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Shurmur press conf. transcript - 12/24

Posted Dec 24, 2012

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

Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur Press Conference 12-24-12

(Opening Statement)- “Going back on the game, of course, that was a disappointing loss. I’m not discouraged. It was disappointing. It was 14-3 at halftime. We knew we had to score touchdowns to keep up with them, because they’ve got a ball control offense and they score lots of points. It was 14-3 at half, we came out took the first drive the second half, went 14-6. However we got to that point, we were within one score. After that of course, it got stretched out on us. I’ll go back to it; we’ve got to learn how to finish. We played an outstanding football team. I think that’s pretty obvious watching them play. They played extremely well. They threw one interception, and then they exposed themselves to a couple turnovers on muffed punts. Other than that, they took care of the football pretty well. They ball controlled it and got points. When we did turn it over on the muffed punt ourselves, then they got points. We got beat by a good football team, had even more young guys out there playing, which I’m sure we can talk about. It was a good opportunity for a lot of young players to be out there battling, and you can see we’ve got a long way to go.”

(On the status of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden)- “We’re evaluating. We got banged up a little bit, so we’re still evaluating those injuries. In the case of Trent, it involved his ankle. The x-rays didn’t show a break, but we haven’t finished up the evaluation. He was actually feeling better today, so we’ll see how that goes. Brandon, it was his right shoulder. At this point, it’s a sprain, so we’ll just see where that goes.”

(On if he would rule them out for Sunday)- “Either one of them no. I wouldn’t rule them out yet.”

(On why they left Richardson in the game at the end before his injury occurred)- “That’s good that you bring that up. Joe Thomas was in there, Alex Mack. We were down to, obviously Brandon was out of the game, Colt’s (McCoy) in the game. Somebody’s got to try to tell me who our good players are and who they aren’t. We were in there trying to win a football game. That’s why we did it. Trent was in and out of the game pretty consistently.”

(On why would they play Richardson against Pittsburgh with the injuries he has sustained)- “I want to see if he can come back and play. I think it’s important that if guys are physically able to play, they play. I think that’s the competitive nature of this game.”

(On why they passed more instead of running the ball at the end of the game)- “You just run the ball and get out of there, and warm up the busses? We were trying to do what we can to move the football. At that time, it was a three score game. Typically that means throw it. You don’t want anybody to get hurt. Nobody wants to be hurt in a game like that, but I think it’s important that we try to do what we have to do to win the game.”

(On why would they risk Colt McCoy getting hurt by passing more with Weeden already out of the game)- “I get it. So, what are we going to do? Stop playing? You could run the ball, and then your running backs get hurt as well.”

(On possibly allowing Denver’s defense to disregard the run based on the amount of passing that occurred)- “I think what you do each week, is you see where you’re at and you get ready to play the next one. I understand where you’re going with all of this. I don’t want any of our guys to get hurt. Anybody that’s on the field is exposed to injury. That’s the reality of this business, unfortunately. You don’t want guys to get hurt.”

(On McCoy saying that he threw a couple passes into the dirt on purpose to give the guys a break)- “I haven’t seen Colt today. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. I guess I didn’t listen to it that way. It’s not bad to throw the ball away if it’s deemed necessary. I’ll have to get more information on those comments before I can comment.”

(On if Sheldon Brown came back with the team)- “Yeah. Sheldon’s here.”

(On if John Greco hurt his hand)- “His thumb, yeah. He’ll be okay.”

(On why he deferred after winning the coin toss)- “I like having the ability to get the ball in the second half. I trust our defense. I knew we were going to get good field position. I trust our defense. That’s why. I just chose to do that.”

(On if it matters to him who the quarterback is)- “I think it’s important. I think they are a good football team. They are a good football team on offense and defense. I trust our units. In that situation, you never know how the end of the game is going to be. We deferred, they got the football. Unfortunately, they went down and scored. We got the ball, went down and scored as well, but we got three instead of seven. In the second half, we took the ball. They actually chose to take the wind in the third quarter, which in the fourth quarter then would have given us the wind. Unfortunately, the score stretched out and we lost. There are reasons why that can help you.”

(On if that’s as good as he’s seen Richardson run the ball recently)- “I thought he ran the ball well. He had a couple of runs where they could have been lost yardage plays and he made nice gains out of it. I thought he ran the ball well. Of course, you’d love to have him involved running it throughout. When you get into a two-minute drill and you’re down by three scores, the game changes.”

