Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 25 of training camp to talk about how S David Sims continues to make plays, if WR Josh Gordon has made some adjustments, developing QB Thaddeus Lewis, and more. After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our report on Day 25 of training camp.
Opening Statement / Positive Practice
(Opening Statement)- "I felt like today’s practice was a lot better than yesterday. It feels good to ask the players to respond, and then they did, I saw them do it. It was a good thing. I think we got a lot done this morning. We did a lot of situational work. As you could see, there was a lot of third down work. At the end we did some more two minute situations with a lot of different personnel in there, so it was a good day."
S David Sims and How he Keeps Making Plays
(On how David Sims keeps getting interceptions)- "I think he’s flashed for the coaches as well. He made an interception today which was good. He’s challenging, he’s physical and he’s really made a huge amount of progress in the time that we’ve been together. I’m hopeful that it will continue here in the next two preseason games because that’s the kind of thing you want to see for a guy to make the team. He’s got to flash and he’s got to make plays. To his credit, he’s done that."
(On if Sims plays safety or corner)- "He’s a safety. He plays safety."
Adjustments Made by WR Josh Gordon & Bernie Kosar's Criticism of Him
(On the adjustments that Josh Gordon has made)- "I think Josh is a good example of somebody trying to get it right because there are a lot of things for Josh running parallel right now - the grind of training camp, the newness of playing the game again, of course learning our system and then facing competition. There are a lot of things running parallel. I think, and I don’t know if was noticeable to you guys watching, but the last couple of days, he’s practicing faster in my mind, he’s catching the ball and running with it instead of catching and stopping. He’s learning how to do it better in practice. As we all know, if we see it here, then it will translate to the game."
(On how much read and react there is for receivers like Gordon)- "I think there are certain routes that adjust, depending on how the corner plays you. There are other ones that you run it no matter what. There are some. When you run a shallow cross, typically you’ll run across the field if it’s man, if it’s zone you sit down. There are things that receivers have to learn, but some of that he learned in college as well."
(On if they’ve seen Gordon become more aggressive on his routes)- "Again, that’s one of the things we talked about. He’s a big bodied guy. To aggressively challenge the release of the corner, I think is a good thing for him. Make no mistake, you have to be able to be bump and run and catch the football. Those are the two most primary things a receiver has to do. At the snap somebody is going to challenge you most of the time. He can and has displayed an ability to do both. Now, in terms of him practicing, and again it’s translating to the game, we’ve talked about him practicing in a more aggressive, a more game-like speed, which is obvious that he really wasn’t used to. I think in the last couple of days, really since the Green Bay game, we’ve been out here three times now. I’ve seen that start to take shape a little bit."
(On Bernie Kosar saying that the comeback route has been giving Josh Gordon trouble)- "I think he needs to work on that route. The other thing about this process kind of running parallel is us getting used to the routes that he runs well and then feature them more in the game plans which is important. Going back to your question about getting a young guy in there, let’s try to get him in there and do the things that he does well initially. I would agree with Bernie (Kosar), running up and coming back right now is not the best thing that he is doing. He does a good job of running up and keeping running so we’ll see."
(On it normally taking two or three years for receivers)- "Let’s try to speed up that process. I agree, to really be comfortable in a system, to really be on top of your game, to really be where you get it and your experience and your understanding of the system and your talent all kind of meet. I get that, but I think what we have here is, as evidenced by last year, we got a lot young guys that are out there as we’re transforming this team roster-wise, we have a lot of guys out there playing that have got to get it done early. We just try to ramp it up and demand from them in practice. That’s why we try to practice at game speed so that at least they’re used to that when they get out on the field."
Joshua Cribbs, Carlton Mitchell, and Josh Cooper at Wide Receiver
(On how much he thinks he will use Joshua Cribbs as a receiver)- "He’s going to be active, and he’s going to be a returner. That being the case, he’s going to lineup and play receiver at times. Obviously they don’t all go every single snap, and there are times when we play three or four wide outs. I think it’s realistic that he’s going to get his snaps at receiver, much like he did last year. If he’s on the field, then he has a chance to produce."
(On if Carlton Mitchell has done anything in the preseason games to make up for lost practice time)- "I think so. I think the important thing is, he’ll get a chance to play a lot. I want him to show up so we sit back and say, ‘Wow, this guy has made great progress and we really have to consider him being a part of this team’, and I think that could be said for a lot of guys in his situation."
(On what he’s seeing from Josh Cooper)- "He’s another guy that I think has flashed at times in training camp. What’s impressive about him is he works extremely hard. He plays in the slot, which you’ve got to be able to wiggle free. He’s done a better job of that. I think early on, the physical nature of the corners kind of shocked him, where I think now he’s getting more comfortable separating in there. He’s pretty steady in his performance. Out here every day, he looks pretty similar to the day before although I would say he’s getting better."
