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Shurmur looks ahead to Raiders

Posted Nov 26, 2012

Following Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur is looking ahead to this week’s road game against the Oakland Raiders.

The Cleveland Browns earned a 20-14 victory over their chief AFC North Division rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the team’s first since Dec. 10, 2009.

But when the coaches returned to Berea on Monday morning, the focus had shifted to this week.

After going through the corrections from the win over the Steelers, coach Pat Shurmur and his staff began their preparations for this Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum.

“I’m truly happy for our players; I’m happy for our coaches,” Shurmur said. “We’ve got to find a way to win division games at home. That’s the big picture, winning division games at home and the challenge this week is to go on the road and win two in a row. Each week presents a new challenge.

“We’re all aware of the rivalry with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. We haven’t done very well against them in recent years and so, there’s maybe a little bit added there. We’re fast approaching our preparation and guys are working on playing the Oakland Raiders. Although that may sound a little crazy, that’s how we, as coaches, approach it.”

Part of the task for the coaches now lies in repeating the process they had during Steelers week leading up to game day against Oakland.

“When you beat a fine opponent and however you do it, and it’s a physical contest like that, then, you develop the confidence that you can do it again,” Shurmur said. “Now, the challenge is to be consistent and that will be the challenge for this week, to get back to work here and get ready to play the next team.”

The Browns forced the Steelers into eight turnovers -- five lost fumbles and three interceptions -- which was Cleveland’s best total since they registered eight in a 51-0 win against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, 1989.

They also held a team that averaged 106.8 rushing yards over its first 10 games to just 49 yards on the ground, an average of 2.5 yards over 20 carries.

The Browns also had touchdowns from tight end Jordan Cameron on a five-yard pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden in the second quarter and Trent Richardson’s 15-yard scoring run in the third.

“I felt like our guys fought and it wasn’t always pretty, but we did what we had to do to win,” Shurmur said. “Once again, I thought special teams contributed positively to what was a winning performance. I’m looking forward to the preparation as we get ready to play the Raiders.

“At field level against the Steelers, that’s a big man’s game. It’s a physical game. I’ve got a lot of guys that are sore and I’m sure the Steelers are the same way. That’s real football and I was proud of our guys for how they battled throughout.”

HEALTH UP FRONT

In the two games that defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor have played next to each other, the Browns registered seven sacks against Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and eight turnovers against the Steelers.

Rubin made two tackles and forced one fumble against the Steelers and had a sack against the Cowboys. Taylor registered a sack on Pittsburgh quarterback Charlie Batch and recovered one of the five fumbles lost by the Steelers Sunday.

“It’s like baseball; you need to strong up the middle,” Shurmur said. “When you have two big, sturdy guys in there that can play the run on first and second down and that can get push when it’s time to throw the football, I think that definitely helps.”

Shurmur feels that Rubin and Taylor can help set a tempo for the rest of the Browns’ defense.

“Now, we have more defensive linemen that are healthy, and when you have that, it all starts up front,” Shurmur said. “Then, we had Joe Haden back in the lineup. We had some young players in the middle at the safety position and linebacker position that are getting more time and getting more comfortable playing the game. Based on what I saw earlier in the year, I see things coming together.”

TEAM DEFENSE

In 2011, the Browns collected nine interceptions and recovered 11 of their opponents’ 20 fumbles. Through 11 games this season, the defense has intercepted 13 passes and recovered 12 of 19 fumbles by the opposition.

“Each turnover is a different story, but we went into the year saying, if we just caught the ball better offensively and defensively, we’d have more completions and interceptions and we’ve done that from a defensive perspective,” Shurmur said. “Of course, if you do a better job of addressing your gap and defeating your blocks and all the things you’ve got to do in the run game, then, in theory, you have more guys around the football, so, if you knock the ball off them, you can recover more fumbles.”

INJURY UPDATE

Weeden left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with what was reported as a “head injury” and later, confirmed to be a concussion. Currently, Weeden is “going through the process” of being cleared to return to the field, according to Shurmur.

“Each player is different and I’ll know way more about this Wednesday when we start practicing,” Shurmur said. “Each situation, this time of year, is different. There are guys that can practice throughout the week and really, still not be ready to go. Then, there are guys that do very little early in the week, a little in the end and are ready to go. We’ll just have to see.”

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