OBR Blog: Week 11

It truly is amazing the different ways the Cleveland Browns finds ways to lose.

6:58 PM

Browns Defense Holds: Jaguars offense can’t find end zone on game’s final drive as Browns escape with four-point… http://t.co/2ed34oHM

4:51 PM

Browns Edge Jaguars 14-10: The Browns defense bent, but didn’t break as penalties help Jacksonville drive inside… http://t.co/0MgJ9S31

12:55 PM

We are sorry to announce that @BarryMcBride is live snark-tweeting the game again today. Follow on Twitter or in our chat room. No suing.

11:35 AM

RT @FredGreethamOBR Browns inactives: Hardesty Hillis Ward Vallos, Cousins Cameron and Lewis.

8:41 AM

Browns-Jaguars Preview: Why watch or attend Sunday's game between these two 3-6 teams? We got a few reasons. http://t.co/WZJ3aBwp

10:04 AM

(Subscriber) Ben Watson Q & A: Browns tight end Ben Watson spoke with the OBR's Dave Kolonich regarding the curr… http://t.co/OnOtMjV3

Jauron Press Conference Transcript, Nov. 17
Don Delco on November 18th, 2011 AT 9:33 AM

(On Phil Taylor having a nice game against the Rams)- "At least in my opinion he had maybe his best game last week. He had worked hard leading up to it. The preparation was part of it. I do believe like we've said all along, that every week he learns a little more. Obviously, he's playing against different people and different schemes to some degree. There's a lot to learn in there and a lot to feel. They can come at him in a lot of ways. He did a very nice job a week ago. He made some big plays for us in that game and was a force inside at some critical times."

(On keeping the rookies motivated and prepared every week and if they hit a wall)- "I don't know that they hit a wall. I do know that it's just a longer season than they've ever experienced. They're body clock at some time might be telling this that football season is over, but it's halfway over in this league. I believe you just keep talking about it and reminding them. I don't think it's a big deal. I really don't because it's pretty clear we're still going and we're right in the middle of it. We're practicing and we're meeting the way, nothing changes. I've never felt that it was necessary to address it often, maybe only to encourage them to do the small things that they may not be used to doing. If they don't do those things they will be affected, what they eat, when they eat, how they eat. One of the great things today in our business is that we feed them and we feed them well. They eat at least two really good meals a day. They're not on their own to feed themselves, but they are sometimes for dinner. You've got to remind them sometimes of those kinds of things. For the rookies, it's the first time their totally on their own in that regard. There's no training table at night for them. We take pretty good care of them here. Physically, it can be a grind for everybody. For them, honestly I think it's less so at least that's how I vaguely remember it. When you're young you feel like you could play twice a week. After a while you know you cannot, but for those guys I don't think that's the issue. I think it's mostly mental and just to keep reminding them, take care of the details, the small things."

(On if you can have a problem when one unit is playing better than the other)- "I don't think I've ever played in one, where we had any issues. I can't recall, or coached in one where we had issues of that nature."

(On what Maurice Jones-Drew brings to the table for the Jaguars offense)- "He is a very rare combination. He's got a body type that you don't see a lot in this league. He's definitely not small, that is not a small person. He's short, very compact and very powerful. There's not a lot of surface to strike. When you're trying to tackle him, he doesn't give you a lot of surface to hit. He has great pad level. He runs with a low profile, great balance and great power. Whenever you watch tape of him you see him run over linebackers, see him run over defensive linemen and come out the other side running. It's a tremendous challenge. They do a real nice job scheming for him in the run game. He's not just a runner, he's a very big part of their passing game and he's a terrific protector. This is an all around football player. This is a real pro this guy. He's got the numbers to prove that he really plays well. We'll have a tough time. We have our work cut out for us with this one."

(On if he's seen a change in Mercedes Lewis from last year to this year)- "No, we played him last year when I was in Philadelphia. He's a very talented tight end. He does a nice job in their run game. He's developed into a good blocker, very dangerous receiver. He's so big and fast. He can move down the field so you can match him size wise maybe with a linebacker, but it's hard to match that speed with a linebacker. With a safety on him, he's got a size advantage. He really does give them a really good weapon that they've used well in the past."

(On if there's a key to stopping Lewis when he draws a mismatch)- "It's just hard. Obviously the shorter the throw, the harder it is to stop because those throws inside, body position is almost like basketball boxing out of the body behind him, it's just hard to stop him. Down the field he's got a reach advantage. In the red zone you can have a leaping advantage, but really out in the field very seldom do you get a leaping advantage, but you get a reach advantage. In the red zone you can throw the ball up to make it a jump ball and he's got an advantage there. He's a very talented player."

(On if it was a surprised to see Phil Taylor making an Ahtyba Rubin-like tackle down the field last week and if that was a play he wouldn't have made earlier in the season)- "I don't know if I would say that. I do think that any young player playing around a player like Rubin, watching Rub play, has to affect him. It has to rub off on him. That's how the game should be played. If you find yourself not doing that all the time, there's a strong reminder right there. I really believe it does affect how people act, it does affect other people."

(On how Usama Young played last week filling in for T.J. Ward)- "He really had a good game. I think it was his best game for us. It was a strong game against a big back, he made some really good tackles. That was a very difficult back to get to the ground. He had a size mismatch on most players on the field, the running back did. Usama came to the ball hard. He hit his fits and he attacked the football. I thought he really played a good game for us."

(On what Taylor can still develop in his game going forward)- "I believe like most young players that are learning the game at the NFL level, he still is feeling certain things. You need to get him to the part where he's just coming off the ball hard every snap, not feeling it, not waiting to see what happens. He will have a sense of what's going to happen around him and just exploding on every snap. He'll get there."

(On if that's comes with experience and games played)- "Yeah, just needs time."

(On if Joe Haden was off last week especially in the first half)- "I do believe that early in the game Joe wasn't challenging like he normally does. As soon as Jerome (Henderson) and he talked about it on the sidelines, he crawled back up on him and kind of ended that I thought. Joe is a really good player a very, very good player. I do believe he's just going to get better too. In the course of the entire game Joe did a nice job, but early they had a couple of catches on him."

