Shurmur: Naming a Starting QB, Reflections on First Rookie Practice

Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur held his first news conference of training camp after the rookies took the field on Wednesday. The first full squad practice will be on Friday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, with the first public session open Saturday morning.

Shurmur talked about when a starting quarterback could be named, and how some of the rookies did during practice. I have organized the news conference by topic after the jump. Alternatively, you can watch Shurmur's news conference here. Players news conferences from the official site can be found here: Brandon Weeden | Trent Richardson | Josh Gordon

Reflecting on Today vs. Last Year

(Opening Statement)- "It was the first day, as you know, with the rookies. I think the rookies really benefit from being out here and I think the coaches benefit from getting back out here and coaching again. From what I could tell, the rookies have come in in very good shape. The benefit of having an offseason, I think we’re starting way further ahead this year than we did obviously last year because of the body of work that these guys have put in. They are actually watching cut-ups of things they did in the spring where they didn’t have that last year. We’ve got some good young talent out there. I thought the work was good. Obviously, we can’t work on tempo yet until we get a full squad, but I think the guys look good. We got them out running around and then we’ll add them tomorrow with the vets when they report, do our running test and then are off to the races."

(On if his expectations are different for training camp this year)- "I think we have standards of excellence that we want to uphold by the way we practice, and then of course we’re trying to win every game. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. We are trying to win our division which secures us a spot in the playoffs, and gives us a chance to win the biggest one, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Regardless of how we finished last year, that’s what we talk about."

(On if his message to the team will be different than last year because he didn’t know them last year)- "I’ve prepared my message for tomorrow, and that’s between me and them, but it is a different message, because I do know them now. Last year, I was seeing these players literally for the first time, most of them, so you say things to people you first meet different than people you’ve had a chance to work with for a year. That’s probably a good question and I’m ready for that."

Brandon Weeden in Camp, and Naming a Starting Quarterback

(On how important it was to have Brandon Weeden in on time)- "I think it’s important for all of the guys to be here when camp starts. Yeah, it’s very important. I think the structure of the way the draft is now and the way guys are signing, it’s going to be very rare for a guy to hold out. I knew all along with some certainty that these contracts would get done and I think our guys did an excellent job of coming to an agreement with them and their agents and Trent (Richardson) and Brandon are obviously here."

(On how soon he expects to name a starting quarterback)- "Good question, I was expecting that one. I have said it all along sooner is better. I want to get all of the guys out here and watch them work again. I have had a chance to go over what everybody did in the spring numerous times and I feel good about what I saw from Brandon, Colt (McCoy) and Seneca (Wallace) so I’ll have some form of an announcement soon."

(On if it will help the team to know who the starting quarterback is)- "Sooner is better than later as I have mentioned. What’s important when you’re practicing is that they’re all working together whether it’s a one or a two. If you’re a guy that’s most likely going to make the team and you’re working with a quarterback that’s going to be the starter, whether it’s the first or second rep, it really doesn’t quite matter."

(On if he anticipates naming a starting quarterback before preseason games start)- "I think so, I think it makes sense to name the starter well before the start of the season. That’s probably what will happen."

(On if he will need to see the quarterbacks in preseason games to determine a starter)- "I think it’s fair to say that between now and the first game, anywhere in here, I could possibly name a starter. I don’t necessarily need to see so many snaps in a preseason game."

(On how much improvement there will be at the quarterback position this season regardless of who starts)- "I saw improvement today from Seneca (Wallace) and Colt (McCoy) and Thad (Lewis), who were here last year. They made a couple throws today that they wouldn’t have been able to make last year just in terms of knowing the progressions. I feel like we’ve got a better situation at quarterback, most definitely."

Thoughts on WR Josh Gordon, and Getting Him Up to Speed

(On his first impressions of Josh Gordon)- "We did it privately, but we got to know Josh pretty well behind the scenes and for obvious reasons we didn’t talk about it much prior to the supplemental draft. But as you can see, he’s a very good looking young man. He’s over 6-3, 225, he catches the ball extremely well and we’re going to bring him along. There was some conversation about his quad so we are going to have to work with that as we go, but he was out here practicing and we’ll managed that. The first impressions were that he’s got a chance to be a good player."

(On how long it will take Gordon to make up the ground from not having an offseason)- "We’ll see. From what I can tell already, he is a quick learner. We’ve kind of amped it up for him so we could get him going quickly. It’s obvious to me that he understands how to play the position. He gets lined up well, understands coverage adjustments. It’s just a matter of him getting familiar with our terminology so we’ll see. We’ll see how quickly he can do it and we’ll throw him in with the rest of the guys and I think it will be obvious to all of us."

(On how he balances talent with personal issues with players like Gordon)- "I don’t know about balancing. We don’t expect that to happen again and when we go through the process of deciding that we are going to draft this player, we have to come to the conclusion that we feel like this is behind him. Now, I will say this and it may apply to you, me, everybody, people have things that happen in their background, some adversity and I think it’s fair to say that if they can overcome that it makes them stronger in some ways. We anticipate that this will not be an issue, we are going to watch it closely and I think he understands how important it is to be a good teammate and be a good pro. That being said, I hope we don’t have to discuss it anymore."

WR Josh Cooper's Potential Advantage, and the Other Rookie Receivers

(On if Josh Cooper has an advantage because of his familiarity with Weeden)- "It may help him as far as that connection that they have. He is used to looking for him. He’s in the progression like the rest of the guys and there are times where we’ll call a play where Josh is first in the progression and he will get the football. There’s times where he’s in the route combination and he’s not first and he gets the football so they have a little bit of a feel and that will help him. But, they are both learning a new offense. Where they would be miles ahead of everybody else is if they were executing their offense, but they’re both learning something new."

(On if he liked what he saw from the receivers)- "For a first day, I think they did a nice job, again I saw recall from the spring. It looked like for the most part they are in pretty good condition although we didn’t challenge them that way because the lines are short, and they did a decent job of catching the football. I feel good about adding this young rookie group to the veterans on this team, and seeing who sticks."

An In-Shape Trent Richardson, and the Prognosticators

(On how Trent Richardson is different today than in rookie minicamp)- "I think he’s in better shape, most definitely. Guys come in when they are drafted that high and as you might expect they are visiting a bunch of clubs, they end up going to New York for the draft, they get caught in that kind of whirlwind of being drafted. So when you see them initially, even though they did a lot of preparation up to the draft, they are a little bit out of shape and I don’t sense that now. I think he is in very good shape"

(On prognosticators predicting that the team won’t do well this year)- "It’s not my concern. What I’m concerned about is getting our players ready to play, putting them out there, and watching them perform well. That’s what I’m concerned about. If they do that, then I think we’ll win games, more than the prognosticators say."

The Playmakers Added via the Draft on Offense

(On if he thinks two playmakers can make a huge difference to a team)- "I think the team has to get better, but it’s easy to point to one or two marquee players added to a group, but I do feel like we’re a better football team than we were last year, in my opinion, from what I’ve seen comparing last year to today. We’re a lot better. I think we’ll function better, and I think we’ve added some good young talent, not to mention a couple free agents."

(On possibly having four rookies start and if that is an issue)- "No, I don’t think so. I think what we’re going to see as time goes on is there’s going to be rookies playing for every club. I think the challenge is to teach them your systems quickly and then get them out there and let them do it."

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