Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on Wednesday to talk about CB Buster Skrine being the team's fourth captain this week against the Ravens, the status of DT Phil Taylor, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic below.
CB Buster Skrine Named Fourth Captain Against Ravens
(Opening statement)- "We put Emmanuel Stephens on IR, you saw that. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll get him better and try to get him back at some point next year. The captain this week will be Buster Skrine, will be the fourth captain. He’s done a nice job on special teams, he competes obviously, on defense. They felt like he would be worthy and I think he’s a good choice. That being said, we’ve already started our preparations for Baltimore. The walk-through was good and in a while here we’ll get back out on the field and get after it."
(On if it looks like inside is the ideal spot for Buster Skrine)- "I think he can play outside, but I think he does a pretty good job inside. Ideally, you like to draft and bring guys to your team that are corners that can all play outside and then decide who plays inside. At this point that’s the roll that he’s playing and he just needs to keep battling and improving."
Phil Taylor's Progress, and Emmanuel Stephens Going on IR
(On if Emmanuel Stephens’s injury was his neck)- "Yeah."
(On if they are going to fill Stephens’ spot on the active roster with Phil Taylor)- "That’s pretty much what will happen."
(On what Taylor has to do to play Sunday)- "He’s got to have a good week of practice. We’ve got to see him be able to function."
Trent Richardson Getting More Comfortable
(On if it has been difficult for Trent Richardson to stay true to the play and hit the spot as opposed to freelancing a bit in college)- "Well zone plays, it’s important that you stay disciplined. If you watch our run game, we run a lot of one-back draws which is a different running style. He scored on a lead draw. We also have tossed the ball and man-schemed the perimeter so I feel like there’s a lot of different schemes, really nothing that we didn’t see him do at Alabama. I think Alabama has a pro style running attack as well and that’s why it was easy to evaluate Trent."
(On if Richardson is getting more comfortable with the offensive line and creating chemistry with them)- "I think so. I think the runner gets more and more comfortable with the blockers just like the quarterback with the receivers. I think that’s fair. Then him going through all his footwork and the fundamentals that he has to execute on each one. Last week, as you know, he had a chance to practice more and I think when guys, especially running backs, have a chance to practice throughout the week it helps them time up their game better."
(On if they will get to see what they drafted in Richardson now that he is healthy)- "I hope so. I think he’s one game beyond it. He showed up well and let’s hope we get a good little trend here."
(On what he thinks the main problem is with Richardson only converting 2 of 7 third and one situations)- "We did a study on it and we’ll keep our results to ourselves. On third and one you need to be able to execute at a very high percentage for one yard. We’ve had a combination of things that have happened to us and it’s not always on the runner, but we need to enforce our will and get a yard. I’m aware of those numbers and we’re working on it to get it better."
Baltimore's Injury Woes Defensively
(On if he is doing a lot of guessing as to who will be available on Baltimore’s defense with them having several players injured)- "We watched how they played in the last game. (Terrell) Suggs being back, I think he had an impact on the game already. I didn’t see much difference in last year’s version and this year’s version. Of course they had the injury to Ed Reed and Ladarius Webb and they’ve filled those positions. I think at this time of year everybody is a little bit nicked in certain spots and guys play through things. You get to see role players and backup players in there maybe a little bit more than they normally would early in the year, but we’re not guessing. We’ve got a pretty good feel for who will be in there."
(On going into a game against this year’s Ravens defense compared to years past)- "I think they’re an outstanding football team. They’ve played against some pretty good offenses and I think they’re going to be a challenge just based on who they have out there. I think they’re an extremely good defense. I think it’s dangerous when you start looking at numbers, I really do. You want to add up wins. The numbers can sometimes be deceiving."
(On the impact that Terrell Suggs had during his return)- "I just thought he played a good all-around game. I saw him being pretty active. He was chasing, batting down passes, making tackles, putting pressure on the quarterback, all of the things that he does well."
(On if there is anything about the Ravens defense specifically the way they pressure the quarterback that Weeden could be better at the second time around)- "They don’t have any problem bringing pressure. They’ll pressure with their linebackers, they will pressure with the safeties, they will bring five, six or all of them. I think that’s something that he’s got to feel for because he’s got a game of tape against it and then understand the leverage that the corners play with, I think is important."
Brandon Weeden: Learning From Facing the Ravens Already
(On what Brandon Weeden can learn from playing the Baltimore defense previously especially from the interception he threw)- "Yeah, throw the ball accurately and on time. That was a good play by them. Specifically that play, you need to be aware there are certain corners in the league that tend to jump routes and if you’re throwing a controlled route, kind of a timing route toward the boundary, you’ve got to be aware of that. I’m assuming he learned from that."
