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Pat Shurmur News Conference (10/17): Sheldon Brown Named the Fourth Captain

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on Wednesday following the media getting to see new team owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner. Shurmur talked about the latest injury news on Trent Richardson, Mohamed Massaquoi, Travis Benjamin, Phil Taylor, and Scott Fujita, production from the fullback position, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic below, or you can watch it at the official team site here.

Sheldon Brown is Fourth Captain, Joe Banner's Introduction, and New Ownership

(Opening statement) – "This week’s captain will be Sheldon Brown. He’ll be our fourth captain. He obviously distinguished himself last week with some big plays and good play and I think it’s a good choice. There has been a lot going on, I guess for you folks this morning in terms of Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner. I think they mentioned the fact that they spoke to the team this morning at 8:30 and then I guess talked to the rest of the organization. We were involved in meetings so you know more of the details of how the rest of the morning went. The message was strong and the message was similar to the one I’ve heard since he expressed his intentions to buy our team. I thought that it came off in a way where the players felt inspired that we’re going to have an owner that’s going to stand there and support us as we build a winner. There’s a drive there and the emotion there like we’ve talked about. It was all good and of course my job is to make sure we keep our eye on the ball as we prepare for the Colts. I told the players that winning is a bye product of the preparation and of course then getting it done on Sunday, but we’ve got to make sure that Wednesday, today, is best Wednesday of the year."

(On how much interaction did he have with Joe Banner during his time in Philadelphia) – "I was with Joe Banner for 10 years in Philadelphia, all my years there. Extremely smart man (who) had a large part in the development and building of that program into a consistent winner and I’m assuming that’s what he expressed to you. That’s what we want to do here, a team that can go out and win on a consistent basis and compete for championships. Aside from that, obviously, when you’re around someone for a long time, I got a real good feel for him as a family man and a guy that’s going to provide the leadership that we need as we move forward."

(On if it makes the transition a little easier having a previous history with Banner) – "I don’t know, I think because I know Joe and his family I think there’s at least a starting point. We know this in this business and it should come as no surprise that everyone in our business gets evaluated at the end of the year. You put all the personal stuff aside and you say, ‘Okay, is this the guy I want to lead our team as we move forward based on what you’ve done previous and what they expect that you can do in the future.’ That’s the way I’m approaching it. We as coaches live with that. We’ve all at whatever level of the organization that we’ve worked in since we’ve gotten into this profession; we’re all evaluated at the end of the year. It happens to all of us whether you’re the head coach or you’re an assistant."

(On how confident is he that he can win games and impress the new owner and CEO in order to keep his job) – "My focus, of course, is on playing the Indianapolis Colts. That’s first and foremost and then at the end of the season, like all of us coaches do, we add them up and see where we’re at. You want to add up enough victories to where you’re competing in the playoffs. That’s my focus, and when someone says the season is over then everybody gets together and they evaluate what happened and make decisions as you move forward. That’s where it will be."

(On if he noticed that Banner lived on the edge competitively in Philadelphia) – "Yeah, I think that’s fair. I do, I’m sure Jimmy Haslam does, all our players (and) coaches do. We live on the edge because we know it’s a winning business and we’re paid to win games. So yeah, we live on the edge and I know that I’m sure Joe does the same."

(On if the players ever get a lift from new ownership or new direction) – "I think (in) great organizations you need strength from the top and that starts with the ownership and the people that make the decisions and set the overall vision. Then of course, my connection is the vision for our team as we move forward and win games and how it lines up with the big vision. I think the players can probably gain some strength from the fact that this is getting resolved."

(On if being told that nothing will be decided until the end of the year eliminates pressure) – "No, because I’m at peace with what happens at the end of the year. You play the season and then you’re evaluated. I guess there are other things he could have told me. The fact is that we’re playing this season out and getting ready to play the Colts and at the time we spoke I was getting our team ready to play the Bengals. I think that’s the way it should be."

(On if he has noticed more energy or attention to detail from the players due to the new ownership) – "I don’t think so. I think players know that they’re evaluated based on their performance and their play all the time. I’ve seen our team improve and I’d like to think it’s because they’re young and they’re getting better and they’re being inspired by the older leaders in the group."

