Shurmur press conf. transcript - 12/9

Posted Dec 9, 2012

The transcript of Coach Pat Shurmur's postgame press conference.


(Opening statement)- “Phil Taylor, you saw him in and out of the game with an ankle (injury), and then JMJ (James-Michael Johnson) left, he just get a thigh bruise. They both went back in the game and played. That was good. On the injury front, once again, we’ve been very fortunate in a physical ball game. I felt like that was an AFC North style game because I knew it was going to be physical. They’re a very talented team, and we found a way to do some good thing against a team I’ve got a lot of respect for. When I talk about the good things, first I want to start on special teams. You’ve heard me stand up here for more of the year and talk about how most of these guys have contributed in a positive way to whatever our efforts were. Today we had a chance to finish the deal with some big returns. This was a landmark day for Phil Dawson, of course, with the 300 [career field goals]. Phil was nervous about it quite frankly. He said, ‘Gosh, every time I’ve had one of these games, it hasn’t worked out.’ I said, ‘Just don’t worry about it. It’s going to be okay’ There was some really good stuff that happened on special teams. We made a difference by scoring points. I think that’s important. Of course, we start the game with a play; we spot them an 80-yard touchdown run, but they did a nice job. The resiliency of our team, we’ve seen it happen before, showed up again. I give them credit. On defense I think we did some good stuff. (Tashaun) Gipson had the interception, we had some tipped balls and we had some other opportunities. Basically, I’ve said it before; it’s about scoring points and not allowing points. After the first play of the game, it was an outstanding effort on defense. I’m proud of those guys. Dick (Jauron) and the coaches do an outstanding job of inspiring our guys to play and our guys played hard. For us to have that success, I think was great. On an offensive side, I thought it was kind of one of those down and dirty games. I kind of figured it would be. I am so upset with myself though for not giving (Montario) Hardesty that opportunity to score there. I’m pissed at myself for doing that. There was nothing to it, it just happened. Montario, as you could see, earned the right to carry the football, which he did. He did a good job for us. I trust him in every situation. The people that write about him and follow him ought to be proud of his efforts this year. He’s done an outstanding job. I just wanted to get that out there. Otherwise, we had contributions from a lot of guys. We did some fun stuff, handed the ball to certain guys. We could have lost the game maybe, and we saw two wildcat plays that were like ‘What the hell?’ Anyways, we did some fun stuff, and it worked out. I’m just happy for our guys that they have a chance once again to enjoy victory. That’s where we’re at.”

(On the strategy of the punt return for a touchdown)- “Chris Tabor (Special Teams Coordinator) did a nice job. We messed around with the coverage on the gunners, which caused the gunner to come in and then we replaced the returner. We did a good job and they executed it well.”

(On what kind of lift there was with Travis Benjamin’s touchdown)- “It was a huge lift. It puts us ahead in a game. We just took an 80-yard punch for  a touchdown. That was a punch in the gut. To get a play like that to put you back on top, is something that you always hope for in a game.”

(On if he’s run that play before)- “We’ve practiced it a bunch. I think that’s probably the first time we’ve seen it. There were all kinds of trickery. You saw they tried to go the lonesome pole cat before they kicked their field goal. I don’t know if you noticed. Did you guys notice that? They put a receiver out on their boundary trying to trick us to not cover him. We had practiced that. We covered him which then we took a penalty. I worked with (Tom) McMahon at St. Louis and Tabes (Chris Tabor) and the special teams guys have this kind of weird little thing they do going after each other. It happens. It’s kind of a game within a game. We have things happen to us, and I think Tabes did a good job.”

(On winning pretty handily and the development of this team taking a step in the right direction)- “I think it’s just what happened today. Again, it’s talking about the team. It was a team win. When you have all three phases of the game kind of compete, you find a way to make enough plays. That’s just the way it works. Then it happens that way.”

(On why he chose to run the Wildcat today)- “We just thought it’d be fun. I don’t know. We got a three yard gain, and we almost scored. I called them the :tackled on the one crowd.” I just went through there and it was Josh Cribbs, and Greg Little and Josh Gordon, so they became the “tackled on the one crowd.” They all had their shots. I’m sure they’re going to try to let that nickname go away.”

(On using Greg Little in Wildcat)- “Well, he was a running back in college.”

(On if that’s the reason they used Little at Wildcat)- “That’s part of it.  We tossed him the ball a few times last year.  We just felt like it was something that might have an effect.”

(On Benjamin Watson fighting and breaking up a potential interception by Eric Berry in the third quarter)- “Yeah, we obviously don’t want to throw interceptions.  We tell all of our receivers and we practice it, if the ball is put in a position where you can’t catch it, and the receiver is in different position, then they have to defend it.  You’ve got to become a defender and get the ball out.  Anytime a ball is thrown in a position that is not advantageous for the offense we expect the receiver to become defensive players and get it out.”

(On the Browns’ first three-game win streak since 2009 and if he was confident this was coming)- “I sit in here before the game and I’m always confident we’re going to go out and win.  That’s just the way I am.  I’m happy for our guys that we’re finding a way to do it now.  I’m going to spend time adding all this stuff up at the end.  I’m just happy for our guys and our coaches.  I knew there was going to be some tough days.  I knew two years ago when I got here there were going to be some tough days.  Fortunately, in the last few weeks we found a way to have some good stuff happen.”

(On if he feels the momentum building with each week)- “I think once you see something happen over and over then of course it’s easier for me to stand there in front of the team and say, ‘You know what guys, we can do this.’ It’s an easier sell.  Even though I believe it when it’s not happening, or you’re getting to the point where you need to have it happen consistently, once they feel it then they get it right in their minds then they have a better chance to do it.”

(On if he intended to use all the trick plays he practiced or if it was more situational)- “Well, you weren’t in here earlier (Tony Grossi).  That Wildcat play was Wildcat right, Tony left (joking).  You missed it.  We have those types of plays in most of the time it just so happened it came in bunches today and we got them called in the right situation.”

(On if Travis Benjamin will be used more often on punt returns)- “Travis of course was in the back position.  Yeah, he’s a returner for us and we have Josh (Cribbs) in there of course.  So we got to make the call on that.  He’s a guy that’s practiced at returner and we’ll see him in there as time goes on.”

(On Trent Richardson’s ability to get in the end zone a lot this year)- “I made that joke about the tackle on the one crowd because they’re laughing about it, but Trent, when you have a running back that has a nose for the goal line then you want him to have his opportunities and I think he does.  Now, there was some big boy blocking going on out there, too, because they were packed in there pretty tight and found a way to get it in.”

(On if the offensive line has developed more toughness)- “No, I wouldn’t go there.  I think they’ve always been tough and they’ve always worked well together.  We’re just doing it all better in terms of how we’re calling it and how we’re executing.  Not a toughness thing.  Absolutely not.”

(On having fun on offense and if he’s confident they can do it some more)- “What do you mean fun?  All the trick plays?  I don’t know.  We’ll see.”

(On so many close games this season and to have a game where it doesn’t come down to the last two minutes)- “A little bit.  I’m not used to that math (joking).  We were up three scores and I said, ‘really?’  No, I’m teasing.  I’m just happy.  It’s good to finish games in a different way sometimes.”

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