(On if it was a case of Haden reacting instead of being physical)- "Joe can force the issue. He's good enough to force the issue all the time. We'd like him to do it and he likes to do it. We've just got to keep reminding him at times, not very often, but occasionally."

(On what he saw from Emmanuel Stephens)- "Emmanuel had a really good game. I believe he had four tackles and a couple of assists. He plays really hard. I really like this young man a lot. He kind of fits in with Rub for sure, they don't say a whole lot, but they both play awfully hard. That's a refreshing thing. It's a really nice thing to see. They just play. I believe that Pee-Wee (Dwaine Board) would tell you he's a very coachable guy, wants to do it right. I'm really happy with how he performed a week ago."

(On Blaine Gabbert)- "He's a very talented young man. He's got a strong arm and he's mobile. He can hurt you with his legs, come out of the pocket and hurt you. We've got to do our best to keep him in there. He's learning how to play, the same as all young players. He can get the ball there in a hurry and he can throw it a long way. They obviously have some targets that he can get it to. That mobility always concerns you. It limits some of the things you feel you can do or try to do against him. They've got a good one."

(On if Cleveland is one of the most passionate cities he's coached in)- "They're all good in this league and their all passionate, but it is different. Maybe because it's just the so called older places or the older franchises, I grew up as a kid watching them. They seem to have a special connection and of course the city lost that connection briefly, but probably never lost the passion for this team. I think and again because of my age it is special. It's one of those special ones, the older established ones. They're definitely passionate and it's fun."

(On if he has talked to Shurmur about the criticism he has received recently)- "No, he doesn't seem to be having any problems with it. He certainly hasn't asked for my opinion."

(On if being a former head coach, he knows what it's like)- "There's lots of ways to answer that aren't there (joking). It's a great game. There's lots of things that surround it and most of those are great too. Some of them are not so great and winning solves all the problems. We've just got to win."

Browns Player Quotes, Nov. 17
Don Delco on November 18th, 2011 AT 9:33 AM

Joe Haden

(On how hard it is to tackle Maurice Jones-Drew)- "He's really hard, he stays low, his pad level is always low. He runs really hard and he's a just a very complete back. He catches out of the backfield so we always have to know where he is."

(On what was the difference in his approach to shutting down Brandon Lloyd in the second half)- "At the beginning of the game sometimes you try to feel out receivers, just give them a little bit of space, let them know what's going on, see their speed and how they're coming out of routes because it's different from on film. I came back to the sideline and coach was like, "Joe you can handle him, just go up and play press," and I was like alright and then for the rest of the game I just pressed him."

(On if he gave Lloyd a little room to start with)- "We gave him a little room to start with just to feel him out because you play different ways against different receivers and with him he's a really, really good route runner so you always need to know where he is at all times. He comes out of his breaks really good so it just makes you change up your style and once I got that changed up to what I know what I needed to do against him then it was good."

D'Qwell Jackson

(On how difficult it is going from facing Steven Jackson to Maurice Jones-Drew)- "Each week we know we have to face a talented runner. Steven Jackson was a load last week. We had our hands full with him and this week Maurice Jones-Drew. He's having a tremendous year. He's a smaller back, but you can't look at his size and overlook him. He's great out of the back field. They use him a lot on third down. He can stand in with the big guys. It's a good test for us again and our mindset on the defensive side of the ball is to hold him under 100 yards rushing."

(On Blaine Gabbert)- "He's a young guy so they're not asking him to do a ton, to put the ball in his hands a whole lot. He has a good squad around him with the running game obviously. They run the ball with great success and when he's asked to make the throws, he can make them."

Shurmur Press Conference Transcript, Nov. 18
Don Delco on November 18th, 2011 AT 9:31 AM

(Opening statement)- "There's nothing really to add from yesterday as I talked about. Montario (Hardesty), I think you were out there and you had a chance to see him run around and that was about the extent of his day. He'll do the same thing today and we'll just see how he feels and then we'll make a determination on his availability as we get near the end of the week. Peyton Hillis, as I mentioned, is out and then T.J. Ward is no change from my comments yesterday. The rest of the guys all practiced and I felt like Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) did a nice job in practice. We weren't in pads yesterday and he probably won't do much banging, but he felt good, ran around and looked good. Everybody else was involved in practice to some degree."

(On if Hardesty has a chance to play Sunday)- "I think he does. Again, we'll know more based on how he progresses today and tomorrow so we'll see. I know he's anxious to get back out there and I think he's looking forward to being healthy again. It's just a matter of when he can do it physically."

(On taking a cautious approach with bringing Hardesty back)- "I think it's important that we make sure he's right before we put him out there. I think that's the case with any injury and a running back dealing with a calf strain, I think that's probably the same."

(On if Hardesty would be full go if he could play)- "I don't think he'll have the number of carries he had in some of the games, but if he's ready to go we'll use him. We'll try to get him back in the flow."

(On Dimitri Patterson coming back from injury)- "He looked good yesterday running around. He actually made a lot of plays. He finds a way to get his hands on the ball and it was good to see him out there. I think he felt good after practice, your first day back you are curious as to if there's soreness that develops. I think he felt good so we'll get him one day closer."

(On if Jayme Mitchell being active, but not playing last Sunday)- "Emmanuel (Stephens) came in and did a nice job. We had him and Auston (English) basically in backups roles in case we needed them. Jayme will be up and ready to go."

(On Phil Taylor maybe leveling off before last week and then having a nice game)- "Phil is one of those young players learning how to be a pro and I think as we approached the middle of the season here, he just needs to be reminded of certain things that coach (Dick) Jauron and I are use to saying. I thought he played hard and he had some production in there that we expect from him every week.”

(On rookies being up and down and how he can coach them to be more consistent)- "I think you see it more with rookies as they learn how to do this thing and play this level of ball. I think they eventually grow out of it. They're very talented guys that can be very explosive, they just need to be reminded and encouraged, however we say it, the messages have to get through and you've just got to keep repeating it. He's a fun guy to be around and work with because he responds and I think that's a good quality to have is when we remind him of things that he responds."

