Shurmur press conf. transcript - 11/21

Posted Nov 21, 2011

The transcript of Coach Pat Shurmur's Monday afternoon press conference.

Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur press conference 11-21-11

(Opening statement) - “Alright, as we get started here.  Peyton Hillis once again will be out this week, (I’ll) just give you that right up front.  Injuries from the game, Owen Marecic sustained a concussion and we’ll see how he progresses this week. We obviously follow the guidelines and the standards returning from those injuries very strictly so we’ll see how he does.  I can’t tell you yet his availability for Sunday.  Quinton Spears has a hamstring injury and we’ll have to see how he does. It’s somewhat significant so we’ll have to see how he progresses through the week.  T.J. Ward will be out as well, as he recovers from his foot sprain, so we’ll know more as we go.  Other guys, based on what I see here unless someone becomes more or less sore, just game soreness. I feel like the rest of the guys will have a very good chance of being there on Sunday.”

“Not much to add to yesterday’s comments.  I felt like, starting on defense, we did what we had to do to do to get them stopped.  I felt like there were guys in there making plays.  We went up against Maurice Jones-Drew, who’s a terrific runner. I felt like we did a much better job of controlling the effect he had on the game, which as I talked about yesterday kind of opens up some other things, but you have to make a decision of what you want to stop. I thought we kept him from having a huge impact, although he did get some production. I think that’s important.  When you look at it, we eliminated a lot of scoring on their part, which is what you need to do.”

“On offense, we were generally pretty efficient.  I thought the offensive line did a nice job, they worked well together.  I think there were some guys in there that played their best games.  I think the tight ends got their production, they did well.  There were some things I saw from the receivers that I would mark as improvements and they got their production.  I’m kind of leaving the backs for last here, well second to last we’ll always talk about Colt (McCoy) of course.  Owen Marecic has been a steady performer the whole season and I thought he did some really, really good things.  A lot of what a fullback does goes unnoticed and I thought he did a very fine job. We’ll hopefully get him back soon.  Then, Chris Ogbonnaya, gosh, he had great production again, couple of long runs and he was a steady performer. I feel good for his performance and he really is holding it together until we get a couple of those guys back, I think that’s good.  Colt, a wise man told me it’s never as good or it’s never as bad as it seems after the game is played.  A good night’s sleep kind of changes your views.  I thought he did well, I thought he played well, but then as a coach you go back and look at every single play and there were a handful of plays in there that could have made the game better.  I thought he did a lot of good things. The nice thing is we won the game and so there are a few things in there that they are going over right now that will even make it a better performance if he gets it cleaned up.”

“The special teams competed and I think what you get from this team is they do play hard.  I would challenge anybody that says they don’t.  These guys battle, they’re all in and I’m really impressed with how they try to perform in a way that we ask. I think that’s what you want from a team and that’s what you build on.”

(On players bouncing back after making mistakes) - “I think you’re right and there’s a lot of good information within that question.  I feel like you’re exactly right.  You cannot throw the ball late over the middle and the throw was late. I think there were a couple other problems with that play. The route could have been better, but the important thing is through the course of the game the quarterback is going to have a bad play or two and that’s the ones we tend to focus on.  Now, when it happens within the game and there’s a lot of game left to play, how does he respond to that?  And I think that’s what you’re looking for and that’s the nature of the guy that we’re trying to evaluate, just like everyone else.  I thought he responded well.”

(On quarterbacks being like a tea bag and you don’t know what you’ve got till you put it in hot water) - “That’s a good analogy.  Yeah, and the water gets a little bit hot for us around here and he seems to respond.  I’m gaining a very strong appreciation for how tough he is and that really is the cornerstone of what makes a good football player.  All the other stuff we’ll either congratulate or debate and I think that’s part of it.”

(On if McCoy checked out fine medically) - “Yeah, Colt’s fine.”

(On if McCoy has a shoulder injury) - “He’s fine.  There’s nothing to add.  He got banged around a little bit and yeah, it was his shoulder, but he’s fine.  We didn’t go through any major evaluation of him so he’s fine.”

(On if there was no need to evaluate him) - “Don’t ask about the MRI, I don’t think he had one.  I don’t think he needs one.”

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi came out of the game okay after taking a big hit) - “Mo’s fine.  The ball, I think he caught a little out route on the right and it was a good catch.  He actually got hit, but it wasn’t necessarily in the head so he’s fine.”

