Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 18 of training camp to talk about the excellent camp L.J. Fort is having, how much the starters will play against the Packers, how Trent Richardson is doing, and more. After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our report on Day 17 of training camp.
Opening Statement & Playing Time for Packers and Eagles Games
(Opening Statement)- "Good morning. Today was one of those dog days. This was a work day and a dog day of training camp and the guys pushed through it. They carried their pads well. We got better in a lot of areas. Tomorrow our focus will be Browns versus Browns, but also with Green Bay in mind. As I mentioned yesterday, the guys that line up this week with the first group, we’ll try to get them about a half of play, and we’ll see and evaluate from there at half time. They may play a little more, they may not. We’ll just have to see. I’m going to keep that open."
(On if he’s talked to Andy Reid about how they will approach the third preseason game)- "No, I don’t think you want to do that. Head coaches don’t do that, no. Andy’s getting his team ready to play, and I’m getting our team ready to play. You can look into this third preseason game and how we’re going to do it way too much in my opinion, because there’s a certain amount of work that needs to get done in training camp, and we’ll both get it done the way we see fit."
L.J. Fort Having an Excellent Camp
(On L.J. Fort)- "I think he’s had an excellent camp. When we left in June, I was looking forward to him playing well in training camp, because as I’ve said before, when the linebackers put their pads on then they start to separate. I think when he started wearing his pads and playing the game for real, he showed me more. He did a good job in his scrimmage snaps. He also did an outstanding job on special teams. As you saw today, he ended the drill with an interception. I mentioned it to our defense. I talked about as a team we need to catch the football more and better. As you’ve seen in practice here, instead of the balls just getting deflected, you’re seeing our guys finish the play if it is a bad throw with an interception. I’d like to think you get what you emphasize."
(On what he saw in L.J. Fort to bring him in as an undrafted free agent)- "I think he has very good instincts. He’s got the right size, the skill and ability to play the position. He has kind of a powerful build, and again you have to have good instincts to be a linebacker and play in three downs, and I think he has that."
(On if Fort is strictly a middle linebacker)- "No, anybody that lines up that’s a four, five or six linebacker has to be somewhat flexible. I think he can play out or in."
(On James-Michael Johnson’s performance at Detroit)- "He did a nice job. He played well."
Playing Time for Brandon Weeden
(On if he debates on giving Brandon Weeden more playing time in the preseason because he’s a rookie)- "No, he’ll stay in there with the ones."
(On if Weeden won’t see extended playing time because he wants to evaluate everyone)- "I think it’s important to evaluate everybody. But I do think that if you mix up too many ones with two then the game gets a little sloppy at times, and I don’t want to do that."
Trent Richardson's is in Berea, Update on Other Injuries
(On if Trent Richardson is here)- "Trent’s here. He’s getting better, and when he’s ready he’ll be out. But he’s here. He’s here all day long doing his thing, trying to get healthy."
(On if he has a time table for Richardson’s return)- "Nope."
(On if Travis Benjamin will be able to play on Thursday)- "As soon as he’s ready to play he’ll be out. I don’t know that yet. He’s sore from the game."
(On if there is anyone that has missed practice this week that could play Thursday)- "Yeah, there’s a couple that could. If there’s guys that, and you guys will let me know who they are, I don’t even have to get an injury report, you’ll let me know who they are. The ones that are out here practicing tomorrow will have the ability to play against the Packers."
(On the challenges getting players ready for the season who have missed practice time)- "Some of the guys that aren’t out here are guys that have played in the league a long time so they’ve been through these little gaps where they’ve had injuries so to speak so I’m not so concerned about that. The ones I’m more concerned about that missed practice time are the young ones, the guys that need to develop. If there’s level of concern, that’s where it goes to, the guys that need to practice because they’re going through this process here for the first or second time. Of course you’re going to ask me, I get concerned about all injuries, but I do think that we still have a long time before we play our first (regular season) game and everybody in the building in there is rushing to get back out here."
Cornerback Notes on Buster Skrine & James Dockery
(On what he seen from Buster Skrine in his second year)- "Buster is more comfortable in our scheme. When Buster came in, he played a lot of football, but he hadn’t played within a scheme like a pro system. He had to get up to speed in a lot of ways. I think he’s a guy that challenges extremely well, and now he knows more about how it fits within the scheme. I think that’s why you’ve seen him flash more."
(On if Skrine is more comfortable on the outside)- "He can play slot. As you’ve seen in practice here, he’s played outside quite a bit. You would like to have all your corners that can play outside, and then you choose who plays inside. If you just get a bunch of nickel corners then you’ve got too many guys."
(On if James Dockery is progressing)- "I think so. I think he’s made very good progress. I think I can say a lot of the same things I said about Buster (Skrine). They are guys that like to challenge and now they know how challenging within the scheme fits better. I think that’s showing up."
Loose Ends on Hardesty & Rubin
(On how Montario Hardesty is doing)- "He had a couple good hard runs the other night. He’s practiced extremely well. I think he had a good day today. Other than me getting on him one time, he tried to catch the ball with one hand. He’s a running back not a circus act, you have to use both hands. He’s a very willing guy. He’s kept himself healthy and he’s doing a heck of a job."
(On what makes Ahtyba Rubin the player that he is)- "I think first of all, for a defensive lineman he has very good instincts, he knows how to play blocks. I think being a 3-4 nose tackle, you get used to feeling leverage of one player and now we have him set up in more of a one-gap type alignment. That helps him feel whether he’s getting down blocked or reached or slipped or double-teamed and that’s first and foremost. Winning those battles in your own little world and then I think he’s also is a guy that once he separates from the block or defeats the block, he can make a play, which is important. Because he’s a good player, even though he doesn’t say much, there is some natural leadership there that I think the rest of the team appreciates."
Dick Jauron Calling Plays from the Booth in 2012
(On if Dick Jauron will call the defensive plays from the booth all season)- "Yeah, he’s going to be upstairs this year."
(On why Jauron will be in the booth this season) - "He wants to be. He’s called the defense from both down and up. There’s nothing other than he’d like to do it from upstairs."