Transcript of Pat Shurmur's Conference Call: Offseason Workouts Begin

Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur spoke with the media Monday afternoon after the team's offseason workout program began. Jon already linked to a recap in the Daily Dawg Chow, but after the jump you'll find a full transcript of what Shurmur said to the media.

The first thing I did with the transcript? I checked out how many times the phrase "my understanding" was uttered. Stunningly, it only came out once, regarding a question about linebacker Scott Fujita and the bounty proceedings.

(Opening statement) -- "As you know it’s the start of the offseason program, and it’s obviously exciting for me to have the players back in the building. I got a chance to see most of them. Really aside from a couple of guys, we’ve got an outstanding turnout for the first day. They are getting their weight training in and I’m sure you all know the rules on it. We are in phase one of basically a nine or 10 week program. Its 10 weeks total with a week off, but I am going to go straight through with nine straight and give them their week off at the end. We are in phase one for a couple weeks now where it’s basically weight training with our strength coaches then they will be able to meet with their assistant coaches, but not go on the field. As we get into phase two and three then we will get into the OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. Then after the draft we will have a rookie weekend minicamp. Its Mother’s Day weekend that weekend so I’ll have some people upset I’m sure (joking). I’m excited. For coaches to see players back, I think that’s an exciting thing. From what I can tell talking to the players, there is excitement to be back. For a lot of our veteran guys, their body clock says that the offseason program started a month ago. Most of these guys I’m sure have been working out on their own, at least the ones I have spoken to, and now they get an opportunity to train with their teammates."

(On if he has talked to Colt McCoy personally about the offseason) -- "We visited this morning actually. I saw him this morning, we talked. He is doing fine. He is looking forward to getting going here with the offseason program."

(On if he felt the need to talk to McCoy about the team’s pursuit of a quarterback during the offseason) -- "Nope. Like a lot of the other players who I have spoken to throughout the offseason, I didn’t think that was necessary. We just kind of greeted each other and we started talking about really what we want to get accomplished in the offseason more than any other business."

(On what the offseason program will give them that they didn’t have last year) -- "An offseason program. I don’t mean to be funny, but this is my first offseason program. I think it gives you a little bit of clarity knowing how much work needs to get done on the field in the latter part of May and June. This period here is mostly strength and conditioning and meeting time. I’m looking forward to it. I understand and realize how important these can be so you can get your systems in place or refined. The players have a chance to work together and it starts to develop a winning chemistry. When you get through this body of work, then they have a couple of weeks off then you try to repeat the football part of it in training camp as you prepare for the season."

(On the new restrictive offseason rules and how it affects them) -- "I had to really dig in on what the actually rules were because I want to make sure we follow the rules. I do think that structure and having boundaries that you don’t cross are good. I think there is enough time here in a nine or 10 week period to get what you need to get done to get ready for training camp. I am good with it. The one thing you want to be able to do is you want the players to be here and excited about doing the work. You want to be able to get a lot done then put it to rest as you get ready for training camp. From what I saw, the players are looking forward to going over and revisiting the things we did well last year and making improvements on the things that we didn’t do well. You get to work with some of the new coaches and some of the new players. For me, I just have a much better view of what our team is and the areas we need to improve in to get ourselves in a position to play in the playoffs and compete to play in the big game. I think that’s what we are looking to do."

(On how the players are health wise) -- "Terrific. I think everybody on the squad is out there doing what they have to do. We are fine."

(On if Scott Fujita is there and if he has heard anything about his situation) -- "Scott is not here today and I have not heard anything. My understanding is that he is in New York today, but I don’t know any details."

(On how Marcus Benard is doing) -- "He looks good. I am hoping to see the best of Marcus and he looks good. I have seen him a couple of times through the offseason and he was there today. I didn’t get a chance to watch in the weight room, I am not allowed to be in there yet, but from what I heard, he performed well."

(On if Benard will switch to linebacker) -- "No, our thoughts are to keep him at defensive end and have him in there competing. We haven’t talked about moving him to linebacker."

(On Ryan Tannehill) -- "I think you guys are going to visit with Tom (Heckert) here. I’ll leave that for Tom."

(On how involved he is with the draft process) -- "I'm very heavily involved and I talk to Tom every day."

(On if there was someone who did not come to today's workouts that he hoped would be there) -- "No, I think the turnout was actually very good. There are a couple of guys who aren't here that I knew why, and there was communication as to why they weren’t here. It was a great turnout in my opinion."

(On if there are things that he normally would want to accomplish that he can't because of the new rules) -- "No, we'll be able to get everything we need done, for sure. Although the rules may sound restrictive, I feel like we'll be able to get everything accomplished that we need to this offseason."

(On what conclusions he can make about the running backs at this point) -- "The guys that are here are healthy and they are going to compete. You have Montario (Hardesty), Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya and Armond Smith right now. They were all here today and I know, from our conversations, they are very eager to improve."

(On how much can he interact with the players at this point) -- "Right now, they can only be in the building a certain number of hours and most of that, for the first couple of weeks, involves weight training. We as coaches, we have an opportunity to meet with them. Yes, we can and I did. I had a meeting with the players and beyond that they talked with their position coaches and their coordinators."

(On a typical day in phase one of the offseason program) -- "First of all this is all voluntary, I think that is an important thing to remember. That's why with the fact that the turnout was so good, it tells me that they are excited to get back to work. So number one, that's an important thing. It's not a mandatory thing so the fact that they are here says a lot about the direction that this team wants to go. Most of their time is involved with strength training and working with our strength coaches, Kent Johnston and Rick Lyle. Then there is a small portion within that four hours where they'll spend time with their position coaches as well. In phase one, it can only be in the class room and not on the field. In phase two, the coaches can then take their activities to the field and work with the players. But at this point, we can't. Phase one is for the next two weeks."

(On the importance of having Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty ready for this season) -- "I think it's important because you have to have your running backs performing at a high level. To do that, they obviously have to get themselves trained and stay healthy. Of course, we've seen over short periods of time that those players you mentioned, Brandon and Montario, can play at a high level. I'm hopeful that they'll get themselves better, improve like the rest of the players and then be there."

(On if he believes Hardesty can improve now that he is more than a full year after surgery) -- "Again I'm not an expert on that, but I do think he has had a longer time to obviously get his legs back under him. I think that will help him for sure."

(On if there is anyone he is focusing on to see significant progress during the offseason program) -- "Well it's the first day so I don't know how much progress they made in three hours here. I think, and again my message to the team was, everybody needs to improve. Whether you are Joe Thomas, who went to the Pro Bowl, or a first year player a year ago. We all need to improve to get where we need to be. I'm actually looking for improvement from everyone. For the older guys, it's more familiarity with the system. For the younger guys, it's obviously development beyond that as they become professionals."

(On his views regarding the bounty scandal) -- "That's a league issue. I would say this, I think player safety is important and I understand the integrity of the game. There are a couple of issues I think that have to guide us and I'll just leave it at that."

(On if he heard the Gregg Williams audio tape) -- "I did hear it."

(On his reaction to the tape) -- "I'm not going to comment on that. Again, that's a league issue."

(On the league wanting coaches to have discussions with players to make sure nothing like that happens) -- "There has been education. Really, it was initiated by us. I think as coaches we want to make sure that we do things that right way and of course this will be a point of emphasis. I'll talk to the team about it."

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