Browns head coach Pat Shurmur says he's optimistic about having his top draft choice, running back Trent Richardson, for the first game of the season on September 9th against Philadelphia.
Here is the complete transcript from his Sunday press conference:
(Opening statement)- "When you look out there today you are going to see a lot fewer players. You've been given the list of guys that we have released. I've said it numerous times that this is a tough time of year for a coach because you develop a relationship with the players, they compete extremely hard for you and you've got to make tough decisions and let guys go so there is a list of guys. If you have specific questions I'll answer them. Going back on our last game against Philly, I wouldn't say one thing different then I told you after the game. When you play a good team, you've got to play your best and any team you play, if you give it to them with turnovers and kicking game issues and I don't think we played with the same emotion that we played with when we played Green Bay. When you do those things then you get the results that we got so that was the message to the players, we've cleaned up the tape. For your knowledge, this is a Wednesday schedule for us so that the new players can get a feel for the rhythm of a Wednesday. Within this day we're working, obviously, on the corrections from the past game and then we'll be really competing against each other. It's a Browns versus Browns day with the idea that we're doing what we can to get better so that's where we're at. I have nothing really to add about that game except for the comments that I've made."
(On if Trent Richardson will practice this week)- "He is making great progress. He'll be out there soon."
(On how soon Richardson will be back)- "We'll see how soon. He's doing great so he'll be out there soon."
(On how optimistic he is that Richardson will play Week One)- "That's a fair question, I'm very optimistic."
(On Carlton Mitchell being waived and if he just ran out of time)- "No, again he was one of the guys that we were hopeful that he could show us everything that he could do. Unfortunately in the last couple of years he's dealt with injuries. When you talk about why guys make it or don't make it and how it relates to injuries or not being able to practice, if you're a guy that's proven that you can play in this league and you're injured, well that's in your favor, you've proven it. For guys that haven't proven that they can play in this league and struggle to stay on the field and practice, that's not in your favor so quite frankly that may be the case. I have a lot of respect for Carlton. He's flashed and done some things here, but again we've got to make hard decisions and unfortunately he's not with us anymore."
(On how many wide receivers he would like to keep)- "That's another good question. Depending on how it all fits and their roles on special teams, you can keep five, six or seven receivers."
(On if there is anything to cutting four receivers today)- "I think when you look at it we have to also consider that we have one more game to play here and we have some guys nicked up at other positions where we have to keep certain other guys. You can decide who those are based on who you don't see out there Nate (Ulrich)."
(On the roster having to be down to 75 players by tomorrow)- "Yeah, we'll get that done soon."
(On if he has already decided who the rest of the cuts will be or if practice today will decide that)- "They might be out there and they might not."
(On Marcus Benard's injury)- "He dislocated his elbow and they fixed it. We'll just see how quickly he'll progress."
(On if the offensive line breakdowns were because of a lack of specific game-planning for the Eagles)- "I think there are a couple of things to keep in mind there. I think it's very easy to look just at sacks or whatever. There were some things in there I thought we did very well, there were some plays in there that were bad. Remember, all sacks aren't the offensive line. We took a sack-fumble on a screen play so that goes to the timing of the whole offense. Then we had a third and long situation where there are back and tight ends also involved in the protection so let's keep that in mind as well. I'm very confident our offensive line will be one of the strengths of our team, very confident."
(On what Brandon Weeden can do to avoid strip-sacks)- "Hang on to the ball. I think ball security is primary for anybody who touches the ball, especially the quarterback who touches it every play. He knows that we drill that. A great deal of fumbles in this league involve the quarterback in the pocket and he knows that, we drill that and its very important for him to maneuver in the pocket where he doesn't fumble and if he's getting tackled or sacked he needs to wrap the ball up. He knows that."
(On how you can simulate ball security for a quarterback in practice)- "We drill it. You've seen Whip (Mark Whipple) do the drills where we do ball security drills, we talk about it in practice. It very difficult and that's why the preseason games are so important for those types of coaching point as well as tackling, cut-blocking and all that stuff. You just can't do it in practice. You impress it upon them, you emphasize it, you drill it, you demand it and that's how you get it."
(On if ball security is an adjustment for Brandon Weeden)- "I think that's something that they all know. There are always things that you know that you need to practice and it needs to be emphasized and reinforced. If you go in there and ask him, and I'm sure you will, he'll say, ‘Yeah, I've got to secure the ball.' I know that."
