Browns General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters Tuesday during the Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron. Here are the transcripts from the interviews:
- On what he's been doing during the NFL's lockout: "We're working still, but it's just different without the players around. It's just different, but we're still working. So until vacation starts, we're all right."
- On if he's better prepared for free agency than ever before: "Yeah, we really are. We've been going back and forth through all the lists and obviously once the draft happened, some guys came off the list. Yeah, we're ready. When it happens, we'll be ready."
- On which free agents he has targeted: "There's a couple free agents that we're interested in, and it's so hard right now because you don't know if they're really going to go back to their team. And if that's the case, you're probably not going to get them. So until you can actually talk to the players, you just don't know."
- On if the Browns are interested in free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress: "No, I can't. I can't talk about players."
- On if the Browns need to add another safety to start alongside T.J. Ward: "Right now, Mike Adams is penciled in as a guy who's going to play almost all safety for us, but we'll see. There's a few guys in free agency, and we'll see what happens with the undrafted rookies. So we still have a couple of options out there."
- On if a shortened season would affect free-agency plans: "No, it wouldn't. We're not going to be gung-ho in free agency. There's a couple of guys that we may be interested in, but it's not going to be enough where it's going to affect how we practice and all of that stuff."
- On if the Browns' offseason schedule changes weekly because of the lockout: "It really does, and you can talk with Pat (Shurmur). But Pat's got 800 different scenarios. He really does. If you start now, we're going to get these OTAs in. So every day when they disappear, they disappear. There is a cutoff date somewhere where everybody's going to be on vacation, and we'll get back when we get back. But he has a bunch of different scenarios and we'll be ready if we have it tomorrow. We'll be ready."
- On how Shurmur will do without being able to get to know his players because of the lockout: "He's going to do great. It's not just Pat, it's the position coaches. They don't know the players. A couple of them have talked on the phone when we had the little opening, but to actually sit down and meet them, they just haven't done it. So whenever that happens, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to sit and talk with them and see what kind of guys they have. But it's just the way it is."
- On if members of the coaching staff and the front office will still take vacations this summer: "There's going to be vacation, but don't be spending a lot of money, putting it down on houses and don't go out of the country because we might be back. So yeah, we'll be gone, but we'll be ready to come back if we have to."
- On if the coaches need to see the players in person to know exactly what they have: "No, they can tell from the tape, but they'd like to see them before we make any drastic decisions. But we'll have time. Whenever it starts, we're going to have time before we play a game, so they'll have plenty of time to see their players."
- On if the Browns are preparing for a 16-game season: "Yeah, hopefully we're going to have training camp and (be) ready to go. But if not, we'll adjust. But right now, we're planning on a full season."
- On what can be accomplished by the the players-only workouts quarterback Colt McCoy has organized: "It's more of a leadership thing and a chance for those guys to get together and work together. How much they're actually going to learn football-wise, that's debatable. But I do think it's healthy. Those guys are used to being around each other and so anytime they can do it, I think it's great."
- On if he has been receiving medical reports about the Browns' players during the lockout: "Everybody's doing really well. Yep, everybody's doing really well."
- On the challenges of evaluating a player like Burress, who has been out of football for a while: "I can't talk about Plaxico, but anybody in that situation, and we're dealing with a player, with Greg Little, not playing this (past) year. Obviously, there (would) have to be a workout and all of that stuff just to see how it is, but I think every individual is going to be a different scenario. Just when you go and work the guy out, you have to see if you think he's ready or not."
- On if he thinks Little can knock rust off by participating in players-only workouts this week: "Yeah, and we saw enough of Greg in the workouts and all of that stuff. So I think Greg is going to be fine."
- On if the Browns could benefit from full-squad workouts during the lockout: "I don't know if it's happened or not because we're not allowed to talk to them. But it's the same thing (as the workouts McCoy has organized for the offensive skill players) -- I don't know how much you can actually learn. As long as they're working out and doing what they're supposed to do, which I'm sure they are, it's not a real big deal for us."
- On rumors that the Browns might trade for a quarterback: "You can dispel that. We're not trading for a quarterback. That one I'll say."
- On if the Browns need to sign a wide receiver, even though they drafted Little: "We added a tight end (Jordan Cameron). We added a fullback (Owen Marecic) who can catch the ball. ... But if we think somebody can improve us and help us, we'll do it. I think we did help our receiving as a group. I think we did help our offense."
- On if free-agent fullback Lawrence Vickers is right to believe he's not in the Browns' plans for the future: "It's hard to tell. We didn't really have a chance to talk to him once free agency started because of the rules. It never started. We'll have to make all of those decisions once everything opens up."
- On if the Browns will need to restructure quarterback Jake Delhomme's contract to keep him: "Whenever the thing opens up, we'll sit down with Jake and talk to him and decide what's the best for him and for our organization. And we have to wait until that happens."
