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Pat Shurmur News Conference (12/5): Schwartz as Fourth Captain, No Comment on 2011 Hillis


Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur talked with the media on Wednesday about a variety of topics, including RT Mitchell Schwartz being the fourth captain this week, facing former Browns players and coaches (including Peyton Hillis), what he thought of the NFL Road Tested show that Cleveland was featured in, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic below.

Mitchell Schwartz as the Fourth Captain

(Opening statement)- "We’ve got our preparation going for the Chiefs. This week’s fourth captain will be Mitchell Schwartz. He’s another good choice. Of course, when you go through our starting lineup we’ve got a lot of rookies and guys that have played a lot of football. Mitchell’s done a good job this year. I thought they chose wisely."

Review of "NFL Road Tested" TV Show

(On how he felt about all the cameras following him and the team around for the show NFL Road Tested and of he has seen it yet)- "I did get a chance to preview it and watch it. I thought it was very well done. I think what that show shows you is there’s a lot of very talented, hard working people behind the scenes that help make this thing go. I hope that’s what folks take away from the episodes that they watch. The cameras have been around. I’ve mentioned it before, my biggest concern when there’s cameras around is, number one, it doesn’t become a distraction to the process, which of course, I saw they were very professional and that wasn’t the case. And of course, any kind of a leaking of competitive advantage which I don’t think is the case. For the most part, I thought it revealed a lot of hard working people behind the scenes that do a lot of work. I think that’s a good thing."

Discussing the Familiarity with RB Peyton Hillis

(On if the Chiefs’ running game is one of their strengths)- "No question. They’re one of the finer running teams in the league. Jamaal Charles, I’ve mentioned it already, when you hand him the football he can score from wherever they hand it to him. That’s very dangerous. You don’t get that from a lot of running backs and of course, they spell him with Peyton Hillis. Peyton plays in situations and he, of course, had some production last week. He had a touchdown. Their run game is very good, they’ve got a very good offensive line and it’s well coordinated and they’re getting production from it."

(On if they have an advantage because of the staffs’ familiarity with Peyton Hillis’ running style)- "He’s got a very bruising style as a runner. They use him to spell Jamaal Charles. He runs the same type of runs that Jamal runs within their offense. Then they also use him quite a bit on short-yardage and goal line situations where the runs are a little bit more downhill. Being aware of his style is one thing, but it’s very important that we watch how he’s being played in their offense. I think that’s what we’re focusing on."

(On if he can put into words how turbulent Hillis’ 2011 season was in Cleveland)- "I’m going to talk about Peyton Hillis the 2012 version. I’d be happy to answer any questions there. No, I won’t put it into words."

Update on the Safety Position Between Usama Young and Tashaun Gipson

(On if Usama Young will practice today)- "Yeah, he’ll be out there."

(On if he views Tashaun Gipson as a guy that could be a starter or if he is just a special teams guy)- "He can play scrimmage snaps in the secondary. We’re looking forward to seeing him continue to improve."

(On if Gipson made a mistake on the touchdown)- "That’s a common concept in the NFL, it’s called sluggo seam, where they run a slant an go on one side and then they run a guy up the seam on the other. We were in tight coverage. The middle safety can go one way or the other on it. He jumped a sluggo and they hit the seam. He could be in better position to help. I will say this, Buster (Skrine) was in good coverage, the quarterback made a great throw and the receiver made an even better catch. It was a really good play by the Raiders. There are ways that we can be a little tighter in coverage, but that’s essentially what happened there."

Josh Gordon & Greg Little as a Solid Tandem

(On if Josh Gordon is beginning to understand how good he can be)- "I think so. I think as you make more and more plays, you develop a confidence that you can do it over and over again. I think what’s important is he still remembers the process and what he has to go through each week. I think he has to know that he’s done some good things. I promise you he knows that there are areas he can get better."

(On if Gordon and Greg Little are the one and two receivers and if the rest are rotating for three and four)- "Yeah, I would say that’s fair. All the guys that are, in my mind, role players can go in in any situation. We have a really good feel now for exactly what those guys can do. We’ve had some young guys emerge. Time will tell how good they are, but at this point they’re being productive for us."

(On Gordon’s skill and ability)- "I think he’s got a lot of what you’re looking for in an NFL receiver. Time will tell how good he’ll be, for sure."

(On the reason he settled on Little and Gordon at the one and two spot)- "First of all, Gordon and Little have found a way to stay healthy throughout, number one. We’ve had some other receivers behind them that for whatever reason have missed a few weeks. Sometimes the guys that show up to work are the ones, I’m not trying to be funny here, you are looking for players that are, number one, are passionate. You’re looking for guys that are productive. Of course, you’re looking for guys that are durable, which means they can stay healthy and stay on the field. Those are three important characteristics. That helped give Josh and Greg a little bit of a leg up this year because they’ve been able to at least to this point stay on the field."

(On if he had a receiver comparable to Gordon when he was in St. Louis)- "That’s a good question. We had a receiver size wise and skill and ability wise in St. Louis, Danario Alexander, who now plays for the Chargers. He had some knee issues that kind of kept him from being a really high pick, but an outstanding talent. Yeah, I’ve been around guys like him."

