Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on after Wednesday's practice, the last one before the Browns take on Detroit Friday night. Here's what he had to say.
(Opening statement)- "We had a good practice this morning. We did a lot of red zone, tried to keep the same format as we did a week ago. I took the pads off the guys this morning. We just worked in helmets and protective spider pads. I feel like we got a lot of work done. Today's practice, (Eric) Steinbach's back tightened up on him a little bit so we took him in side, just precautionary. T.J. Ward felt his hamstring a little bit, again, precautionary there. Peyton Hillis, at the end of practice, felt his hamstring just a little bit. This is the time of year when you start to get some soft tissue injuries. I wouldn't call those injuries yet, there was a lot of work that got done so it was just precautionary with T.J. and Peyton. Otherwise, it was good work. We got 50 snaps in the red zone today, which is good, between 7-on-7 and team. That's a very important part of the game, being successful there whether you're scoring touchdowns or preventing the scores. I felt like that competition was good."
(On preparing for the season and preparing for roster cuts at the same time)- "As far as preparing the team, we try to get better each day at something. Today was red zone. We did some base as well. You teach the schemes and as you're teaching the schemes and running the plays you see how your players fit so that's part of it. As far as evaluating who the team is, at the end here, their competition and how they perform really direct us to what's going to happen there. As fans, you could pick out a few guys who are definitely going to make it, but at the bottom part of the roster there's some good competition right now."
(On the next step he wants to take in the upcoming preseason game)- "You want to build on the last game. We're looking generally for efficiency, guys to perform well, eliminate the mistakes and then move forward in terms of the details of the plays that we're running. That's what you're looking for. You're looking for some consistency and efficiency, and you want to see the guys perform well. When the situations dictate it, you'd like to see guys step up and make plays."
(On if there's a position group that will sort itself out own its own through preseason games)- "I think in all the position groups there is something that we take away each preseason game. We're in a situation right now where we have a couple linebackers that are dealing with some minor injuries. Those guys that step up and play, naturally, we'll get to see them more than we would if they weren't. That's one position. You're' always looking at the skill positions. Then what you want to do is see how your draft picks are developing, the younger players. It's a long winded answer to your question, but I think that's what you're looking for."
(On if he has seen any affects from the lockout)- "I don't know. I think we're kind of into this thing, close to three weeks in. We're all kind of feeling the same things. Their legs are tired, but there's a certain amount of work that we need to get in. I would say they're fighting through it pretty well. The overwhelmingly majority of the guys are doing a good job of taking care of their bodies between practices. From that standpoint, it's probably hard for me to compare because I wasn't with this crew a year ago. That's where I'd have a better feel maybe next year."
(On Owen Marecic and the fullback catching passes out of the backfield)- "I think the fullback needs to be able to catch the football. That's a position that promotes and lends toughness to your offense because they have to lead block. They're asked to do a lot of things from the backfield that you require from linemen and guys on the line of scrimmage. But, then you add the added piece of being able to catch the football and then we'll hand it to him as well. That's a multi-dimensional position when it comes to playing offense."
(On how Marecic has performed thus far)- "I think he's done a good job. Owen's one of those steady as you go guys. If you're not looking real hard, he doesn't say much. His demeanor's very quiet, but he takes it in and when you watch him, he makes very few mistakes. He gives great effort and I think he's progressing well."
(On Jason Pinkston stepping in for Steinbach)- "He's in there and he's ready to go. Depending on this weekend, he'll get more work than he might of had Steinbach not developed this back-whatever, we'll see."
(On how much the starters will play and if the game plan will be similar)- "The starters, without saying it definitively, I think the starters will play close to a half. The starting lines played about 16 plays last week and I'd like to see them play up into the 20's. That would be good. As far as game planning, we always game plan where we do what we do well and there's always things in the game plan that attack the defense we face. I think that it's going to be no different than any other game."
(On if they are looking for anything specific to work on)- "We're looking to work on things, but you're not going to see 10 flea-flickers and halfback passes, maybe one. But, there are certain things we're looking to get. We want to see the guys execute the fundamentals of the offense. That doesn't understate the fact that we spent time in the offseason and the last couple days preparing for this game."
(On Jordan Norwood's skills in the pass game and return game and if he has caught his eye)- "He has. Last year, I was with a guy named Danny Amendola. Let's forget their size and stature for a minute. That same type of skill set, finds a way to get open. He's very smart. We lined him up today at the flanker, the X and in the slot. He's very smart. Typical, if he's lined up with another receiver out there, he determines on and off. He's doing a nice job and then you add the return piece on to it. I think he's doing good."
(On James Dockery playing safety)- "I think in this game you may see him playing a little bit of safety. He's shown up well at corner, that's where he plays. Much like any back-up role player, you've got to get it done on special teams and then you have to be somewhat flexible. For a guy that's caught our eye in some ways, to be able to line up at safety, I think is a good thing."
(On evaluating his defense)- "I was pleased with the way they played. There was a lot of good physical play. We played a lot of man coverage. You didn't see guys running wide open. I thought the coverage was tight. For the most part, the receivers were challenged and we did create some pressure and disrupt the quarterback. Those were all good things. I'm pleased with where they've come in less than three weeks."
(On Kaluka Maiava stepping up)- "He's one of those guys that's benefitting from the reps. He's probably known as a special team's type guy that's a backup player, but he's stepped in and done a nice job. I feel like he can play on scrimmage downs and most likely he will."
(On Maiava's size)- "When you step up on him, he's not tall, but he's got some size to him which is evident when you get real close to him."
(On if the second game is the midway point for training camp)- "I wouldn't consider it the hump because the third preseason game is a game where we'll play the number one units or the guys that we feel are starters even more than a half. I wouldn't consider it the hump as a half way part of the preseason games. When you play the preseason game it's exciting. But, once the game is over and you get them back out here, it was just a fancy practice in the midst of training camp. As you evaluate it after the fact, we play Friday and were in here on Sunday practicing then we're right into training camp mode. I wouldn't call it the hump, but there's some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting your team ready for the first game."
(On guys at the bottom of the roster getting their last chance to play in the preseason games)- "Typically, the fourth preseason game, they play the whole game. It's where you need to really start picking up the pace if you're going to have a chance to make it."
(On what was said after Jarrett Brown threw an interception against Green Bay)- "There's reasons for everything and I think he would agree you can't throw that ball. It was a corner route and a defender was underneath it so you just pump fake it and try and run to get a couple yards. If you can't run then you throw it away. That's what you say. Then you say, 'Now that's over so let's go onto the next one.' That's what you do. Unfortunately, every once in awhile a quarterback is going to have a bad play. The key is to not put two together. What I liked about what he did though was he came out after that and really managed, very well, a four-minute drive that melted a lot of clock and put us in position to kick a field goal and make it a two-score lead. From that standpoint, I thought he did a good job."
(On working on split back formations)- "I like running the ball and throwing the ball out of split backs. That could be a fullback and a halfback or it could be two halfbacks. We train them that way. We have a solid portion of our offense that's a two back set. It just showed up today, there were certain things we were working on and our progression of putting the plays in. We were working on that a little bit more today than you've seen in the last couple."
(On running that formation anywhere on the football field)- "We can do it coming out all the way to going in. The situation dictates you can it anywhere."
(On if Montario Hardesty will play Friday)- "Still haven't finally decided on that. Tonight's the night we're we really zero in on who's available and who's going to play and how much."