I have fallen behind a bit on some of Pat Shurmur's news conferences lately, so I'll try to get back on track here by including a few of his comments from Wednesday's news conference with his entire news conference on Thursday. Some of the topics Shurmur talked about included C Alex Mack being the team's fourth captain this week, Trent Richardson's potentially increase workload, if CB Sheldon Brown will start, and more. Shurmur's news conference transcript is organized by topic after the jump.
Alex Mack as the 4th Captain, and Preparing for Buffalo
(Preparing for Buffalo)- "We’re getting ready to play Buffalo. I think Buffalo found the right combination last week against the Chiefs. They moved the ball well, they scored points. As well all know, they’ve upgraded personnel on defense and then of course they made a big play in the kicking game. It was a good bounce-back for them against a good opponent and it is going to be a big challenge for us. We know what we’re facing and we know what we have to do. The only other bit of news at this point is that this week’s game captain will be Alex Mack. Once again, I think our three captains chose wisely on that."
(Thursday's Practice Routine)- "It’s a Thursday practice - short yardage, goal-line, third downs and we’re working on red zone as well. What’s obvious as you go through the preparation for Buffalo is they’re a good football team and they found a rhythm that works well for them this past game against the Chiefs. It’s going to be an outstanding challenge for our guys so that’s what we’re preparing for."
(On expressing a sense of urgency on what might be a must-win game)- "It’s important we win. I don’t know the statistics of it all, I’m sure you guys do. We’ve got to win. I think we all understand the urgency of that and regardless of what’s happened to this point, there are other teams in this league that are in our situation that are fighting to get their first victory in Week Three. That’s where the coaches and players are mentally, physically, emotionally doing what you can to get a victory in Week 3."
Trent Richardson is Going to Get A Lot of Reps
(On the conversation with Trent Richardson when he asks if Richardson needs a breather)- "I can see right away that I’m just going to quit asking him because he’s a competitive guy. He’s not the kind of guy that taps out. I don’t want our guys tapping out, but we as coaches keep an eye on them and if we can get a fresh guy in there we try to do that. I think that’s good for our team, it’s good for our city. Trent’s one of those guys."
(On Richardson’s willingness to stay in the game)- "I think that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for guys that are passionate, productive and stay durable. I think he’s got all of those things."
(On how impressed he was by the check-down pass Trent Richardson made and if it was as good of a play that he has seen in a while)- "We have drills for that, we drilled that play. It’s get the ball to your guy and then watch him work, that’s kind of what happened. He broke a lot of tackles so I think it’s impressive. That and of course the touchdown run were impressive. There were other things I saw in the game that weren’t probably as obvious as those. You’ve heard me say it often, it’s about scoring points and there are a lot of running backs in the league that can get you up and down the field. What he displayed was the ability to get in the end zone and I think that’s important for skill players. I think the thing that if you think about as scoring point, which is what you need to do, I think that’s what excites us as coaches."
Scouting Buffalo - Mario Williams, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and More
(On if Mario Williams is a guy that you do not measure by stats because he doesn’t have any sacks this year)- "He’s an outstanding football player. He’s got a great reputation as a defensive end in this league and he plays extremely well. I think stats, I think we as coaches kind of give it a rating as pressure on the quarterback more than just sacks themselves and he does a good job of getting pressure."
(On the challenge of getting sacks this week against Buffalo)- "I think their scheme is good. They spread the field, they get the ball out of his hands extremely well, they mix up the launch points like we all do. (Ryan) Fitzpatrick does a good job of scrambling and getting yards. Most long drives require the quarterback to do something with his feet, whether it’s gain some yards or move around in the pocket, throw the ball away, you can see in their long drives that he does that."
(On if they focus on face mobile quarterbacks in practice or if it more of a standard theme to just be aware of the quarterback)- "We practice it. There are times within the practice where we’ll call a route and just tell the quarterback to scramble. We try to practice the things that we see in the game as opposed to just going through the motions of the fundamentals."
(On how far they go back when studying Ryan Fitzpatrick)- "We typically will put what he did last year, it’s the same offensive systems, so we’ll look back through last year of course and then early this season. We’ve got a year and a half of tape on him."
(On how prevalent facing the Wildcat formation is in his thoughts this week)- "I think we’re aware of it and we’re practicing against it."
(On C.J. Spiller impressive statistics)- "When you get stats like that so quickly, that means he’s got a lot of big plays, which he has. You have to limit the big plays, you really do. When you have an explosive guy like Spiller, he’s going to make some yards, it’s just going to happen. What we need to do is eliminate the big plays, and then make them have to go the long way."
(On what makes Stevie Johnson a tough matchup)- "He’s quick, really quick. I think he’s got all of what you’re looking for in the position. I think that’s probably it."
(On if they looked at Marcell Dareus last year before the draft)- "Yeah, we did look at him. I studied him. I talked to Nick Saban about him at length when we were down there. He’s a guy who can pass rush. He’s a thick guy now, he takes up a lot of space in there if he’s put in a situation where he’s got a two-gap or a hunker down. He’s going to be a tough challenge for us. I was very impressed with him in the draft a year ago. He’s one of those guys you hope doesn’t go to a team in your division or a team that you play. We just happened to draw him here in the second year."
Cornerback Situation - Is Sheldon Brown Still a Starter?
(On the secondary’s performance last week)- "I’m confident we’re going to improve on what we did. As I mentioned earlier, we’ll find that right combination of guys. We’ll just keep tweaking it until we get the guys out there that kind of get the thing right for us."
(On if there is a chance that guys in the secondary who haven’t played much will play more)- "There’s a chance."
(On if Sheldon Brown was open to his changed his role)- "Sheldon’s going to be in the game quite a bit this week. In my opinion, there’s nothing there. He’s looking forward to helping this team win games. I think if you ask him he’ll tell you that."
