Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 6 of training camp to talk about red zone drills, the wide receivers in the red zone, what tight end Alex Smith excels at, injury updates on Evan Moore, Ahtyba Rubin, and Frostee Rucker, the young linebackers, Colt McCoy improving, and more.
After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our report on Day 6 of training camp.
Opening Statement on Red Zone Drills
(Opening statement) – "Alright, well our afternoon practice, I thought the guys handled the schedule well (with) a little bit of a change. I felt good about the fact that after their day off, and again it wasn’t a vacation day, I thought they all handled it extremely well, very professional. We came back this morning and had a chance to review things and for the most part we had pretty good execution out here. We did a lot of red zone work of course and then base and I think we got a lot done today. I was pleased with the progress today and we’ll go in tonight and do the meetings and keep moving. I think there are some players out here that are making progress and you probably have questions about some of the specifics. Some of the young DB’s and receivers have established themselves and are playing pretty good ball. Not to mention some of the young linemen who did a decent job of blocking today. With that being said I will take your questions."
WR Josh Gordon in the Red Zone, and WR Travis Benjamin in Traffic
(On the ability to call more fade routes in the red zone with Josh Gordon) – "I think the fade you know it can be a good play if you have a guy that is a mismatch size-wise or what not. It’s something I think is important to have in your red zone package, but from that standpoint too, they can take that away and that’s why you have all of the other route combinations. Just by his natural size, he should have the potential to be a pretty good fade runner."
(On Josh Gordon making some good catches today) – "He did a good job in the red zone and again, he is a big target. Physically, he is like a tight end running around in there and obviously, athletically, he fits the wide receiver mold."
(On if Travis Benjamin has shown more than expected at this point) – "I don’t know if (it has been) more than I expected. I anticipated with his natural size that he might get banged around and be less efficient, but he has done a great job. I think he handles the traffic pretty well and you can see today he caught the ball in contested situations extremely well. We knew that he had the skill and ability to play in this league and at least to this point, he’s doing a good job of improving his game."
(On if there are enough reps for Travis Benjamin to be a significant contributor) – "Absolutely. I think both of those guys, if they progress like they’re doing, at the pace they’re going now, then I think they are going to be major contributors. Both those guys."
TE Situation - Jordan Cameron, Alex Smith, and Evan Moore
(On Jordan Cameron’s play this off-season and the overall importance of the tight end in this offense) – "I think it’s important. It’s like Tony’s (Grossi) question about the fade. You talk about tight ends because of their size in the red zone. Those are all things that are important and you have to be good at multiple things and I think the key for Jordan Cameron is that he continues to improve his game. You have to be able to do more than one thing for us to throw you the football. If the red light goes on when you are in the game because all you’re doing is throwing it then that’s the key to the drill. If the defense knows it’s a pass. So blocking, all the other things you do when you don’t have the football and I think that’s what he’s working on. "
(On how important the preseason will be for Jordan Cameron) – "I think he needs to get lots of reps in the preseason games and he will. He’ll be a guy that can play the "Y" or the tight end position and then also the second tight end position in two tight end sets. He’ll play quite a bit in the preseason for sure."
(On Alex Smith’s strengths as compared to the other tight ends) – "Well, I think Alex is a guy that can play on the line of scrimmage. We’ve played him in space, in the slot and then we’ve also played him in the backfield. He can play multiple positions which are important to an offense."
(On if Alex Smith has a feisty attitude) – "I think it’s fair to say he’s pretty feisty. I think most of these guys are pretty feisty. They keep it from you like I do sometimes."
(On a timetable for Evan Moore) – "He’ll be back soon. He is doing more and more and more and he should be back soon."
Colt McCoy Continues to Improve
(On Colt McCoy) – "Colt’s doing great. I think he’s continuing to improve. I’m seeing him do things in this camp that he didn’t do a year ago and he’s getting more comfortable within our system and he’s coming to work every day and working hard. I think he’s doing a good job."
