Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on Monday, one day after the team's 17-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. Here's what the coach had to say.
(Opening statement) - "Good afternoon. I'll start out with injuries to the best of my knowledge here. Sheldon Brown had a groin strain yesterday and we'll go through the week and see how he does. Chris Gocong also strained his groin, but he stayed in there. Joshua Cribbs played the game and his groin is no worse for wear. I think he's doing alright. Peyton Hillis is continuing to get better from his strep throat. Joe Thomas has a little bit of a knee strain, but our understanding is that he'll be fine. I just want you to be aware of that in case you see him a little bit limited early in the week. The others guys, Titus Brown and Eric Hagg, will do more in practice this week, they're continuing to improve. Mohamed (Massaquoi) got through the game no worse for wear with his foot and then Tony Pashos will make an effort to come back even stronger than he did last week in terms of getting reps earlier in the week. Then we have another list of guys here with just bumps and bruises. Phil Taylor's knee is fine, so he'll be fine. I know he received some attention during the game, but I think he only missed two plays and then came back in so I think he'll be fine. Otherwise, I really don't have much to add to what I said last night. When I looked at the tape this morning and we as coaches evaluated it, there are a lot of things in there that we can do better. I do feel like defensively we did a nice job on defense keeping the game close until the offense found a way to move the ball and get some points. That's a good thing. We got sacks, we disrupted the quarterback, there weren't any long runs and at the end of the game when we needed a stop, after spotting the team 30 yards with a field goal to win it, they did a tremendous job of getting it to fourth-and-10 and then finishing the game with an interception. I have to credit them, Dick Jauron and those guys do a terrific job in getting those guys ready. I thought special teams the effort was sound. We made our kicks, we got our points, but I think there were some areas in there that we can get better."
(On mentioning they had a freighter full of corrections to make, what's at the front of the boat to correct first) - "We'll, we've got to find a way to start fast and we were just watching the tape on offense and we were running the same type of plays the second half that we were running in the first half and it was very clear that we were just executing them better in the second half, coming out of the halftime. That's the message. Listen guys, relax and just execute. Take the gimmes, get yards on the runs that we're running the football, get into manageable third downs, let's move the football and find a way to stay on the field. What you'll find is that all those great things that you want to do you don't get a chance to do if you don't get enough plays and it think you've got to start fast to get enough plays on offense. Then, the defense doesn't have to play two thirds of the game as well. That's at the front."
(On if everybody needs to correct mistakes) - "I think it's safe to say that it's just general execution and of course that starts with me."
(On Colt McCoy being off on so many throws before that last drive) - "I don't know. Again, I mentioned yesterday I think we were just off a little bit, but a quarterback that's just a little bit off makes it look like you missed by a mile. I don't know, but it's something we'll work through. We just try to create those situations, impress upon them, you get what you emphasize and impress upon the guys that we need a little faster start."
(On if the players are uptight at the beginning of the game) - "No, they're pro's, I don't think they're uptight. I mean we're all wound up it's a game. We just have to find a way to control our emotions just like I did at the end there. But, we've got to find a way to control our emotions and do what we've practiced all week."
(On if McCoy's over throw to Joshua Cribbs was a poorly thrown ball or if Cribb's groin slowed him down) - "No, I mean it was a throw on that first third and long that we knew that we wanted to run a "cross and go" and he was wide open and we missed him. There's not much magic there other than that we can't miss him."
(On if it's the growing pains you go through with a young quarterback) - "I'd like to think so. I'd like to think we're getting through these as we go. I think it happens with young quarterbacks, guys that have been in the league a while. We've got to find a way to play consistently good starting with the first snap and I think that's the message."
(On what his take is on the excessive celebration and what exactly did they do) - "Well, it's a flag and it's a rule. As the rule states, when you go to the ground and it looks like its choreographed then they throw a flag and that's what they felt was happening. You'd have to ask the players, I don't think it was, but that's what they (referee's) saw. There's a rule, we know it and we've got to follow the rules."
