Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 3 of training camp to discuss Brandon Weeden grasping the offense, the quickness of Montario Hardesty, how some of the receivers are coming along, and the focus on running the ball with full pads being introduced. After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our exclusive report on Day 3 of training camp.
Opening Statement & The Focus on Running the Ball With Full Pads
(Opening Statement)- "My favorite day of the year, other than gameday of course, is the first day of pads, and I wasn’t disappointed. I thought there was good banging out there. When you watch the practice, some of these guys haven’t been in pads since last year so it takes a minute to get their sea legs carrying the pads around, but I thought our guys competed well. When you watched practice, you saw the focus was really on running the football and play-action throws so there was a lot of grinding it out, which I think is important on a day like today.
For the most part, I thought we practiced smart, and we got a chance to bang each other around a little bit. I thought some of the veteran guys up front did a decent job. You always have to go in and watch the tape after you’re running the football to kind of see why a big run happened or why a run didn’t get started because everyone has a gap and everyone has an assignment. Generally speaking, I thought it was good competition. Now, we’ll get them in there, we’ll watch the tape and then we’ll come out and walk-through this afternoon."
(On who specifically stood out today)- "I think Joe Thomas does a good job up front. I thought Jason Pinkston did some good things. Obviously, I focused on Trent (Richardson). Trent hits it up in there pretty good. I thought he did a good job. I thought the other running backs flashed a little bit. I thought Montario (Hardesty) had a couple good runs, Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya. Other than the fact that I know how to say his name, I like saying it, he actually did a pretty good job. Don’t let me forget the defense. I thought our young defensive tackles battled in there pretty well. I’ve got a couple young linebackers that caught my eye so that was good."
Brandon Weeden's Grasp of the Offense & Improvement
(On his assessment of Brandon Weeden since the start of camp)- "I think he’s doing very well. Again, part of this process is getting to know the receivers. Part of the process is now executing with the addition of the run game. I think he’s doing a nice job."
(On if it’s taking Brandon Weeden a couple days to adjust and get settled in)- "I think you only know what you know. He hasn’t been involved in a padded, physical practice here. Even though he’s not getting banged around, there’s certain things to learn from that. I can think of a handful of mistakes that he made today that he’ll never do again. But, he’s had a chance to practice it so it won’t show up again. I think that’s what I’ve seen from him. As he does something, if he hasn’t done it right, then he’s in there right now looking at it and he’ll come out, and that mistake won’t happen again."
(On Weeden’s grasp the offense)- "I think he’s got a pretty good grasp of it and I think you meet somewhere in the middle with how much you do based on the players that you have so they can go out and be successful."
(On if quarterbacks should take more risks during 7-on-7 drills)- "The 7-on-7 drill today, I don’t know if you noticed, it was third-and-long so those are challengeable throws and its tight. Third-and-long is a tough down so you saw them trying to see what they could get away with a little bit, trying to get the first [down]. People don’t always know the intention of the drill so you just can’t look at a raw play. I think in training camp you try to go through everything, everything. There was one play in there today where he was trying to see what he could get from (Travis) Benjamin, but he came right back and said, ‘You know what, in a game I would have just dropped that down to Trent (Richardson).’ There is learning within what you see so that happens all the time and that’s just the way it works."
Montario Hardesty's Quickness
(On what he has noticed from Montario Hardesty recently)- "He’s another player when I talk about Massaquoi I’m thinking of Montario as well because he was standing here kind of limping around at this time last year. He looks healthy and fresh right now so I think that’s helping him flash."
(On if now is as quick as he has seen Hardesty and if they can keep four running backs)- "That’s as quick as I’ve seen him and yeah, I can do anything I guess, but that would mean I can’t keep somebody else. Let’s let it play out here and see, but that was as good as I’ve seen Montario look. He looks good and it’s a credit to these guys because that’s part of what excites me is these guys, number one, know how to get themselves ready and they made an effort to do it so as we go forward here select our team I want there to be tough decisions. That’s what you want until you establish a team that you feel like as you move forward is going to win games."
