Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur spoke with the local media following practice on Tuesday. Among the things discussed were who would start at quarterback this Thursday against the Chicago Bears, trying to give the young guys a chance to play, and a pretty funny line about why LB Emmanuel Acho was placed on injured reserve. The news conference transcript is organized by topic after the jump.
Final Preparations for Thursday in Practice
(Opening Statement)- "Good afternoon. As I’ve talked about all week, I tried to take the players through a typical week in terms of the schedule. Today of course was a Friday schedule, where the new part to the game plan is the red zone and of course you come out here and review the base, the short yardage, the goal-line, the third down and whatnot. They went through that. It’s always important for the guys that have done it before, but I think it’s extremely important for our team this year because we’re going to have so many rookies that are going to be competing. Before you get to the real first game week, them getting a feel for the process I think is important. That’s how we tried to handle it. Now they’ll go in there and they’ll all kind of get together in their little groups and have a last little meeting, then we’ll get ready for tomorrow, which I guess is a Wednesday, but in our world it will be a Saturday."
First Stringers Won't Play Much, If At All, Against Bears
(On his plan for the player’s playing time Thursday)- "I have most of those decisions done. For the most part, the guys that are ones will play very little if at all. I’ll keep the names private at this point. We’re going to meet as a staff here now that we’ve had a chance to watch some of the new guys that came out today, that didn’t practice during the week, we have to kind of fit them in and see who may or may not play from there. For the most part, the guys that have not been lining up as the ones will play quite a bit."
(On if the rookie ones will get a little playing time)- "There are a lot of things that we think about when we go and decide who is playing. I think about injury for the first game. I think about guys that need to show us more and guys going out there that want to compete and try to make this team. There’s a lot that goes into it. I wouldn’t read too much into who is in the game and who is not. You can try to predict who’s going to make it, but unfortunately at some positions, you’re just going to have to wait."
Open Roster Spots, and Getting Down to 53 Players
(On how many spots are still undecided)- "I think that’s a very good question. You’re just going to have to wait and see. I think there are a handful of decisions that we’re going to make, come the final cuts that will be determined by how guys play in this game. I think that’s fair."
(On if he expects a lot of roster movement after the final cuts)- "It’s fair to say every team will prepare themselves for maybe picking up a guy on the 53 that hasn’t been in training camp with them. I think that’s fair. I think we’ll see. With this game here, unfortunately, the unintended consequence of injury is still out there for some guys. Regardless of whether you’re a one or not, there are a lot of guys that are going to play in this game that are going to make this team, and play a lot. We’re just going to have to wait and see. I think it’s something to consider for all clubs though."
(On if this game can still make or break a player)- "I think as they’re out there playing, we’re getting information about whether they’re going to be a member of the 53."
(On if it is fair to say that special teams is vital for if some guys make the final roster)- "It’s very vital and that’s why it’s an important game for a lot of guys because some of these guys that would make the team purely by playing special teams are not going to play a lot of scrimmage downs in this game so we’re going to get to see a lot. We’re going to get to see and learn a lot about our team watching the guys in there playing."
Brandon Weeden to Sit, Colt McCoy to Start; Other QB Notes
(On if Brandon Weeden will start on Thursday)- "He’s not going to play."
(On how he will handle the other quarterbacks in the game)- "The other three quarterbacks will play in the game, that’s how we’re going to handle it."
(On what quarterback will start Thursday)- "Colt (McCoy) will start the game."
(On how prepared Brandon Weeden is for September 9)- "I think he’s very prepared. I think he’s had an outstanding camp. I thought he had an outstanding offseason. Really he’s kind of improved every day. For a guy that’s going through this for the first time as a pro, I think he’s very ready."
Benard and Acho Injuries; Claiming Owusu Off Waivers
(On the roster decisions made regarding Marcus Benard and Emmanuel Acho)- "They’re guys that as we’re shaping this roster, that first cut, getting the roster right for the season along with getting it right for this fourth game, we had to make those moves. We felt like Acho showed us some things and it’s unfortunate that he won’t be with us, but he’s a bright-eyed guys and I think he’s got a future same with Benard."
(On what Acho’s injury is)- "I don’t know, sore from the game (joking)? No, he has a knee."
(On claiming Ernest Owusu off waivers)- "I think it was important that we brought in a guy that we felt good about before training camp started. He was available, and it will help us with depth in this game of course."
(On bringing in two defensive linemen recently and if you can never have too many defensive linemen)- "It’s hard to get the defensive line exactly the way you want it so you are always looking for guys that can come in and either generate a pass rush or stop the run. We’ll constantly try to do the very best we can at that position. Really, it is very primary and of course we try to do the same at others."
TE Ben Watson Not Playing Much in Camp
(On Benjamin Watson not playing much in camp)- "I know. Again, I’ve watched him play good football in this league for a long time. That’s something that’s in his favor. Nothing do I want more than to have him out here. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to, so we’ll deal with it from there."
Finding the Right Backup O-Linemen, and Pass Rushers
(On if he is comfortable with Ryan Miller being the third tackle)- "I think we’ve got a couple of guys in our offensive line that can back up at tackle. We need Oniel to get healthy, but I feel as though (John) Greco, in a pinch, I think he’s really good at center and guard, but I think he has also played some tackle in this league. He played Friday at left tackle so the unfortunate thing for those backup linemen, those six, seventh and eighth guys is they have to be somewhat multiple and if you can play all three positions that helps you."
(On how important it is to establish players that can pass rush from a positions other than defensive line)- "Typically linebackers are getting sacks if they are part of a pressure unless they’re playing as a specially nickel rusher. I think every defensive coordinator will tell you the best scenario is if you can get pressure with a four-man pass rush. That way you don’t have to be so heroic and take chances in coverage and that’s what you’re trying to do. Of course it’s important to pressure to challenge the protections and do what you have to do to get pressure on the quarterback, but I would say this, we have some guys on this roster that I think are very good blitzers, typically they’re your outside guys."