CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 09: Head Coaches Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns, left, and Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles, right, shake hands after the season opener game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Eagles defeated the Browns 17-16. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media [video here] following his team's Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He talked about the disappointment in losing, the struggles offensively, how Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson did, L.J. Fort's missed opportunity, and more. I have organized the press conference transcript by topic, along with some of my thoughts, after the jump.
Opening Statement from Shurmur
(Opening Statement)- "I’ll first start with injuries. The only thing I have really to report is
Sheldon Brown had a stinger, that’s why he had to leave the game. Other than that, I think for the most part injury-wise we pulled out of it okay.
Obviously it’s disappointing to lose, very disappointing to lose. I would say this though - and don’t ever get me wrong - it’s disappointing to lose and there are no moral victories, alright? We played an outstanding football team today, and we went out there with every intention of winning the football game, so that’s the message. I’ve coached in this league a long time, and I’ve been on teams where you’ve lost the first game and been in the playoffs doing everything you want to do.
A first week loss is only fatal if the guys in that room let it be because there are a hell of a lot of good things that happened out there that we will build on. There are two months-worth of mistakes that we can correct. That’s when I look at it from the sidelines without watching the tape, that’s what I’ll say. For our defense to get five turnovers I think is outstanding. For us really to only punch in three field goals, that’s not good, we all know that. Do our guys on offense need to play better and more efficiently? I think so. I think that’s fair to say.
We have a team here that battles. That’s the starting point. I think we could have said that about the team last year, which is a credit to the guys in the locker room. There were a lot of mistakes. I’m sure there were a lot of rookie mistakes out there, but the guys battled, and I think that’s important. That’s what we’re going to build on. I can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow to make the corrections, and get ready to play Cincinnati. That was the other message I gave them; don’t let anybody walk in that locker room and try to crack them, don’t. I told them they were built for this, in terms of playing football and playing on the big stage, but that means you’re built to handle a little bit of adversity that comes with, unfortunately losing, which we got to get fixed. That’s where it’s at. I’m sure you got some specific questions about things. That was my message to the team."
Pokorny's Thoughts: My guess is that Sheldon Brown's injury is not too serious. If it forced him to miss any games, I still have confidence in the team's depth at cornerback, since they can activate Trevin Wade. Now, if Joe Haden gets suspended and Brown is out, that's another story. The rest of the stuff was typical post-game mumbo-jumbo, with a few of his favorite words (battle) thrown in.
Evaluating Rookies on Offense - Brandon Weeden & Trent Richardson
(On the way
Brandon Weeden played)-" I think he’s going to be like everybody in there. He’s going to watch the tape. There are some plays he’s going to shake his head on that he can do better."
(On if Weeden was wide-eyed on such a big stage)- No, not at all. Brandon Weeden’s played on a big stage for a very long time. I did not see a guy that was starry-eyed, not at all. I see a guy that can play better, absolutely. But the stage, no."
(On what he was expecting from Brandon Weeden today)-"I think we saw a rookie quarterback playing today. I think he’s going to become much better here in the next couple of weeks. I wasn’t disappointed with how he played quarterback per se, than I was disappointed in some of the bad plays. I think that’s the key. I’m not discouraged at all. In fact, I can’t wait for morning to go back in there and try to correct some of the things we did wrong."
(On the way that
Trent Richardson played)- "I think they’re an outstanding defense, and we need to do a better job of running the football. We tried to run Trent and I think he held up pretty well. I would say this; he’ll play better next week. I would say that, and I think he’ll tell you the same thing. I will say one more thing about Trent, Trent, now that’s a competitor. We had to put a leash on him to get him out of there. He won a couple times getting back in there. That’s what you want from a guy that plays that position. He’s going to play a lot of great football around here for a long time."
(On if he has seen a guy get his helmet ripped off)-"A guy get his helmet knocked off?"
(On if Richardson knocking Kurt Coleman’s helmet off was sending a message)-"Yeah. I thought it was a good hard run. Coleman needs to keep his helmet on tighter."
Pokorny's Thoughts: "I think we saw a rookie quarterback playing today." Bingo. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, and I'm not saying, "oh, Weeden will definitely end up succeeding." Maybe he'll blow his entire career. I don't make that judgment after one game, though. When we consider Trent Richardson's performance, I think the second time around, we may end up realizing just how little room the guy had to run. When you factor in the definite rust he was bound to have, no wonder he did not succeed. As for Coleman's helmet being knocked off by T-Rich? Yep:
L.J. Fort's Missed Interception & The Linebackers in General
L.J. Fort should have made the catch before the Eagles touchdown)-"I think we got our hands on the ball. It would have been a great way to end the game at that point. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Then we had the ball back with time to go down and kick a field goal, and we didn’t get that done."
(On the young linebackers)-"I’m going to have to see. All I know is I think they did a pretty good job. I know that team pretty well. I know how they’re wired. I know we did some things, defensively, that caused them to struggle in some areas, so it’s a credit to our guys. It’s a credit to them too; they’re a very talented team.
Pokorny's Thoughts: Linebackers aren't supposed to have the best hands. I'm thrilled that L.J. Fort was in position for two big plays, but yes, deep down inside it kills me that he couldn't seal the game right then and there. After the Eagles scored their touchdown, I'm sure he felt as low as a player possibly could. He shouldn't, though: the offense had plenty of opportunities while the defense collectively played their hearts out.
The Decision to Not Try for Two Points
(On going for a two-points after the touchdown)-"We talked about going for two, but there was a full quarter. We wanted to get the points, absolutely. There’s a decision to be made. I think that decision is made near the end of the game where it’s a one or two possession game."
Pokorny's Thoughts: I agreed with the decision. If the Eagles don't miss their field goal, they could've gone ahead by one point had we missed the two-point try. It was too early in the fourth quarter.
Vick's TD Pass in the First Half
(On the pass to Jeremy Maclin in first half) –"He put it right there. There was no break down. We had a guy running stride for stride with him and they found a way to make a play. We had a couple deep balls that we threw where we didn’t make a play. That’s kind of how this game goes. You battle for six inches in a two yard area, and all of a sudden, boom, somebody makes a play. It’s a credit to them. I think it was Maclin that made the catch."
Pokorny's Thoughts: I think there was some form of a break down. I'll have to look again. The Browns couldn't connect on the deep ball because of Weeden either missing an open receiver, or forcing the ball to a covered guy.
Billy Winn's Recovery & Not Being Able to Challenge It
(On if he thought
Billy Winn should have been credited with a fumble recovery)-"I know it was a fumble. I saw us with the ball. I know it was a fumble, and I saw us with the ball. That’s why I challenged it. That makes sense to me. Whether or not you can challenge it or not, it makes sense to me. He let me challenge it beforehand, right?"
(On if they told him he couldn’t challenge it)- "I don’t know what he said. I was already getting into the next one. When he told me we weren’t getting the ball, I started worrying about the next play."
Pokorny's Thoughts: I don't think it was a bad attempt, given the confusion of what the call actually was on the field. The Browns didn't end up burning a challenge because it was not a challengable play. The only downside is that it basically gave the Eagles a free timeout to think about what their fourth-down play would be. I'm not so sure it made a huge difference, though.