Developing QB Thaddeus Lewis & His Impact on the Backup QB Spot
(On how much the development of Thaddeus Lewis will affect this final decision about the quarterbacks)- "That’s a very good question. If we’re going to talk about Thad Lewis, being with him for a year in St. Louis, I saw him respond in a way that he did in the Detroit game. Very few reps and then go in there and play pretty well, which is an attribute that a backup initially has to have because you don’t get many reps and then all of a sudden you’re in a game. It’s a firestorm and I got to go out there and execute. I saw him do that there as we’ve seen because of what is going on with our quarterback situation, he hasn’t gotten many reps and then he went out in the game against Detroit, albeit was against the thirds, but still executed well and played quarterback well. I think there’s value in that. I really do and there’s something to Thad that I think is worth developing."
(On if his answer was yes that the development of Lewis could affect what happens)- "Yeah, I think so. There’s no telling what is going to happen at this point. We’ve got a few days left here, close to 20, before we’ve got to make the final decision."
Evaluating James-Michael Johnson & If He's Ready to Start
(On if James-Michael Johnson is ready to start at linebacker if they don’t have Scott Fujita)- "I think the production that he has given us in the games so far points to the fact that he may be a starter for us this year. He has a chance. Again, I don’t want to make any proclamations at this point, but I think he will continue to improve as well. I said it after the game, but I thought that young linebacking core did an outstanding job against Green Bay."
(On Johnson has progressed through training camp)- "He’s getting better. I think you see his run fits are better. He matches up better in coverage. He runs to the ball extremely well. I think as he dives in on the match-ups of the team we’re playing, and can pick up little pointers as to whether it’s run-pass, or where they’re going with the football, he’ll even be better."
Practice Struggles in the Two-Minute Drill
(On the two minute drill stalling out the last few days and what he takes away from those besides the end result)- "Let’s talk first about your question. Yesterday we needed a field goal and we got into position to kick a field goal two of the three times so those weren’t stalls. Today it was fifty seconds, not timeouts, need a touchdown. Today we did not score touchdowns so what I’m seeing in these drills is guys having to react to the situation. There are coachable moments in there that we talk about in terms of whether the route was run properly, the protection was right, the quarterback did the right thing, all the things you look for. As the head coach, I’m looking at both sides of it so that if we stop them, it’s a we thing, if we stop them that’s a good thing too. We try to go ones against ones, twos against twos so the competition is brisk and I think that’s the other thing to keep in mind."
Battle at Fullback, and TE Jordan Cameron as a Blocker
(On if he can keep both Brad Smelley and Owen Marecic on the roster)- "When we put the thing together, we’ll have a combination of running backs, tight ends and receivers. We will try to keep the best players in total between those three positions, offensive skill positions. We’ve got a couple of preseason games here, and let’s say, ‘Knock on wood,’ we don’t have any injuries at those positions, there’s going to be some tough calls there because we have to think of the other positions as well. Possibly, because Smelley could be considered a tight end as well as a fullback."
(On how Jordan Cameron is doing as a blocker)- "Improving, I think that’s one of the things he’s focused on quite a bit and he’s getting better. An important thing for the tight end is to use your feet properly and right hand placement and all that. I think he’s a good enough athlete to do that and then at that point when the defender tries to separate then you’ve got to use your athletic ability to keep you on the block and he has all of those things and he’s getting better."
(On if Jordan Cameron is big enough body-wise)- "Yeah, plenty of size."
Other Defensive Notes - DT John Hughes, DE Jabaal Sheard, and CB Trevin Wade
(On John Hughes not being out there today)- "He’ll be out there soon."
(On Trevin Wade)- "I just happened to be next to him when he was playing on our left side so I watched him pretty closely during the game. He stuck it up and forced the run one time. It’s funny because he came over to the sideline and I said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and he said, ‘I kind of have a little crick in my neck.’ He was fine so he’s into it and you saw a couple times in the first game when they challenged him and he made a play. I think he’s a pretty gritty guy and he’s flashed for me. I think he’s doing a good job."
(On what kind of a jump he looks for from Jabaal Sheard compared to last year)- "Again he was a lot like Josh Gordon last year. Great skill and ability and was thrust in there. He was just put right in there, go play and he started on the other side. He finally got to where he’s playing on our left now and he’s getting after is so I expect him to pick up his game. I’d love to see him be a very dominant player. I think that he would expect that from himself so whatever that means number wise I don’t know, but I expect him to be somebody that teams we’re playing are worried about blocking."
(On if Sheard has improved against the run)- "I think so. I never thought he had any problems against the run, but in year two, as long as he keeps his health and keeps playing the way he’s playing, I think there will be improvement there."