Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur held his Wednesday press conference today. It was no surprise that one of the first things that reporters asked about was the release of long snapper Ryan Pontbriand. Much of the discussion also revolved around quarterback Colt McCoy not going through enough of his reads, and if he is targeting rookie receiver Greg Little too much. [Read full press conference transcript here]
(On if Ryan Pontbriand’s problems this year were beyond the two bad snaps over the last three weeks)- "I mentioned this to the team. We made a personnel move, he’s not the reason we lost or won games. We did it as a team. It’s an unfortunate part of this business and I don’t like doing it. I have a strong feeling for the players that play here and when it happens it happens. I would say you look at everything, you look everybody’s work in total and we just felt like we needed to make a move."
(On if Pontbriand saying that he was in a slump had anything to do with his departure)- "There really were no comments or anything specific. We just felt like it was time to make a switch."
(On if this is a case was like others where a really good long snapper just loses his ability)- "I don’t know. We tried numerous things to try to get it consistent and I think that’s a question for him. There are examples in all sports really where guys that have been so good for so long don’t find a way to be consistent. Again, we just needed to make a change and that’s what we did."
(On if they were trying to send a message to the team)- "No, I don’t want to send messages to the players through the media or basically through actions just to send a message. We’re trying to win football games and do the very best we can. I did talk to the players about how everything that happens in life there’s a lesson in it or there’s something we can learn from everything. I mentioned this morning, I made a note, our first significant snowfall was November 30 and next year I’ll be aware of that in terms of weather we practice inside or out. I think anything that happens in life you can take things from and I’m sure this is just another event."
(On Marvin Lewis saying McCoy would run after his first read and if McCoy is running too much)- "No, I don’t think so. I would say Colt goes through his progression. I wouldn’t characterize it as his first read. He understands how important it is. Typically if you’re going to have a long drive and you guys all watch a lot of football, typically if there is a long drive somewhere in there the quarterback does something with his feet to extend the drive. Whether it’s scramble for yardage and get down or break the pocket, maybe make a throw or maybe break the pocket and throw the ball away. I think that’s all part of what you want to see. I think he’s done a good job with some of that stuff of late. I think that’s good."
(On if Greg Little has been targeted more than anybody else because he gets open more than anybody else)- "There was four or five occasions where Colt went through his progression like what Marvin (Lewis) was talking about and got back to Greg as a number three or a number four. That’s what happened. I wouldn’t say it’s significant him compared to other receivers. There were throws in there where Mo (Mohamed) was first in the progression that didn’t get there for whatever reason and there was a couple where Jordan Norwood was first in the progression. The first scramble of the game, we were trying to throw the ball to Jordan. They took Jordan away. He stepped up in the pocket. Greg was coming open, but they doubled Greg and then he scrambled. In my mind he went from one to two and then three was covered on his side view mirror, so he ran with it. That happens quite frequently. At the end of the game hopefully all the receivers get some production. How the game dictates it, sometimes things come in little bigger bunches. The guys on the team, when they are on the field we want them to be able to produce. Sometimes the game dictates a little bit where the ball goes and that’s why you don’t run just one receiver routes."
(On why Little is the top targeted receiver this year statistically)- "I think he’s improved. We already talked about how he dropped some balls last week, but I expect to see him continue to improve. I think the ball is getting spread around. I think at this point, Josh (Cribbs) has got more receptions and more yards than any year he’s played. Tight ends as whole are getting their production. You’ll see as we get our backs back healthier, you’ll see them catch more check downs. You’ve got Mo who is in and out of the lineup, we need to get him throws and Jordan Norwood. We’re talking about why the ball gets spread around."
(On Tom Heckert saying in camp that Norwood was a player and if he saw Norwood’s potential)- "I think he’s a playmaker. It’s important that he touches the ball and he’s done a good job. He’s been a steady performer with what we’ve asked him to do."
(On how important it is to have a speed guy that can stretch the field and if Norwood could be that guy)- "Obviously, you want the biggest fastest people you can get that are good football players at all positions. If you’ve got a guy that can really run and get down the field, you want that. It’s like asking about signing a bill for clean water, of course you want clean water. That’s what you’re looking for. I think what Jordan gives us is not so much the speed, but he finds a way to get open and uncover. I think that’s as equally an important attribute for a receiver. There are times when you just can’t run by a defense, they’re going to just not let you. Now what do you do? You’ve got to get open and I think he’s displayed an ability to do that."