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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 19, 2012

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

(Opening statement)- “We’re getting ready to play Buffalo. I think Buffalo found the right combination last week against the Chiefs. They moved the ball well, they scored points. As well all know, they’ve upgraded personnel on defense and then of course they made a big play in the kicking game. It was a good bounce-back for them against a good opponent and it is going to be a big challenge for us. We know what we’re facing and we know what we have to do. The only other bit of news at this point is that this week’s game captain will be Alex Mack. Once again, I think our three captains chose wisely on that.”

(On how Alex Smith is doing)- “Alex is doing fine.”

(On if Smith will practice today)- “We’ll see. I would consider him day-to-day.”

(On how Billy Winn is doing)- “Billy’s doing fine as well. Will he be at practice? Yeah, he’ll be there.”

(On what the biggest improvement was for Brandon Weeden from Week One to Week Two)- “I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already, there are certain things about playing quarterback that point to efficiency and I thought he did some things better in terms of completions where we were trying to throw the ball down the field and he checked it down for whatever reason or go to his third or fourth receiver. There were a couple of things there. Number one, he’s learning that completions are important and he’s also displaying to me that he’s more familiar with the progressions because typically it’s one, two, three.”

(On if Weeden threw any balls that he shouldn’t have against the Bengals)- “I have some criticism of things, but I don’t know if that’s a yes or no answer.”

(On Weeden’s preparation)- “I thought he prepared well for the first game. I thought he prepared better for this second one. We’ve talked about that in the past, that’s part of being a pro, that you need to prepare well. That doesn’t surprise me and now what he needs to do is do it even better.”

(On what Weeden learned about his preparation from Week One to Week Two)- “Just watching them operate, knowing what we inspire him to do behind the scenes and then knowing how he responded to that.”

(On how much of an emphasis they put on ball security for Weeden)- “We always practice ball security in the pocket. Most of the fumbles in games happen by the quarterback in the pocket. We’re aware of that, we practice it, it’s part of what we do when we coach our quarterbacks. He didn’t have any problems what that this week and there were times when there were guys around him swatting at it.”

(On if it was encouraging to see correctable mistakes corrected)- “Absolutely, very encouraged by it.”

(On how much Weeden’s effectiveness had to do with Trent Richardson’s ability to run the ball last week)- “I’ve always thought that the quarterback’s best friend is a good running game. I think it all fit together, it really does.”

(On if Richardson getting 23 touches in a game is good enough)- “I think each guy’s role goes up or down depending on the week and the game and how the game is played. I anticipate that Trent will touch the ball. That is a good number.”

(On C.J. Spiller averaging 10-yards a carry this year)- “He’s an explosive guy. I’ve got to believe he’s one of the fastest guys on their team and if not in the league. When he gets some space, and they do a good job on offense of giving their runner space, he has a chance to turn good ones into great ones and great ones into touchdowns. Some of it has to do with what they do on offense, they do a very good job coaching their guys and some of it has to do with his skill and ability.”

(On if he was wary about Richardson’s knee after the Eagles game)- “I wouldn’t say wary, I would say I was interested to see how he would hold up in his first game. Not so much in the game, but how his body responded after the game because, as we said, we tried to monitor how much he played. That was a part that made me a little bit more comfortable about him playing as much as he did this week.”

(On if Richardson is comfortable on third down picking up blitzes and catching the ball out of the backfield)- “Trent’s an every down back, but it made sense for us, and we will game plan how we have to to get the best players on the field all the time. I think Obi (Chris Ogbonnaya) was very effective for us in his role, other than the fumble of course, but I felt like Obi played his role well. For his second game it was smart for us to do that, take a little bit more off of his plate. That’s not to say that Trent won’t be out there on some third down situations because I think he can catch the ball and he knows how to block.”

(On how he would characterize his relationship with Weeden from a teacher/student standpoint and if he is tough on him)- “Oh yeah, I’m tough on him. I’m his coach. I admire what he is as a player, but I look at him like I would look at my son. I’ve got no problem saying the tough stuff to him, I really don’t. The way this thing works is the head coach, the coordinator and the quarterback coach are all on the same page with what we say to him. If I met with him individually I would say to Brandon the same thing Brad (Childress) would say and Whip (Mark Whipple) would say. I’m just allowed to let my emotions get involved a lot more. There are times where Whip’s got to sort out my emotion so I think that’s the relationship. We’re a coach/player relationship and I’ve always believed, especially at this level, it’s not one works for the other, you’re working together to put a good product out there.”