(On how close Montario Hardesty was to playing yesterday) - “We felt like he was close.  I would probably approach this week much like we did last week. I’m hopeful and so as he goes through the week we’ll get him (going).  You have to be a little bit careful with this one, being it’s a calf on a runner.  For those of as that walk a calf injury might not be a big deal, but for a runner we’ve just got to make sure he right.”

(On how tough it is to deal with games coming down to one play) - “Well, I think that’s the reality.  I didn’t look it up, darn it, I was going to, how many games come down to the last drive and how many come down to the last play?  You watch the clips every week and my goodness its fourth-and-six and a drive to win the game and you get it or you don’t.  That’s just the reality of it. I think we just get used to dealing with that.”

(On if he thinks how different it would be today if Jacksonville score’s on the last play of the game) - “It would feel like last Monday (joking).  I’m well aware of how it would feel.  You always think of whatever we do in this profession you try to make the right decision and then you live with the consequences.  Unfortunately, once in a while you lose and we know how bad it feels and so that’s what you think about.”

(On his thoughts about the missed field goal) - “Yeah, he should, he’s the kicker and he put a good kick on it.  I’m not going to dispute it. I wanted to challenge it and had the ball tracked lower than the top of the flags I could have challenged it and I would have.  They reminded me that once it goes above the iron it’s nothing they can do.  Then, it’s just based on what they see.  There’s a guy standing right under the goal post. I believe Phil I really do, I believe Phil, like I trust our players, but they were in a good position to make the call.”

(On McCoy having two games in-a-row of 70% or better completion percentage) - “That’s good, that’s good.”

(On if McCoy is more comfortable with the offense) - “I think they’re getting more and more comfortable with each other, the receivers.  I think we had a good week of practice.  It’s important the timing and where they are going to be, getting used to seeing where they are going to be and being able to make those throws.  I think the practices have been good.  The guys that are in the game are being able to practice, so they get used to working together, which was good last week.  The practices were generally efficient, so you like to think that’s going to help Sunday’s performance.”

(On if he was frustrated by Ogbonnaya running out of bounds during his 40-yard run) - “Well, that was a very long gain and at that point, I wouldn’t say we were dead into four-minute yet.  We had changed the field there.  You instruct the quarterback, he’s in with 20 (seconds on play clock), makes the play call, out with 12 and then try to snap it as close to one (second) as possible.  At that point, it was such a long run and I was worried he pulled his hamstring.  My understanding is he didn’t.  The players are aware, when we’re in four-minute, which means we’re trying to move the ball, get first downs, stay in bounds, that is the one time when you’re killing clock when unless the guy is extremely wide open you can take a sack.  The situation that dictates that, then you want to stay in bounds.  At the end of the day, should he have probably stayed in bounds there? Probably, but at that point I didn’t tell them in the huddle yet it was four-minute.”

(On the possibility of Ogbonnaya becoming the featured back) - “I think you play the best players and the guys that have produced you put them on the field.  I think Chris has been very productive.  He’s done things for our team that will warrant him playing, at least some, when our other guys come back.  We’ll just see how it goes when they come back.  I’m not concerned about that.  That’s a good problem to have, when you have a line of guys that you feel good about.”

(On if he feels Hillis will come back this year) - “I’m hopeful that he will.  Based on how he’s rehabbing his hamstring I would anticipate that he’ll be back soon.  I can’t tell you yet exactly, that’s the thing.  Each guy is different.”

(On Joe Haden’s defensive pass interference on the last drive) - “I’m not going to dispute penalties.  There are a lot of things that happen during the game.  Quite frankly, during the game, whether you’re watching the monitor or a TV copy I don’t have that view of things and then the coach’s copy.  I haven’t watched the TV copy yet.  Joe is typically tight in coverage and there’s a lot of bumping and jostling going on.  Supposedly there was a PI (pass interference) on both sides.  That happens.  What you coach Joe to do is be aggressive and he understands the rules about when he can jam him and when he can’t.  You keep practicing that.”

(On the rotation at defensive end) - “There were just a couple of plays when Jabaal (Sheard) went.  Jayme (Mitchell) came in and we were using Jayme as a sub.  When they get into a situation we get a rotation that sometimes looks a little different than we plan, just getting guys in there, fresh bodies to rush.  There was no design. Jayme is playing on both sides.  I felt like (Emmanuel) Stephens did a good job.  Emmanuel did a good job on the right and then Jabaal on the left.”

(On if Stephens started because of Mitchell being a little banged up) - “No, it was a coach’s decision.  We started Emmanuel.”

(On if Stephens will be starting for the foreseeable future) - “Stephens is the starter.”

