’s smoother for me because I know the players and I thought last year I had an outstanding coaching staff. I feel like it even got better with the three guys that I added so it’s easier for me to move around the building and get involved in coachable moments on offense, defense and special teams where I couldn’t last year. From my standpoint, it operates smoother and it’s just like I was talking to the coordinators yesterday and I think you’re going to visit with them here. I trust those guys. I trust them and that’s part of my nature so I like to watch them do their work, but then I’m also somewhat hands-on so I like to chime in so it’s better.”

(On if it is fair to say he is more vocal this year during practice)- “Yeah, I think so because I know the players better. Some guys respond to a couple quiet words in the corner, some guys respond better when they hear it with a loud voice. I just feel like because I know the players better, I know how they’ll respond and because I have a full staff of guys coaching it allows me to kind of chime in where need be.”

(On if he is growing in confidence as a head coach)- “I think the more you do things the more confident you become. We start winning games, that would help. I do see the progress behind the scenes and then it becomes quantifiable when you win. I get that and that’s what we’re pushing for.”

(On Frostee Rucker and what he has brought to the locker room and on the field)- “He’s got a veteran presence to him that is obvious. He’s not an extremely old player, but he’s a veteran compared to our 25 other guys. I think there’s a quiet confidence there, he plays extremely hard and when we went through the free agency process I got to know him pretty well right at the beginning. It’s like the old days in college, it’s like recruiting. You take him to dinner, you try to convince him to come here and you buy his dinner and all that. It’s just like college so I got to know him during that process. I think he’s done a good job playing.”

(On how Scott Fujita looked yesterday)- “Scott looked good and I was in the weight room earlier this morning with him. He’s an early morning guy and I asked him how he felt and you could see he said he felt good and I could tell he wasn’t lying.”

(On if there is any hesitation to put Fujita back in the lineup because his suspension might be back on next week)- “This is an all hands on deck time of year. We know the rosters change week-to-week so you put them out there. Let them play.”

(On if Joe Flacco is improving as a quarterback)- “I’ve always been impressed with Joe. He’s a tough guy. You evaluate a quarterback based on him leading his team to victories and he’s won a lot of games as a quarterback. I thought he did a good job. They did it in the no huddle, but I saw a lot of plays they would have run if they called the plays in the huddle so he was grooving. He was making some great plays and making some good throws. That’s why I think you can’t overreact to the score as it relates to Cincinnati because Baltimore was on and they were having one of those nights. We all know they’re very talented, but they were also having one of those nights where it was working real well for them.”

(On if Flacco can take the next step to be an elite quarterback)- “I thought he always was and again I’m not out there predicting scores and records and I’m not out there ranking quarterbacks. In my mind, he’s always been a top-flight guy so like most top-flight guys as they play longer and more, they get better so maybe that’s a yes to your question.”

(On his version of West Coast offense compared to Jay Gruden’s version)- “When you talk about a West Coast system, we all have two back plays, one back plays, two tight end plays. It’s the basis of the terminology and what you tell the quarterback. I see very similar concepts that they run. Then you’ve got to look at your roster, and you’ve got to play the guys that fit what your roster is shaped up like. Yeah, I see it as a West Coast concept offense. I see principles that I recognize.”

(On if they will have an easier time with other teams completing plays defensively in terms of sacks)- “Each offense that you face, they have ways to protect their quarterback from being sacked. Whether it be three-step drops, put them in the shotgun, heavy play-action where you block seven or eight. I think you see all those principles from the Bengals. It’s a different challenge each week depending on the quarterback and the way they run their systems. As we know Philadelphia is wide open, there’re a lot of open edges. If you don’t keep the proper rush lanes, then (Michael) Vick’s on the perimeter and there are a lot of big plays to be made. Now the coverage doesn’t recognize the routes anymore, because everybody’s in scramble mode, or he can take off and run. With bigger, less mobile quarterbacks sometimes they get more done from the pocket quicker. Every team is different.”

(On if he thinks the Bengals defense will bring a lot of pressure)- “I would anticipate they will bring pressure. That’s in the defensive coordinator’s handbook. When they get together in the winter and they talk about how they do things, when you have a young quarterback, you pressure him. That’s just part of what they do. I think that will happen. What we do is we block them. We have different ways to block the pressures. We have quick throws. We have audibles. We have all ways to combat what happens, but we’ve got to execute.”

(On if last week’s game prepared them for the defensive pressure for this week)- “No, we were throwing the ball quickly all over the place. That was the focus. We didn’t hit on enough of them, that’s all.”

(On Rey Maualuga saying that Trent Richardson wasn’t ‘anything spectacular’ and if he uses that as motivation for the team)- “I don’t. I don’t worry about all that. I don’t listen to it quite frankly. That’s a follow up for Trent.”


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