Shurmur press conf. transcript - 12/3

Posted Dec 3, 2012

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

Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur Press Conference 12-3-12

(Opening Statement)- “Going back on the game yesterday, I think for the second week in a row, we found a way to win a game that was hard fought. Each game, you find a way to either win the game or lose the game. I’m happy for our guys. There were some significant things that happened. I’ll start on defense first. I thought we were opportunistic on defense. I thought for the most part we controlled the running game, which was important. They went into a kind of no-huddle phase where they kind of picked away at us a little bit, but then you saw there at the end of the game Sheldon Brown had an interception. I think that helped spark us to finish the game, which was outstanding. Sheldon, for the most part, I thought played extremely well. For the most part on defense, when you limit scoring like we did, forget yardage, forget all that stuff, when you limit scoring in the meat of the game there, I think that’s the most important thing and we got turnovers. I thought we did a nice job with penalties. We only had two penalties. We had a holding call and then of course we had the one on special teams when Buster (Skrine) ran into the returner. It was an aggressive play. I thought that was good. On special teams we wanted to be perfect in field goals. That’s no longer there for us. We got a little bit of a push there. We were kicking in a sloppy area and there’s no excuse for any of it, but they got a little push, we couldn’t dig in quite as well as we’re used to doing and they made a play. They made a play on us. There’s not much there other than that. In terms of the offense, I think we had the most yards we’ve had in a long time. The two interceptions, of course you’d like to have those back. We got good production from eight receivers, which was good. [There were] no drops to speak of which was good. I thought Trent Richardson had a steady game as a runner and then we saw the little spark that (Montario) Hardesty gave us by bringing him in the football game. We had guys doing things that were good. Then of course, a lot of conversation about the last 94-yard drive, which was great. In that drive Brandon (Weeden) was five for six. We ran the ball effectively. At the end of the game there, by putting the ball in the end zone it creates a two-score game, which just absolutely changes it for the opponent. I think that was important. Had we kicked a field goal, we all know the numbers, it would have been six. Then all our hearts would have been going like this (hits chest). I think that’s an important thing. That’s a lot. That’s usually more than I say, but I’m happy that our guys found a way to win. I’m proud of our coaches and players for understanding the opportunity to go out there and win a second game in a row, do it on the road against a tough opponent in my opinion. I think you’ve got to quit looking at records when you talk about who’s good and who’s bad. Anybody can win each weekend in the NFL. Now the challenge will be to get back into the process and get ready to play the Chiefs.”

(On what he hopes the 94-yard drive does for the offense’s confidence)- “Anytime you do something once, then you become confident that you can do it again. If you’re not getting that part done, then of course you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop or we’re going to screw something up, all that stuff. You get beyond it by doing it and I think that’s where the confidence comes in. Hopefully we can repeat it as we move forward.”

(On if he thinks this team has turned the corner in the last couple weeks)- “I don’t know about turning the corner. That’s a good question. What I do know is we beat a quality opponent at home last week and we went on the road and won a game on the road. Now, what we’ve got to do is try to build on that. I think for the most part, we’ve got a pretty healthy team and we’ve got a lot of young players that are getting better. I’ve mention this throughout the year, when you’re working with young players and only time will tell how good they can be, you see guys improve. I think that’s a good thing.”

(On if the team has grown up the last two weeks)- “I think so. We know this is a winning business, and we found a way to win two football games. We’re growing.”

(On what young players come to mind that have made big improvements)- “You’d have to zero me in because we have so many playing. Let’s call it for what it is. We’ve talked frequently about our young defensive linemen, the linebacking corps and the secondary. Tashaun Gipson played his most snaps of the year and played a pretty fine game at free safety, which was good. He stepped in with Usama Young not being able to get in the game and had an opportunity to play quite a bit. On offense, we see Josh Gordon going. When you don’t talk about Mitchell Schwartz that means he’s doing good stuff. Even though he’s a second-year guy, Greg Little, he’s a tough man and he rattles around. On Mo’s (Mohamed Massaquoi) 54-yard catch, he made an outstanding block that he got poked in the eye and then we had to take a timeout. We were going to throw him the ball on the next one and he was kind of on the sideline getting care. Greg is a tough, physical guy. He’s found a way to catch the ball consistently. There are a lot of guys that are contributing, (Johnson) Bademosi on special teams.”

