Berea (WOIO) - Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media before the team had the week off because of the bye. Here's what the head coach had to say.
(Opening Statement) – "I think we've had two outstanding days of work. We got the guys out on the field. They were noticeably sore. Typically, this is not a day when you're on the field, but they pushed through it. We got a lot done. We did a lot of individual. We worked on basic plays. We did some one-on-one stuff, and it was a good day. The meetings were outstanding. We also took care of some league business. They've got the NFL life skills seminar going on now. I kind of used this day also to take care of some league business, a couple videos we had to watch. It has been good. Each guy will have a plan as we move forward here through the end of the week. I think what's important is that they realize, is this is not time off. If they choose to leave town, it's just time away. It's important to spend time thinking about what went well and what didn't go well in the first half of the season. Get re-focused and revitalized and get ready to play a lot of football. This is a lot later bye than what I'm used to, but we're going to take advantage of the time. Each player and coach has things that we need to get better at. I think that's what this is for."
(On where he hopes Brandon Weeden is mentally and if he understands that he needs to play better) – "I think so. I think we can all do things better. If we're sitting here at 9-0, then maybe the approach is a little bit different. I think there are a lot of things all the players can do. I think he has done some good things in the first nine games to basically play every snap. He has had a lot of opportunities to do some good things. Then there are some things, some throws and some decisions and some things that he'll learn from. I think that's just natural. That really is the routine that all players go through. It's amplified when you're a rookie quarterback in this league. It really is. There are a lot of teams right now playing with rookie quarterbacks. You can look as individuals and as teams there have been some ups and downs. I think we get a chance to re-focus, re-center and go back and look at the things that he does well, (which are) the plays and the progressions that he has executed at a high percentage. Try to focus on that."
(On if he thinks Weeden is aggressive enough) – "I think so. I think there's a fine line between being aggressive and of course, being very careful with the football. You can't take a guy that's not aggressive and make him aggressive. You can take a guy that's aggressive with the football that has trust in his skill and ability, and make him understand, ‘Hey, there are times when you can't save every play.' I think that's okay."
(On why Phil Dawson and Phil Taylor weren't at practice) – "I excused them. All is good with them. The Phil's are fine."
(On what he thinks he needs to do better) – "I think when I look at it I'm going to look at everything from game management to how we communicate. I'm going to look at everything. I constantly do it. It's interesting; you talk about half time adjustments. Adjustments happen throughout the game, not just at half time. I think that's the case when you're a coach. Adjustments happen throughout the season, just not the bye week. We just keep going through the process, try to streamline it (and) make sure we're getting the most out of all of our players. (We will) Try to make sure we're getting the most out of all of our coaches. We need to continue to inspire these guys to achieve. I'll just look at all those types of things. I think it's easy to be critical of why'd you run it, why'd you throw it, all that. Those are things that are always open for discussion and we've done a good job of going through most of them. Have we missed anything? If we did, let's get it cleaned up. (jokingly). Beyond that, I think what's important is, I've got to find a way to get a little bit better in all areas, so that those games like we played Sunday become victories. Again, I made the comparison to our Baltimore game here last year. It was a huge difference, although the score wasn't much different. There was a huge difference in the team that we put out there in my opinion this year than last year. We've got to find a way now to take that and get victories. That's what we've got to do."
(On what he sees in his team that makes him feel good about the final seven games) – "The reason I feel good about it is I've watched the way they've approached each week. It's easy to let that happen way before half of the year has gone by. I haven't seen our guys do that, I really haven't. I see a bunch of guys in that locker room that love to play the game. They are very prideful. They've got a name on the front and back of their jersey, and they're prideful about everything that they do. I anticipate that, because that's the foundation of where these guys are at. That we'll continue to get better. That's why I'm very confident it will happen."
(On how much of the game is psychological vs. physical in not executing properly with the game on the line) – "We've got to break over that threshold. Regardless of what got said or what happened, we got to a point where we were winning. Correct me if I'm wrong, 15-14 with a little less than nine minutes to go. We as a team, everybody included, need to find a way to finish with a victory. I think once you do it once, okay I've been here before. Then it repeats itself."