(On the hit that resulted in Sheldon Brown’s injury)- “Third down situations, sometimes obvious man situations, you try to rub routes, they are not picks, they are rubs. Sometimes there’s contact like that. I don’t think anybody was trying to hurt anybody.”

(On if the hit looked more excessive)- “No, properly called a foul, but I don’t think anybody was trying to hurt somebody.”

(On how close he is to being where he wants the team to be)- “We played against a playoff team that was quarterbacked by a Hall of Fame quarterback. Middle of the third quarter it was 14-6. Then it kind of got away from us. Those are the things that I look at as we go. I saw a lot of guys playing hard. We were ready to play the game. Again, we played against a good football team that played well. We didn’t do enough things to win it.”

(On if Buster Skrine lacks confidence with the penalties called against him)- “No, he challenges. I think Buster’s penalties are aggressive penalties. He challenges, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, there are times when you get called. Buster is a tough guy that loves to play the game and he challenges. He’s learning a lot. Every time he’s on the field, I think he learns a lot and he’s getting better. I think that’s what’s important.”

(On if he talked to Joshua Cribbs about his tweet)- “I did. Of course that’s not acceptable. We had a little conversation about why I don’t like that and how he shouldn’t do that. I think he’s remorseful. I added to that, that he shouldn’t be reading tweets after the game as well. I think, outside looking in on a locker room, you folks report on it, but emotions are raw when you don’t win a game. I think he understands that. It’s very important that you try to gather yourself and gain composure. We’re all competitive people. It’s also important that we use good judgment. I think part of using good judgment is don’t read that stuff, just don’t, because that won’t infuriate you more.”

(On how he found out about Cribbs’ tweet)- “I was informed. There are people around here that are, and that’s something that I needed to know of course.”

(On if Cribbs was fined for the tweet)- “Again, anything that happens I wouldn’t comment on. There are league issues and there are team issues. That’s a team issue.”

(On if he senses that the momentum has dissipated after the Washington loss)- “That’s what winning does. We all know the fun in this business is winning. That’s the emotion that’s created when you win. Unfortunately, we have meetings like this when you don’t win. I think the big thing is we just keep moving, and put the pieces back together here and get a team ready to go play Pittsburgh. That’s what we have left.”

(On where his team is overall with one game remaining)- “I think we’ve made as a team, I’m talking about the way we function, the players that we’ve added, and the young players. I feel like we’re much improved from a year ago. The Washington Redskins, we were 14-10 at halftime. Against the Denver Broncos here, we were down 14-3, took the first series of the second half, score, and went 14-6. Then it got away from us in both situations. Then okay, where do you start? You start talking about finishing and all those things. Maybe that’s what comes with these guys having a little more experience, add a few more players. Everybody functions a little bit better together than you need to be. There are a lot of years around here where I don’t know what it was, but I do think that we’re building a team that’s relevant. You have to be relevant before you can be a playoff team. Then once you’re in the playoffs, then anything can happen. We’ve seen that. It’s somewhat of a journey. That’s just the way it is. We’ve had to make this journey, this year with change and looming change. That’s what you push through. What I as a coach look at, is these individual players that are getting better, how they are working together, how guys are fighting through injury. When we do have injury, next man up, he gets an opportunity; we see what he can do as we move forward. Those types of things. I mentioned it last week; we’re one of the 20 teams that are not in the playoffs. We are one of 20, where you want to be one of 12, because we’ve see where last seeds have won Super Bowls and all that. Unfortunately, we’re one of the 20 and so as we push through this now, we’ve got to keep making decisions based on making this team better. Unfortunately that involves change too.”

(On how Weeden was playing before he got injured)- “I thought he was playing a pretty efficient game. He got sacked once in the big red zone prior to Phil (Dawson). He was getting rid of the football against a pretty good rush. Of course, when he got hit, it was actually a hot throw. We’ve got to get rid of the football there. They forced us where they brought one extra. For the most part, I thought he was pretty good with his throws. There was one off the mark a little bit, the one hopper.”

(On the throw to Josh Gordon)- “It was a slant route. I would say that, that probably wasn’t his best decision. For the most part, aside from the fact that we kicked field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, he was playing much better than he did the week before. I’ll give you that.”

