Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media after Day 7 of training camp to talk about Brandon Weeden's mistake during practice, an overall assessment of the running backs, the sale of the team, and more.
After the jump, Shurmur's news conference is organized by topic. Don't forget to check out our report on Day 7 of training camp. Also, don't forget to check out rufio's great breakdown of the Browns' 2011 run defense, which got a bit buried today due to the sale of the team.
Hot Weather, Two-Minute Drills, and Injuries
(Opening statement)- "That was one of those morning practices that coaches like during training camp. It got hot, we were in pads, we were doing some situational work where at the beginning of practice there was some pounding and then at the end of practice of course the two minute scenario. We had situations, we had heat, we got a chance to run the ball, bang around. That’s one of those days where you have a great opportunity to get better. I don’t know if you guys all watched it but there were some coachable moments there, some things that we did, some mistakes that we made that we can learn from and get better. That’s why you go through the situations. I thought for the most part the guys competed extremely well. I think we pulled out of it okay in terms of getting guys nicked. As you saw, (Ahtyba) Rubin and Evan (Moore) were back out there today. Nate (Ulrich) did you get the message (joking)? Alright, we’re good. Anyways, they were back out there. By league rules they have a three-day period before they can go back in the pads so that’s why they weren’t in the team drills."
(On Trent Richardson sitting out during some of practice)- "He had a headache today so he was just dealing with that. He was out here the whole time. He started out practice, competed through just about when we started team drills and then backed him off a little bit. He’s fine."
Weeden's Mistake on a Pass to Hardesty, and Screen Passes
(On the play in during the two minute drill when Brandon Weeden threw to Montario Hardesty)- "The play was called properly. In that situation there, if you throw the ball in play, it has got to get in the end zone so ideally speaking that ball should have gone in the end zone."
(On importance of being a good screen team)- "I’ve always been around a good screen game. When we were in Philadelphia, we had an excellent screen game. I feel like there were some times last year when we did a good job with them. I think it’s important. It’s like every other phase, it’s like being able to throw fades and utilize personnel. I think the screen game can be a very effective tool. It’s an extended hand off really when they are covering you and the front line is rushing. I feel like we’ve made progress. I feel like our guys understand more how to get the ball completed and how to block it on the perimeter. We’ll see as we go."
Richardon's Progress as a Rookie
(On how well Trent Richardson is picking up the mental side of the game)- "I think he’s picking it up well. When we evaluated him before we drafted him, it was very obvious to us that he was a good learner. At Alabama they play a pro style, they are multiple, from pound it out type runs, to drop back pass protection type schemes. He was familiar with what he was going to have to do at this level. Now, it’s a matter of it, they called it an orange we call it an apple, and putting the terminology together and doing it the way we do it. When a young man has the ability to learn, and he’s working with a good teacher, I think as you see there’s a lot to learn, and it will come together."
(On how hard it is for a rookie running back to remember everything)- "I think there’s a lot to learn for all positions. The running back position is obviously very critical. It is very obvious to him when he is in the huddle when the ball is going to be in his hands what to do with it, where to go and how to make his reads, but pass protection, that’s one of those parts of a running backs game where you have got to be right, you have got to be right and there is a lot happening quickly. That’s why we practice so much blitz and it’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge for a running back and that’s why sometimes you see young running backs not make it to the field that quickly because of the pass protection phase, but we feel like he is making good progress and he’ll be there week one."
Overall Assessment of the Running Backs
(On how the running backs look this year)- "It looks totally different to me this year. You’ve got Trent, of course, and then I’m watching a healthy Montario (Hardesty), a healthy Brandon Jackson and then (Chris) Ogbonnaya who knows what he’s doing who flashes as well and not to mention Adonis Thomas. He’s quick and he has a feel for running the football. It’s good to see them out there. When they’re in the game I don’t really think, ‘Oh my goodness we just called a play that guy can’t handle,’ and I think that’s maybe some of the comfort level. Really at all of the positions we may sit down here and do the math, the tougher the decision is for the coach as to who to keep the better this team becomes and I’d love to have a handful of very tough decisions which I think we’re going to have."
(On what role the backup running backs will have)- "I think the backup running back needs to be able to go in, whoever that guy or those guys are and get three, four, maybe five, six carries a game. For some guys they may get three, four, five carries a month, but then be able to go in if Trent needs a break. Be able to go in and function efficiently with very few reps in practice so that’s what you need from a role player. Then those guys have to be major contributors on special teams, which I think we’re getting from everybody in the running back crew so that’s pretty much what you have to do as a role player until you become a starter."
Jabaal Sheard and Ahtyba Rubin Stepping Up
(On Ahtyba Rubin stepping up with Phil Taylor out)- "I think it’s very important for him to have another great year. I felt like he established himself as one of the guys we want around here for a long time. I don’t see any reason why he won’t, and we’re counting on that. That way, until Phil (Taylor) gets back, see what we have with other players. My guess is we’ll be pleasantly surprised the guys that are going to play in there."
(On what Jabaal Sheard needs to do to improve against the run)- "I think for Jabaal to be able to be on the left side, and start camp and just play the same spot all the time, I think his total game is going to improve. I think he’s got to understand obviously this game, and where he fits in his gaps and situations where it’s going to be a run. Then of course he’s got great skill and ability as a pass rusher. Although we might all think that’s pretty natural, that needs work as well."
(On if teams will pay more attention to Sheard this year)- "I think, again, that’s another one of those deals, where you slide to him or you chip him. There’s always ways that you can take care of one defensive end, and that’s why it’s important that we get some production in pass rush out of the other guy, whether it be Frostee (Rucker), (Juqua) Parker, (Emmanuel) Stephens or whoever it might be. I think the big thing for him is to just play his game and then everyone else fit in and play their game and it will all balance out."
JMJ Continuing to Do a Good Job
(On James-Michael Johnson)- "I think he’s established himself in a way where we’re excited to see how much progress he can make. He’s doing a good job out there. There is a lot that goes on for a linebacker. Fitting the run, matching up your pass coverage and being able to direct, and I think he’s doing all those things pretty well. That’s one of those where you’re just hopeful that he continues."
If the Sale of the Team Will be a Disruption
(On reports that the team is sold and if he has any fear that will disrupt what he is trying to accomplish as a coach)- "I have no fear. I have no fear about any of that because I trust my coaches, I trust the players and I’ve watched the work they’ve done based on the conversation of this last week. I’ve watched the work that they’re doing and I have no fear. I think we’re moving full steam ahead. That doesn’t bother me one bit at this point at this point. My concern is getting this team ready to play and our players understand that message and they are doing a good job."