Trent Richardson Practicing

(On if Trent Richardson will practice today) – "He was out there in the walkthrough. He’ll practice."

(On if Richardson is coming along fine) – "Yeah, he’s doing great."

Massaquoi and Benjamin Returning to Practice, and the Other Receivers

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin will be back for practice today) – "I think you’ll see them out there."

(On if Josh Cribbs is looking like his old self again) – "I’ve always thought he looks like his old self. Obviously, he’s established himself in the return game as well as the coverage game and he has found a way to be very productive. I think he’s doing great."

(On Cribbs getting around the other teams preparation for him) – "I think if you put the ball in Josh’s hands, especially in the special team’s realm, he’s going to make plays. I think our guys have done a good job, Chris (Tabor) and Shawn (Mennenga) have done a good job scheming it. We create space for Josh and he just finds a way to make yards sometimes when they’re not there. I think it’s all good."

(On if Josh Gordon will still have a prominent role in the offense when other receivers come back from injury) – "Sure, Josh is one of our guys and I think I’m excited to see him continue to improve. I don’t remember exactly where we were talking about this, but he did not have the benefit of an offseason. So, I was telling him, I said, ‘this first five weeks was your offseason and it’s time to get it going even faster than what you’re doing.’ He has had a little bit of a taste of success, and much like I talked to the team about being greedy about that feeling that you get when you win, he needs to be greedy about that feeling you get when you succeed and have production. That’s what we’re working on."

Updates on DT Phil Taylor and LB Scott Fujita

(On if Phil Taylor will practice today) – "Pretty soon, pretty soon. Again, I made this point I think on Monday, he’s right where we thought he would be in terms of his rehab from that surgery so you’ll see him out there soon."

(On Scott Fujita’s health status and if there are any updates) – "No. He’s like a lot of players in the league right now he’s dealing with injury and getting himself back to a health level where he can play. At that point that’s where we’re at. Beyond that I won’t comment on any of the reports."

Discussing Rookie Quarterbacks - Luck vs. Weeden

(On if Andrew Luck has had an up and down rookie season like Brandon Weeden) – "Up and down season sort of like our guy? I think he’s a rookie quarterback in this league that’s extremely talented. He’s going to win a lot of games in his time and I see him doing a lot of really, really good stuff. A lot of the stuff that I’m sure they anticipated he would do when they drafted him. I don’t know, I think all seasons are a little bit up and down for all the players involved and he’s an outstanding player."

(On the group of rookie quarterbacks and how he thinks they have performed through six weeks and what stands out about them) – "I think, and again, this is just based on seeing each of the guys in an isolated setting. I think they’re probably all dealing with the same issues, trying to play at a high level and once they play at a high level, be consistent. I think that’s what they’re grinding through. I think all rookie quarterbacks to some degree grind through the first season and I see that from our guy. I think Brandon (Weeden) is grinding through it. He’s having pockets of success and then he’s making mistakes and I’m sure that’s the case with all of them."

(On why quarterbacks are more NFL ready now than they were 10 or 20 years ago) – "I think they know more about how to play the position and how to play the position at this level. I think they’re being trained under center, in the shotgun, spread offenses, having lots of flexibility who to throw the ball to, making audibles, changing plays and protections. I think they’re learning a lot of that at some of the primary areas (like) high school, college and so that allows them to come here and do more as a quarterback. I think that helps the process"

(On if Weeden will be limited at all today) – "He’ll be practicing today."

(On what distinguishes Luck as a better prospect than the other rookie quarterbacks) – "I think he has all the physical attributes. He performed at a high level throughout his high school and college career. He wasn’t a one year wonder. He’s probably a model of consistency in his personal life, so all the things you’re looking for. I’m sure that’s what establishes him. Now, I do think there are other good players that came out this year and time will tell how well they throw for how many years and how many victories their teams get. It’s all out there for us to watch and evaluate."

