Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media prior to Monday afternoon's practice. Due to the rain that fell most of the morning and afternoon in the Cleveland area, practice ended up being held indoors. Some of Shurmur's comments reflected things that happened during Sunday's practice. Also keep in mind that this news conference took place before the roster was trimmed to 75 players. After the jump, I have organized the news conference transcript by topic.
Working in Different Weather Conditions
(Opening Statement)- "Good morning. Yesterday was a great practice for a couple reasons. We got them back in pads. It was hot, it was almost 90 degrees out there, which was terrific. We got a nice long practice. For those of you that were out there you know, we finished with a two minute drill where it was really good for them to get some of the conditioning that you need to get this time of year. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the kind of heat you normally get in training camp, so any warm day I welcome. I’m glad for that. Unfortunately, it changed a little bit today. There’s a chance that we will go inside. Other than that, it’s a Thursday in the player’s world, so we’re working on short yardage, goal-line, third down and reviewing the base from yesterday. I think it’s important for them to go through the process, and that’s why I do it this way the fourth week of the preseason."
RB Montario Hardesty Was Not Demoted on Sunday
(On if Montario Hardesty was injured, resting or held out of practice yesterday)- "He was at practice. I saw him. He was out there practicing. I think you guys had a chance to talk to him, right? He was just sore from the game. He’s fine. I want us to play better, and I don’t want to turn the ball over, but he’s fine."
(On if he was sending a message to Hardesty)- "No, not at all. Any of our guys that can practice are out there. As we’re all accustomed to seeing, there are reasons why guys don’t practice, typically for health reasons. He was just sore from the game. He had a lot of carries and he played a lot of plays."
(On if Hardesty has been dropped on the depth chart)-"No, not at all."
The Learning Curve for QB Brandon Weeden
(On him telling Brandon Weeden in practice to ‘throw it away’ and if he is getting better at that)- "I think that’s something that all quarterbacks need to learn. There’s a heroism to being a quarterback, and you think you can save the world and everything. I think that’s part of what makes guys good quarterbacks. Now as you train them to play, it’s important that they take the easy ones, and it’s important that when the play is lost, in other words, you’re flushed from the pocket, you’re on the move and there’s nobody, then you’ve got to do the right thing with the ball. Either run for a couple of yards and hook slide or in the case of you’re just trapped and there’s nowhere to go with the football, and it happens once in a while, then you’ve got to be smart with it. That’s just part of the training."
(On relationship between Josh Gordon and Brandon Weeden from the start of camp until now)- "In terms of them working together, I think I’ve seen huge improvement. I’ve talked a couple of times about how things run parallel. They’re both trying to improve. They’re both trying to learn the system. It’s very important that they both get to know each other, how the routes are run and where the ball is going to be thrown. I think I see improvement because they’re out there working at it. I see improvement in that relationship every single day."
(On Brandon Weeden’s long sideline completion to Mohamed Massaquoi on Friday)- "It was a shake route actually, and there was a little scramble to it, post corner."
(On Weeden saying he threw that pass as hard as he could and if he is impressed with Weeden’s aggressiveness)- "That’s a pretty obvious statement, yeah. I was kind of impressed by it. It’s drawn up where in that case you would like to see a seven drop, hitch and make the throw. That’s how it’s drawn up. He had to move around in the pocket and the ball was obviously late. Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) did a good job of uncovering. When you throw the ball late outside, you’ve got to have a little oomph behind it to get it out there, and I think that was displayed by that pass."
(On if he had a bigger appreciation for Weeden’s pass after seeing it on tape)- "No, there are some plays I need to see on tape to decide whether I liked them or not. I saw that one on the field and I liked it. It was a good throw."
Roster & Injury-Related News
(On if he has to give players extra time to recovery because of how many injuries they already have)- "Each injury, or each person that develops soreness, you handle differently depending on who they are. We have protocol for that and we have experience with injuries. I think guys are very skilled at determining when a guy can be back on the field and when he can be back out there, he practices. Until that time, there are sometimes when they go to practice and they just do individual drills and then don’t do team. You try to bring them back as quickly as possible."
(On if he has any roster moves to announce)- "No, we don’t at this point. We’ve got some moves that will be made here. It will be made public after practice, but I don’t have anything at this point to announce for you."
