Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the local media following Saturday afternoon's practice session. He talked about some of the team's roster cuts, who the team captains will be, and whether RB Trent Richardson will play against the Eagles. The news conference transcript is organized by topic after the jump, or you can watch it online here.
General Notes on Roster Moves & New Signings
(Opening Statement)- "It’s the first practice with our guys since we’ve solidified the roster. You’ve been notified of the recent changes with Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and of course Tank Carder, two guys we picked up, so there were two late changes. You can now appreciate those moves as well as the (David) Sims trade, why we don’t talk about anything until the very end because there are moves and there are things that get done that help solidify the roster. That’s why we keep quiet on what our plans are. We feel good about what we’ve done to this point. As you know, the 53 man roster, it’s important to solidify who our guys are and move forward towards Philadelphia. You also know that you’re constantly looking to improve and upgrade in every area possible, and rosters change constantly. We’re in that process and we’ll continue to look at players to bring in to help us. Unfortunately, that involves guys that we feel strongly about not being here. That’s where it’s at."
(On what linebacker spot Tank Carder is best suited for)- "He’s a guy that we really liked coming out of college. We feel like he can play multiple positions inside and out."
(On if Carder could play strong side)- "Yeah, inside and out."
(On if trading a player to a team that they are about to play bothers him)- "No, I think what they know about what we know, and all that, I think sometimes that can be overstated. Of course he can possibly talk about the way we do business. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a run or a pass. That’s the kind of things we’re trying to disguise. I thought (David) Sims did a very nice job. I think they were smart to trade for him. I thought he did a heck of a job for us."
Naming Team Captains & Who Will Call the Coin Toss
"The other thing we did today, I’ll announce them, I had the players vote on captains for the year. We’ll have yearly captains from now on moving forward. The players voted for Joe Thomas on offense, D’Qwell Jackson on defense and Phil Dawson for special teams. The way we’re going to structure it is they’ll be our captains, and then each week that group of three who is the voice of that locker room, will bring to me a candidate to be the fourth game captain. They’re all going to decide of course, and then I will okay it. That’ll be a position of honor. That fourth game captain will be then the guy that calls the coin toss. That’s the way that we’re going to handle the leadership this year. I feel great, I think our guys chose wisely. I’m please at the direction that that leadership group is going."
Media Annoys Shurmur With 50 Questions on Trent Richardson
(On how close Trent Richardson is to practicing)- "He’s very close. He’s done a lot behind the scenes of course that I haven’t talked about. We’re hopeful that he’ll be out here very soon. I keep saying that, but that’s where it’s at. I’m very optimistic based on what I’m seeing behind the scenes. Of course, you folks are not privy to that."
(On if Trent Richardson will play Sunday if he can)- "He will."
(On if Richardson will have a limited role on Sunday or if he will give everything he’s got)- "He’s going to give it everything he’s got. I think it’s important that, this will be his first live activity. Anytime you play a player, you still have to be smart."
(On if Richardson will play Sunday)- "You guys are playing my words here. If he plays, he will be ready to go and play the whole game. Then how we use him, of course, we’ve just got to be smart."
(On if Richardson has been running)- "Yeah, he’s running. Oh my gosh, is that ground breaking (joking)?"
(On if there is a certain day that Richardson needs to return by in order to play on Sunday)- "Every player returning from injury is different and we’ll make that decision based on that."
(On if they would put an injured guy like Trent Richardson through tackle drills before Sunday)- "The tackling drills and the physical nature of it, we try to simulate as much of that as possible. We’ve got the blaster. We have drill work where it’s controlled where he gets banged around a little bit. We’ve been doing that kind of. Unfortunately, you’re not privy to that."
(On if Richardson has already been going through drills)- "He’s making really good progress."
