Pat Shurmur: L.J. Fort to Start at OLB, Kaluka Maiava Named 4th Captain

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Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on Wednesday to talk about LB Kaluka Maiava being a captain this week, why the team waived CB Dimitri Patterson, the fact that the team plans to play a lot of nickel this week against the Denver Broncos, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic below.

Kaluka Maiava as Fourth Captain

(Opening Statement)- "As I do every week, our fourth captain will be Kaluka Maiava, another good choice. He’s been a steady performer on special teams around here for a long time, and then he’s added to that some outstanding play, in my opinion, this year at linebacker. It’s another good choice. The preparation has been good so far, we’ve got it all started. We’ve got all our efforts pointed toward getting on a plane, going to Denver and playing the Broncos."

No Comment on Waiving Dimitri Patterson

(On if he can explain why they waived Dimitri Patterson)- "No, I’m not going to talk about the whys or what-fors there. I will say this though, I’m happy for him that he’s going to be able to finish out the year in Miami. That will be great for him."

Handling the Safety Position Without T.J. Ward

(On how T.J. Ward played this season)- "T.J.’s done a nice job. Its unfortunate we had to put him on IR. Fortunately, he didn’t require surgery. It’s just going to take a little bit of time. He was doing a nice job. He had an interception in the last game. We’ll move on and play other guys."

(On Ward making big plays this year)- "Yeah, he’s done a good job. He got production, of course, with the turnovers and he did a good job with tackling."

(On if Usama Young is the strong safety now)- "Yeah."

(On Tashaun Gipson’s long term prospect as an every down free safety)- "He’s going to get his chance. We feel good about it. He’s a good athlete. He’s been very productive. He’s one of a large number of rookies that’s gone in and played. His role each week has been a little bit different, some weeks larger than others. He’s going to get a real good look this week of course."

Replacing JMJ, and Going to More Nickel This Week

(On who will replace James-Michael Johnson)- "We’re going to play a lot of nickel as we go. We’ll move the other guys up. L.J. (Fort) will move up."

Von Miller and the Challenges the Offensive Tackles Face This Week

(On the play of Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz this season and the challenges they face this week)- "I think Joe and Mitchell have played steady and well this year. They are obviously two guys that are at different stages of their career - a guy that’s been a Pro Bowl player for a very long time and then another guy that’s a rookie, emerging player. They’ve both done a good job. They’ve been part of a pretty consistent unit for us. Then the challenge this week of course with (Von) Miller and (Elvis) Dumervil, both guys are getting production. It’s going to be a big challenge. We’ve got to block those guys so they don’t wreck the game. Our guys know the challenge and we’ve just got to go do it."

(On Von Miller)- "He’s got unique skill and ability and he’s got an outstanding feel for the game. That was obvious watching him play at Texas A&M and I knew his college coach at the time very well, Mike Sherman, so we talked a lot about it. He was such a dominant force in college. It was no mystery to me that he was going to be a good player in this league and he’s fit well in their scheme. They use him extremely well as a pass rusher and then he drops back in coverage and intercepts footballs and he tackles the runner. I don’t see any reason why he’s not going to be an outstanding player for a long time."

(On what his impressions of Miller were heading into last year’s draft)- "Everything I just said. He’s very worthy of where he was chosen. He’s an outstanding talent and it’s no mystery to me he was picked that high. Along the way we kind of had an idea that that might be a place he would go."

(On Miller putting up high sack numbers out of college)- "We kind of knew he had that skill and ability. He’s the same way, Aldon Smith. There are great players in college where it translates well to this league. He had that skill and ability. When it happens quickly for a guy like that, it comes as no surprise. I think it’s fair to say that at some positions on the field you can get up and running a little bit quicker than others. He’s an outstanding player and a smart, instinctive football player. They are doing the right things with him."

(On Denver substituting a lot on defense and if they might consider running no huddle to keep them on the field)- "The new rules are that if we substitute then of course they do. If we leave certain people on the field, they play with certain people. If we substitute, they substitute. That’s no different. They are no different than any team we play in terms of if we put three receivers out there, they go nickel. If we play with two tight ends or a tight end and a fullback, they’ll stay base. There’s always a little bit of an effect on the defense if you choose to do that. To say that you’re doing it so they don’t substitute, this isn’t necessarily one of those teams."

Broncos' Original Interest in Brandon Weeden

(On if the Browns used a first round pick on Weeden because they were aware that the Broncos were interested in him)- "We were aware of the fact that the Broncos likes Weeden. We had a decent idea of what teams liked Weeden. I don’t know if where we picked him was to prevent him from going to Denver. I don’t think that was an issue."