(On if he is anticipating adding anybody to the roster today)- "We’ve had conversations about a lot of things today, but I can’t say for certain at this point."
(On if he is approaching this fourth preseason game differently this year because of how many young players they have)- "I don’t know if I do. My thoughts go to making sure we’ve got the 53 best and healthiest guys when we make this decision. Like I said, I feel a little less pressure from that standpoint because in the last two preseason games we got bordering on 50 snaps in the first half and that’s rare to have 90-some snaps in two halves of football not to mention the first game. I feel a little less pressure there because some of our young guys that are going to have to be outstanding players for us have gotten a lot of work in the last two weeks."
Picking One Player Between Billy Winn and John Hughes
(On how Billy Winn has played in the three preseason games)- "I think he’s improved in each of the games. He to me is like Josh Gordon. Each week I see something better and different about him. He’s done an excellent job in the preseason. I think he plays fast, there’s some quickness to him. He finds a way to free himself up in there, which is hard to pass-rush from the three-technique or the defensive tackle position. Especially because you’re dealing with play action and getting your run fit first and what not. I think he’s done a good job of creating a little bit of rush and he flashes. He’s a good athlete. He’s a skateboard guy, so he’s a good athlete. He can really chase things down, which I think he’s shown."
(On if body type and style of play matters when choosing a starter between Billy Winn and John Hughes)- "It’s safe to say that there will be a little rotation in there with the guys that we have on the roster. It’s very typical to play three or four defensive tackles within a game. Of course, somebody has to line up there for the first snap. We all know that that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story."
Alex Mack - The Field General Up Front
(On his overview of how Alex Mack is coming along in his fourth year)- "I think he’s one of the finer centers in the league. I think he’s displayed that to me. He’s really the field general up front in terms of getting everything started and getting everybody going in the right direction. Of course the quarterback is ultimately responsible, but blocking schemes and making decisions on who we’re blocking. When you’re blocking five or six men, you’ve got to decide who are the most dangerous five or who are the most dangerous six. A lot of times, that decision is first made by the center. Now, the quarterback then comes and trumps it because he’s the one ultimately responsible, but the process of course gets started by the center. I’ve seen that become smoother. I think he’s very good in the run-game and the pass-game. He’s just kind of a solid, steady force in there, which you need for somebody that’s playing center."
James-Michael Johnson Breaking Up Passes
(On the athleticism of James-Michael Johnson after the recovery he made last week to break up a pass)- "Yeah, I think he’s got those young legs and he’s got the speed to recover which he displayed there. That’s one of those, ‘Oh my goodness…hey, great play.’ That’s the kind of stuff that goes through your mind and he did a good job of getting himself back in position to make that play."
(On what Johnson’s responsibility was initially for that play)- "They were running basically a double-post concept so the inside guy was running through the middle of the field and they had a play-action with it which kind of ties the linebackers eyes up and that’s why he could say, I don’t know what he told you, if he was beat or he was late, but then when he realized it he was quick to react and get going. Then his body was in position to make that play."
S David Sims Impressing and Getting Screwed on Pick Six
(On if there was helmet to helmet contact on the quarterback on the play when David Sims returned an interception for a touchdown)- "I’m not going there. I think that was a play where we got really good pressure and it’s unfortunate that it got called, let’s just say that because that’s a pick-six. We know the result of the drive after that, they went down and scored so in my mind, number one, we can’t hit quarterbacks in the helmet, we all know that. I was pleased that we got outstanding pressure on him in that situation and then I was pleased when Sims caught it and ran it in. There were a lot of things I was happy about there. If you watched me on the sideline there was a lot of other things I wasn’t happy about and that’s just the way it goes."
(On how the replacement officials have been doing)- "Everybody is out there in the preseason busting their fanny to get it right - players, coaches, officials, the people that manage the game, and I’m sure the people who sell hotdogs - we’re all trying to get it right during the preseason so that when we kick it off here Week One, we’re ready to go. They’re working through it like we are."
(On if he is comfortable with the notion of replacement officials in the regular season)- "We’re just working through this thing, getting better."