(On if it takes pressure off of Little now that Josh Gordon is emerging)- “I don’t know about that. I think you’ve got two guys there that really love playing the game. I think their roles have been established so to speak, of how we use them. What you notice now is we don’t have as much of a rotation and the flopping going on at the receiver position because we’ve kind of established who our guys are as we move forward here. You’ve got Josh in the game most of the time. You’ve got Greg Little in the game most of the time. Then, we kind of get the third and fourth guys in there with (Travis) Benjamin and Mo. As roles get established, then they tend to play better and I think that’s what we’re getting.”

(On if he feels a personal vindication as the team grows)- “I don’t take this personal. I really don’t. I think that’s a good question. My concerns are always for our team and our coaches as we move forward. I really believe in this group that we have. I really believe that this is the foundation of something that can be really good. Even though I say that and believe it, until we start winning football games, that’s what shows it. That’s really my concern. Some of the other stuff about me personally, what more can they say about me? Right? I mean really think about it. I don’t listen to it, but I’m told frequently about it. I think that’s where the thick skin part comes in.”

(On the job Tom Heckert has done with stocking the team with young talent)- “Tom knows personnel. I think it’s fair to say that. I can only compare my time here. Last year, our team looked a lot different than it does this year and we’re finding a way to improve. We’ve got some impact players on this football team now that we didn’t have two years ago. That’s a good thing.”

(On if he knew much about Josh Gordon before the Supplemental Draft)- “We knew of him. We had an idea that he was going to be available there.”

(On if he studied Gordon’s last season even though it’s Tom Heckert’s job to find players)- “Obviously that’s right in their wheel house, the people that do the personnel. We as coaches, we evaluate most all the players that would have an opportunity to be on our football team. Yeah, I knew about him.”

(On if Montario Hardesty would be put in the mix more because his burst when he’s one the field)- “I would say this, and I told this to Montario a couple of weeks ago. For him it’s not quantity, it’s quality. When he gets in there he’s had an impact on the football game. That’s his role at this point and I think he’s being a pro and handling it that way. I think he’s earned the right to carry the football some, and he does that. I think that’s good.”

(On the Chiefs winning after tragedy)- “In terms of the Chiefs, I can only imagine what Romeo (Crennel) and his staff and the players; I guess I don’t want to imagine what they went through there, but you can see what happens when a group of guys bind together for some reason. They played an outstanding football game and won. Again, I mentioned earlier, let’s not worry about records. When you play football games, everybody’s got a chance to win and I’m sure they’re going to come in here ready to play. We play these games on Sunday, but there’s some real life tragic stuff happening around us all the time. It’s very thought provoking and sad in some ways, but we have to keep moving forward and keep trying to do the right thing.”

(On how excited he gets when he thinks of the future of the receivers/tight ends)- “When you see young players doing things in this league, because you expect them to and you know that they’re not anywhere near how good they can be, then yeah, I think that’s good. I look forward to seeing these guys have good careers, very productive careers, hopefully all of them here in Cleveland.”

(On if he was surprised Oakland didn’t kick a field goal on the last drive)- “Like I said, I’m the last one to be critical of a coach and his decisions. I think when you look around the league, you see it in college ball, you see it in pro ball, you see things that get talked about on Monday that you say, ‘Wow, why did that happen?’ There are some coaches playing at all levels that do some things that you as sportswriters and people that report on it think is thought provoking. All I can tell you is, there are reasons why coaches do what they do. What are we going to do on Monday if you don’t talk about this stuff, right? I know what you’re saying, though, with two scores and what not.”