(On if Buster Skrine will be starting at corner)- "Buster, Dimitri (Patterson), Sheldon and Trevin (Wade), they will all play. To answer your question, they could come out right away in a three wide receiver set so who starts? I don’t think that’s a big issue."
Evaluating the Browns' Offensive Guards and Run Blocking
(On how vital Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao have been with the way they run the football)- "I think the NFL has become a zone-scheme type running scheme. There are teams that are kind of a scheme-run setup, San Francisco for instance where you see all different types of schemes, but most teams will run some form of an inside or off tackle zone. In both of those schemes the guards are very important, very important because the ball runs right behind them initially and then goes from there."
(On combination blocks from the guards)- "As you’re zoning the first level to the second level, the guards are always involved so it’s important. I feel like our guys are improving, I really do. I think both our guards will have a very bright future."
(On the team having better rushing numbers to the right side of the offensive line last week compared to the previous game)- "One of those runs was a draw play, we call it a full spectrum run, where you hit it up in there and you find a crease. I think sometimes that becomes game specific whether you run right or left. We feel like we can run the ball effectively on both sides."
(On if going up against Mario Williams will be Mitchell Schwartz biggest test)- "The defensive ends in this league all present problems in their own way. Now he’s going to be facing a guy that’s long and has great skill and ability. Every week presents a bigger test than the last. I think what happens is, he’s gaining experience. As he watches him and prepares on tape to face him, he’ll gain experience throughout the game as well."
(On if he’s seen a difference from Week One to Week Two in Schwartz)- "Absolutely. He played better. I thought he was more consistent with his pass and his run blocking."
"I Have No Rookies"
(On the importance of a rotation on the defensive line and having Billy Winn in there)- "It’s very important. I think that’s what you’re seeing now. You’re seeing seven, eight, nine guys playing in the defensive front. I think that’s typical of most teams now that play a four-man front so it’s important that he gets in there and gets good reps in there."
(On if he looks at Winn and as John Hughes as rookies still)- "Nope, I have no rookies. We’re in Week Three, they are no longer rookies."
(On what he’s seen in Ishmaa’ily Kitchen since he’s been here)- "We’ve gotten some good snaps out of him already. I think he’s a sturdy guy. He’s pretty think and he’s got long arms. He’s got a chance to be a good player. He’s working well for us in a rotational basis so that’s what you’re looking for from a guy that’s just newly here."
Thoughts on Dick Jauron
(On his thoughts on the job Dick Jauron has been able to do since he hired him)- "I am a big fan of Dick and what he’s done. I’ll give you the story, Dick Jauron played for my uncle Fritz in Detroit and then they eventually worked together. I used to ask my uncle questions about things and people and somewhere along the line it came up where he said at one point that Dick Jauron was his favorite guy in the league as a player and a coach. That always stuck with me and then as I was going through the profession I always kind of followed Dick. We would see each other at NFL functions. Fortunately when I got the job here a year ago, Dick was in a position in Philadelphia where I called and asked for him and fortunately we we’re able to get him."
(On some of the stuff he sees from Jauron behind the scenes)- "I think what he’s accomplished in his life brings immediate credibility. He’s a highly moral, highly principled guy, which I think is important. I think he’s a very bright coach that knows what he’s doing, he’s been there done that. What I like about him is its very frequent that we as coaches sometimes get the emotions involved. He is a very calming force for me when I maybe want to choke somebody to go in there and just kind of hear it that way so all of those things I think are important."
Is the NFL a Passing League, and Cleveland's Run Defense
(On if it might be overstated that it’s a passing league now and the importance of a good running game)- "I think it’s important that you have a running back that can do what we talked about just a few minutes ago. Offenses play different styles that kind of cater to what they’re good at. You’ve got to look at your roster and see where you’re at. You can be a physical running team and run the ball from open formations, you just don’t have to put everybody in a pile. I think that’s the important thing, you can be a physical, effective run team, running the ball with three wide receivers on the field, or four wide receivers, or three wide receivers and a fullback, or however you want to do it. I think it’s a mentality. I think the run game needs to be simple and efficient, and then of course, you have ways to trick the defense. From that standpoint, that’s where the mindset starts."
(On where he thinks the run defense is now compared to last year)- "I think we’re better at stopping the run this year. I think it will reveal itself as we play out the season, because we are going to play against some outstanding backs and some outstanding quarterbacks. I think we just go to keep in mind though, it’s about eliminating the score, it really is. I think that’s the important thing. C.J. Spiller as we just talked about as a back that can go the distance and score. That’s what you’ve got to eliminate, those types of things. Then you just keep fighting for inches, and if they find a way to get down the field, you’ve got to keep them out of the end zone. I think that’s the challenge."
Joshua Cribbs as the Returner, and Possible Changes on Special Teams
(On if Joshua Cribbs is a grinder or a home run threat as a returner)- "I think he can score with the ball, there’s no question. I think he’s a grinder. He’s a tough guy. He’s one of our toughest players. I think he’s probably a little of both, I really do."
(On the blocking during Cribbs’ returns)- "We need to block extremely well no matter who’s running with the football, but I think we’re making progress there. I think when you look at drive starts last week, on the kick-offs for instance, we were at the 23 where they were at the 22. There are some things good happening under the covers there on special teams. Josh does an outstanding job covering kicks. I think Josh has a good feel. His spacial awareness in special teams really stands out in my opinion. You can be a blazer and not be effective as a returner, just like you can be a guy that runs really fast and not be able to cover worth a darn. I think Josh has that rare combination of a feel of when to do things on special teams. I think that’s unique."
(On if he is making any changes on the punt coverage team)- "We’ve got to tackle better. I think that’s fair to say, there could be some changes in our special teams units."