- On if he's at a disadvantage as a first-year head coach because of the lockout: "It's one of those head up, knees bent (situations). We're going to react and respond to what happens. I feel very confident that when we get the team in, we'll get them up and running and we'll be ready to play."
- On how much he's had to adjust the offseason schedule because of the lockout: "We've all missed our minicamps and OTAs (organized team activities) to this point. So you just keep adjusting it. We'll see what happens here soon. We have training camp on the horizon, so we'll get ready and plan from that and then go from there."
- On what he has told his assistant coaches about their vacations: "Yeah, this is traditionally when you kind of tidy up your work, get ready for training camp and go on break. We'll try to stick with that as much as we can, but really be ready to reappear here if something changes."
- On how much the Browns' plans for training camp would change without OTAs and minicamps: "The training-camp plan won't change. We just have to work out all the other contingencies as we move forward to the season, so the camp itself won't change, assuming we have a full camp."
- On if he would like to have a veteran wide receiver: "I feel like we've got some veteran receivers. Although they're younger, they've played NFL seasons, so I'm looking forward to working with the guys that we have. I feel like we have a good team to start and move forward with, and that's the way we're gonna approach it."
- On his philosophy about signing players who have baggage: "We want to try to bring in players that obviously are competitve, are guys that can win and have good character. So you always evaluate all those situations in a player. We're trying to do what's best and bring in the best players for the Cleveland Browns. Everything about a player is always evaluated, so I think that's important that we keep that in mind."
- On if draft prospects with character issues are viewed differently than NFL veterans with character issues: "In terms of character issues, I think you're always trying to find guys that are good citizens. Regardless of whether they're coming from the draft or they're coming from the NFL free-agency side, you're always looking for guys that you're confident when you bring them to town are gonna do the right thing. So whether they're a rookie a player or a guy that's established himself in the league, I think it's the same process."
- On if his contingency plans include a shortened training camp and a shortened season: "(We're) getting ready for everything with the idea that we're gonna come back and get ready to go with training camp. The amount of days we have, we're gonna use them and get this team ready to go."
- On how antsy he is to start coaching again: "I'm very ready. I would say probably everybody in the league is ready to get going. We'll just see when we get the start date."
- On if furloughs and paycuts are part of the Browns' lockout plans: "To the best of my knowledge, it isn't. I'll tell you what, the Cleveland Browns are a terrific organization to work for. I feel like we have it structured in a very, very great way. So at this point, you would have to talk to (President) Mike (Holmgren) about that. But for the most part, I think it's business as usual."
- On if he thought the labor dispute would have been settled by now: "I didn't know what to think, so I'm just reacting. I think that's part of playing football and that's part of what makes this a great game. The variables change and things change and so you do what you can, (rely) on your experiences and get ready to go and adjust to what happens."
- On if he would like the Browns' players to hold full-squad workouts during the lockout: "I only know what I read because we haven't had any contact with the players, so that may be happening. You folks would probably know that better than I do. But I have read reports that we have guys and groups of guys getting together, and I think that's terrific."
- On his thoughts about Burress: "I gotta stay away from talking about free-agent players."
- On the brief filed by NFL Coaches Association that supports the players in the labor dispute: "Well, I obviously didn't know about it. I've spoken to a couple of our coaches who didn't know about it as well. That's about all I can say."
- On if coaches feel it's important to stay neutral as the owners and players engage in a labor battle: "I don't really know much about the situation, so it really wouldn't be fair for me to comment on that."
- On if he got to know any of the Browns' players well before the lockout: "Before the lockout, I had an opportunity to talk to and visit with a lot of the guys on the team. And then we had that little, brief window there where we could get on the phone, and I called a few more that I hadn't talked to. So I tried to use the time that we had available well. And so for some of the guys I haven't spoke to, we did make an effort to talk to more. We're just gonna have to wait and see when this thing's over, so we can get back to normal communication."
- On if watching film can give him all the information he needs about his players: "We've obviously had an opportunity to watch every snap of every game from last year. I feel like based on the film, you can see a lot about what a guy is all about. I was fortunate enough to keep some of the coaches on staff that were here a year ago who have some intimate knowledge of the guys that were on the team. We've done the best we can from that standpoint. Once we get a chance to see them really out there running around and competing, that will finish out the evaluation."
- On how he feels about McCoy after studying so much film: "He played some good games last year. I think the key is to see him do it once or twice, and then we need to search for the consistency where he can do it week in and week out. I think that's what you're looking for. You always want to see somebody do it once, then you want to see him do it again. You want to see him do it over the course of a month and then a season."
- On if the West Coast offense suits McCoy better than the offense the Browns used last season: "I don't know. I find it hard to compare offensive systems because it's unfair for me. I don't know exactly what he was being told a year ago. I do know that he has the skill set to be a very effective quarterback in our system, so that's how I'm gonna approach it."
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