(On how McCoy played overall)- “I think Colt battled. That’s not an ideal situation at the end of the game. You’re in a two-minute drill, he scrambled. The two point play was a quarterback draw, we had a mobile quarterback in there. We actually had what we were looking for. We’ve just got to find a little better crease for it. I thought he battled. It’s a difficult situation when you go into a game as a backup, especially at the end of the game where you’re trying to play fast and you’re in the two-minute drill.”

(On being more aggressive in the red zone)- “I think what happens and I don’t know if you’re referring to any specific plays from yesterday, but we had plays with routes in the end zone, and they played a soft four deep look. They forced us to check the ball down. I think there are times when we’ve been very aggressive. Yesterday, of course, we got down there once and we had to kick a field goal. We got stopped in the big red area and the last drive we scored. That was good. We threw the ball in the end zone and scored. I think when you say that, my thought is, ‘Okay, what situations?’ You want to be aggressive. You want to have a touchdown to check down mentality, but if they take away the touchdown throws, you’ve got to throw it, catch it and run it in. That’s the way it works.”

(On if there’s anything they can do as a team to be more aggressive)- “You’ve got to stay balanced. Each team you play has a little bit different philosophy of how they want to play you. Pittsburgh Steelers, they don’t want you to run the ball into the end zone. This team here did not want you to throw it into the end zone, by the way they played for the most part. How you attack it changes a little bit.”

(On what a win against the Steelers would do for their confidence in the offseason)- “We all know how important the rivalry is with the Steelers. Yeah, it would be a big deal. Last year, last game of the year, correct me if I’m wrong, but we were throwing a Hail Mary for the win on the last play of the game. We actually had guys in the position to make the play, unfortunately we didn’t. That would have been fun for that day of course as we moved into the offseason, because unfortunately we were one of the 20 last year that wasn’t in the playoffs.”

(On the line sliding left on the play that Weeden was injured)- “They extra guy caught us from the right side. The balls got to get out. To that point, though, he hadn’t really taken many hits.”

(On the Broncos defense bringing pressure)- “It wasn’t a slide, it was a base protection.”

(On if he’s seen steady progress before the last two games)- “I think, you’ve got to look at the season in its entirety. Unfortunately you win and lose games, and we’ve lost two. There was a period there that we won three in a row. We’re working a lot of young players that in my opinion are going to provide a great foundation for this team. You’ve got to start somewhere. As I mentioned, we believe in basically getting those players from the draft and you supplement it of course with free agency. Those are the things you look for.”

(On if there is something he can pin point in regards to the defense giving up a lot of points)- “I think they are very well-coordinated and they are a team that scores a lot of points. On defense early in the game, there were not a lot of sacks, not a lot of craziness. Then as the game gets stretched out, and it gets to be two and three scores, then they can be a little bit more heroic with what they do. It’s more of a pass first type of situation. They keep the pressure on you because they do a good job of controlling the football and getting points. It’s a well-coordinated operation; they’ve got two edge rushers that are very good. They’ve got a very well-coordinated, good team. That was the case last year, and they played winning football. Now I think with the addition of Peyton Manning and the way they play offense, its ball control in terms of how they operate. On the other side of the ball, and this was the case when Peyton was in Indy, you have to be perfect and not make mistakes. That’s why I say it’s coordinated.”

(On how much did injuries play into the secondary struggling)- “Those are excuses. The next guy up has to play well. That’s it. I wish there was more there for you, but that’s what it is.”

(On if he thinks he’s further up on the pecking order of non-playoff teams than last year)- “I believe that we’re a better football team, more ready to make the next jump than we were last year. I believe that just by the way I see the team functioning.”

(On Richardson having ankle issues in high school being more concerning with the injury now)- “We’re going to evaluate him as we go. Again, like I said, I haven’t ruled him out, but we’ll have to see where he’s at as we move forward. We’re going to do what we can to win this football game, but we obviously are going to consider their health. I don’t want any of them to get hurt. As you’re playing games, unfortunately, things happen. I go back to the Patriots, their tight end got hurt on a field goal. It’s an unintended deal. You don’t want your guys to get hurt. I think all our players are good. If they are up and in there playing, they play.”