(On if he feels he’s improving as a coach)- “I think anytime you do something more and more, you get better at it or it becomes clearer. There are things I see better now. There are other things that come into this now. I know my coaches and players better, I understand how everybody on our team is going to respond in most situations. I think there are things that we are doing better, me included.”

(On if Josh Gordon was born with his natural talent or if it’s developed)- “He’s big and he’s fast and he can catch. Those are three things that let’s all assume he was born with, but all the rest of it needs to be developed. I think it’s a mixture of both. There’s no question. Then you’ve always got to determine what’s down in here (points to heart) and then what’s up in here (points to head), and how that all plays together. There’s a lot that goes into it because there’s a lot of big, strong, fast guys walking the streets that cannot play receiver in the NFL.”

(On Gordon’s development this year)- “I think it’s all running parallel for him. He came here not in shape. He came here not knowing the offense. He came here not knowing our quarterback. He came here not knowing the tempo of this game. All of that’s been developed parallel. I guess he came here not knowing what a real grind this is for a player that wants to make an impact. He’s making progress.”

(On why Sheldon Brown is still good at cornerback)- “He’s made impact plays for us. I think he gets opportunities. He’s had three interceptions here, all of which, we can check it, all of his interceptions ended with points for us. Against Pittsburgh he picked off the out route in front of our bench, in front of Plaxico (Burress) and then we got points. Of course this week, and then earlier in the season he did the same. He’s kind of a steady guy, what you tend to get from guys that are veteran players. They kind of know what their strengths and limitations are and they learn to play within the scheme. Behind all that, Sheldon’s a pro. He’s a true pro and I appreciate that too.”

(On if it was obvious to him that the Raiders were avoiding Joe Haden’s side of the field)- “I don’t know if it was obvious to me. I think it appeared that way at the end when we started talking about it and of course watching it today. That’s a question for their coaches, I think.”

(On if the team recorded the most yards after catch for the season yesterday)- “I think so. Mo’s (Mohamed Massaquoi) run was pretty good and I think we completed it for about what, 15 yards and then he got 54 out of it.”

(On why that part of the game was so successful yesterday and how important are is YAC in the west coast system)- “Catch and runs are important. Ben Watson, we have a lot of plays in our offense that involve shallow cross elements and that involves the tight ends quite a bit. Every receiver that plays on the field, somewhere in the game plan, has a shallow crossing route. I just believe in them. The accuracy of the throw is important and of course, what you do after you catch a four to six yard route. We do it quite a bit and our guys have learned how to do it and it’s important. We haven’t talked about it yet, but Brandon (Weeden) for the most part this year, Brandon has been able to throw the ball with not a whole lot of people around him. He got tagged a few times yesterday and he made some very important throws with people in his face I think, which was a good thing. Let’s not underestimate the whacks you take when you run those quarterback sneaks. I thought he, obviously, made progress yesterday. Aside from some of the fundamental things he did as a quarterback, he helped lead us to victory.”

(On the drop Josh Gordon had in Indianapolis and the way he reacted since then and what it says about him)- “I think every field opportunity he gets he works to improve. You get a chance to see him early in practice. He’s always out there doing that. I think he’s got tremendous skill and ability. Time will tell how good he can be and yeah, I’m impressed with the direction he’s going. I think it’s a good thing and there’s synergy. When you put a guy on the field who can make big plays and get in the end zone that’s when all of a sudden the guys sitting around playing defense say, ‘Well, okay how are we going to handle this?’ I’m not sure we had a lot of those guys running around here last year.”

(On the trend he is seeing here after winning four out of seven games)- “We’re moving forward with our eyes set on the next one. I think this is a ‘do what you can to win each weekend and then add them up at the end,’ but the fact that we are making improvements that are pointing toward winning. I felt us improving throughout the beginning of the season and we couldn’t get over the hump. Now we’re finding a way to get over the hump and I think that’s important.”