(On if there's a point during the season where a rookie hits the wall and what he can do to help them break through it)- "That's kind of a common phrase, the ‘rookie wall.' I'm obviously keeping a close eye on it because we have some many rookies in there competing and playing a lot of snaps. This is about the time of year and I guess you just have to think about their body clock, this being their first season. Most colleges are finishing up their season here in the next couple of weeks, some teams are playing their final game Thanksgiving weekend, which will be next weekend. For those teams and I think almost half the teams now in college football play in bowl games, then they have their finals exams and then they get a little bit of a break, they probably just lift and run, go to school and then when final exams are over then they'll have maybe a two week or 10-day period where they practice again and then play a bowl game. That's not their schedule now for the next six to eight weeks so I think that's where they need to be reminded and what's important is that they take care of their bodies, they make sure they get their sleep, they make sure they're taking care of their weight training keeping their strength up, eating right, living right and all those things and I think those are the reminders that'll help get them through it."

(On there not being a gigantic drop off with Usama Young filling in for T.J. Ward last week)- "I don't know about drop offs. I would say that those three safeties, Pops (Mike Adams), Usama and T.J., those guys have all gotten, in my opinion, reps like starters. Usama was in there and he did a nice job and he played a good game. When you have three safeties in there that can do that and Ray (Ventrone) does a good job when he gets his opportunities. We're fortunate we had some guys that have been able to step in and play."

(On Young and Ward having similar strengths against the run)- "They're very similar in a lot of ways. They are sturdy guys for safeties and I think they're both very comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage. We do play a lot where the safeties have to play the half or the quarters so they do that as well."

(On how far Hillis is away from practicing)- "It's hard to say right now. Maybe as soon as next week, I can't tell you that exactly, but it may be a couple more. We'll just have to see how this thing progresses, but I know he's working extremely hard to get back. I know he's really attacking the rehab and keeping his strength up. He's doing what he can do behind the scenes to get ready."

(On if Hillis' hamstring is a pretty nasty injury)- "Again, they're all different and they respond and they come back from them all in different ways. I was never fast enough to pull a hamstring so I don't know how it feels. You've got to be able to run fast to do that so I'm just going on what people say."

(On if they're spending any more time on the red zone compared to past weeks)- "I think the red zone issues were, at least recently, last week. I think a couple weeks we didn't get down there and then a couple weeks prior to that we've been very good. I'm just getting through everything. We spend a lot of time on the red zone, probably as much or more than most teams and we've just got to make sure when we get down there regardless of what we call we've got to execute. I've got to make sure I put them in the right positions to do things. Things happen in the red zone. At the end of the game we had a philosophy and a strategy, we were going to try and run the football into the end zone and it didn't work so you kick the field goal. Prior to that before the half, Greg Little's long catch, we got the ball down and then we took a penalty where we're inside the five with a good chance, we had time and timeouts to get the ball in and then we took a penalty, which you can't do. That was one situation and then we had one other one where we tried to throw the ball a couple times and then kicked a field goal. Each situation is different, I think it's hard to say its one thing or the other and it's the same way when it pops and you hit on all of them, but we work a lot on them. "

(On if there is something that's more important than other things while in the red zone)- "Most teams play differently in the red zone than they do the rest of the field so once you get inside the 20 and for a lot of teams it's the 15 defensively. They start to play different types of coverages so you have different types of routes to attack it and then you try to hit them strategically with runs to try and hit them when you think you're throwing, those types of things. The strategy changes, we kind of have a touchdown to check down mentality so we try to put guys in the end zone, if they're open throw it, if not check it down. Quarterback accuracy is important, you don't want penalties, you don't want sacks, all the fundamentals of red zone play with the idea that when you get down in there you've penetrated far enough where you feel like you're going to get a field goal. Then you do what you can to put the ball in the end zone. The groups of plays you call are the ones that match what they typically do on defense. I've always felt that Steve (Spagnuolo), they do a nice job defending in the red zone I think the way they do it philosophically is good, but we didn't execute well enough, that's all."

(On if there's a natural tendency to tighten up offensively when you get in the red zone)- "I don't think so. I don't think tightening up is the way to go. I do think though obviously the nature of where you're at the field changes. They don't worry so much about defending the post because they've got width in the back line so you try to do different things to take advantage of that. But, no I don't think there's a tendency."

(On if things tend to snowball one way or another)- "In every part of the game. I think that's the way it is and you just keep pushing. There's no magic formula and we sit behind the scenes and try to make the right decisions and scheme things up the right way and put guys in the best position and then you try and get them to execute. When things don't work out it's probably a mixture of both, typically. It's never really one hard fast thing and that accounts for winning and losing. I think what's there and the thing we can build on around here is the guys are playing fast, they're practicing fast, their energy is terrific during the week and they're playing hard first snap to last and I think that's the foundation of what you want until you get exactly where you want it. I think that's what you want. Guys that are enjoying playing the game, guys that are playing hard and playing fast."

(On player commenting that even though they lost the game they feel they made progress and if he feels the same way)- "I think you start talking about that as you move away from the game because you go back and you look at what you did and start thinking about what you're going to do as you move forward. I know each game we've played I've seen areas of improvement. You've just got to finish that statement with another statement that says not enough improvement to win in six instances and I think that's where you just keep going."

(On where the greatest gain was last week)- "It's hard to put my finger on it, I think there are more specifics. We found a way to make some big plays I think on offense. I think even though Steven Jackson ran for some yardage, aside from one time defensively when they scored, we kept them out of the end zone. When you can play well on defense on third down and in the red zone then I think you give yourself a chance. I was asked a question by the Jacksonville media about rankings and they were asking me to categorize it and I said typically what you look at with teams is rankings are just raw yardage. That doesn't always factor in when you look at raw yardage, there are teams that rank high or low in certain areas, but because they are plus in the turnovers or they play well in the red zone or they're good on third down, they find a way to win and the raw yardage is not maybe in the top half and vice versa. I think you can see there are some teams that get lots of yards and maybe turn the ball over a lot and you can just look at it, look at the names of the teams and see. I think that's a little bit deceiving, but it's nice when you're really good moving the football, it helps. It's nice when you're really good stopping then from moving it because then you've got something to build."