(On what Davis Sims has to do to make the team)- "A guy in his position to make this roster has got to do a couple things. Number one, we’ve got to feel comfortable enough with him playing the safety position to keep him and then also he needs to establish himself as a special teams player. I think he’s caught our eyes in both ways."
Cornerback News - Haden, Brown, and Patterson
(On what he’s seen from Joe Haden throughout camp)- "I think he’s challenged in practice. I think his attention to detail, his focus has been good in practice. I was very excited to see him get an interception. They were just trying to throw a slant route in the slot to the left and (Nick) Foles got flushed and then he saw DeSean (Jackson) down the field. He threw it up to try to make a play, which is good quarterback play, and I thought Joe made a good play on the ball. Those are all good things, and I see him pretty intimately day to day and I see a difference in his training camp this year compared to the one last year."
(On if Dimitri Patterson is close to practicing)- "He’s making great progress. I’m happy with how quickly he’s feeling less sore. How’s that?"
(On if he is concerned about the play of Sheldon Brown)- "There’s that concern word. I’m not concerned about him. I think what happens is as we become more veteran as players, as coaches there are certain things that you maybe can’t do later in your career that you could do when you were younger, but you compensate with experience and savvy and all that. I’m not dissatisfied with Sheldon. I’m not at all. I think he’s a really good corner in this league."
(On if Brown did something wrong technique-wise on the touchdown play last week)- "He wasn’t in bad position, the guy just made the play. I think if guys are just getting torched then it’s different, but when you’re close to where the throw is then it’s just a matter of recognizing what’s going on and just making a play. Much like the second game when Green Bay threw the ball on Joe (Haden) in the end zone, Joe was in great position, now just finish it and make a play."
Usama Young Missing A Lot of Camp Time
(On if Usama Young missing a lot of time in camp hurts him and if he still has a role on this team)- "I talked yesterday about veterans who have proven to me that they can play in this league, injuries and all. He’s found a way to stay pretty healthy throughout the seasons. This is not the first training camp where he’s had some injuries to deal with so were factoring that in. Of course, anytime you’re not out there practicing it slows your ability to learn the system, get used to the guys your with and of course get your body right for a 16-plus game season. Those are all things we have to factor in."
More Vagueness on Trent Richardson
(On if he saw Trent Richardson today)- "I saw him today, I saw Richardson. That’s a good question. I know you’re going to circle back on me. Richardson is making great progress and he’ll be out there soon."
(On when ‘soon’ is)- "Soon is a pretty vague word, isn’t it?"
(On if Richardson will practice in an hour)- "Not in an hour. Sooner or later he’ll be out there and then we’ll talk about it."
Steady Climb for WR Josh Gordon, and Linebacker Talk
(On what it says that Josh Gordon was able to recover from a slow period during training camp)- "I’ve mentioned this, the steady climb theory, and early on he had to get himself in playing shape, he had to learn the offense, he had to get used to the quarterbacks that were throwing to him, he had to get used to being coached. That’s a little bit of a process too when we’re riding him, you’ve got to get used to that. When you think you’re a pretty good player and you have to deal with lots of coachable moments, which I thought he did fine, and as it all starts to come together then you see a guy that’s got very good skill and ability start to make plays. I think that’s what we saw in the Green Bay game and then of course last week he made some plays as well."
(On how he feels about the linebackers in camp)- "Some of these young guys I think have played pretty well and are making good progress so I’m excited to see them do it again this week. Those guys will play, of course, in this last preseason game. There are a lot of young guys that we’re counting on this year that are going to get a few more snaps this week. I’m looking for that progress to continue."
The Process of Grading Players Behind Closed Doors
(On how much they talk about quarterbacks when they get behind closed doors)- "The quarterback, it’s a very important position. I think you want to get the quarterback thing right because then you can move forward and do the other things that you need to do to get the team right. I think that’s important. The quarterback talk, it’s everyday really amongst myself and Brad (Childress) and Whip (Mark Whipple). They are graded on everything they do, but that can be said about the other positions as well. The running back situation, who plays tight end. There are constant evaluations. It’s not uncommon for a guy to say player A is first, player B second, player C is third and then after the game the next week say player B is the better guy. That happens constantly and then we factor it all in as they go through this training camp process and then make the decision where we keep the best 53. Although the quarterback thing is extremely important we go through that process with every player on the team."