(On Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty playing in the backfield more often) - "No, I think they can play together. Right before the game our roster changed and we had plays in the game plan to feature both Peyton and Montario and obviously, you go on to other things when the roster changes. All though the fullback has to be a guy that can block that's typically not what we do in our system. He has to be able to catch and run and do all those other things as well. There's a place for it, for sure. Now, when I looked at the numbers here I would have liked to have played him more, but not 61 snaps, my goodness. But, that's the way it worked out and we got Armond (Smith) in there for a couple snaps. He (Montario) just wanted to go and he was going pretty well. I think he did a terrific job."
(On Hardesty making a nice cut and getting up field) - "Part of Montario's game, I think he's a very instinctive runner and if we can get him back to 100%, which he's approaching, I think we'll all see that. He's got very good instincts as a runner and that's what was seen in him in college and that's why he's here. He did some good things running the football yesterday. He made a couple subtle cuts as well that turned what would have been very short gains into good gains."
(On if the excessive celebration penalty could have been enforced on the extra point attempt rather than the kickoff) - "They could have. I'll have to double check that. In terms of making that a tougher extra point, yeah they could have. If they did choose to do it, to create field position in order to get a field goal."
(On if they could have backed up the PAT) - "I'd have to double check that, but it's my understanding that they could of."
(On if Joe Haden was shadowing Brandon Marshall intentionally or if it just happened to be coincidence) - "It was intentional."
(On if Haden will shadow opposing team's number one receiver for the rest of the season) - "How we defend teams will change week-to-week and this game boils down to matchups most of the time and we felt like we wanted to do that matchup wise. We may or may not, depending on who we play. If we find that we play a team that has two really good wideouts then we wouldn't do something like that. If they have a wide receiver that's marginally better than the next in our view, then we might do that. It could be either."
(On if he got the improvement that he wanted to see) - "I think each time you play a game you see things that you got better at or things that you need to improve on. I think we got better at the ‘hanging in there' portion of things and finding a way. In the first game, we were just as close to winning that game as we were in the third game and we didn't get it done. In this game we did and so if you consider that improvement than I would say yes."
(On why jumping into the stands is not an excessive celebration) - "We have reviewed it. The league has videos on it and we are aware of the rules and we have to play by the rules. Typically, when you are celebrating you go to the ground and the officials feel as though it's choreographed then they throw a flag. That's the facts."
(On receivers not being able to get involved until last drive) - "We tried to get them involved earlier and the receivers were number one or two in the progression along the way for whatever reason. We didn't take any sacks. I thought for the most part the protection was pretty sound. Now Colt had to scramble a few times and he got the ball off and got hit a couple times. But there were attempts to get the ball to receivers. They showed up at the end and made plays. I think that could be said about everybody on offense, but we will make an effort to get the ball to receivers in the first quarter, second quarter. I believe that they need to touch the football and now we just need to do a better job of executing those things."
(On receivers doing a good job of getting open) - "Yes for the most part. Again, each play kind of stands on its own merit whether it's good or bad. There was some decision making that went on where we could have got it to a guy more open than the other. I will leave that for your open locker room discussions with the players."
(On the defensive front getting consistent pressure on the quarterbacks) - "We are another game better of knowing what those guys can do. I thought (Defensive Line Coach) Dwaine (Board) had a good rotation getting guys in there. Every play is a critical play but you need your guys all the way to the end. So we had a good rotation in there and they played a lot of snaps. I think getting sacks is a team thing just as well as giving up sacks is a team thing. There is coverage involved. There is pressure sometimes and then there is just flat out guys beating guys. I think there was a little bit of all three elements yesterday, but I think that unit is really improving."
(On painting a big picture that the team has a long way to go) - "Just everything in general, I think when we know intimately what's happening on each play and matchups and what they are going to do and what we are trying to do.
Even though something may look like a good or bad play, I have a checklist of things I am thinking of. From everything offensively, from running the football to protecting the quarterback, to the quarterback making the right decisions and throwing the ball accurately, to guys getting open and making plays when they are covered, all of those things. I think that's what I am referring to. On defense, making sure we continue to challenge, tackling in the open field, being gap secure when they run the football. I think those are things and we work on them constantly. We just need to keep doing it. Just got to do it."
