Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media on Thursday to talk about a variety of things. Here's what the head coach had to say.
(Opening statement)- "I'm sure it's on the tip of your tongue so Colt (McCoy), Trent (Richardson), Brandon (Weeden) and Sheldon (Brown) are same status as yesterday. It will be easy for you guys to type out."
(On if he is still not ruling out any of those players)- "No, I'm not going to rule anybody out yet. We'll just have to see. Everybody comes back from these things, some quicker than others so we'll just see. But as we get closer, of course, if they can't play I'm not going to try to hold it to game time."
(On Phil Dawson being named to the Pro Bowl)- "I probably should have led off with that. I'm extremely pleased that he's been recognized. I have a huge appreciation for him, of course. In the last two years, he's one of the outstanding kickers and he does it - we would all agree - in a climate at times that's less than ideal for kickers. He's kicked at a high level for a very long time. I'm extremely thrilled that he was recognized by his peers, the coaches and the fans. I think that's good much like Joe Thomas. Again, a very steady player. In order to be an offensive lineman you have to play at a high level and be very steady and Joe has done that. I'm happy for those two guys that they were recognized."
(On having playmakers on defense and if that is becoming more important due to the evolution of offenses in the NFL)- "There's no question, you want explosive plays on both sides of the ball. Typically on defense that means sacks, tackles for losses, interceptions, fumble recoveries for touchdowns. You want explosive plays because there are a lot of close ball games and throughout the season you need to have some difference making plays on defense. You need some scores, so yeah those are very important and they're very demoralizing for an opponent when that happens. Just like anything in football, you want to be very efficient, but you also then want to be explosive. I think the same can be said for offense, defense and special teams."
(On if he thinks the Browns are better at creating explosive plays on defense because of an emphasis on creating turnovers)- "I think the players really grabbed on to what we were talking about - being able to catch the football which, of course, relates to interceptions. Then we've added some defensive linemen. Sometimes it's scheme when you pressure. Getting sacks is important. As much as it's important to get sacks, disrupting the quarterback, his rhythm and timing are also important. From a run-game standpoint, controlling the run, you don't always stop it, but controlling it is a team thing and that also comes down to not allowing them to have big runs. That's kind of how you play it."
(On who is responsible for bringing in Josh Johnson)- "There' a conversation about any move we make and we assessed the need to bring in a quarterback so there was a conversation between all of us."
(On if they considered bring back Seneca Wallace)- "We considered Seneca, yeah."
(On if Wallace did not want to come to the Browns)- "We decided to go with Josh, but we talked."
(On if it would have been easier to have Wallace in)- "I don't know that."
(On if he designs the game plan differently thinking that Montario Hardesty could be the starter)- "The run-game is similar regardless of who it is. Our running game would be designed in a similar way. Hardesty will start the game and then Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya will both play."
(On if he is confident he will get what he wants out of his team this week)- "Absolutely. They know how important it is to go out and prepare to win a football game and they want to do that. We've talked about how we want to end the year with a win. If you're in the playoffs that means you win the Super Bowl. In this situation, we want to do what we can to win a football game so they understand the importance."
(On what he has learned this year about Ishmaa'ily Kitchen as a player and as a person)- "I didn't know much about him when we picked him up, but we got a bunch of screams from Baltimore, ‘Gosh darn it, we hoped that we could have gotten him back.' That was my first little bit on him. Then we watched him play and he's given us some good snaps and we think he's a fine football player that's going to even develop to more of a player than he has been this year."
(On what they knew about Josh Johnson)- "We know a lot about him. I evaluated him coming out of college. I've watched his career. He's a tall quarterback, he's got a big arm and there's something to him. Having now worked with him for a couple of days there's something to him and we felt like he would give us a good chance to go in there and in the event he has to play, we'll pare it down, give him things he knows and let it rip."
(On what he is most proud of over the last two years)- "I don't know. It's hard to say. I think that's a question probably for after the season. My thoughts now are going toward Pittsburgh. I think we've made improvements. Some may say not fast enough, but I think we've made improvements. I think we came into a less than ideal situation when we got here. Every situation is different and I'm proud of that. I'm proud of the work that the guys that I hired did in terms of inspiring the players to improve. It's a little different thought process when you're working with so many young ones. There are certain things you've got to keep hammering home that when you've got a veteran crew, you know you talk about other things. So these guys I think did an outstanding job of that. We have not won enough football games and I know that's the way this things works, but in our situation I see improvement and I'll leave it at that. The rest of it, going in depth to all that, I think that's a discussion for after we play Pittsburgh."