Production from the Fullback Position

(On if he is getting enough production from the fullback position and if he has considered any changes) – "I think our fullback Owen (Marecic) has done a pretty good job of blocking. Of course, we don’t want him dropping the football."

John Greco's Will Remain a Backup

(On how did John Greco play last week and is he somebody that might play more) – "I thought he did a good job. He’s a role player, much like Montario Hardesty, that had to go in and play, and play more of a role in that game. I thought he did a good job. We’ll just keep using him that way. He’s ready to play guard or we can put him in at tight end a little bit in certain situations and he can play center. I’ve seen him play tackle and have winning performances at tackle, so he just needs to keep grinding like the rest of the guys."

Players Reacting and Responding to the Team's First Win

(On how you avoid a letdown from a young team after getting their first win) – "You focus on Monday then you focus on Tuesday and then being today’s Wednesday, you focus on the preparation of Wednesday. You try to remind them to recreate the preparation and that’s the journey. That’s this week’s journey, as you get ready to play the game. Then, you try to inspire them to play the best they can on Sunday so that they make enough plays or we make enough plays to recreate that winning feeling. That’s where we’re at. We’re roughly two minutes from noon time on Wednesday and as we move forward here, we’re trying to make this the best day that we can."

(On looking back at the success in the preseason and that was a different animal) – "Different animal because you’re in training camp so there’s a process you go through there and in a lot of ways the games get in the way. It’s just another way to prepare. This is different because all your focus is on the team you’re going to play and getting better as a team, of course, how it applies and how it fits with your next opponent."

(On if he is excited to see how the team will respond to a win) – "Yeah, I am. I’m excited to see how they respond to every situation. I told the team this morning that against the (New York) Giants we let mistakes reel and it killed us. In the game on Sunday, we had isolated mistakes within the game, but we found a way then to boom, stop the bleeding and make a play. I kind of reconfirmed from them that maybe we learned something there and that’s something that we’ll draw on as we move forward."

(On if this week is a big stepping stone for this team coming off the success it had last week) – "I think it’s just like anything, once you do it once, and then you want to try to build consistency. Then there’s another set of mental issues that you deal with and that’s why I keep talking about we work on the preparation and that keeps you on track. Then you recreate what Saturday night was like and then you recreate how you played the game on Sunday. You try to repeat that process so that you give yourself the very, very best chance to win and then you’ve got to go out and make enough plays. I think our guys understand that."

(On if it has been his experience to see young players not handle success the right way) – "I’ve seen it happen before and that’s why we guard against it."

(On if he is happy with the progress that the offense has made so far this year) – "You’ve heard me say it numerous times, it’s about scoring points and we’ve scored more points this year. So in my mind, we’re making improvements. Now why is that happening? Well, I think we’ve put some players on the field this year that have the ability to get in the end zone and they’ve shown it. You want those explosive plays, you want to score points and as coaches what do we grind on? The efficiency of things so that you make that process easier. We’re 1-5. We have to be better in all areas, but it’s a little easier to talk about progress once you’ve won a game now. We have to continue to improve. This is a game you have to practice to get good at it and that’s what we’re working on today."

Colts' Chuck Pagano, and Joe Haden vs. Reggie Wayne

(On if he knows Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano) – "I’ve met him. I know him well enough where I texted him. We’ve texted back and forth once it was revealed that he’s going through his treatments."

(On what he imagines that situation would be like on the rest of his staff) – "I can only begin to imagine. I think organizations and individuals unfortunately deal with illnesses and I think it pulls at the strength of an organization and the people involved that they just keep moving. I think about that situation and my thoughts go out to him and his family."

(On the matchup between Reggie Wayne and Joe Haden) – "We’ve established that Andrew Luck is very intelligent, right? What is he doing? He’s throwing it to a guy that’s probably going to be a Hall of Fame receiver, okay? So that connection is right, he has targeted Reggie 71 times I think and has 41 catches so that’s good. That’s smart and it speaks well of the quarterback and it speaks well of him throwing the ball to one of his best players. I think that speaks a little bit to the production and then Reggie Wayne of course is getting open and doing the things he needs to do. So you’re talking about two very good players that have found a connection."