(On if he sneaked a Hail Mary in during the Jaguars’ last drive) - “No, I do the Hail Mary’s before the game and hope they last throughout.”

(On if there was any consideration to keeping the three points and not accepting the penalty) - “Nope. No consideration.  When we got the first down I said, ‘Offense you’re up.  Try to score touchdowns.’  We were in the red zone too weren’t we?  That’s right (jokingly).  In that situation, we wanted to push it forward because you have to trust the way you play.  Let’s say for instance, and I trust the fact we put the field goal team back out there, let’s say we go three and out.  We’ll go kick it again.  I’m trusting we got three points, now let’s try to get seven.  That’s that situation.  The situation last week at the end of the game, we’re talking about a little different scenario.  If we had not gotten points there, then we would all be talking about a different thing, but that’s part of it.”

(On the ability of McCoy to put two 85 yard drives together and the offense’s progress) - “I think long drives, that’s to be commended.  Let’s not forget though that this game is about scoring.  When you’ve got the ball they don’t.  You want to finish long drives with touchdowns hopefully.  What it does is it says that there were a lot of players doing a lot of things right.  I think that’s what you build on.”

(On if it’s helpful for the team to know who the main group of players will be early in the week during preparation) - “That’s a very good question and it is because the guys have to get used to working together.  We talk frequently about the O-line working together.  I think that’s important.  When you have the skill guys in there that are playing together I think you have a chance to be better on Sunday when they work together all week.  The reality of this league is we’ve got some guys with game soreness that may not do much on Wednesday and then you got to get them up to speed on Thursday.  Every once in a while a guy will only show up (practice) on Friday and then play Sunday.  That’s the challenge and I think as pro’s they find a way to make it work.  It’s always better when guys have a chance to work for a longer period of time together.  It always helps on Sunday.”

(On if he has noticed a change in McCoy the last couple weeks) - “That’s another good question and I would agree with what you are saying. I think there are some areas where he’s exerting himself more.  I thought starting the year that Colt was a rookie.  This is going into week 12 and I think he’s had the benefit of those other games he has played.  There are some areas where I see he’s getting it.  Then there are other areas where we’re still working.”

(On if the pinch nerve he suffered in his right shoulder in college affected him and if the trainers feel it is affecting him presently) - “I don’t know that.  He’s got a little bit of a sore shoulder.  I don’t know how it relates to his old injury.”

(On if McCoy will practice at all this week) - “Oh yeah.”

(On if he was told at any point yesterday that McCoy may not go back into the game) - “Joe (Sheehan) never came to me and said ‘Colt’s down.’ No.”

(On the offensive line’s performance) - “I felt like Shawn Lauvao did a nice job.  In our opinion I think he played his best game.  That’s one guy.  Tony Pashos played very hard.  I thought we had a good performance really out of all of them.  If I had to single one guy out, probably Shawn Lauvao.  Again, amongst the guys I thought they all played pretty well together.”

(On his approach to watching the last play of the game) - “No, I had to watch it.  Again, it was winner take all right there.  I said it last night, I have a lot of confidence in our defense and we made a nice play on it.  I was watching it.  The Hail Mary’s held up.”

(On if his confidence in the offense has grown the last two weeks) - “Yes, and I like to when it comes to timeouts.  There will be games when it doesn’t go this way.  If you have an opportunity to stop them with a reasonable amount of time, and a reasonable field position or starting point then you try to do that, so you can get a two minute drive.  That’s always what I’m thinking near the end of the half.  Initially during that drive if we use the timeouts right that we could do that.  That’s what we’re trying.  I think it’s just general philosophy.  I have confidence in our guys.  I don’t think it’s because we’re playing better or worse.  I just think that’s what you want to try to do.  If you can use them smartly it makes sense to use your timeouts if they can help you strategically, especially before the half.”

(On the importance of picking up blitz packages) - “I think it’s important.  Defenses can smell blood in the water.  If you’re a team that cannot block the blitz you are going to get it time and time again.  Teams blitz more or less depending on their scheme.  We are going to play a team this week that’s going to come after us, the Bengals.  We’re aware of that and then we try to call plays structured to attack that.  It’s very, very important to block the blitz.  If you don’t do it, and especially in a way that’s structured right, then you’ll continue to get pressure.”

(On starting Stephens over Mitchell) - “Coach’s choice, we felt like he played well the week before.  We felt like he warranted being the starter.  That’s it.”

(On if there is an issue with Mitchell against the run) - “Nope, no issue. Coach’s choice.”

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