(On how he's dealing with all the criticisms that come his way)- "I think I'm very competitive. I think as you get through this you get a little bit calloused up to it. I probably fibbed just a little bit early on when you say you don't read it or hear it. Now, I'm not. I don't read it, I really don't. I just stay away from it because I think what's important is you keep your focus moving forward. We've got very smart coaches and very willing players and we believe in what we're doing so you push forward. I understand when people get upset, I understand that. But, on the other side we're all competitive so if you don't like hearing it, try not to listen. I think that's how you push through it. That's kind of how I do it."

(On if he's getting recognized in restaurants now)- "I don't go to restaurants much. I think more now than in the offseason. We'll go to places that are familiar. Jennifer (Shurmur) is an outstanding cook so I have no problem being home."

(On if he has a positive or negative interaction with Browns fans when he does go out)- "I'm sure there's a little bit of both. There are people that are encouraging and then there's also folks that may be a little bit frustrated. It's just part of it. I think I understand it. I think I do and I appreciate everybody's passion and I think I get it."

(On what gives him encouragement with the players that they have that they can do good things in the red zone)- "First off I think there was a handful of plays last week where had we executed them better we'd have got into the end zone. That's number one. I think our scheme is sound, I do like our players and we have receivers, tight ends and backs that can do all the right things to get the ball in. It's just a matter of doing it."

(On if he's surprised or disappointed the offense isn't where he expected it to be this far into the season)- "I don't know what to think in terms of progress. I want us to have more victories however we get them and there's different formulas for that. We just need to keep working. I'm not disappointed, I'm not disappointed at all. Again, we have a bunch of guys that are working at getting better and still learning about one another in a lot of ways. I think when everybody can get to the point where we're all mentally on the same page, not so much with what we're doing, but with what we're thinking."

(On if it's a little tougher than he anticipated it to be)- "No, I wouldn't say that. I anticipated there would be some bumps in the road. I anticipated that.”

(On the team being 0 and 9 on the coin toss this year)- "Really? Wow, I didn't think of that. I probably should know that. 0 and 9 really?"

(On the team that wins the coin toss having a slightly higher percentage of winning the game)- "Wins the actually game? Well, then we better win the coin toss (joking)."

(On if there's any advantage to have the ball at the beginning of the game)- "We did do a study on that when I was back in Philadelphia. It was one of those long winter weeks I guess so we're deciding what to do and we did a study. I don't know how they got the information, but it was so meaningless, the difference about whether you have the ball first to start the game or first to start the second half whether you win the game or not. I do know statistically you always talk about winning the fourth quarter, it's very, very important. But, statistically if you can get ahead in the game that's where you give yourself a better chance, statistically."

(On they would take the ball if they ever won a coin toss)- "Oh yeah. Sure, absolutely."

(On if they need to practice the coin toss)- "We'll have a meeting about the coin toss (joking). I don't think we are going to do that. "

1:19 PM

Red Zone Blues: The Cleveland Browns are among the league’s worst in scoring touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. http://t.co/nyaDNC58

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on November 17th, 2011 AT 10:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for November 17th from 09:22 to 09:25:

Shurmur Press Conference Transcript, Nov. 16
Don Delco on November 17th, 2011 AT 9:17 AM

(Opening statement)- "Let's first start with the guys that will be out of practice today. Montario Hardesty will be out of practice although he's doing some running. I'm not ruling him out for the weekend, there's a chance he could be there. Peyton Hillis is out this week. He's continuing with his rehab, we'll see how he does. T.J. Ward had his cast removed. What we found is that he's progressing well, he went back in another cast and that the point we take him out of the cast here soon, he'll go to a walking boot and then keep continuing to improve. What we found when we took the cast off was that he'll be back. Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) will be out at practice today, his symptoms have dissipated so he'll be out there practicing. Everybody else will be limited in some fashion, Auston English, Jayme Mitchell, (Tony) Pashos, (Dimitri) Patterson, those are probably the names of note."

(On what the final diagnosis on Ward is)- "He's got a sprained foot."

(On what kind of back Maurice Jones-Drew is compared to the other backs they've faced this season)- "He's an outstanding back, he's been an outstanding back in this league for a lot of years. He's very hard to tackle, he's a very explosive runner and he accounts for a lot of what they do on offense. They're trying to develop a young quarterback and he means a lot to that team. The focus of our defense, of course, will be to make sure we limit his production."

(On how he can prevent that fact that the team hasn't scored a home field touchdown in a while from messing with the team's confidence)- "Score touchdowns. I don't worry about that. You just keep working to get better. These guys don't have a problem with confidence. We've just have to go out and get it done."

(On if he expected a bigger impact out of the tight ends during the regular season)- "They're still getting their production. It's about what I thought. I knew they'd get their production. I also felt like it's important that you throw the ball to the receivers. If you look at differences in years, maybe that's the case. We're getting a lot of production right now out of Greg Little and we're trying to get some production out of Josh Cribbs, Jordan Norwood and Mo when he's in there."

(On if defenses try to take one specific thing away from them)- "I don't know if they're taking anything specific away. We have a bunch of players that need to touch the football and we need to spread the ball around. I think that's what we need to do at this point."

(On the decision to play Jordan Cameron more over the last couple weeks)- "Him being up was because we had injuries at other positions. We were short on healthy scratches so he ended up playing and he helps on special teams and since he was up we tried to get him some reps."

(On if his film review showed that the trick play against the Rams was illegal)- "I was made aware of that (report). We knew it when we watched it. We practiced the play, the first exchange between Josh and Seneca (Wallace) was practiced as a handoff. Three times last week we handed it off and in the game it got flipped. That's a rule, we know the rule."

(On if he received a call from the NFL saying that got away with one)- "No, I'm sure just like when we send in things, I send in plays every week and I get back yes's and no's every week. I just keep them from you and that got out, I don't know. But, that kind of stuff happens all the time."

(On if he realized what happened and if he hoped they didn't challenge the play)- "I was well aware of what happened and I know the rules. The first exchange was practiced as a handoff and the second one was a flip."

(On how he would chart the progress of the offensive line specifically the guards)- "I think last week we played better, the offensive line as a unit. There's been improvement there. I think it helps when they can all play together all week long and that hasn't been the case every week and I think they're improving."

