Pat Shurmur reviews the Colts game

Pat Shurmur reviews the Colts game
Pat Shurmur reviews the Colts game

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur reviewed the Colts game with the media on Monday.  Here's what he had to say.

(Opening statement) - "Good afternoon.  I really don't have much to add about the game to what I talked about after the game.  I feel like watching both games from the sideline, I saw basically the same thing when I watched the tape.  I felt like we made improvements as a team.  I think we went through and made an effort to correct some mistakes that we made in the first game and I think it showed up yesterday.  There were a lot fewer penalties and I wouldn't call them hostile environments, I just think you consider them away environments where noise can be a factor when you're playing offense. I thought we did a better job there.  I think defensively, we played a very, very strong game.  There are a lot of things that you can point to.  I think the defensive line as a unit played very well, I think our linebackers covered well and again, in the secondary, I think we challenged.  There were some real good things to build on and keep in mind that this is a sport that as you go through the season you try to find ways to improve each week as you work on your next opponent. I feel like that's the direction we'll go.  I said last night I think offensively it was a fairly efficient game.  We put the ball on the ground once, which we can't do and I think that's something that we'll continue to work on.  Can't turn the ball over, but for the most part, if you're going to play offense against a team like the Colts you have to be willing to take six, seven, eight yard gains and do it consistently."

"They play their coverage schemes pretty well where you'll get your completions, but they do a nice job of tackling you.  It's very hard to get explosive plays against the Colts so you have to play an efficient style, which I felt like we did.  Unfortunately, we didn't get as many big plays as you'd like, but if you don't turn the ball over and you stay ahead of them you can help yourself.  We were better on third downs and I think our efficiency in the red zone, we can do better there on offense.  The kicking game was solid, the punting game was outstanding. When you have a 40-yard average and a 40-yard net, I'd take that every week. I think that's tremendous.  We got some big returns in the return game and for the most part our coverage units were sound.  We let one pop out on us. Again, I'll say it's an error that we can correct.  It was a good victory, but again some of the things that I talked about the coaches are in the meetings right now correcting.  We need to move on quickly and get ready to play the Dolphins, who I think are a team, that they're 0-2, they're fighting to get their first victory. There'll be some things that they're going to try to do, they have a good football team and they've got some outstanding players that can make a difference with one play and I think they're a team that we're going to have to play our best football to beat."

(On what he has learned about this team over the last week) - "I feel like this team responds when we ask them to clean up mistakes and refocus their efforts. I feel like they did that and so we'll see if we can do it.  Again, I've mentioned this about consistency, if we see somebody do something once, in order to be consistent you have to do it over and over.  The way to respond this week is to be able to put the good feeling of winning behind you and then work on the preparation that needs to get done moving forward."

(On any rule of thumb on how deep Josh Cribbs can return kicks) - "It appears like he put the very edge of his foot at the end of the playing surface and so that's the good rule of thumb I guess.   Now, what happens from there if the ball is short and he can run into it and catch it, but I think what you're seeing now is there are more and more touchbacks.  Returners want to get their touches and they want to get their licks in so they're all getting into position where they want to field the ball and make the decision whether they come out."

(On if the new rule affects coverage units) - "I don't know.  It seems like we're seeing feast or famine.  You see some teams get tackled inside the ten, some inside the fifteen and then you're still seeing some really explosive returns.  Week two, I guess we'll start comparing all these results as we go through the season.  It's interesting. I know I have more interest in what's happening when that ball is kicked.  I'm kind of learning what's happening with the returners each time I see one kicked."

(On what he has seen growth wise in T.J. Ward) - "I think T.J.'s a competitor.  T.J.'s a terrific player against the run and I think he covers well.  What I saw from T.J. was a guy who was excited about that he missed some training camp and I've seen him now really work his way back in, coming back from minor injury and I've seen him compete extremely well.  I think he's the kind of guy you want playing safety because he's a gritty guy, he understands how to play and he's competitive."

(On how good of a game Joe Thomas played yesterday) - "I'd have to agree.  Last week you don't talk about an individual performance when you lose, but when you win I think you can do that a little bit.  I think Joe played a fine game. Both of our guys playing the tackle positions had tough matchups.  Everybody does when you play the Colts and I thought Joe played very, very well."

