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Shurmur press conf. transcript - 8/11

Posted Aug 11, 2011

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

Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur press conference 8-11-11

(Opening statement)- “Let me start with the injuries.  (Jabari) Fletcher again wasn’t out here with a knee sprain.  (Chris) Gocong again with a stinger.  (Montario) Hardesty, as you saw, there’s no change there. He’s working on the side.  (Mohamed) Massaquoi was out here in a boot.  He looks like he’s getting ready to go to a shoe soon and be moving around.  (Dominic) Alford was out in practice today in a limited basis.  You saw he left yesterday with a back injury.  In practice, Eric Hagg in the red-zone drill, kind of reached to make a play on a corner route and just fell on his knee.  There just having it evaluated.  I’m not sure what his status is yet.  As you saw, I took the pads off the players today.  They had three days in pads, about nine hours in pads in the last three days.  The idea of today’s practice and we have to do this for the season, there is a learning to curve to able get your work in in just helmets and spider pads.  We did a 9-on-7 drill, then we did quite a bit of team work with a red-zone move the ball, team and third downs.  The key to these practices, like every other one, is that they’re moving fast, which I thought they did.  You could tell they’re a little heavy legged from three straight days in pads.  Which is okay, that’s the way they should be at this time of year.  Now, they have a little bit of time to get their body’s back before we play Green Bay.  Normal afternoon schedule, we’ll have meetings and walk-through.  The focus will now shift to the Packers. We talked to the players, our intention is to play the ones for a quarter.  Keep in mind these preseason games are extremely important.  It’s important that we learn a lot about our team, the whole team.  Most teams approach it this way.  Whether you’re a guy that’s lined up as a first teamer, second teamer or guy fighting to make the team, every rep is valuable.  We take these games very seriously.  To start the year out against an opponent like the Super Bowl champs will be a good gauge.  We’ll try and play the ones roughly a quarter.  Then the twos will get in there for a couple of quarters.  Then the rest of the guys will play typically in the fourth quarter.  That’s generally how we’re going to do it. ”

(On Usama Young missing some of practice)- “He’s been working with a hamstring and he just felt it tighten up a little bit so it’s just precautionary.”

(On what questions he wants answered on Saturday)- “How good our team is.  That really is true.  You’re looking at a situation where 90 players and 20 coaches have gotten together for the first time for two weeks.  I want to see where we’re at as a team.  My sense is we’re going to find we have a long way to go.  Within the position groups, we want to see good competition. When I brought the team in initially I told them, make it as hard on us as we can to decide on who the 53 guys are going to be. I hope after a performance against another team that we have a lot of guys that show up and make plays.  That’s what we’re looking for.  There’s going to be a lot to see, a lot to evaluate and we’ll take it all in on Sunday.”

(On if a quarter is a little longer than the starters would play in a non-lockout year)- “No, it’s typical of the way I’m use too.”

(On Peyton Hillis)- “He’s an impressive guy.  He has a very physical presence.  Not only in his size, but the way he plays the game.  Very detailed.  He takes his job very seriously.  He’s very critical of himself if he makes mistakes and typically you don’t see an error repeat itself.  Those are all things that make him a fine player.”

(On Hillis in the west coast offense)- “He catches the ball well.  He’s a good runner.  When he’s asked to pass protect he’ll stick it up in there.  My opinion, he’s a three-dimensional back.”

(On Buster Skrine making good plays today against Greg Little)- “I’ll tell you what, he competes. He’s a scrappy, scrappy guy.  You see him flash.  I’ll tell you that’s another matchup that’s been good, is Greg Little and Buster.  Neither one is intimidated by the other and they get after each other. It’s been good.”

(On Skrine playing nickel with the number ones)- “Were just trying to get some of the guys a little bit freshened up for the game.  He’s a guy that can play the nickel so he jumped in there.”

(On working with Hillis on ball control)- “We always focus with all our ball carriers on balls security.  We have ways of talking about it with four points of pressure and anytime there’s a ball on the ground it’s a big point of emphasis to not have it happen.  Conversely, we teach stripping the ball and getting the ball out on defense.  Other than generally emphasizing it and you see Gary Brown do drill work.  That focuses on ball security. He is much like any other player.  We focus on it, we demand them to take care of the football and then throw them out there and let him play.”

(On what they are looking for from Richmond McGee)- “I think Punters in this league have to have the total game.  If we’re in a pooch punt situation, we’re trying to get inside the ten or there about.  If we’re out in the field, we want to kick a ball that’s down the field, but that’s coverable.  That’s what you’re looking for.  You don’t want shanks, you don’t want balls kicked right when you’re kicking it left.  You’re looking for the general execution and he has to get it off in a timely way.”