(On Jason Pinkston being a tackle in college and moving to guard)- "We drafted him with the idea the he could play guard and tackle. We felt even though he played tackle in college that he would be a fine NFL guard."

(On what kind of growth he has seen in Greg Little both on and off the field)- "I think Greg's got great skill and ability, that's why we drafted him. Part of what he needed to learn is how to be a pro, all rookies do. He was a guy who was pushed into the starting lineup pretty early and he's playing a position where you have to make plays. Prior to this year, I'm sure he did a lot just on his sheer ability, but you have to learn how to be a pro from how you take care of your body to how you study to how you approach each week and I think he's made big improvements in all those areas."

(On if he's still having talks with Little)- "Yeah, we work with Greg every day just like all the players."

(On what he sees in Blaine Gabbert and why he's been slower to pick it up than Andy Dalton or Cam Newton)- "I've studied him and I've watched him. I know he's a very talented quarterback, I knew a lot about him being in the region the last couple years. He actually played high school ball real close to where I lived in St. Louis so I knew a lot about him and he's very talented. I'm sure there's a learning curve for him as far as learning their offense. He didn't have an offseason and he came in and now he's pushed into a starting role, trying to move the football for that team. I would imagine he's going through a lot of the same things that a lot of quarterbacks go through and I'm sure he's experiencing some of the things during the season now which he would have benefitted from an offseason doing. I'm not surprised by anything that I see with a young player this first year, especially first-year guys."

(On if the Browns made any effort to bring back Matt Roth)- "We'll keep all those discussion behind the scenes."

(On what he's seen from of Roth this year)- "He's done a good job for them. He's a very explosive guy, gets off on the snap, plays extremely hard and he's doing a good job for them."

(On if Roth fits in a 4-3 defense)- "He's playing a defensive end, he fits for them. He's doing a good job."

(On how much the weather plays a factor with game planning as they move forward)- "You always look at the weather and the conditions in terms of it may adjust how you call some things. I felt like wind was a condition that needed to be accounted for last week. It was very windy and I thought Colt threw the ball well in the wind. You always factor in what the weather conditions are and it may change a call or two, may change where you kick, how you kick, what direction you kick, those types of things."

(On if McCoy lacking a cannon arm and his ability to cut the ball through the wind)- "I don't know what he lacks, but I thought he threw the ball through the wind last week very well."

(On if Chris Ogbonnaya has pleasantly surprised him)- "Yeah, he has surprised me. He had a very productive day Sunday, it was his best game. He pulled out of it relatively healthy so I'm anticipating that he'll continue to improve and our thoughts are that we'll get another good game out of him this week."

(On how the 2011 draft class is playing as a group)- "I think they're improving and I think they're really benefitting from all this front line playing time. A lot of them are playing on offense or defense and not just special teams so I think that'll help them as they go forward into year two and really as we finish year one. Just like we talked about Greg Little a little while ago, they're all going through that same process. As you get into games 10-16 and beyond, that's a little bit uncharted for these rookies. They play 10 or 11 games and then they take final exams, they have a couple weeks of practice and play a bowl game so that's where we've got to keep a real close eye on them and how they're doing at the end of the year."

(On if through nine games he thinks the current roster needs overhauled or if they would just need to add to it a bit going forward)- "I think it's fair to say that we'll have some roster changes in the offseason. When you relate that to the rookies that are playing, we're going to try to keep them around. I think the guys that we have in their playing, we feel very good about and we want to see them improve through the end of this year, help us win games. We will have an offseason next year where they can continue to improve and then hopefully be more suited to play there year two. Again, we feel like it's very important to build this thing through the draft. That's why it's important I think once you hit on good rookie players to then develop them and keep them here. That's what our thoughts are. Now if all of them will stick, I can't say that. There are a lot of uncontrollable variables that each player runs into, could be injury or what have you. Our idea is to draft good players, play them, develop them and then keep them around. That's what we're trying to do."

(On deciding if the second, third and fourth year guys fit his system and what they want to do)- "We've already started that process with all these midseason or early season signings. We've made determinations on guys that we want to try to keep around. We'll constantly go through that process. Yeah, every player is getting evaluated. Everybody does a fine job of evaluating me, coaches are evaluated, players are evaluated. You constantly do that as you go through this and you quality control everything from how you do business, to how the players play to the relationships between the coaches and players and everything involved. We're constantly looking at those things."

(On if he still wants to get the entire roster younger)- "I think we want to get better and we'll use every avenue to get better, whether it's the draft, the right guys in free agency. I think that's where we want to get better. I think it's safe to say the roster was very experienced a year ago. I'm not sure I said we want to get younger, but that would be the natural assumption when you draft and play the guys that we have. We're trying to make the roster better. We have an underlining philosophy that it's important to draft players that you're going to keep around and develop. Typically, the drafted are younger than the free agents. But, that does not mean that we're not going to go after some free agents that fit and would be meaningful additions to this team. We believe in that as well."

(On if it's been a tough to evaluate and build the young talent while also trying to win along the way)- "Not really, I think once you set your roster the players you have are the players you have. I've always said this, they are pro players. You put them on the field and trust them to do their job. Then you just try to make the right decisions as you move forward to win games. I don't worry about it. Like anybody, I'm impatient when the results aren't the way you want them.”

(On if they will be a more aggressive in free agency this year)- "It's probably a little early to say that right now. We have a good feel for what our roster is and the changes we need to make. I think every team does that. You're constantly thinking about it and how you can make your team better."

(On waiving Brian Robiskie and signing Thomas Clayton)- "That was an injury. That was because we needed to."

(On what happened with Brian Robiskie this year)- "He was given the opportunity. At the time when you have injuries at a specific position, going back to when we signed Thomas and cut Brian, you don't want to cut anybody. You really don't. We needed to sign a runner. We just kind of made a decision that was the direction we had to go. There was nothing against Brian, we just had to make that call and I wouldn't say it was anything specific."

(On what it would mean to his play calling to have Massaquoi and Hardesty back on Sunday)- "I think if you have more of what you started out the season as your front line players, I think it helps. That doesn't mean that the guys are in there aren't charged with being productive. I want all of our players to be healthy. I like to be able to say we have seven healthy scratches each week. I think that's what you want. I don't think any team is there right now, but that's what we're fighting for."

