Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 4 of training camp to talk about the goals they set out for practice (working on goal line and two-minute drills), operating from a three-receiver set that includes Josh Gordon, whether Sheldon Brown's cornerback spot could be in jeopardy, the development of Mitchell Schwartz, and how afternoon practices will work. After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our report on Day 4 of training camp.
Situational Football: Working on Goal Line/Two-Minute Drills
(Opening Statement)- "It was another good day I think. We did a lot of situational football. You saw this was the first time we did short yardage. We did goal-line and of course we ended the day with two minute. I really enjoy practicing two minute, I think it’s good for our football team. You saw there we had some winning and losing because there was good competition. The ones came out on offense and our one defense stopped them, but then they came back and the end and then got it down. The objective this time was to kick a field goal.
The one-O won once and the one-D won once, and then there was good competition with the twos and threes. Inside of that drill, I think what’s good is there’s a lot of organization and the mechanics of it are important. There’s also a lot of good conditioning in that drill because it can be tiring for those receivers running route after route at the line of scrimmage so we got a lot done there. There are plenty of mistakes in there and things that we need to clean up, and that’s why you do this stuff. It was a good practice, very competitive. You always keep your fingers crossed when you’re practicing short yardage and goal-line because all the legs are piled up and I think for the most part we were in good shape. Now, we’ll move on to the next phase. We’ll do a little red zone the next time we practice. We’ll just keep going through the situations and building of course on the first and second down."
(On if they would have done the situational drills they did today at the same time last year due to the lockout)- "We tried to do the drills at the same point in camp, but we didn’t do them with near the efficiency we did this year. My smile is not obvious, but I felt better about this one then I did last year."
James-Michael Johnson & Jordan Cameron's Improvement
(On how did James-Michael Johnson did at practice today)- "He had an interception, a couple actually. He looked good on the goal-line. The linebackers are a crew much like the o-line and d-line, where you might say before you put the pads on that there are all these guys that are kind of bunched up. I think the pads then tend to separate the linebackers and what we think. He’s had a couple of good days, he really has."
(On what Jordan Cameron has improved on)- "I think just playing the game and I don’t want to sounds cliché, but you have to practice it and play it to improve at it. He was guy that didn’t play a lot of football in college, but showed us the skill and ability to be a good receiver. Now, when you line up at the end of the line of scrimmage, you have got to get used to controlling your body in blocking situations, you have to learn how to release when somebody’s basically tackling you, those types of things. Getting a feel for playing the game and I think once he gets that going I think his development will go like this."
Wide Receiver Update - Three Man Sets, and Travis Benjamin's Play
(On if they are making strides to catch the ball)- "I think they are making strides catching the football. As the head coach, I’ve talked about how important it is to catch the football. Anyone you talk to will also say that. I think it’s very important and I think we are making strides."
(On his eagerness to see Travis Benjamin’s speed out on the field)- "I’m very eager of course. I think he has really established himself. When you look at him you say, ‘Well okay, how is he going to be in traffic?" but he’s distinguished himself these last couple days catching the ball in traffic. There were a couple of pivots, in routes, where he’s working back to the ball where the corner was hanging on his back and he reached out in a physical way and caught the football with his hands. Some things that you need to see so I hope his development continues."
(On the ball finding Josh Gordon and if he is more advanced than anticipated)- "I don’t know if it’s conscious or subconscious, but when you’re a really big guy that can really catch it, things tend to find you. I think he’s got a long way to go in terms of learning it and playing receiver at this level. He’s made great progress to this point, but he’s got a long way to go, but he’s eager and he’s smart. He’s really football smart and I think that shows."
(On using Josh Gordon and Mohamed Massaquoi outside and Greg Little in the slot)- "I think that’s one way for us to get three of what we consider our better receivers on the field. We do use a lot of three wide receiver sets and today, because we were working two minute, it probably showed up that way quite a bit. Probably more than some other practice, but no, that’s a good lineup."
Mitchell Schwartz Going Up Against Jabaal Sheard
(On what Mitchell Schwartz gains from facing Jabaal Sheard and how has he been so far in camp)- "I think he’s very smart, he’s very good with his technique and of course the better the player you go against in practice, the quicker you’ll develop. Those matchups there were good. A couple of times in there today we had guys wide open and then really Mitchell did a nice job of stopping the pass rush and then Jabaal just reached up and batted the ball. He competes very well and I think he’ll benefit from playing against Jabaal for sure."