(On if he likes the way Weeden responds when he is tough on him)- “Yeah, you can present it to Brandon however you want. You can whisper it to him or you can put a little oomph into it. He handles it both ways.”

(On if going up against Mario Williams will be Mitchell Schwartz biggest test)- “The defensive ends in this league all present problems in their own way. Now he’s going to be facing a guy that’s long and has great skill and ability. Every week presents a bigger test than the last. I think what happens is, he’s gaining experience. As he watches him and prepares on tape to face him, he’ll gain experience throughout the game as well.”

(On if he’s seen a difference from Week One to Week Two in Schwartz)- “Absolutely. He played better. I thought he was more consistent with his pass and his run blocking.”

(On Buffalo’s defensive linemen other than Mario Williams)- “(Marcell) Dareus and (Mark) Anderson, yeah, I know who they are. The one thing about Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt and their scheme is they try to create havoc with four, then they can play coverage that is less aggressive and that’s good. That presents a challenge in itself, where some teams must and have to bring pressure on all corners of the field to get heat on the quarterback. As a unit up front, that’s one of the best d-lines we’ll face all year.”

(On how he deals with Jimmy Haslam being around everywhere and if he is evaluating everything)- “That’s a question for him about what he’s doing I think. Yeah, he is around quite a bit. He just spent a lot of money for a football team and he wants to get to know us. I admire that. I think that’s good. I encourage him because I’m very proud of our operation and I want him to be able to see it. I don’t feel like I deal with him, I feel like we’ve established a relationship where we can communicate freely, which I think is good. I think that’s got to be natural for the head coach and the perspective owner or the owner to be able to do that. I have a good relationship with Randy Lerner as well. I think it’s pretty natural.”

(On if he feels he has to do anything differently with Haslam since he was hired by someone else)- “I think you’re getting at if I feel like I need to impress him? Anybody that hires me, or anybody that’s watching what we do, I want to impress them. We all work for someone. I think it’d fair to say that everybody in here’s got somebody that they work for. I understand what’s important in this league, by impressing him, it would be by winning games. I think it’s simple.”

(On the possibility of adding a retractable roof to the stadium and the pros and cons that would come with that)- “A retractable roof? Now, I’m an engineer (joking). I don’t know. I’ve played games in this league in a lot of different venues, most of them open airs, some domes. I think there are advantages to both. I like the setting that we present on gameday here. I’m not really trying to visualize anything different at this point. I am definitely the wrong guy to ask about that.”

(On if domes are louder)- “Domes can be loud, but there are open air stadiums that are out of sight noisy, like in Seattle. In my opinion, it’s the loudest away stadium to play in, and it’s open air. Then there are other domes that can be almost equally as loud. I don’t know. We’ve got to get an engineer and we’ve got to talk about acoustics and weather (joking). I think some of the charm of, at least of what I’ve experienced so far here in Cleveland, is kind of the late season wintery setting.”

(On what he’s seen from his secondary that he didn’t see last week)- “We have one piece missing right now so we’re trying to find the right combination, whether it be at safety or corner, for us that works. That’s why you’ll see different guys in there. We’re just trying to find the right combination. I told the players this morning, and it’s rare I’ll tell you what I tell the players, but on gameday your role may go like this (bigger) or it may go like that (smaller). Whatever your role is, you have to play to the best of your ability. We’re looking for that right combination and I’ve got a lot of confidence in our defensive coaches that we’ll get that right.”

(On previously saying that Sheldon Brown’s role would be changing)- “Sheldon will be in there. This is a team here, that most of the time they play with three wide receiver sets. Without giving away any strategy, most of the time we’ll be playing with three corners, you’ll see Sheldon in there quite a bit.”

(On Romeo Crenel and what the toughest part of being a coordinator and head coach is)- “He’s a smart man, a good coach and he’s had a lot of success. I’d be no one to give him advice. There are times when you get in a meeting on the defensive side or the offensive side when you could be doing something else at that time. What happens then is, you have both jobs to do. You end up staying up a little bit later. You get a lot less sleep, I think. Otherwise, I think everybody is capable to do what they’re hired to do.”

(On if he thinks it’s feasible to do both jobs in today’s NFL)- “I think so.”

(On where Josh Gordon is at right now)- “He’s improving. I saw him get better in Week Two. I anticipate he’ll get better here in Week Three. He’s no different than when we’re talking about Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson. He gets less opportunities just because of the position he plays, and we have other receivers we spread the ball around to. I think I see improvement.”

(On Travis Benjamin and Josh Gordon not having many catches this season)- “We’ve gotten the ball in Benjamin’s hands on reverses and stuff. I think they’re about where I thought they might be at this time.”


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