(On if his play calling is limited when he doesn't have his front line guys)- "We're trying to do what we can to win games."

(On how disappointing it was to release Robiskie when at one point he was the starting receiver)- "That was the first time we had to do that this season, cut a healthy player because of the position. I didn't want to cut Brian. The message got to him that we wish him well and we appreciate his efforts. That's kind of what happens. That's the part of this business. There's the game and then there's the business behind it and these are all things that you go through."

(On if Hardesty would be the feature back if he returns this week)- "I think what we've got to find out is how he does this week in practice. I'm not going to make any predictions. The two guys I know that are out are Hillis and Ward. We'll just see how Montario handles this week of practice when he does get in there and see what and how much he can do."

Browns Player Quotes, Nov. 16
Don Delco on November 17th, 2011 AT 9:16 AM

Colt McCoy

(On if their recent touchdown drought at home is frustrating)- "Yeah, it's frustrating. We had some chances and we had to settle for field goals a couple times. We spend a lot of time working on our red zone, we dedicate a whole day to it so we've just have to find a way to get down there and punch it in. I thought they did a nice job of pressuring us once we got down there, making us check the ball down, throw our hots, which that happens. We can do a better job and we will."

(On being efficient in the red zone early in the year and not recently)- "We had a shot in the end zone and we had a penalty that backed us out of the red zone. Then when we got down there a couple times we called a play down there and they pressured us, had to throw hot. Overall, we just have to keep getting down there. I think if we get down there, we like our chances. We've done a pretty good job once we get down in there, we just have to continue to work on that and get better."

(On the trick plays they ran this past game and if he would like to see that continue)- "I thought it was nice. We threw a little Wildcat in there, as I mentioned after the game, anytime you can get Josh (Cribbs) involved with the ball in his hands, I think there's an opportunity to make a play there. We had a little trick play off of that down the field and that worked nice for us, just whatever it takes. I think that is an element that we can throw in to some of the things we do as a change up and that will help."

(On playing one of his better games and some of the progress he has made personally)- "It's hard to talk about anybody individually after a loss, you want to win every game. If I didn't have to throw a pass and we ran the ball every play and we won, I'd be the happiest person in here. It's frustrating because all I want to do is win. As far as progress, I think we're all making progress. We're playing better, we're playing a little bit faster. I was able to get in and out of the huddle, use some cadence to get them to jump offsides a couple times, use my double count. We were able to do something's really well and we still came up short. I'd like to put one together, do all things right in this game and find a way to win."

(On if they missed plays in the red zone on Sunday)- "We didn't miss any plays in the red zone. We had some run plays and some pass plays and we didn't miss a touchdown, that's for sure. You'd like to take more shots, but when they come after you have to take what they give you. I think we can do a better job down there, we just have to continue to keep working. We spend Fridays on the red zone so we'll get better. We've done pretty nice job all year when we've gotten down there, we've just have to get it in the end zone."

(On if Pat Shurmur expanded the playbook because he's showing more trust in them)- "I don't know. I think he trust's us. We're doing what we're asked to do and we're getting better at it, we are. I think guys are starting to get a little bit better feel. Now, we're not where we need to be for sure, but we're getting better and understanding some things and depths of routes, concepts, where the ball is supposed to go. I think we're starting to get there a little bit. Greg (Little) and Josh are doing a nice job. Early in the season, we weren't expecting and asking a lot out of them every week and now they're our two guys. Jordan Norwood has come in and done a pretty good job. I think just playing with them, I think them just being on the field overall we're starting to have more and more trust."

Ahtyba Rubin

(On what the differences between Steven Jackson's running style compared to Maurice Jones-Drew and how it affects what they do as a run defense)- "We just have to play fundamental football. Jackson was a taller back, but they're kind of same in standpoint that they are good, strong, downhill runners, break tackles. You've just have to be fundamentally sound and make sure that we tackle these guys and get them on the ground."

(On how challenging it is to face elite backs every Sunday)- "We've been prepared for it. We've been watching a lot of film on these guys. We've got great coaches coaching us up so it's not really surprising us week after week, but it's a great challenge and great challenge for our young guys."

(On transferring the solid defensive performance last week to this week)- "We've been putting a big emphasis on kind of having the same practice we had last week, getting to the ball, making sure that we're in our gaps where we're supposed to be and make little mistakes or none at all. If we do all that on Sunday we'll be able to get (Maurice) Jones-Drew down on the ground and make a lot of plays."

Joe Thomas

(On why they have been struggling in the red zone recently)- "To say there's one exact reason would be incorrect because when you get in the red zone it's just about taking care of business and doing things one play at a time. When you do those things correctly, you get in the end zone. At the beginning of the year we were probably one of the best red zone offenses in the NFL and last few games we haven't been as efficient. We've gotten there more times, which is an improvement. We haven't been as efficient getting touchdowns. Now, when we fix that we'll be one of the better offenses in the NFL.

(On if he would like to see more creativity offensively as they move forward)- "I think we're getting to a point with this offense that guys are starting to get comfortable. Some of the young guys are starting to figure out what they have to do on every play. He's starting to trust us to throw some more things at us and let us get some of those more complex schemes and things like that. I think it's going to be great moving forward."

(On if he knew Matt Roth could fit in the 4-3 defense)- "Yeah because his first three, four years or whatever in Miami he was a 4-3 defensive end and he did a great job. He's one of those versatile defensive ends where he's big enough to play in a 4-3, but he's also fast enough and quick enough to play 3-4 and put him over the tight end."