(On how much they schemed) - "There were things scheme wise where we tried to chip him.  There was a couple where we chipped, there were other ones where we tried to chop him.  You have to make an effort to disrupt those two guys and we did make an effort to make sure we got the ball out quickly.  Then you saw a couple times where Colt (McCoy) was able to scramble, he pushed up and slid out or he actually just escaped because those defensive ends at times would work themselves inside.  In order for that to happen though the tackle has to then flatten him, which I thought Joe did well. "

(On if he's worried about the offense starting slow the first two games) - "No, I'm not worried.  I think you emphasize it and it'll be something where we try to get a faster start as we go out.  I'm happy that we found a way to score before half and again getting use to our players in some ways, but no it's something we'll work on."

(On McCoy's ability to move outside the pocket and trying to develop himself as a pocket passer in the future) - "The one thing I think is that he made some really fine throws from the pocket last night, when you sit and watch it after the game.  Some of his throws on the move were because he flushed himself or he got flushed and some of them were designed movement type plays.  I thought he played a pretty good game and I think he made some big plays.  A lot of times some of the biggest most explosive plays are when the thing breaks down.  I think I made the point last night, he escaped and extended some plays that ended up being some of our bigger plays."

(On Greg Little's growth since the beginning of training camp) - "Greg's grown a lot in my eyes.  I mentioned this before, but he's one of those guys that love Sunday.  His eyes get real wide when the lights are on.  He's very excitable, he's a guy that had his chances yesterday and did some good things. We'll try and build on that.  Very competitive guy, I think he sees things well.  He like some of the other receivers will come to the sideline and say 'hey coach, I think we can get him on this.  He can't cover me on this' and for a young guy he gets right in the mix with all those suggestions.  He's fun, I like him."

(On the thought process of using Montario Hardesty yesterday) - "We wanted to get him in the game and when you get rolling, and again this is something I need to do a better job of is, I wanted to get him in the game at some point.  I wish we could have gotten him in the game sooner, I guess that's what I would say because he needs to play.  Peyton (Hillis) is a bruising style of runner that needs a little bit of relief at times and I think that's what we'll try and do a better job of next time."

(On Montario Hardesty being in the game when at the goal line) - "I think it's okay.  We weren't really on the goal line.  We were in a three receiver set and we were just running a play we would run out around the fifty, one back power.  So, regardless of where you put a player in and you don't want him to put the ball on the ground and fortunately we got it back.  But again, the more critical the situation is, the more heightening in the awareness from everybody's standpoint.  Nobody ever trains the runner to put the ball on the ground.  I feel like he has made huge progress through training camp.  For us to win over a consistent time frame we are going to need him and so I need to play him sooner."

(On balancing both running backs) - "It sounds like a good plan.  I don't know if that means they are each going to get the same amount of carries.  I think you always go with a runner that has the hot hand, but I think Peyton is our number one back at this point."

(On Josh Cribbs being key to this offense) - "I think he does just that emotionally. He can make big plays, that's just a part of his nature.  The third down that you express we had time to talk about on the sideline.  I had one thought in mind and then we had a quick screen up just to get the ball out.  I said, "You want it?"  He said, "Just throw it to me."  You know and then he did it.  Again, when you can interact with these guys during the game and see the way they respond Josh does have that uplifting piece to his personality."

(On bouncing back the next week) - "I was sure they bounced back and play well because I have seen them respond to everything we've asked them to do.  I think that's what made me sure.  Well they made me right.  I am happy they did that.  I am happy."

(On the defensive ends progression) - "No, I think they are getting better and I think we are finding the best way to use them.  We flipped the ends as you saw.  I think that is the way we are going to go with it now. Keep Jabaal (Sheard) on our defensive left/offensive right.  I think they did a good job and they are getting better.  How fast?  I don't know, but I think I am seeing improvement each week."

(On the defensive front to impact the game) - "You can't do anything offensively or defensively unless your lines hold the point and dominate.  I think those guys are getting to the point where they are playing well as a unit and then you are seeing them be able to make some plays on their own."

(On the best thing on switching Jayme Mitchell and Jabaal Sheard from the opposite ends) - "Watching them compete and watching him compete.  We felt he was more effective playing on the left then he was on the right.  Just watching."