(On if the expectations change at all) - "No. It's a sixteen or seventeen week season, but the next mile post is the Tennessee Titans. They are finishing up the evaluation, the coaches and players right now. When we hit the streets here at 2:30p.m., our next marker is the Tennessee Titans. I think that's the expectations. When you start to look beyond the next day or the next game then I think that's when you start making mistakes. You can't project. Let's play them up, play them out and add them up at the end. I think that's the way we have to do this thing."
(On making the decision to play Greg Little coming off the bench rather than starting) - "It depends on what grouping we are in. All the receivers played a bunch of snaps yesterday. He played fifty snaps so whether he starts the game or not it doesn't matter to me."
(On the defense not giving up long chunks of yardage) - "I think the important thing there is efficiency on third down. You have to get off the field on third down and then there are a lot of ways looking at it. Better percentage on first down makes a longer third, all of that. Most teams on offense find a way to move the ball. Now, when you get in the red zone and teams find a way to get in the red zone anywhere from two to three and sometimes five times a game. That's when you have to make them kick field goals. Turnovers, efficiency on third down, that's getting off the field and then execution in the red zone. That's pretty much offensively and defensively the areas that if you are going to be consistently good you have to be good in those areas."
(On if he has won any games possessing the ball for twenty-two minutes without a bunch of kick returns) - "I don't know. That's a good question. I would have to go back and look, but that bend but don't break I am not necessarily fond of that. But when you don't let them score and the game stays within one score then you always have a chance to win. It's easier on the heart though when you get ahead."
(On if the secondary has surprised him) - "No, our secondary doesn't surprise me. I think they are well coached and I think we have talented guys. I watched them in practice play very well together. We have a three safety rotation and they are all in their making plays and its working. We have corners that we feel can play in the slot and out on the perimeter, so it's working. I give the coaches credit for getting them lined up properly and teaching them what they need to see. I give the players credit for their ability to go out and play. So no, I am not surprised."
(On Dimitri Patterson) - "Dimitri has been a good addition to our secondary. I think he's a guy that can play outside or inside and he challenges. I think I have used this term before, he and Buster (Skrine) are both gritty guys. So they like it, they accept the challenge of getting up on the receiver. We do bump and run quite a bit and that's fun for corners. I think they enjoy that and then they enjoy the challenge of trying to defeat the receivers. I think he does all of those things."
(On first and second year guys making big plays on the game-winning drive) - "Well they need to make plays because there are a lot of them out there. I think it's good. A lot of these guys, we bring them into these environments as pro players and they have done it before. You know playing before large crowds. I think of when a game is too big for a guy. Really most of the guys that we put out there that have showed up, it's not too big for them. Then they just have to go out there and do it. They find a way to control their emotions and their own thoughts. They learn what to do and then they just go do it."
(On Evan Moore not being in the game) - "The snaps that he was in there we tried to get him the ball. I think that's the important piece. When we put Evan in the game they treated him like a receiver and went to nickel. That changed our thoughts a little bit, but he got in there and made a couple catches. That one in the last drive and then he had I think it was a second and long he caught an under route and made yards. There were two other ones when we tried to throw him the ball so he was targeted I think five times."
(On no huddling advantages) - "There are advantages to it. I like no huddle. The difference between no huddle and two-minute although it may appear like that they are similar. It's different, but he executed very well there and we have a component of our offense where we can get to no huddle. As I mentioned earlier, call a play, get lined up and run it. I think that's the starting point."
(On if Peyton Hillis is at home) - "Peyton is here today, from my understanding. He was in the meetings so I don't know if he was gone or left yet, but I just saw him. We were in the meetings together."
(On Peyton Hillis being with the team or not on Saturday) - "He sure was. He was at all of the meetings."
(On a surprise on Peyton Hillis not giving it a go on Sunday) - "He was getting better. He got really sick the middle of the week and then he was getting better. He was at the team hotel on Saturday night and we were hoping he was going to get a good night's sleep and then get better. It didn't happen. He was at everything. Again, I made the comment yesterday, with his illness I felt like if he couldn't play the best thing for him to do was go home and get better. My understanding talking to the trainers is he feels better today."
(On if Peyton Hillis tried to talk him into letting him play) - "We visited, but that's obviously between the player and the coach. He couldn't go, so we sent him home."