(On is Schwartz is more ready than Gordon because he played all four years of college and Gordon missed all of last year)- "I don’t know. It’s hard to say how much further or less he has because we really haven’t put him in a game yet. He (Schwartz) came in a guy that fundamentally was pretty right and offensive linemen who know how to use their feet and hands of course can play and perform well. We’ll see."
(On the hardest position to transfer from college to the NFL)- "We’ve talked frequently about positions that are easier or harder to play. I think they’re all hard to play personally because there are certain things you have to learn as you go through the process of the preparation. What’s hard about being an offensive tackle is who you play against. Typically they’re very dynamic pass rusher type guys. I think we all know how important pass protection is."
Security of Sheldon Brown's Spot, and Joe Haden Being Amazing
(On if there is a competition at cornerback)- "Sheldon is starting right now, but I really like some of the development that I’ve seen. I’ve talked about it. Buster (Skrine) is gritty, gritty guy. Dimitri Patterson challenges, my goodness and you could see those guys playing outside for sure and then Trevin Wade. I think he’s got a feel for playing the game at corner. Not to mention, lest I forget, Joe (Haden)."
(On Joe Haden saying he had an amazing season last year except for four plays)- "I think we all need to play better. I think it’s safe to assume that what we did as a team last year wasn’t good enough so he needs to be super amazing this year (joking)."
What DE Frostee Rucker Adds to the Team
(On how Frostee Rucker will help the team)- "I think Frostee can pass rush, but I also think he’s thick enough to play the run. We feel like Frostee and Juqua (Parker) as veteran defensive ends will help man that right end spot. If there are situations where Jabaal (Sheard) needs a blow, of course they can fill in for him as well, not to mention all the other guys."
(On Rucker being a load out there)- "I think he’s put on a little bit of weight, based on what I saw in the spring. It’s good weight. He’s moving around well. We liked him last year when we played against him, and that’s why we brought him here. We feel like he can play on all three downs."
Hardesty and Massaquoi Bouncing Back This Year
(On Montario Hardesty and Mohamed Massaquoi being in a similar situations this camp)- "The situation starting with last year when they both came into camp limping and limited and then they had to try to work their way into the lineup starting the preseason hurt. I think we’ll all agree that they both came into camp in shape and healthy and they were able to improve their game instead of getting themselves healthy and I think that’s important because there is a lot of learning, there’s a lot of things going on now that you can’t do during the season and you can’t do in the preseason because it’s a game you play with pads on."
Nolan Cromwell & Brad Childress Helping Out in 2012
(On if practice is different for him with Nolan Cromwell and Brad Childress on staff this year)- "Actually, practice isn’t much different. Last year, Mark Whipple gave the quarterbacks the plays, and I stood back and watched. With Brad (Childress) doing it, I’ve got a lot of years with Brad and I am able because for a lot of reasons - I know the team better, we’re more defined on what we’re doing offensively - I can sit back and kind of cherry pick a little bit better than I did a year ago."
(On where Nolan Cromwell and Brad Childress come into play)- "I think they are two fine coaches, and I can really focus on other things at different times of the day, including practice, knowing that’s going to get done right."
Day Off on Tuesday, and Structure of Wednesday's Afternoon Practice
(On his expectations for the team with an off day tomorrow)- "It’s an off day, but it’s not a vacation day. Although, by rules, we can’t structure anything other than treatments if they’re injured, I would anticipate that they are going to take care of their bodies, and use it in a way where they’ll prepare themselves for practice on Wednesday. Typically, you see a lot of guys around the building on off days, like I saw last year. I would anticipate that there will be some guys that come in and watch extra film. There will be guys that try to get off their feet and do the treatment and the things you need to do to your body physically to get ready to practice the next day."
(On if he has any rules about what the players do on their off day)- "They’re off. We really went through this process last year with the off day. But it’s a little bit uncharted as training camps go prior to last season. I’ve talked about our guys being very professional and I anticipate that they’ll use their time wisely."
(On having afternoon practices after off days this year)- "The reason for that is we will install this evening the information and the plays and the situations that we are going to do Wednesday. What we’ll do is, you have the practice in the afternoon so that we can use the morning to review and walk-through before you do it. We’ll see how it works, but I think it’s a good way to get them back in tune mentally after they’ve been off a little bit."
(On the structure of afternoon practices)- "Two o’clock practice will feel just like this morning practice felt, it’s just flipped. In other words, we’ll do the walk-through and meeting in the morning and practice in the afternoon. Just like today, we practiced in the morning and then we meet and walk-through in the afternoon."