Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media Wednesday morning. Some of the topics he talked about included praising Phil Dawson, saying whether he felt anything was wrong with Joe Thomas, who the team's fourth captain is this week, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic below.
Ahtyba Rubin Named the Fourth Captain for Giants Game
(Opening statement)- "As I start every Wednesday, this week’s game captain will be Ahtyba Rubin. It’s another good choice. He’s kind of a quiet, dependable guy, who leads by example although I’ll give you one little story. In the offseason, it was during an OTA practice, some new players came in and around their area after practice things got a little sloppy. As I was making my swing through the locker room later in the day, I saw on each person’s chair a printed off sheet that said, ‘Don’t be a pig, take care of your area,’ kind of a reminder to some of these guys. Well, my first reaction was it was Brad’s (Melland) crew that did it, the equipment guys. I came to find out it was Rubin that did that which it was a little thing, but he’s a guy that leads by example. He’s quiet and he thinks about things and he understands what’s important. In his mind it was important to give a few guys a reminder so I appreciate that about him. That’s one little thing that you can go with. Other than that I think he’s a very fine football player so it was a good choice. Other than that we’re getting ready to play the Giants and again we’ll get our team as good as we can be and then make every effort to go to New York and get our first victory. I think that’s what is most important."
(On if Ahtyba Rubin is kind of like a throwback player)- "I don’t know, I don’t know about throwback. That’s a better question for Doug Dieken back there. I will say, he’s the kind of guy as a coach you appreciate. I talked to the players today, it’s about finding 53 guys and 20- something odd coaches that are dependable. I think you can say that about him. He’s very dependable. He’s not late for anything, He busts his tail. He practices. He plays. He does all the things you want the other players that are maybe struggling to get to that point, you say, ‘Hey watch this guy do it.’ If that’s the definition of a throwback then maybe so."
Cribbs Practices; Mum on Massaquoi's Status
(On if he expects Joshua Cribbs to practice today)- "Again, I do this every week, thanks for asking the question so I can say it - I don’t want to talk about injuries, but Cribbs will be out there."
(On Mohamed Massaquoi’s injury)- "Again, I’m not going to talk about injuries. Thanks for asking again."
(On if Massaquoi will practice)- "We’ll see. I’ll let the afternoon injury report speak for what is going on."
Sheldon Brown's Playing Style, Adjusting Without Haden
(On if more experienced players like Sheldon Brown have to treat their bodies differently)- "I think experience kind of trains you to on how you get yourself right each Sunday and he’s got a great deal of experience. He understands his body. He knows how he fits in the scheme and you just get a feel for it. As we get older, we find a way to park closer to the door. You would have to ask him some of the specifics, but what I evaluate is on gameday if he is ready to play and I think he finds a way to get that done."
(On if Brown’s style has changed over the years)- "I think he’s adjusting a little bit, but I still think he can be very productive. That’s fair to say about all players that gain experience."
(On the different changes in the defensive backfield and what he’s seen from the secondary since Joe Haden has been out)- "We’re dealing with a couple of different situations with the secondary. Of course, Joe being out is one so that causes us to have to juggle and we’ve had some injuries that we’ve had to deal with as well. We’ve played different types of teams. Some that play in a situation where we’re playing three corners and then we’ve played a couple of teams that are more base so what it’s given us is an opportunity to see some of these other guys compete for a full game and then have to play at a high level. We’ve learned a great deal about the guys on our roster and I think our guys have been forced to adjust in a lot of ways and I’m pleased at the way they compete. Our guys fight hard, I think that can be said. Now we’ve just got to make sure we play better."
Facing Eli Manning and the Giants' Offense
(On how tough of a task it is to go up against Eli Manning)- "It’s a big challenge. I mentioned it yesterday, that offense runs through Eli. There are games when he gets hot, he gets real hot. I was involved in over 20 of these games when I was in Philadelphia and I watched that happen a lot of times. He can be dangerous so it’s a big challenge. I think we’ve faced outstanding quarterbacks and will face outstanding quarterbacks most every game we play. Each guy within their skill set presents threats to the defense and we’ve just got to make sure we do a good job of trying to get pressure on them. You’ve got to disrupt any quarterback. Eli is no different and then we’ve got to challenge the receivers. I think that’s fair to say."
(On Manning getting criticism early in his career and what makes him so special)- "I think I appreciate, whether it’s coaches or players, the resiliency that they display. He’s pretty resilient. I think he has a way, he must have a way where he shuts out what people think and he just goes and plays. I have a great deal of respect for coaches and players that have found a way to win championships and he’s done that twice. I don’t read what they say about him. All I can do is watch what he does on tape and see the way his team wins."
(On Manning’s comeback wins in the fourth quarter last year and what he attributes that to)- "He in his own mind knows he can lead his team to victory and when he steps in the huddle the other guys believe it and they’ve found a way to get it done."
The Giants' Front Four on Defense
(On the Giants defense and their front four)- "I think they play good team defense which is very important. It all starts up front obviously, disrupting the run and then when you drop back to pass, getting pressure on the passer. It all start there, but they do a good job. They do play a lot of zone coverage, they do mix in their man coverage in situations and they don’t mind pressuring on all downs in any part of the field. Those are the components of a good defense. They feel okay rushing four, but they don’t mind trying to get pressure with more than four and they play a coverage that’s very fundamental."