(On what kind of progress Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston have made since last year)- "I think they've made great progress. I think they do a better job, both of them, of blocking their guy individually and then as they play together with the center and the tackles I think as a unit, if we can keep that group together, the longer we do that then they'll play better as a unit as well. I think that synergy there is so important and I think we've got that unit right now and they've played a lot of snaps together. The one thing I'll say and I'm sure you're going to ask me about what we're going to do and how we're going to play the guys (next game), but if you look at the last two preseason games and just count reps for the ones. If you look at the last two preseason games, we've had over 90 snaps for the ones in two halves of football which is, under the covers, that's awesome. It's very rare you get 46 and 49 play first halves so that's helped me as far as seeing our guys execute."
(On what he has seen from the starters this preseason that indicates that scoring touchdowns will not be an issue this year)- "I think that we've added some weapons to our offense in my opinion. We also drove the ball down the field last week. We had a 13-play drive where the thing to work on there is to obviously punch it in from the two - don't get a holding call and then don't fumble the screen pass. I'm very confident that we're going to be better in terms of scoring points. I just am, I believe it."
(On what Colt McCoy has done better this preseason compared to last year)- "I think he's done an outstanding job here in training camp. I'm very pleased with where he's at and I've gained an ever greater appreciation for him and the ways he competed. The way he's handled the situation, let's just call it that, and I'm very impressed with how he's doing and I think that's good for our team. He understands one of the primary things you need to understand as a backup at this point - be ready to play because you're an ankle injury from being in there. He's been on both sides of that coin so he understands that. He's had a full year now, a season and a full offseason to get to know our system better and I think its showing up that way so I've got a great deal of respect for what he's done."
(On the impact that Trent Richardson will have when he is up and running)- "There's synergy with the passing game. Being able to run the football is extremely important and I've always believed in it. You as writers will decide if we are a run-first, pass-first team, but if you have a runner back there that folks need to defend then of course it helps. It helps in a lot of ways."
(On if they could keep all four quarterbacks)- "I think you'll see what I'm going to do with the quarterbacks at final cuts, I'm going to say that right now. Does that mean you can say, ‘Well does that mean how things turn out in this four preseason game matter?' Yeah, everything matters. ‘Have you made up your mind and you're just not telling me?' Maybe, right? Maybe, but I've got a few days until the final cuts and then we will reveal it."
(On if Brandon Jackson might move ahead of Montario Hardesty on the depth chart because Hardesty hasn't been playing so hot)- "They are always competing and we had a big meeting last night lining them up. I think both guys have impressed me in a lot of ways this training camp. I'm not going to concur with the not-so-hot. I will say this, running backs that fumble, if you do it on a consistent basis, it's tough to put you in the game. I'll just say that. That's fair. That's one of those football things. That's just the way it is."
(On if there was anything specific that caused the fumble on the screen play and if there was any way for Brandon Weeden not to fumble)- "Your question talks about that whole play, there's a lot going on there. How long you punch the guy before you release at the left guard position, the play fake, the coordination of everything. Part of preseason is doing things that may be "b" or "c" type plays so there was a lot going on there. That to me was a team fumble that the quarterback fumbled which he can't do. There are things all across the board, including design, that we've got to look at."
(On if the light has gone on for Josh Gordon)- "I don't know about the light coming on, I think the lights always been on for him. He's just on that steady climb I'm talking about and he's got two more weeks to climb in my mind."
(On if he has to see his rookies get more game action)- "I think each team, and you're seeing different coaches coach approach these preseason games and when you play them, you're seeing guys do different things that are not as traditional as what you like to call, ‘The third game preseason dress rehearsal,' You know all that stuff, don't play them in the fourth. I think each team needs to decide how they're going to do it. I think it's important that the young guys play and play as much as they can, but I also believe that I've got to do my very best to make sure that our best players make it to Week One so that's that constant struggle that you have. Maximize the amount of work, but also try to have them ready to go."
(On if the one's will play Thursday and how much)- "There's a chance that they could play, there's a chance. When I send the ones out there, there is a very good chance you won't see some guys."
(On if veterans like Scott Fujita and Benjamin Watson would be exempt from playing in the fourth preseason game)- "I'll go back to what I said philosophically injury wise, guys that have proven they can play in this league, that's in their favor. If they're injured and they've displayed the ability to be there Week One. In the case of younger players that haven't proven that they can play in this league and be consistent and play at a high level, those guys being injured it goes against them. That's just the reality of it so you mentioned two guys that are very veteran, that have played a lot of snaps so we'll just have to see, but I think my comments will point that way."
(On what he has seen so far from Greg Little playing in the slot and if it is an adjustment for him)- "I like that lineup on the field regardless of who you play at flanker, having Josh (Gordon) and then of course Greg in there. He did play a lot in the slot last year because he's a big physical guy, like all receivers he's constantly working to get open against bump-and-run and they can do more things to you inside - cover you with the possibility of two maybe three types of coverages. It takes everybody a while to get a feel for it. I think he'll tell you there were some plays the other night which he could have done better, but I'm not dissatisfied with what he's doing in there."
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