Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur press conference 12-21-11
(Opening statement)- "At practice today, Joe Haden still won't do much. Ben Jacobs, Mohamed Massaquoi's got a sore foot, he'll be limited. I don't know how much he'll be able to do. Colt (McCoy) hasn't been cleared to practice yet and neither has Jordan Norwood. (Scott) Paxson will be limited, we'll see how much he can do today. T.J. Ward, of course, won't be practicing. That will all be detailed in our injury report today, but otherwise we'll just continue our preparation. Those that can't practice, next guy up, get an opportunity for some guys to step in and show us what they've got."
(On why Joshua Cribbs hasn't returned a kickoff for more than 40 yards in quite some time)- "I don't know. I think if you look at it, just generally speaking, up until last game he was sixth in the league in terms of kickoff returns. Now, you obviously want long ones and touchdowns so we're doing what we can to get them blocked up so we can get those, but he's obviously a dangerous guy with the ball in his hands. We're doing what we can to get him an explosive return."
(On if McCoy was here today)- "He was there this morning and he hasn't been cleared to practice yet. He did a little physical activity and he's coming along."
(On if he's ready to say that Seneca Wallace will start Saturday)- "Not yet, but it's going to come soon, I'm sure."
(On what is still bothering McCoy)- "The effects of the concussion so that would be it."
(On if the team got a memo from the league about putting a trainer up in the press box)- "I think it has gone league wide that they're going to replace the observer with a trainer. It'll be somebody that'll be, I guess, more skilled in seeing injuries on the field. Again, I don't know much about it so it wouldn't be fair to comment on it yet. But, I know there's been conversation and league talk about that being done."
(On T.J. Wards situation)- "He's kind of leveled off as far as coming back so I don't know. It's probably going to be tough for him to make it for this week, but we'll see as we move forward."
(On if it would be better to shut Ward down and not risk more injury)- "I think there's a reason to think about that, but we'll just keep trying to get him back like we will with the rest of the players and then make the decision as we get closer to, if he can't play this week, the last game. That's worth discussing, for sure."
(On if teams rush Wallace differently)- "I don't think so. I think they'll try to rush us. You look at Colt and Seneca, they are very similar in stature, very similar in terms of their game, they both can do things when they get outside the pocket. I'm sure they'll try to obviously get pressure on him and also not let him get outside the pocket and create a big play like we did last week."
(On why they didn't put Ward on injured reserve)- "We felt like he's been progressing to the point where he can get back in there and play. He's like all the other players, you fight week-to-week, day-to-day to get them improved so they can go in there and compete so that's why we're doing it. When you get in a situation at a position where you're really stressed in terms of not having enough players then you have to make the decision whether or not you allow him to keep getting better or put him on IR and get another body in here. Those are all things we talk about with all players."
(On if Dan Gronkowski will play this week)- "We're getting him ready to play so we'll teach him. He's not going to learn the whole system, he's going to learn the game plan like guys do this time of year. We'll get him ready to go, there's a chance he could be in there for sure."
(On if he's limited with what he can do running the ball with Benjamin Watson and Alex Smith being out)- "No, I don't think so. I think we have a variety of ways to run the football whether we're in two backs or two tight ends or one tight end or four wide receivers. We have runs from all packages so you just try to match them up and run the ones that are available based on the personnel that is at hand."
(On what he would highlight about Jabaal Sheard's development)- "Number one, we know how talented he is and we knew how young he was, but he's been a steady performer. He's improved each week and he's continuing to get production at a time a year where some rookies that have played a great deal start to drop off. That's the thing that's exciting about what he's done.
(On what's wrong with Paxson)- "He's got a hand and a foot. We'll see how he does coming back."
(On how much he expects the players to be self-motivated this time of year and how much of a responsibility he has to get them fired up for games)- "I think as professionals, whether you're playing or coaching, you put all your effort into winning the next game and I think our guys did that last week. They've done it every week, as we've talked about, we just need to play better in some areas and play better throughout the game. I don't worry about that with our guys. They've got a great deal of pride in their performance, they've got a strong bond with their teammates who depend on their performance and I anticipate we're going to go out, fight and scratch to get a victory this week because that's just the way they're wired and that's just what you do."
