Following the Cleveland Browns' final session of mandatory minicamp, head coach Pat Shurmur spoke with the media in attendance. He talked more about when a starting quarterback will be named, what is left to do before training camp, how many wide receivers he likes to keep, and more. The transcript of his news conference, organized by topic, is after the jump.
What is Left Before Training Camp
(Opening statement)- "It’s another great weather day. I think the heat helped a little bit. I saw a couple guys pushing through it, although it’s not that hot. I think when they got moving around, it helped them. It gives them a little taste before we get to training camp. They competed well. I think we are making steady progress, which is what we need to do at this point in the year. I feel good about having one week of work left. We have four OTAs as you know, which will be next week Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then really the offseason portion of this, it seems like it’s gone quickly, it will be completed with the rookies continuing here for just a couple more weeks before we go to training camp. I my mind I think we are moving along as scheduled. I feel good about the work that’s getting done. I see guys getting better, and I think that’s the important part."
(On having an offseason this year)- "It’s very refreshing, because there is a certain amount of work that we as coaches think we need to get done in the offseason to prepare for training camp and then the season. It was a little uneasy for all 32 of us last year when we weren’t able to do or go through the process that we were used to going through. I feel better about the direction now, because I can see guys getting work done here in the offseason."
Naming a Starting Quarterback
(On naming the starting quarterback at the end of OTAs)- "The guys that will be playing quarterback are out there getting their practice in. I will name a starter at some point here. Beyond that, I mentioned yesterday, naming a starter sooner than later is a good thing. In my opinion, the guys that we’re all talking and thinking about are out there working with the players that they’re going to play with in the games, so I think at this point I’ve got nothing really to add to yesterday."
(On what he is waiting to see before he names a starter)- "I want to see a good body of work here through the offseason. I’ll decide at some point who our starter is, and I think that’s what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, you don’t always get real game situation, or as much as you might like to make those decisions, but we’ll see."
(On Tom Heckert basically saying that Weeden should be the starter and trying to balance everyone getting reps at quarterback versus Weeden getting most of them)- "He’s getting more of the reps than anybody at this point, number one. Number two, as I’ve mentioned all along, we need to see him function in our offense. I think that’s in line with what Tom (Heckert) was saying. We drafted him for a reason, which is in line with what Tom was saying. In my opinion, we’re moving forward with that. At this point in the year, everybody on the roster gets reps. When you get to the season and you name somebody the starter, that’s when he gets most, if not all, of the reps. This time of year you’re working ones, twos and threes. In my opinion, there is not really an issue there."
(On how he defines ‘get to the season’)- "When the games start and we are playing Philadelphia Week One, our starter at quarterback gets all the first-team reps. Prior to that, there’s ones, twos and threes out there competing."
(On telling to the defense to back off during drills today)- "I just wanted to make sure we are getting our work done and being safe. That’s all."
Assessments on Jordan Cameron, Josh Cooper, Jordan Norwood, and Brad Smelley
(On Jordan Cameron taking a step forward this season)- "We are expecting him to. I think he’s flashed out here in a way that we didn’t see him flash last year in training camp. I feel like based on what he’s done here in the offseason, he’s positioning himself to make an impact for us."
(On if Josh Cooper was holding yesterday as an emergency and if that is because he has good hands)- "Emergency. He’s got very good hands. Obviously, Reggie (Hodges) is our holder, so you work back up guys. We try to find guys on our roster that have done those skills in their background or have that from what they’ve done. We’re just working them."
(On Jordan Norwood)- "I think he’s doing a good job. We’ve used him outside a little bit more in this camp than we did last year when we played him in the season inside, but he’s made progress."
(On if he thinks Brad Smelley could have a significant role in offensive backs)- "I don’t know about significant. He is a guy that’s fighting to make the roster and what he would have to do is be a guy that would have to be somewhat multiple. He plays in the back field, he can play on a line of scrimmage and then really he’s got to make his mark on special teams. I think he has the ability to do those things. I think when we finish up next week and they get their minds right and we come back and put the pads on, I think all that stuff will start to take shape."
Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, and QB's in General
(On Brandon Weeden’s growth in commanding the huddle)- "There is no question in my mind that he can command or have the presence that you need to run an NFL huddle. I’ve seen it so it’s not a concern of mine, for sure."
(On how Colt McCoy is looking)- "He is doing fine. Colt’s doing fine, competing and he’s making progress like the rest of the guys."
(On if the quarterback will throw the ball away more in the red zone during the season than in practice)- "In the red zone the ball sometimes, because catch-and-run isn’t a big deal, can be on the back pad, low, high and it’s a matter of the receivers and the quarterback getting a feel for where it’s going to be. We don’t want him taking sacks, there’s a possibility of throwing it away, but again as you’re working through practice here, I think it’s important that he gets a feel for what the receivers are going to do and that’s why he makes some of those throws."
How Many Wide Receivers to Keep?
(On maximum the number of receivers he would keep on the roster)- "Typically, you keep six. That’s a fair number. When you look at keeping skill players, you are talking about a combination of receivers, tight ends and backs."
(On what Carlton Mitchell needs to do to make that next step and make a contribution in the regular season)- "I think what I’d like to see him do, number one, is be more consistent, first in practice and then be able to show it in the game."
The Progress of Trent Richardson
(On Trent Richardson’s progress from the beginning of OTAs)- "I think he’s made good progress. I think he had a nice day today and there’s a lot to learn in this league from how you line up to the protection to the routes that you’re running and what not. I think from that standpoint, he’s done a good job."
(On if Trent Richardson is the starting running back)- "I think that is probably fair to say."
The Progress of Eric Hagg
(On if Eric Hagg can be a viable free safety)- "I think he’s a guy that is making great progress here in the offseason."
(On what progress Hagg has shown progress)- "When you play free safety of course there’s a portion to the responsibility of the free safety making sure everybody gets lined up, and being able to verbalize, and being able to get lined up yourself, but also direct. We’ve seen him do that."
Offensive and Defensive Linemen
(On if the young offensive linemen can show much in this environment)- "Yes, I think they can. We practice often without pads on, and we get a chance to evaluate how they do. I think you can see how they move their feet, how they control their body, get off and finish. We’ve been able to see a lot of our young linemen."
(On if the young defensive linemen can show much in this environment)- "It’s the same discussion when you talk about the d-line being about to see their get off, their use of hands, being able to separate from blocks, those types of things. We’re able to evaluate."
(On if you can evaluate the linemen any more than you could off film prior to the draft)- "We could put them in pads and give them all every rep (joking). I’m making a joke of course. That’s what you want to do, because then you add the physical component to it."
(On improvement on the young guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao)- "I think they are improving. I see Pinkston improving tremendously. Shawn Lauvao, who I think you correctly assessed him, he’s a young guard as well, he has made good progress in my mind. I feel like they’ve done a good job."
(On if he is okay with Pinkston and Lauvao starting)- "Yes, they are our starters right now."