(On if he has been around a receiver size wise like Gordon)- "Size-wise? I’ve been around a lot of guys. It’s hard to say."

Jordan Cameron's Improvements as a Blocker

(On Jordan Cameron making the play he did during the last drive at Oakland and if that is the player the team envisioned when drafting him)- "Yeah, we envisioned him to be a playmaker in the passing game and then be able to block well enough where we can play him on all three downs. That’s how we envisioned him - to be a starting tight end in our offense. We use two tight ends and two receivers quite a bit so you’ll see him in there a lot with Ben (Watson). We have packages where we use him alone with three receivers and then he can go in and fill in anywhere in the tight end position. He’s gotten a lot of good work this year and he’s showing up in terms of his production as a receiver, which is what we brought him here to do."

(On how Cameron’s blocking has improved this year)- "I think he’s really developed as a blocker. It’s very difficult to play the tight end position if you’re a guy that’s going to play on all three downs. I think he’s made very good strides in terms of his ability to block."

Critiquing the Offensive Line's Performance vs. Oakland

(On how the offensive line performed against Oakland)- "I thought they battled. We did get challenged a little bit in some areas. Brandon (Weeden), I think did a good job of standing in there and making some good throws with a little bit of heat. Again, getting sacks and giving up sacks is a coordinated effort. Brandon does, for the most part, a pretty good job of getting rid of the football. He made some quality throws in terms of people in his face. In terms of the offensive line and how they played, we knew that was going to be a physical, gritty game just like this week. The Chiefs front seven is outstanding. I think they battled. They did a good job."

Increased Confidence After Winning Two in a Row

(On if he’s seen the confidence level rise in his players after the recent victories)- "That’s probably a better question for them. What I see is a focused preparation each week. Then I see a bunch of guys that are looking forward to playing the game and play hard front to back. That’s what I see. Then we found a way in the last two weeks to make enough plays and finish games with victories. I think you can build confidence from that. It’s very, very important that you don’t forget the process because there are mistakes made in the games. You can win a game sometimes in spite of mistakes, the margin in this league is very thin, where the next week you could lose a game because of them. I think that’s why you just keep going back to practicing and trying to improve. I think our guys understand that."

Relationship with Crennel and the Tragedy KC is Dealing With

(On if he has a personal relationship with Romeo Crennel)- "I’ve met Romeo a few times. I can’t say that I know him extremely well, although I do know this, I respect him a great deal. Everybody that does know him thinks he’s an outstanding human being, a great man and he’s obviously distinguished himself as an outstanding coach. That’s what I know about him."

(On if his respect for Romeo Crennel has grown since their recent tragedy)- "There’s no question. I think in situations like this your character becomes revealed. Romeo revealed that he is an outstanding leader."

(On if what the Chiefs are going through puts things into perspective for him as a coach)- "I just think that a lot of what we do as coaches is we lead and inspire and try to lead our guys through situations that are not always ideal. Let’s face it. I don’t know if anybody is going to finish the season undefeated. When there’s losses involved and you’re pushing and trying to build and develop, we all know there’s tough days and how do you inspire your guys to push through those tough days. I think that’s a lot of what we as coaches are responsible for."

Brady Quinn's High Level of Play Last Week

(On what he saw from Brady Quinn last week)- "I think he had an outstanding game last week. He led his team to victory, number one. He made some good throws. He’s a big physical strong guy. You guys probably know more about him than I do. You’ve probably asked him more questions than you’ve asked me. He uses his legs so if things break down and he has a running lane, he’s willing to use his legs. He played a good game last week."

(On how you keep a player focused who was expected to do well but things haven’t panned out)- "I think what happens is a lot of it comes from the individual. The ability to just go and work and prepare yourself to play and when you get an opportunity to play, try to play as well as you can. That’s where the players tend to motivate themselves and the ones that are around for a very long time learn how to do that. We as coaches try to inspire that as well."

Extra Motivation for KC Due to Former Players/Coaches

(On if he is aware of the former Browns players and coaches now with the Chiefs and that they might have extra motivation facing their former team)- "I’m aware. Every game that’s played you’ll find maybe it’s a small amount of people, there is crossover. There’s enough changing that goes on in the league with players and coaches where you have people that are playing against a team that they once worked for. It’s players and coaches alike for the Chiefs. I think what’s important as we get ready to play this football game is it’s the Browns playing the Chiefs. That’s what’s important and there’s always crossover, there’s always carryover. Some of the people that are coming to play us you know very well. I’m sure you always want to do well against a team you used to work for. I get that, but we also have a prideful group of guys that want to win for our team and our city."

(On the Chiefs channeling their emotion to beat Carolina last week and if they can do it again or if they might come out flat)- "That’s a better question for the Chiefs. Again, we’ve all read and learned about what happened there. It’s very tragic. As you go through the year, there are events that happen within the team and outside the team that tend to polarize a team, or at times tend to split them. I think as a coach, we’re aware of those situations and we try to keep the guys focused on moving forward. I’m sure regardless of what’s happened to this point, Romeo (Crennel) will have his guys ready to play."