(On why Benjamin Watson saw a specialist and McCoy has not)- "You can't say he hasn't seen one. He's been evaluated just like Ben has been evaluated, whether they're specialist or not, they are doctors. He's seen all the proper people. There's no real difference."
(On what he knows about Hillis as a player and how he feels about him as a member of this team)- "I think he's a very explosive runner. He's a guy that unfortunately has had to fight back from injury this year. I thought he played very well last week and he's battled through the weeks previous when he's been back. I've got an appreciation for what he brings to the game, for sure. Like any player, when you see him play well in a game or two you just in some ways wish he had been healthy the whole year. But, there's no regrets, no doubts about how things were handled and you just keep moving forward."
(On what he meant when he said Hillis ‘has played well')- "I think he ran the ball hard and he ran the ball effectively within the scheme that we were trying to execute. I thought our line blocked well and so it was coordinated from that standpoint. He did some things in the passing game that were good and he was engaged. I think he played like an NFL runner does."
(On if Hillis is a good fit for the West Coast offense)- "Good runners are a fit for any offense. I think what you find with him is he can run all the types of runs that you see in the NFL, downhill, off tackle, around the perimeter, he can catch the football, he knows how to block so he's definitely a fit."
(On if he looks at Buster Skrine as more than just a good special teams player)- "Absolutely, I think Buster's got a chance to be a quality player in this league. He has the added dimension of being a returner, which a lot of corners in this league are. We're pleased with his development to this point and we anticipate that as he finishes up these last two games, and gets a real good offseason, he'll be coming in next year raring to go."
(On if Skrine will continue to return kickoffs this week)- "There's a chance he could be in there, absolutely. He had a little spark on the ones he was involved with, for sure."
(On if Armond Smith has progressed where his speed would make him a candidate to be an important player)- "Armond quietly, and again you don't talk about him much because he's on the practice squad, he's quietly caught my eye. We'll see how he does as we move forward, but he's another guy that as we move forward and start to talk about the offseason, that will be very important for him."
(On how important it would be to have Hillis back so they could concentrate on adding at other positions)- "We want outstanding players at all positions. We'll leave the contract stuff for the offseason. At this point, I'm just looking forward to him playing well these next two games and play in a way that I can appreciate his work and I think he's ready to do that."
(On if Cribbs has slowed down because of the wear of the season)- "I don't know. He's a little bit sore, he was last week. I think he's like most players and he returns kicks. He's got a huge role on special teams and he's got a pretty solid role on offense so he's probably like a lot of guys. I'm sure he's fighting each week to get his body right to play."
(On if there is a book on Wallace because his starts have been spread out throughout his career and if he still has some surprises)- "I think I need a little bit more of a sample size working with him, but I've watched his stuff through the years and I've seen him execute efficiently through the years. I thought he did some really good things the other night. I'm looking forward to him improving on his first start here, for sure"
(On if Wallace has upside and might have something that he hasn't shown yet)- "We think he has an upside and that's why he's here. We're glad he'll be in there competing this week."
(On if Chris Gocong is more suited on the strong side)- "I think he's shown he can play the outside linebacker spot on the tight end side and the weak side. He's a good player and he's made that switch pretty well."
(On Usama Young being an injury replacement and his future)- "I don't know in terms of his injury replacement, he plays in there as much as the other guys. We have what I consider to be a three safety rotation in there and all of those guys have dealt with injuries throughout the year and it think they've all handled it real well. I think he's doing some good things at safety, I think he's very effective close to the line of scrimmage, he plays well on the back end so he's doing those things. We just talked about Josh Cribbs, he's like all guys at this time of year, they're fighting through getting their body right to play each Sunday and he's done a good job of that."