Containing Ray Rice Earlier in the Season, and General Team Improvements
(On the difference having Joe Haden back will make against Baltimore)- "Having Joe back will help us. If things go well this week we might have Phil (Taylor) back so we’ve got a couple new pieces. I think the styles of play will be similar. You kind of establish that. Both teams are a little bit different personnel wise and I think that will probably be more of the difference than anything."
(On why the defense was successful last time containing Ray Rice)- "We did a decent job on him, but we didn’t do a decent job with the other back. We know that he’s going to touch the football so it’s important that we minimize the damage that the run game can do. I think when you talk about defending the run it comes down to team defense, everybody being in the right gap. They run quite a bit of zone-type actions where the back side of the play can become the front side right away so you’ve got to make sure everybody stays in their gaps and then we’ve got to try to penetrate. We’ve got to try to disrupt the run so that you get him going sideways."
(On how much better his team is now than the first time they faced the Ravens)- "We’re two wins better. I think I see us improving. I don’t know it’s hard to quantify how much better we are. I think each game is different. You can look at every game and say it’s a must win or, ‘That was a winnable game.’ These games are all individual little battles each week and the circumstances change, but we all know this, each one, the one you play this Sunday is the most important one. I’m looking forward to playing this game and I think we have made some improvements and I would like to see us go out and show it."
(On where the offensive line has improved since playing Baltimore last)- "I think they are playing pretty well together. I think we’re trying to settle on things that we can execute. I think there has to always be an urgency to run the football better. I think we’ve got a long way to go, really in all areas in my opinion. I see them playing well together. I thought John Greco has gone in with (Jason) Pinkston being out, and I don’t see much of a difference there in the unit because of that. I do think that we can still improve though."
Team Being Upbeat, Practicing Inside, and Division Wins
(On the team being upbeat and confident despite their record and where that comes from)- "I think you build confidence when you win football games. The last few weeks we won a couple. When you’re trying to build something, you can look at the season in quarters and halves and we’ve got a half a season left to play. We’ve got some division games in there to play. We need to go out and just fight to win each game each Sunday, and really again, add them up at the end. I think that’s the way these guys are. I don’t think they look far down the road, they really don’t. These are football players, playing football’s what they do. Preparing to play a game on Sunday is what they do all week. That’s where we’re at. I just try to keep them in the moment, and just keep their focus, so that they can keep going through the process. Make the process better, and if you play well, then the results should work out."
(On how much emphasis he puts on winning divisional games)- "They’ve been made well aware of it. It’s really important because the way to guarantee a spot in the postseason is to win the division. You can’t do that unless you win your share of the division games. They are aware of that."
(On how long it will take for the team to be where he wants to be)- "If you could tell me we’re going to win every game, then I would say we’re where we need to be. I know right now we’ve got a long way to go in terms of our individual players improving, how we function as coaches with the players. That’s always a work in progress. That’s why you practice. This is a sport you have to practice. Each opportunity on the field for these young guys, they are learning something new. I don’t know, I’ve got a feeling you’ll tell me, but as coaches we just keep working to get better."
(On if it is just the young players that need to improve more not players like Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson)- "I think young players as they practice make bigger jumps. Joe’s (Thomas) got plenty of things he can work on. D’Qwell’s (Jackson) got plenty of things he can work on. If you ask them they’ll tell you. It’s very rare, unless somebody knows of one, it’s very rare that anybody plays a perfect game. For whoever has played a perfect game, then that works if you have a one-game season. Then you want to do what? Be consistent and play two perfect games. That’s where the work comes in. That’s what we talk about, getting better all the time. Whether you’ve been in the league a long time or you just got here, there’s improvement to be made."
(On practicing inside today)- "Those fields have taken a lot of water here in the last couple of days. Even if it was warmer, I might consider going in just because of the sloppiness."
(On if he takes injuries into account when deciding if they practice inside or outside)- "Yeah, I think I take everything to account where we practice. Just being cold, that’s not the answer. I mentioned the field. You want consistent footing. You don’t want guys slopping around. I think the new artificial surfaces are a little easier on the legs so you can practice on them when you have a choice to practice outside in past years. It’s good to have one. I consider all that when we practice. I think my philosophy in terms of practice is there’s a lot of new stuff being installed, and what you want to try to do is create an environment where they can focus and concentrate and execute the new stuff. Sometimes that involves battling the elements, other times it doesn’t."
(On if the Chargers game will be their best game of the season)- "I think we’ve got a lot of good football down the road here."