(On clarifying what he said before about Richardson playing)- "If he’s ready he’ll play. He’s been doing great behind the scenes as far as getting himself ready to play. You’ve got to understand at this point now, and again you’ve got a feeling about my talking about injuries and lack thereof. At this point now, we don’t have to talk about that stuff, and I think it’s important that our guys race to get back. As we get near the end of the week, the league will tell us what we have to talk about. I think that’s important. There are a couple of messages behind that. Number one, I trust every player we put out there. The guys that are injured have got to race back. There needs to be some anxiety on their part to get back because they’re watching someone else possibly take their job. Number two, I don’t think it important for us to just tell the world about where we are at. That’s just my feelings on that. Maybe that’s just me in year two."
(On it being obvious why they want to know about Richardson)- "I know why you’re curious, and you can keep asking. I’m going to do what I can to give you information so you can write your stuff. I do know this, we have to do what is right for this team. We’ll make sure we follow the rules to that."
Keeping Four RB's & Montario Hardesty's Role
(On keeping four running backs)- "Each year I think the roster is structured differently. We felt good about what those guys all did. We kept them on our roster. Those guys obviously that play behind Trent (Richardson), are guys that are needed on special teams, and have done a good job for us there. They’ve kind of got a multiple role."
(On if Montario Hardesty is still number two running back)- "I think at this point yes, unless something changes. I would say that’s fair to say."
Tight End Depth & Benjamin Watson Returning
(On if there is a problem with the depth at tight end with Benjamin Watson missing time)- "No, as you know we kept five running backs, three tight ends and six receivers. We’ll use our skill players in a way that makes sense for us. You can run the ball out of four wides and you can pass the ball out of two tight ends and a fullback. We’ll do what we have to do to match up the right way and get our right guys on the field, and do what we can of course to score points and win games."
(On how Benjamin Watson looked today and if he expects him to play on Sunday)- "He looked good as well. Again, he’s day-to-day, but we’re anticipating that he’ll be ready to go."
(On what he’s looking for from Jordan Cameron)- "He needs to develop into a starting tight end in this league."
(On Jordan Cameron being on the bike today in practice)- "We’re looking for him to be ready to play Sunday."
LB James-Michael Johnson's Injury & Defensive Depth
(On James-Michael Johnson’s injury)- "As I mentioned, he had the side injury. We called it an oblique. He’s rehabbing from that. I consider him day-to-day at this point."
(On if he’s concerned with the depth at linebacker and defensive line)- "We’re going to put enough guys out there to play good defense. I’m not concerned."
LB Scott Fujita Not Allowed in Berea
(On if anything has changed with the Scott Fujita situation)- "No, as far as we know right now he’s suspended."
(On if Fujita is allowed at the facility)- "He’s not here. He had to vacate the premises so to speak."
Coaching a Roster With So Many Rookies
(On if he thinks they can win with 15 rookies on the roster)- "Absolutely, we can win with 15 rookies. I’m not a guy that predicts what’s going to happen. All I know is I’ve seen these guys play good football. They have fresh legs. That’s what I’ll say. I expect that when we put them out there, everybody out there, even the 15 rookies, are going to do what it takes."
(On what Tashaun Gipson and Johnson Bademosi showed to make the team)- "Gipson I think showed us that he could play on scrimmage downs as a safety. I thought he did a nice job. He also contributed on special teams. Johnson Bademosi, obviously made his first mark, in my mind, on special teams. We’ll try to develop him as a corner as well. Both guys had an outstanding camp. When you can find two players, that you think are going to be good players in the way that we did, that helps us. We’re glad they made it."
(On if he will have to coach differently with so many rookies)- "These guys have played games at other levels. I think it’s important that our veterans that are here help them get through the mental part of it. That is a lot of rookies, I would agree with that. It’s going to be fun to see the energy that they play with. I think that’s important."
Was QB Colt McCoy Going to be the Backup All Along?
(On if there was ever doubt that Colt McCoy would be the backup)- "No, I went into this with an open mind trying to see what was the best combination of guys to make this quarterback room the best. I’ve said all along, I think he’s made great improvement based on a year ago. I really do feel like even though we’ve had some guys that didn’t get to compete a lot because of injury, I really do believe that everybody that we kept earned their spot."