(On if they took Weeden rather than risk losing him)- "We had a draft strategy and we picked our players. That’s how it worked out."

What We Need to See from Brandon Weeden

(On what he wants to see out of Brandon Weeden in the last two games)- "I want him to play consistent winning football."

(On elaborating on what he meant when he said he wants Weeden to play consistent winning football)- "You need to get completions. You need to execute well. We’ve got to make sure we do everything in the run game right. We’ve got to get the team in the end zone. You want to be efficient, explosive and play good quarterback."

Taking on a Great QB Like Peyton Manning, Moreno

(On what he says to the defensive players about facing Peyton Manning)- "I think it’s fair to say that in this league as a quarterback, Peyton Manning is rare. He’s established himself as one of the great players at quarterback - especially of our era - of all time. His style, you’re starting to see his style of play and the style of offense in Denver like he had played all those years in Indy. I think what’s important is that we’ve got to put together a plan. We have to go play fast. We have to go play aggressive. It’s important that we do what we do. We really can’t try to let whoever’s playing quarterback try to put us on our heels. We’ve got to be aggressive. I think that’s important. We do know that he tries to change things and makes sure he’s not snapping the ball into a bad defense. We’re aware of that. We’ve got to do what we can to stay aggressive, disguise some things and play hard."

(On if practice will be different because Manning does so many audibles)- "We’ll try to mock it up as much as we can. There are times when what he’s doing is he’s audibling. There are times when some of what he’s doing is theatrics. That’s just part of what he does. It’s important that we prepare for the plays that we think they are going to run, and as I mentioned, try to do what we do. Then also disguise some things to try to cross them up. Again that’s what we’ll practice, all those things."

(On if there is a way to get a read on if what Manning is doing is real of fake)- "Yeah, we kind of know. You kind of know what’s happening. For instance, we line up in a two deep shell first or second down, and they recognize it. Typically, a run play works better. If we line up where we’re all up in there, where the run play might not be so good. You kind of know a little bit. There are times when what he’s doing could be a dummy audible. We do the same thing. Everybody does it to some degree. It’s a part of what we all do. In their system, they just try to snap the ball into a good defense, a defense where the run or the pass is favorable. Then I’m sure they’ve got other plays that are just run it plays, like we all do."

(On if Manning is exceeding expectations this year considering his age and previous injuries)- "I don’t know that. We’re facing the Broncos in a one game deal here. He’s obviously proven that he’s healthy enough to play winning football. I think the sky is the limit for anybody that’s playing and he’s proved it over a long period of time. He’s having another great year."

(On Knowshon Moreno)- "I remember him quite well when he came out of college because we evaluated him when I was at the Rams. He’s a very good running back and he fits well in their scheme. He’s a good runner from the shotgun and he has a feel for finding a hole and he can break a tackle. I think he’s been a really good fit for them. Again, I think there’s times when they run the ball into a favorable defense to run the football and he’s done a good job. They do a good job up front blocking for him as well I think. Let’s remember that the Denver Broncos were a playoff team a year ago and they added a quarterback which has kind of helped them take it to the next level in terms of who they are. It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but I really do believe we can beat anybody we play. But we’ve also proven that if we make mistakes and don’t overcome them, you can get beat by anybody you play so that’s the thing to remember."

Shutting Down T-Rich, and Eliminated from Playoffs

(On if there’s any thought of shutting Trent Richardson down because he’s not 10 percent from his rib injury)- "No, no thoughts. He’ll play. None of us are 100 percent right now. I think that’s fair to say at this time of year. Guys are playing through things. If it gets to the point where you’re injured and you can’t play, like JMJ (James-Michael Johnson) and T.J. Ward, but if you’re nicked, you play."

(On if this week is more difficult because they are out of the playoffs officially)- "No, we had that conversation this morning as we move the team forward. I reminded the players, coaching and playing is what we do. At some point, somebody somewhere is going to tell them they can’t do it anymore. They are going to miss it. What we owe ourselves and each other is that you prepare as well as you can, you get hydrated, you get on the plane go out there and play good football, and try to win the football game. That’s what we all owe each other and that’s what we do."

(On if they have to win to show that they’ve made progress this year)- "My focus is on Denver, and getting this team ready to play Denver. Beyond that I’m not concerned."

Talking About the New Team President

(On if he’s met Alec Scheiner and what he knows about him)- "I know very little about him. Joe (Banner) and I visited yesterday before the announcement came out. That’s a business move. As you might expect, I’m kind of wrapped up on the football side of it right now. I know who he is and what he’s all about and what he’s done in Dallas. We’re excited that he’s here."

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