(On what he’s seen from Jason Pierre-Paul and if he sees comparisons to Michael Strahan)- "Yeah, I do. I remember Strahan extremely well and I remember the Strahan - (Jon) Runyan battles. Yeah, he does in a lot of ways. First of all, when you see him physically, those are the kind of defensive ends you want to draft of course. He’s got fresh legs, he plays extremely hard. He’s very effective against the run as he is against the pass, which I think Strahan was. He’s just an outstanding football player and he’s in the beginning part of his career."
Dawson Being a Beast / Weapon Over the Years
(On what kind of a weapon Phil Dawson has become over the years)- "It goes without saying. He plays a position where he scores points and when we don’t get it in the end zone he’s been very, very dependable about making his kicks, whatever the distance. I think that’s awesome. There are a lot of games where the conditions are less than ideal to kick field goals and I think there’s something about Phil. Phil is a winner and he’s been able to do it over the years for a very long time. In my time here in Cleveland, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for Phil. He and I talk frequently and I really appreciate really everything he brings to the table. He’s a pro and I can’t imagine there’s really a better kicker anywhere else. I think we’re really blessed to have him as our kicker."
(On if Phil Dawson’s field goal range affects their strategy)- "It doesn’t, but if we happen to get stopped further out, you kick more field goals than you punt. We’re not calling plays with the idea that it’s okay to stop here because Phil can make it from here. I don’t think that goes into it. In fact, Phil did tell me one time, and this was one of the conversations Phil and I had, typically when you kick a field goal I’m like, ‘Ahhh, field goal.’ Phil said, ‘Pat, that’s a bad visual for me,’ and I said, ‘Alright, I’ll try to get better there.’ Because you are frustrated you didn’t make it on third down. You’re upset with it, and he’s standing next to you and you go, ‘Ahhh.’ It sounded funnier when he and I were talking about it (joking)."
(On if he is amazed by Dawson’s range)- "I trust him. I think you’re seeing field goals around the league being made at a higher percentage. Some of you probably have the statistics on that, the whole snap, hold, kick being automatic, we’re seeing that happen."
(On if they would consider using Dawson for an NFL record 63 yard field goal)- "Yeah, if it’s a situation where we need to win the game, and the clock is the way where it makes sense to kick that field goal, then you do it."
(On Dawson kicking 65 yard field goals in practice)- "He can kick it there. As we know, the conditions need to dictate it as well, where you’re at on the field and what the weather is like."
(On if he takes having a kicker like Dawson for granted)- "Nope. That’s on my list, I don’t take anything for granted."
Is Something Wrong With Joe Thomas?
(On if Joe Thomas’ knee is bothering him and if it is leading to more penalties)- "No, I don’t think his knee’s bothering him and I don’t know about the other premise. Joe’s battling just like everybody up front."
(On if Joe Thomas is playing as well as he did last year)- "Yeah, Joe’s a steady performer. Joe plays extremely well."
Getting More Statistical Production Out of Richardson
(On Trent Richardson’s low yards-per-carry average and why he thinks that will improve)- "We all know that he started the year and was less than 100 percent. I think he’s getting where he’s at a place physically where he needs to be. The rush-per-carry thing, we’ll talk about that as we go along. I’m sure you’re going to quote me on that every week now. I think that we kind of got a feel for what types of runs he’s good at. The one thing I will say about Trent, and you’ve heard me say this a bunch of times, it’s about points. He finds a way to get in the end zone, and that’s what is important."
(On Richardson finding a way to get in the end zone)- "Some guys have it and some guys don’t. There are a lot of guys that can get you up and down the field. You’ve seen, there are running backs that can get you up and down the field, and then there are others ones when you give it to them - I will point to we’ve thrown it to Trent quite a bit where he’s had great production - with the ball in their hands, they kind of see where they fit in the whole deal, and they find a way to get in the end zone. He has that ability."
(On if Richardson would have more carries in an ideal situation)- "I’m not going to pin myself down to a number. It’s important he touches the football and it’s important he’s involved throughout the game. That’s important."
(On where he feels like his offensive line is at in pass blocking and run blocking)- "I think those run parallel - run blocking, pass blocking. It all runs parallel and everything’s connected. I think we’re progressing. I think we’re getting better. That unit has played together, they’ve been all together now for a month of regular season games. I anticipate they’ll even take a big jump as we move forward."
Loose Ends - College Scores, Documentary, and Roster Moves
(On if he is amazed by some of the high scores coming out of college football this season)- "It’s amazing. It just goes to show you that our game is a little bit different than the game in college. When do you see that happen? I think we saw a 52 point game this weekend. It’s different. How college defenses play probably dictates more why the scores are the way they are, at least I believe. I know this, pro defenses challenge everything, and it makes it tougher. Again, statistically I’ll have to find out, but it seems like there are a lot of low scores going into the half this year. You see a lot of 10-3’s, 10-7’s, 14-10, then all of a sudden there’s some scoring in the second half. It does amaze me, this weekend, what was it, Geno Smith from West Virginia had eight touchdown passes, holy smokes."
(On if he will encourage the players to watch the documentary on the 1995 Browns team tonight)- "We’re going to have to catch up on that after the season. I think this time of year, you don’t have much time to read books and watch movies. I’ll be made aware of what goes on in that special this evening. I think the history of the organization is important. I think it’s important that our guys have a feel for who the great players were that played here. As we move forward, I’m more concerned about the 2012 Browns right now. Again, the first part of your question was, ‘I know you’re worried about right now,’ and you’re right."
(On if they will make a roster move today)- "As I sit here right now, no. I’ll give you that. There are no plans right now, we’ll see though."