(On the feeling pulling into the parking lot this morning) - "Oh yeah, when it happens it is a great feeling.  As you get ready for the next week the preparation off field is the same, but when you win the air breathes cleaner.  The water tastes better.  Everything is better when you win and I think that's what we all long to do.  Aside from the day-to-day, the issues of the day and the sport and enjoying what we do, the real fun is in winning.  If you don't, then we talk about all those other things that we talked about last week."

(On less of Brian Robiskie by Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi putting in the work load) - "We saw a little bit less of Brian, but he still played I think over twenty-five snaps, so he was in there quite a bit.  I did like the way Josh, Greg and Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) all performed.  I am not down on Brian.  I think he competed well so, we will see how the numbers work out.  But, I felt like it was important for us to get the ball in the hands of Greg, Josh, and Mo.  We found a way to do that and I think we got some results from it."

(On Brian Robiskie as a blocking receiver) - "No, Brian is a real receiver.  I don't have any problems throwing him the football. "

(On the receivers finding their roles in the offense) - "I think as we go forward and again, as a group, they will improve every day in practice and then they get to put it in play on gameday.  I think I am seeing improvement generally from all the positions especially the younger guys.  Younger guys tend to make bigger jumps in improvement where older guys are about being steady and getting a little bit better.  I think you are right, I think we are seeing some of that."

(On the first head coaching victory) - "You mentioned twenty four hours once I leave the podium here it's all about the Dolphins.  But, sitting at home last night was more enjoyable.  I was better in the conversation than I was last week.  You tend to go sit alone with your thoughts.  I think my family probably recognizes it more than anyone, but yesterday you are more likely to converse than you are after a loss, I guess."

(On putting the game ball down) - "No I have it.  It's meaningful.  I still have it.  I don't carry it around with me, but I will cherish it for sure."

(On Alex Smith's performance) - "He did.  He was in a position where he blocked and then he was in the game.  He is a steady player and I really have a strong appreciation for what he is primarily a blocker, but we threw the ball a couple times and he made big plays.  In games where you are battling it out for five yard chunks, that's when you see a guy Alex show up and I think he did that."

(On Oniel Cousins and Artis Hicks) - "I think they both played about the way we expected them to. You know Oniel is probably bigger and more physical and Artis is probably a little quicker on his feet.  They both showed up in a way we thought.  Neither one of them probably played much better than the other, but I think I feel good about the progress we are making."

(On the running backs fumbling) - "If you fumble the football typically the ball gets loose on you, so we are always talking about four points of pressure, front tip, back tip, inside the forearm up against the rib cage.  I mean that's what we teach.  When a guy has the ball that's got to be natural, but it also needs to be practiced. So, we'll emphasize it.  Then, when a guy is running through traffic and there are people trying to knock him out you do certain things.  Unfortunately the ball comes out at times, but we can't have that.  We will work on it.  In terms of trends I wasn't here last year."

(On trying to fight for extra yards when fumbling) - "I wouldn't say that.  I think sometimes you see fumbles come out when you fight for extra yards.  You know there is no excuse for lack of ball security.  I am sure he is feeling bad about the fact he fumbled.  But, you have to protect the football as a runner and that's one of the most primary things as a runner.  We practice it every day."

(On Coach Sam Rutigliano conversation) - "It was somewhat inspirational to me along the lines of to just keep going."

(On if Jabaal Sheard tried to lateral the ball on the fumble recovery) - "I don't know that. I will say this, I will give credit for having an effective challenge.  The guys in the box, you know I have guys upstairs, on offense of course in (Offensive Assistant) Chris Beake, (Tight Ends Coach) Steve Hagen and (Senior Assistant – Offense) Keith Gilbertson that had a much better view when they saw the replay.  The reason we challenged it was we got fifteen yards because he was down before. From my view I didn't say that.  My view was what the heck happened and so they did a good job of advising me on that.  The defensive guys they need to be of course aware of the fact once they get the football they need to secure it.  They tend to be a little more cavalier with ball you know.  We don't want that."

(On Usama Young's progress) - "I think he is doing well.  I think he is a big physical presence.  You know you walked up on him before, but he is a good size guy for a safety and I think he is getting more and more comfortable with being back from that hamstring, which will allow him to play faster and faster.  He has showed up well, he has done a good job."