Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur concluded his first minicamp session as the team's head coach on Sunday. As you should recall, all minicamp and OTA sessions were cancelled last year as a result of the lockout.
Shurmur spoke with the media on Saturday and Sunday about what went down during the practice sessions with the rookies. I have picked some highlights that involve Shurmur talking about specific players, which can be found after the jump.
QB Brandon Weeden
(On how Weeden’s ball compares to other quarterbacks he has coached)- "I think he is a very smooth thrower. He throws the ball easy and I think a guy that can throw the ball with a smooth motion, the ball presents itself to the receivers well. I think that helps them be more efficient catching it. I like what I’ve seen from him just in terms of throwing the football, for sure. His touch and accuracy are all part of it. I think that it’s kind of a natural thing, that they just know to take a little off of it because a guys five yards away and then whether to put it on the right or left shoulder based on where the defender is so he can turn away from it, all things that we teach and we emphasize, but some guys kind of naturally get it."
(On Weeden’s performance)- "I think he genuinely operated well. Other than a couple of plays, he did almost everything under center and I think he handled that extremely well. He is very accurate. You can see he throws a good ball. You could see that he has a chance to be a very good player."
RB Trent Richardson
(On Trent Richardson’s physique)- "Wow. He is a very powerful man and he is powerfully built. Don’t let the 5-9 and a half fool you, he is almost 230 pounds and that is a lot of muscle packed into that body. I think he’s got a very powerful build much like we thought when we drafted him and it shows up on the field."
(On how Trent Richardson performed)- "It’s hard to see some of the things that a running back is going to do, but he executed his ball handling well. There were a few runs in there where you could see the vision that he has and then when we threw him the football, he caught the ball extremely well and that is always good to see."
FB Brad Smelley
(On where he sees Brad Smelley contributing this season)- "Brad has already showed us that he can be somewhat multiple, position-wise. He can play on the line of scrimmage, he can play in the backfield and we use a tight end/fullback type guy like that, Alex Smith, last year. We line him up, he’s an 80 number, 81, and he played a lot of fullback for us. That helps you when you have a guy that can line up on the end of the line of scrimmage, maybe line up in the slot or also play from the backfield. It allows you to be somewhat multiple."
WR Travis Benjamin
(On if Travis Benjamin has shown that he has a chance to be in the wide receiver rotation this year)- "Absolutely, I think he had a nice day yesterday and he found a way to get himself going today and he made some plays. He learns well, you can see he can bring it to the field and I think he’s got the skills necessary to be a player in this league."
(On if Travis Benjamin can compete for a significant role)- "I would say so. I saw a lot of good stuff from Travis this weekend and I feel like he will only continue to get better."
TE Joseph Halahuni
(On if they have noticed Joseph Halahuni’s play)- "Yeah, we noticed him. I think he made some plays yesterday and he is like everybody out here, he is fighting to learn it and then go out and execute. He has done a nice job."
(On if it is more difficult for Halahuni to make an impact with the depth at tight end)- "No, not really. I think when you see him, it is easy for a young man just to say, ‘Gosh, I am fifth or sixth in line,’ or whatever, but what we see out here is when they are competing with no comparisons, how they play. Right now when they are on the field, whether you are a first-round pick or you’re a free agent or you are here on a tryout basis, once they’re out there competing then we tend to compare them from that."
OT Mitchell Schwartz
(On what he has seen out of Mitchell Schwartz and what it means when people say he is NFL ready)- "I don’t know about NFL ready, I do know this, he is very sound in his fundamentals. I think that will give him a chance to speed up the process to be an NFL player. He is very detailed with his sets, he is good with his hands, he understands what the defense is going to do by the way they are aligned. He’s a very sharp guy. I think you can tell he is a guy that has detailed his work because it shows up in his play."
LB James-Michael Johnson
(On where James-Michael Johnson is best suited to play)- "He played all three positions. I think our guys, because they basically all play off of the line of scrimmage, they have to be able if they are not the starter, to back up at more than one spot. We saw that he could learn because there is a little bit of different learning whether you play the SAM, the MIKE or the WILL. By forcing him to play those spots, we could see that he can learn and I thought he functioned well. We’re excited that as we give him more and more, and you add the physical nature to playing linebacker, that he is going to show up."