(On if he goes through a ‘gauntlet' with Jimmy Haslam after games like with the media) – "I communicate with Jimmy Haslam. I communicate with Joe Banner pretty regularly. We don't talk about the things that we necessarily talk about in here. We discuss sometimes regular, sometime irregular basis."
(On if it's changed with Haslam and Banner being here with what he's used to with Mike Holmgren) – "In terms of how we communicate, I don't sense a change yet."
(On if they have a Sunday night or Monday morning meeting to discuss the game) – "We communicate immediately after the game typically, either on the phone. Normally, there's some communication on Monday. I think that's natural. I wasn't involved in that communication in Philadelphia, but I'm sure Andy Reid has the same and then I know Steve Spagnuolo. That's just normal and natural."
(On if Haslam asks him specific questions about calls) – "He's fairly confident you guys will cover that I'm sure (jokingly). Again, our conversations of course are private, but I would say we talk about broader issues."
(On how Weeden handles coaching criticism) – "I think he handles it fine, in my opinion, in a way that promotes learning. He's very quick to say he made a mistake. That's where it's tough, when you have to convince a guy ‘Hey listen, this was wrong.' The sky is blue and we all know that. That's when it's hard for a player to get better, if he won't admit that he screwed the thing up. Just like I'll admit when I screwed it up. I think that's important. Then you have a chance to get better. I see that about his personality, that's good. Quite frequently, when you coach a quarterback, you say, ‘Now, what were you thinking here?' Then that's kind of where it starts. Would you agree we should have done this? It's not a whole lot of yelling and throwing chairs. I think that's what you kind of go through."
(On if Weeden handles constructive criticism properly) – "Yes, my relationship with him absolutely."
(On if he notices that Weeden is unhappy with himself right now) – "No. I think we all wish we would have won that football game, and are disappointed we didn't. I'm sure we all show it different ways, but that's okay. It's okay to be disappointed. I think where the mental toughness comes in is you learn the best you can from it and you move forward. I hope I answered your question. The fact that he's ‘testy' and all that, I don't know. Again, those are your (Mary Kay Cabot) words, and they're good words, but I think he just wishes maybe we could have won the football game. We all could have done better."
(On how much of his thinking is big picture and if he believes in Weeden) – "Good question. I do believe in him, and he is our guy. I know it's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be pretty all the time. But we've got to do what we've got to do to win games, play better."
(On if he's worried about Weeden's confidence) – "No."
(On if it's difficult to coach check downs vs. forcing the ball) – "That's why each pass has a progression. You're throwing it in a certain place or trying to throw it to a certain person. If they're open, throw it to them, if not you move on. Situations dictate in terms of what you do with the football. You may call the same play in two different situations. One where it needs to be in the end zone, other one where let's just make sure we advance the ball, and the same play may get executed differently. A quarterback has to have a big view of things, but he also has to be honed in on the details. We're trying to throw the ball down the field, something simple. He just gets a little bit harassed. The running back's open so you give it to him. Now, we may have not gotten a 20-yard chunk, but that six or eight yards as opposed to taking a sack can be a good thing. I think that's where it's not always black and white, although the results tend to be. I think that's where when you coach a guy, you just try to do the very best you can on each play. Each situation sometimes dictates. I made the point two weeks ago, in four minute, instead of trying to fit one in or throwing the ball away, taking a sack is the right thing. In most other situations, that's not the case. Having to go through all that, you learn."
(On if he and Weeden see eye to eye on things when watching film) – "He's a little taller than me (joking), typically yeah. He doesn't deflect if that's what you're getting at."
(On Trent Richardson saying we will see a different Richardson when he gets to 100% and if he sees what he is talking about) – "That's awesome. I see a young man that's a rookie fighting through an NFL season and sometimes that deals with playing with injuries, soreness what have you. I see a guy that realizes that he physically can get a little better and he knows that will help his performance so that's good. I hope he gets better."
(On how long it took Richardson to get timing with the offensive line after not having a preseason) – "I think he missed some critical time in the preseason, I do. It's really more important for our young guys than it is for our veteran players. Ben Watson missed time and then he was back in there and has done some good stuff. I think his timing will only get better and better as he plays more."