(On if McGee has been consistent during practice)- “Yes, I feel like he’s done a good job.”

(On if McGee will be the holder and if there are any other candidates to hold)- “At this point, he’s going to hold this week.  He’ll be the holder.”

(On if he thinks teams will try to block their kicks because of the new punter)- “We’re always prepared for teams coming after us.  There are a lot of teams in the league that are breaking in either new or rookie punters.  We’re always prepared for that.  They may come after us and they may not.”

(On how Benjamin Watson’s skill set fits into the west coast)- “He’s a two-dimensional tight end as well.  He’s a fine blocker and just watching his work last year, he’s displayed himself as a pretty fine pass receiver.  That’s a valuable guy.  He’s one of those guys that can play on all three downs.”

(On if they still need a veteran linebacker in free agency because they have so many undrafted free agent linebackers)- “I think we are trying to find the best players.  With the roster the way it is right now, we have some of those situations lined up and then at all positions we’re looking for the best players.  I don’t know if anybody’s roster is totally picked from only the guys on the field right now.  There’s a chance that there could be guys playing on other teams that might be here so we’ll see.”

(On how Phil Taylor’s been doing)- “Phil’s done a good job.  He’s in there battling.  There are a couple things that Phil’s getting use to.  The defense, the style of NFL football and he’s done a good job.  He’s a consistent performer in there, he’s a load as you know against the run and I thought he did some things today to generate a little bit of pass rush which I thought was good.  I’m pleased with his progress.”

(On Brandon Jackson’s contribution to the offense)- “He’s key guy for us.  You have to have more than one running back.  Nobody can do it alone at that position.  What he displayed last year, he started 13 games for the Super Bowl champs.  He had a major contribution for them in a system which I feel he is a scheme fit as well, because a lot of their terminology is similar to us.  He was able to get in here and get up to speed.  I love the way he practices.  He finishes all his runs.  Every time he touches the football it’s an opportunity to score.  You’ve all seen him. We all wish we looked that good. He’s a stocky and well-built guy.  He’s a good pass protector and I’m glad he’s here.”

(On if he’s worried there will be injuries because they haven’t had any hitting in practice)- “I disagree.  We’ve done a lot of hitting, we just haven’t tackled to the ground.  That would be the only difference in a scrimmage.  In every padded practice, all of our teams drills have been what we would call thud.  Its full speed the only difference is you don’t tackle the back.  From that standpoint, I feel like we’ve banged them.  Pretty typical of what I’ve seen in other training camps.  Some of the tackling things, cutting guys, we don’t cut in practice.  That’s got to get done if we are going to do it in a preseason game.  Our tacklers, our defenders, you practice your tackling at a full speed rate in the preseason games.  That’s what I’m expecting.”

(On Buster Skrine having four different coordinators in college and if he has a big jump to the NFL)- “I’ve watched him play quite a bit in college.  I don’t know what exactly they were trying to teach him.  I know there’s a lot more that happens at this level mentally.  He has to absorb much more than he did in college and go out there in perform.  There’s something about him that’s fun to be around because he’s very competitive.  One of the first days I looked out there he was in the back of the stretch line, way in the back.  I mentioned to him, ‘You sit back here all the time you ought to start pushing to the front of these lines.’  I came back the next day he was out here fighting to get stretched much closer to the front.  That’s his nature and I think that’s going to bode him well.”

(On the excitement of the first game)- “I’m very excited.  I’m trying not to show it, buts its down in there.  It’s fun.  I mentioned this when the team came back.  Coaching and playing is what we do.  For us this is very fun to go out there and compete and see how good we are and try to win a game.  That’s what motivates us.  You work with a bunch of players for a certain period of time.  You try to encourage them and empower them to do well and you want to go out there and see it happen.  That’s where the anticipation is.  I wouldn’t call it anxiety or being nervous.  You just want to go out and perform well and play these games to win them and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

(On the Packers running a 3-4 defense)- “We’ve been practicing.  If you look closely at our drill work there have been times throughout the camps that we’ve worked against the 3-4.  We’re preparing for it.”

(On if he is a headset thrower)- “There was a time in my life when I was very out of my mind and I’ve learned not to be.  There’s a lot going on.  I’ve had my moments, but I don’t go into a game planning on throwing a headset.  I think they’re expensive.”