Evaluating the Offensive Line
(On if he’s expressed the importance of Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao to the offense)- "Yes, I’ve expressed it. They get it. I think they have to. In my mind, they’re two very young players that have played a lot. I mentioned it, I think earlier in camp, that I think Pinkston really benefited from being wedged in there between Joe (Thomas) and Alex (Mack). There is synergy. Number one you have to win you’re individual battles as an offensive lineman, but then there’s synergy by playing together. I think Shawn, there was kind of a rotation at tackle so I think that affects both of the players. The longer they play together, the better the unit looks and then individually of course, the better their performance will be."
(On if it is an advantage to have strong run blocking throughout the line)- "Yes, I think so. I think you have to be able to run right, you have to be able to run left and you have to be able to run up the middle. You have to attack with the running game all parts of the front."
(On Oniel Cousins starting at right tackle today)- "We’re competing those two guys right now and again, you cannot make a full evaluation of a player, especially up front, until they put the pads on and bang around. Both those guys will be, I’m assuming the other guy Mitchell Schwartz is on your mind, those guys will be in there competing and then we’ll name a starter here soon."
Wide Receiver Notes - Cribbs, Benjamin, Massaquoi
(On if Joshua Cribbs’ role is changing and if he will play less offense and more special teams)- "He’s a special teams player. He didn’t get many reps out there today. No, his role is not changing. He’s a special teams player that plays receiver."
(On if he wanted Cribbs to come to camp slimmer)- "I try to inspire them to do a lot of things, but I think it will help him. As you become a player on the back nine of your career, I think it really helps you to not carry extra weight, that’s just my opinion, if you’re a skill player so I think I expressed that to him."
(On Travis Benjamin)- "In my opinion, I think he’s had a very good camp to this point, which is not a surprise to me because I thought he did some nice things in the spring. We just have to see him continue. Now once they’ve worn the pads, we have to be able to come out, and if they’ve had a good performance, put another one together tomorrow. If they made some mistakes, come out here and step it up. I think that’s the case for all the guys."
(On the work that Mohamed Massaquoi put in this offseason)- "I think physically he looked different because he lost some weight, which I think is a good thing. Not that you just diet down, you have to have some mass to you, but he’s in shape and ready to run and he’s healthy. He was standing in a boot last year at this time so whatever it is I think he’s done a good job."
Updates on DT Phil Taylor, and the Defensive Linemen Filling In
(On Tom Heckert saying a while ago that Phil Taylor could be ready for the second half of the season and if there is an update on that)- "I think that’s the same. I would say the same thing. We know he’s not going to be ready in the first part of the year based on the length of time that his surgery requires. We’re hopeful if he stays with his progress that he’ll be definitely ready to go by the second half of the year."
(On if Taylor could possibly be ready for game seven)- "Seven, eight, nine, six, shoot I don’t know, five? Who wants him in at five? I’ll take him in the fifth game (joking). As quickly as he can come back healthy, that’s what we want."
(On the roles of the Scott Paxson, John Hughes and Billy Winn)- "Well you’ve got Schaef (Brian Schaefering) in there as well, but Paxson is a big kind of a mauler type guy. I think Hughes and Winn are a little bit quicker. Those two guys were playing side-by-side today in the second unit against the ones. We did that on purpose. It was one-O against the two-D in that last scrimmage so by design we put those two guys in there so they could play and that’s one of the things I’m curious about when I go in there [to review tape], but I think they did a pretty decent job."
Eric Hagg as a Starting Safety
(On Eric Hagg being a projected starter this year)- "We feel like we have really good competition at safety. He all along here has impressed us with what he can do. Now, as a safety, of course you need to do multiple things. You have to be able to support the run. If you’re playing on the half side of the field, you have to be able to play half. If you’re playing in the middle of the field, you have to play the middle. He communicates well. You need a guy back there that will communicate. For all those reasons, he’s caught our eye. We’re just hopeful that he’ll continue to improve."