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Shurmur Press Conference Transcript, Nov. 14
Don Delco on November 15th, 2011 AT 12:13 PM

(Opening statement) – "For this week's game I'm going to rule out Peyton Hillis and T.J. Ward. Everybody else you can call them questionable, limited, full go, everybody else will have a chance to be there. Peyton's obviously rehabbing his hamstring, he's continuing to make progress but I'm going to rule him out. T.J. Ward, he's being further evaluated, they're going to change his cast today, get an X-ray, see where he's at and we'll decide how we move forward with him. But, there is no way that he'll play this week and then we'll see how we proceed. I'm just like every other person in the city of Cleveland that woke up this morning disappointed we lost. I feel the same frustration. I'm disappointed, but not discouraged. I feel it, I've lived it. I'm from this region, I understand what everybody feels when you don't win and what we're trying to do is change that. When you don't win, it's hard for me to sit here and talk about the good things that happened. I'll let you ask me and then we'll take it from there because I know we made progress in some areas, but we didn't play well enough to win. The focus could be the last play of the game, there were things that happened in the middle of the game where we could have stretched the score out and we didn't get it done."

(On if Hillis or Ward could be placed on injured reserve) – "At this point I wouldn't say. I think they'll both have an opportunity to be back this year and I'll know more on T.J. here later in the afternoon. Peyton's making progress where we're hopeful he can be back after next week hopefully, we'll see."

(On if he knew Alex Smith was in the game instead of Owen Marecic) – "In the course of the game, I was calling a play based on the fact that it was a fullback play and Owen not being in there happened in that time frame. We were handing the ball to the fullback. Alex knew he was getting the ball, Colt (McCoy) knew he was giving it to him and they're football players. Had I known now, I would have tried to call a timeout, but the clock was already off on the communicator to Colt and they were ready to play. So that's what happened."

(On if McCoy should have called timeout) – "No, because Alex knew he was getting the ball. They did it all right except make the exchange. "

(On if McCoy was not allowed to audible in that situation) – "I wouldn't say that's correct. He's the quarterback, but in that situation we were trying to run the football. Not allowed? I don't know the wording he used."

(On if he wouldn't have had time to audible due to the play clock) – "No, I don't think so."

(On if there is someone with a headset on as a backup) – "It happened all at one time and then everything was away from me. I couldn't get to an official. It was one of those situations."

(On why he did not take a knee in order to set up the field goal) – "You could pop a run. You can score on a run play just as well you can on a pass play. I was not trying to not score. What I was trying to do was run the ball and score. If we didn't, then the advantage to doing that was the clock is running and you are forcing them to use a timeout. If we didn't get the touchdown, then we were in a position to kick a field goal and go ahead. That's what I was trying to do. The defense was playing extremely well. I felt confident that if we kicked the field goal and went ahead then we'd have an outstanding chance to win the football game. We could have thrown the ball and we could have thrown a touchdown or we could have had an incomplete and stopped the clock. There could have been a lot of things to do. We had done a nice job of moving the football basically into that area by running it, we were having some success and I continued to do it."

(On if a penalty should have been called on the field goal attempt) – "As you might expect, I was flooded with information when that play was over about what everybody thought happened. The view I saw today, I didn't see a penalty on the coach's tape from behind. I didn't see a penalty, but not to say that the TV copy might have showed something different or an announcer might have said, I don't know that."

(On what he saw from the coach's tape) – "The snap needed to be better. It appeared to me like the ball hit the foot of our left guard. That's what it appeared like."

(On if Ryan Pontbriand double-clutched the snap) – "Not from what I could tell, no. Now, the rest of that play I thought (Brad) Maynard did an outstanding job of getting the ball down. It obviously was a shocking setup for Phil (Dawson), who has made those kicks before."

(On if the field goal attempt was blocked) – "No, I don't think anyone blocked it based on the copy I saw. Again, I didn't watch the TV copy. The end zone copy from behind that I saw, that's what I noticed."

(On if they have ever practiced the play where Alex Smith takes the handoff) – "We run it all the time. Not always to him, he's practiced it, not of late. But, you know what's interesting is, you run a lot of plays in the game that the backup has to execute, that he may not have done."

(On if he used Seneca Wallace as a receiver strictly for Wildcat purposes) – "No, I thought there we some things in the game, we were down receivers, just trying to freshen it up a little bit. We used him in a way that I'm sure they weren't expecting it. He was used a couple of times without any running backs in there. He was actually the running back in a situation. We lined up in empty and that has an effect on teams that give you an opportunity to do something with the football, that's all."

(On if he will continue to be creative with his play calling going forward) – "I think we've been creative to this point, it just hasn't been within the boundaries of what some people think is creative. Yeah, we'll continue to be creative. We're going to do everything we can to try and score points. With the players that we have, try to score points and win games."

(On if the offense is pressing too much in the red zone) – "No, I think yesterday was a poor performance in the red zone. Prior to that, we had a couple games where we didn't get down there much and then prior to that, we did a good job of scoring in the red zone. No, I don't think there's pressure. There's always urgency in the red zone to score."

(On what they could have done better in the red zone) – "Score. There were times when we got down there before the half and threw it and we didn't make it. We took a shot to Evan (Moore) and he got a facemask, which backed us up and made the field goal. All those things that happen during the game that plays into a little bit to what the strategy is at the end as well. I thought they did a nice job, let's give them credit, they did a nice job in the red zone of defending us and that was it. There were some sequences in there where I ran the football, then there were other ones, as you saw, where I threw it and we had limited success."

(On if he wishes he had thrown into the end zone once on the last possession) – "No. I'll go to the well with what I did. I'll go to the well lining up to kick the field goal, making them use timeouts and leaving them nearing two-minutes to try to drive and beat us. I'll do that again."

(On if he did not know who was in the game on the Alex Smith play) – "I knew who was in the game. I knew who was in the game and I chose not to stop the play. Partly, because I couldn't get to an official and then I couldn't get to Colt to communicate and Colt talked to the fullback who knew he was getting the football. So there are no problems with that. My staff, the guys on the sideline said, "Owen's out, Alex is in" and so I just did it. We want to get this all cleared up about that one play. We could have handed the ball to (Chris) Ogbonnaya or Thomas Clayton or somebody on an (end) around and they fumbled as well."

(On if this was McCoy's best performance of the season) – "I think he made big progress. I think he didn't play well enough for us to win, but he did some things in the game where he was generally efficient. The play that we hit to Greg Little before half was the same play he missed, I think it was the first third down against the Miami Dolphins. Just that one play, he got better. But, there were other things that I think he made progress in as well."