(On what he is doing this year that he wasn’t doing last year) – "Well, I just think he’s more comfortable in the progressions. If it doesn’t go to number one or number two, he’s throwing it to three instead of taking off and running, those types of things. Command in the huddle, knowing what his receivers can do and where he can put the football. All the general quarterback play stuff."
Citing Young Linebackers - JMJ, Acho, Fort, and Robertson
(On the depth at the linebacker position) – "I think our young linebackers as a group have stood out as a group to me in terms of their performance out here. I mentioned a couple days ago how linebackers are like offensive and defensive linemen. Their kind of all in a pile and when we evaluate them we say ‘ok, let’s see how they do when you put the pads on’ and I think some of these young linemen, you know JMJ (James Michael Johnson) is doing a good job, (Craig) Robertson, (L.J.) Fort, (Emmanuel) Acho, the list goes on of young linebackers. I think for the most part that group is doing a good job."
Injuries Piling Up on Defensive Line, and a Joke About Kiante Tripp
(On Frostee Rucker not practicing today) – "No, he won’t be out long, but he missed today. He’s ok. We’ll evaluate him. He’ll be back soon."
(On his 2011 expectations for Scott Paxson and how they have changed for 2012) – "He’s just kind of a tough gritty guy. He plays hard in there. He rattles around and plays well against the run. I think he’s kind of one of those veteran defensive tackles type guys that’s probably getting a few more reps than he would have a year ago. He’s one of those veteran guys that grabs as many reps as he can. I think that’s a good thing. "
(On if he will replace Phil Taylor until he comes back) – "He’ll be one of the guys. I would say on our roster, we’re going to have to roll a few people in there. That’s what we’re trying to find, that right mix. We’ll get (Ahtyba) Rubin back here real soon. Obviously, we’d feel good about him playing. Then its ok we’re going to man that other spot with the guys that we’ve talked about, (Billy) Winn, (John) Hughes, (Scott) Paxson, (Brian) Schaefering, those guys."
(On what Kiante Tripp did to get in with the first team defense) – "He was just getting rotated in. He may have bought someone lunch, I don’t know (jokingly). There were a lot of guys in there rotating."
(On his observations of Marcus Bernard) – "He’s doing a good job. He’s way further ahead this year, than he was last year at this time. Remember, he tried to put on a bunch of weight, in my opinion was not good weight based on his frame. He was in much better shape when he reported. I think he’s doing a good job. Again, preseason games will be important for him as well."
(On Billy Winn and John Hughes) – "They are doing well. Hughes flashes in kind of the run situations, where all of sudden it looks like he is blocked and then he will show up. Winn is a flash to me, his quickness in terms of pass rush. I don’t want pigeonhole one as a run player and one as a pass rusher, but I think those are my initial thoughts. Both are guys that can play on all three downs, but that’s initially where I’m at."
Loose Ends - S Eric Hagg, RT Mitchell Schwartz, and FB Eddie Williams
(On if Eric Hagg is the total package at the safety position) – "He’s a young player and he’s caught our eye and he’s lining up in there with the one’s at the weak safety spot. I think he can do all the things you have to do to play safety in this league. He can play the deep part of the field, play the half or the quarters, I think he can come up and support the run. When he is in man-to-man situations, typically he’ll be matched up on a tight end or a back and I think he can do that effectively, too. Again, there’s development that needs to happen. We feel good about where he’s at and we hope he has another month or so of development before we kick it off for real."
(On Mitchell Schwartz) – "I think he’s doing a good job. He was in there today most of the time today with the ones. I’ve talked about their individual battles, but also working with the group. We’ll go in and take a look at it. There was some good competition today. We ran the ball to the right a little bit. Did you see that? We were testing him. Was that Marty (Gitlin)? Do you guys get together and say we’re going to look at this and this? (jokingly)."
(On Eddie Williams not being out there) – "He’s not out there. He probably won’t be out there for a while."