(On how long it took for Richardson to get that timing down) – "I don't know if you can put a time span on it. Each field opportunity he has an opportunity to get better and I see him taking advantage of it."
(On Greg Little playing well lately and if Josh Gordon's emergence has helped Little) – "Greg kind of refocused on some things and I'm glad he's having some success. Really he doesn't always catch the most balls, but he's a tough sucker. He's out there blocking. You feel his presence out there. He's gotten away from doing some of the things that I don't care for so he's listening. He wants to be a good player, he wants to be a good pro and I've said this, as long as they're our players we'll work with them. He's making good progress. Now, Josh Gordon being here, anytime you have players that are competing to get better within your group I think it helps."
(On Little saying he wasn't looking the ball in and the importance of catching the ball before you think about doing something else) – "We talk frequently about first things first. You catch the ball. The transition wants to be smooth so you get yards after the catch and what not, but I think the focus always is first things first. That's good that he was able to verbalize it to you that way."
(On Joshua Cribbs saying continuity in an organization is important) – "I think it's safe to say as long as you feel like you've got all the right people in place continuity is the best because we all get a chance to know each other better, work together longer and I think that points to efficiency. Josh is probably a good one to talk to because there's been a lot of change in Josh's tenure. He of all people relative to the Cleveland Browns, it's safe to say he should have an opinion because he's been here for a lot of change and the fact that he recognizes that continuity is good I think is a worthy comment."
(On what the next step is in Josh Gordon's development) – "I think it is overall consistency, all the little things that maybe are not obvious to somebody watching the game. When it's free access, the depth of routes, getting in and out of your breaks, develop more of a route tree. There are a handful of things that we know he does well, let's make it two handfuls. Just the development of the position within our offense and then really focus on every opportunity you have to catch a football, make it work."
(On if Jabaal Sheard seeing different things from offensive lines this year) – "I think he's a little bit of a target in terms of he's an outstanding pass rusher. Teams can do things where they tip the protection his way. As we get better at rushing the passer in all four spots there up front, I think you'll see his production start to go up again. Again, the raw numbers, and we talk about the raw numbers, I still feel like he's battling and he's contributing in a pretty significant way."
(On if Sheard has been better against the run this year) – "I think so, I do. At this point I think he's played the run better than he did definitely last year."
(On if having Phil Taylor back can adjust the way the defensive line is lined up to help Sheard pass rush) – "I didn't notice it last week. They kind of played it pretty straight based on the way they tried to block us. Phil was part of the rotation. He played half the snaps. As time goes on we'll see."
(On what he will be doing during the bye week) – "I'll be here. I'll be here or home. I like both spots and really, I don't have any plans. I might change the routine a bit, but I'll be around."
(On if he will be getting up at 7:00 a.m. instead of 6:00) – "Instead of 5:00 or 4:30? Yeah. I'm an early riser. I probably will always be an early riser, but the routine changes once you wake up. I think to change the routine once in a while is a good thing, but you still get your work done."
(On if this was one of Frostee Rucker's better games) – "I thought he played well against the Ravens. He didn't have his best game the week before, but I thought he battled. I felt him out there."
(On if Haslam has outlined to him where he wants to see progress) – "We talk in general teams, big picture, but in terms of an outline or ‘This is where I'm looking,' and ‘This is how to quantify it,' I would say no. What I sense in my conversations with Jimmy is his passion for making this thing right and we all know that that means."
(On if he thinks Haslam sees the big picture of what's going on here beyond the record) – "That's a question for him. I definitely wouldn't want to answer that for him. You'd have to ask him. I think each situation is different. We're all trying to get the black and white, the hard numbers right, but I think each situation is different. Regardless of when you come to an organization some organizations have further to go to build a consistent winner. Sometimes there are not comparisons and I think that's what we all want to do. You want to build a team that's a consistent winner and sometimes building is painful. Trust me on that. It just is. Now, how everybody looks at it and how we paint that into the picture of the hard numbers, that's for somebody else to decide. I've just got to keep driving the team and fighting to get victories and that's my little world."