(On utilizing several trick plays against the Rams) – "When you run the football there are ways to give the defense misdirection. The (end) around's and reverses, I think were effective for us. I think we had two explosive plays. One that was called back because of a hold that were effective. As hard as it is to write articles, it's a challenge sometimes to move the football and you just try to do what you can to do both."

(On trying to shake the culture of losing in Cleveland) – "Your first part is sort of right. I'm from this region. I'm from a town that has dealt with this type of fans loving their team and not having it go their way all the time. I get that. I'm not from Mars. I get that. I haven't been here the previous twelve years. I can sympathize with those feelings, I understand that. Like I said at the outset, I came to work as somebody who lives in Cleveland disappointed that we lost. I just happened to be in a position right now to help inspire a bunch of guys win a game. That will make our fans extremely proud. So that's where we're at."

(On if McCoy understands the reasoning for running the ball in the red zone) – "I think so. Again, I'd do it again that way. I think you can run the football in the end zone as well. We were having some success with some of the schemes that we were running and making yards with the backs that we had in the game. Just because you run the ball doesn't mean you're giving up. I think we're all aware of the fact that they ran the football here a lot last year and had success. So because you choose to run the football doesn't mean you're giving up. It's just what you choose to do and there are reasons for it. The clock runs, you shorten the game. Steve (Spagnuolo) took a time out because he wanted to preserve time. It all happens."

(On if the pass to Little was McCoy's best deep ball this year and how he handled the wind factor) – "I think the wind was a factor. The wind affected things yesterday, kicking and throwing. I think Greg (Little) adjusted to the ball well. I thought Colt made a good throw. The wind did affect it though. That ball took off a little bit."

(On how McCoy handled the wind all game) – "He was pretty accurate yesterday throwing it, I thought."

(On his biggest offensive adjustment since coming from the Rams) – "I don't know. Again, it's hard to compare last year to this year. This is a different team, non-traditional off-season. I think what happens is when different runners are in there all the time that takes an adjustment. I'd have to give Chris Ogbonnaya credit. He did a nice job yesterday, very nice job and he battled. We had some other young guys, Emmanuel Stephens stepped in and played extremely well. I don't know the statistics or the specifics, but all 10 of our draft picks played. Twenty of our 46 guys were rookies, first or second year players and they all competed. That's good. Greg Little is improving, he's improving. He's making plays and I think he's getting better on the details, still plenty to work on. There are some things in here that I'm encouraged by. When we leave the stand here I'm done with being disappointed. I'm encouraged by those things."

(On if the offensive line did a nice job protecting McCoy) – "I think that's fair. I think we did a better job of protecting Colt. Whoever carries the football, anytime you can run the ball for better than 100 yards then somebody's doing something good."

(On what was bad about Pontbriand's snap other than hitting Mack's leg) – "That's a good start (jokingly)."

(On if Mack was doing the right thing during the snap) – "Yeah, he was blocking. It just happens."

(On if Mack widened his stance too quickly) – "No, I think he was okay. He's fine. The approach was coming from the left side, so they had to honker down pretty good. Our left side you know."

(On if the snap would've been fine if Mack's leg was behind Pontbriand's legs) – "Not totally behind him. The snap was low, because the foot was on the ground."

(On his thought process of kicking the field goal when the Rams would get the ball back at the two-minute warning) – "You have a chance to score and go ahead, you do that. Then you kick to them and you play defense. There's no decision there. I think that's what you do."

(On if he would have had a different approach in the red zone at the end if he would have had more success earlier in the red zone) – "No, I was going to run the football there and I wanted to run plays that were going to keep the clock running."

(On if the snap was not low would it have missed Mack's leg) – "The snap was low. I think I just said that. I mean that's physics."

(On if he knew who was at fullback when he called the play) – "No, because in the midst of calling the play and getting the guys in and out of the huddle there were guys coming in and out of the huddle. Then I realized that he came wobbling out. I was told by my guys quickly, but not quick enough to get it changed."

(On his thoughts of how successful the Wildcat was yesterday) – "Josh (Cribbs) carried the ball twice I think for six or eight yards. It was moderately successful."

(On if McCoy was in the shotgun more during the game than in previous games) – "Maybe a snap or two more. Not by design."

(On McCoy's performance in the shotgun) – "Again, he's used to being in the shotgun. There were a couple that I called under center and there are reasons why he'll pop to the shotgun that the defense presents in terms of protection. Whether they walked up or something."

(On how the shotgun fits in this offense) – "Fits well. It's part of what we do."

(On Mohamed Massaquoi's injury status) – "He's feeling better. He's been asymptomatic for a couple days now, so we'll just see. Again, we're going to be very careful with that."

(On if he was frustrated about the team not executing or how he was going to get it done) – "Nope. I believe in my heart of hearts we can get it done. There's no question. That has nothing to do with my feelings. I was angry yesterday because we had a game that we had a chance to win and we didn't. I'm living in that moment. That's the feelings that I was carrying with me yesterday. Now, I got an average night's sleep and we're going to all talk about it right now. Then when we get done talking about it I'm getting past it."

(On if his dog bit him when he got home) – "Nope. We just got a new dog and no, it didn't bite me. It doesn't know me well enough yet. The dog doesn't know me well enough to bite me."

(On what kind of dog he has) – "Bulldog. It's a puppy."

(On where he saw McCoy's improvement) – "I saw the accuracy on some of his throws. I thought he was very decisive on some of the throws he made. There are still a handful of things in there that would've made it an outstanding performance that he could have corrected himself. I think he made progress. I thought he was generally pretty accurate with his throws. I thought he knew where he wanted to go with the football on most of his throws, which allowed him to hit his back foot and get rid of it. There were some audibles in there that he took care of. He fixed some plays. I just felt generally speaking he had a pretty good command of what he was doing. Again, let's make sure we add not good enough to win."

(On if the shotgun was used more in the game plan to make McCoy's job easier) – "Again, that's probably a question for him. There are reasons why you're in the shotgun and there are reasons why you're under center. Just like some guys get more catches than others each week. It just kind of goes that way. I wouldn't say there's any real reason."

(On how he evaluates himself through nine games) – "I'm a 3-6 coach right now. That's how I evaluate myself. I need to get better."

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
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