(On how Josh Gordon responded after he dropped the pass in Indianapolis that tells him about Gordon’s character)- “I think with him, though, he just kept working.”

(On Josh Gordon being sixth in the NFL in 20 yard receptions)- “It’s good. Yeah, that’s good for all of us. I think that’s important when you have guys that can make big plays. If you’re going to count on scoring lots of touchdowns and doing it in four yard chunks it makes for a long day. You’ve got to find a way to get big chunks and he, of course, has provided that for us.”

(On how much more field coverage is he getting from the defense and how much that has to do with increased speed and quickness and youth and so forth)- “I think tackling the runner, controlling the running game whatever it might be or tackling a short pass, that’s team defense. Typically that happens when you’re playing zone coverage where guys see the ball and see what’s happening and they get to where they’re supposed to be. That’s just team defense and playing our defense better when you have more guys around the football because everybody’s got a gap, everybody typically has to defeat a block and once that happens when the ball defines itself you go get the ball. I think our guys our just doing that all better.”

(On dominating on defense and getting the points to go with it)- “No, we left some meat on the bone. When we throw a red zone interception and when we’re running behind them and we throw an interception on the go-ball and then, of course, we had the field goal blocked. We left points out there, but we can learn from all that. I do think, and it’s a credit to the coaches and the players, I just think we’re functioning more efficiently. When you play offense you want to be efficient and explosive. So when you talk about 20 plays that’s explosive. When you talk about 4 runs and 60-some percent completion percentage, now you’re talking about efficiency. When you’re talking about not having many penalties that’s about efficiency and I think as a unit those guys are working better together and that just comes with time.”

(On if this is the best he’s felt about this team in two years)- “I feel good about where we’re going, we just have to keep going. It’s easy to let that momentum stop and that’s what I’m guarding against. I think our locker room understands that it’s important to jump right back in the process, and you’ll get tired of hearing me say that. As long as I’m here you’ll get tired of hearing me say jump back in the process because I think that’s most important. Initially for the season it’s 16 processes and how well you get that right because that, of course, gives you the best opportunity to be successful on Sunday and that’s when you want to be at your best.”

(On if the young players in the locker room understand that idea)- “Oh yeah, they understand the message. I just think that mentally and physically going through this over and over and over it can get a little bit tiring for them and that’s where the counsel comes in.”

(On if it feels good to know that Jimmy Haslam sees the progress the team is making)- “Yeah, it’s always good to hear good things, but I do know this, what’s important for me and it’s very narrow minded, is this next game, period. Whatever gets determined gets determined, but what I can control right now with this football team is what happens this week and that’s where my focus is.”

(On how he thought Brandon Weeden threw the ball yesterday)- “I think he had some really good third down throws and again, I think he made some pretty accurate throws with people in his face. Again, it wasn’t because they were free rushers, but they’re pretty good at getting push. They’re big, physical guys and even though we had a hat on some of them, we had a little bit of push, which then, as we know, can create inaccuracies for a quarterback. He did make some good tough throws from that respect and so that’s good.”

(On when he knew this year that Weeden could stand in the pocket and take shots and still deliver the ball)- “I felt like he could do it, but each week I’m looking for it. I’m looking for him to be able to do it.”

(On Weeden’s interception over the head of Ben Watson)- “He was running a middle read so it turned into a post route and the ball was high. The ball was thrown high.”

(On if he is confident that he will get a fair look at the end of the season and that there have been no decisions made to this point)- “Two things, number one I don’t want to talk about my future and number two, I’m trying to make this the best Monday of the year and I’m trying to get our team ready to play the Chiefs and then after that and so on and so forth. I don’t look at it that way. I really don’t. I’m not taking and half swings here. We’ll just play it out and see what happens.”

(On D’Qwell Jackson saying the team could win out and if that is a good thing to hear coming from his defensive captain)- “Yeah, when you win a game it develops a confident feeling. I think he’s mature enough to know that it takes going through this process and he’s one of the guys that helps me keep the guys going in the right direction.”

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