(On how much different it is preparing for the Steelers offense knowing that Ben Roethlisberger is going to play)- "You just know what Ben is as a player and you know that he can extend plays and ruin the game for you by making a big play when you feel like for the first five or six seconds of that snap you've got him defended. I think that's what's always in the back of your head. I think that's what he brings to the game. I'm thinking of the other side of the ball, quite frankly. I would guess that they feel good about their defensive effort last week. What? 15 carries for 16 yards? I might be off a yard or two. Six sacks? That's pretty good. They got (Troy) Polamalu back. He's as disruptive as he's always been and their front seven is outstanding. They're like a lot of teams. They're dealing with some guys in and out of the secondary, but we know they'll be ready to go."
(On if the fact that the Steelers haven't been able to keep their defensive playmakers healthy has hindered them this year)- "Yeah, everybody deals with it. When you talk about consistency and scheme, I would imagine they've been doing the same thing with the same players for so long, they could probably walk off the bus doing what they've got to do. They're outstanding and they're talented. They're a top defense again this year. Everybody talks about what they are or aren't, but as a coach when you sit down and watch the tape, we're well aware of what they are and everybody deals with guys in and out of the lineup. The consistency that they've had in scheme and for the most part in players, especially in the front seven, has really allowed them to have success year in and year out."
(On his emotions going into this last game with the uncertainty that could evolve next week)- "It's no different. Listen, I get this and my concerns are for my team and making sure that we do all the right things during the game to give our guys the best chance to win. That's where I'm at. At some point after that, I'll begin to think about what goes on from there. No, I'm not worried about it."
(On if there will be more of an emphasis on the Wildcat this week)- "More or less? I don't know. It's become a little bit of what we've done. The big thing with Wildcat, of course, is what makes it effective is if you can throw from it."
(On what prompted him to put the Wildcat into the offense so late in the season)- "We just thought it might be fun. We've gotten some gains out of it. I wouldn't say we've changed the outcome of the game because we've run it. It seems like everybody here likes seeing it. I did it just for you (joking)."
(On if Joshua Cribbs has had people lobbying for him to call a pass play out of the Wildcat)- "No, there's not intermediaries between Josh and myself. We talk right to each other."
(On if Cribbs has asked him to call a pass play)- "No."
(On how much concern there was when Jason Pinkston went down and John Greco had to go in)- "There's two player here I probably know the most about out of everybody here in the building. It's Greco and then Thad Lewis because those were two guys that were in St. Louis. I was confident that John could go in and do a good job. I think he's gone in and played pretty well. I wasn't concerned there. Of course, with Thad, we were in St. Louis and Thad was from Duke and he was just looking for a place to go. We brought him in and evaluated him and he had a little something to him so we kept him around. Then it's a little bit like Kitchen's situation, St. Louis had to release him to finish up their final roster to start the year and we snagged him. I'm glad we did. Same thing, the first call we got was from them, ‘Why did you do that to us? We wanted to get him back?' He's got a live arm, he's very athletic and he'll execute our offense the right way. If he becomes a starter here he'll have an opportunity and he'll do a good job."
(On what Greco brings to the table as a run blocker and a pass protector)- "He's a big man, he's a good athlete. If you set your hands right and you set right, a big man, you've got to run around them and I think that's good. I think run blocking a lot of the time is working together and he works well with Alex (Mack) and Joe (Thomas) over there. I think he's made the most of his opportunities to be a starter. He's been primarily a backup in this league and he's had a chance now to play the whole year and I think he's shown up well for himself."
(On if he got an explanation from Colt McCoy about throwing the ball into the ground during the Broncos game)- "No, I didn't. A lot of other topics to discuss as we move forward. I didn't quite understand the question so I'm not sure I'm going to understand the answer."
(On which quarterback is more severely injured)- "They're both not practicing and they both have the same injury. It's between the Chiclets and the pencils, what was that the movie? "The Jerk"?"
(On if he has any understanding of what will happen on Monday after the Steelers game)- "I know what I want to do with the players on Monday from a scheduling standpoint, but nothing has been set as far as any official communication or whatnot. Again, my thoughts right now are playing this football game. Getting our team to Pittsburgh, playing the game and then getting our team back. Those are the thoughts that I have right now."
(On D'Qwell Jackson winning the local ‘Good Guy' award and what he means as a leader and a captain)- "That's an appropriate award for him because he is a good guy. He's one of those guys that as a coach, you trust him walking around the locker room because, number one, he's going to say it his way, but he's going to sell our message. He's taken charge of that locker room much like Phil Dawson and Joe Thomas. We can tell the players what the message it, but those are the guys that help sell it when we're doing our other things. I have a huge appreciation for what he is as a player and as a man. You chose wisely, I would say."
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