Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur Press Conference 10-15-12
(Opening statement) – "Going back on yesterday, I thought it was a good team victory. I thought for the most part in the first five games we gave ourselves a chance to win and didn't make enough plays to do it. I think we found a way yesterday to make enough big plays, touchdowns and then of course interceptions, fumbles, scoring on defense. We've scored twice on defense this year in the first six games which is outstanding. We made enough plays yesterday as a team to get a victory against a good opponent. We all know how good the Bengals are and for us to win a game at home and a division game, I think is a big step for our team. I'd like to talk first about the special teams. We introduced the special teams yesterday, they competed in 37 plays and (Special Teams Coordinator) Chris Tabor, (Special Teams Assistant) Shawn Mennenga, those guys have put together good plans and I think each week, even though we didn't win prior to this week, our special teams have contributed positively. I think yesterday, aside from a play or two, we did some good stuff. The return game, we've got good young talent in the coverage units and of course Phil (Dawson) is still making his kicks. I also think that (Defensive Coordinator) Dick Jauron and (Offensive Coordinator) Brad Childress did an excellent job of putting the plans together. When all that gets put in place and then the players play the way they did you have a chance to win. I'm pleased with that. I think you saw guys on offense step up and make plays. It wasn't always pretty. We had way too many three-and-outs. I think we can't have that, but we found a way to score enough points and I've said that all along, it's about points not yards and so that was good. On defense, when you get turnovers and when you take one turnover and make it a score, those are all plays that are hard for the other team to overcome. I thought that was a good thing for us. With that being said, it was fun to win. We're already working on the Indianapolis Colts. It's a fast turnaround and once you do something once now you want to build toward consistency and doing it more and more, so that's where we're at."
(On how Trent Richardson is doing today) – "Trent's fine. Just so I can get it out there, he has a right rib cartilage injury. He's day-to-day."
(On Josh Gordon over the last two games) – "Two games ago he played well and made plays and was productive. Once you do it once you want to see consistency and I think he continued his progress. He made plays yesterday as well and so, you look at his progress. Here's a young man that's playing as a rookie like a lot of the guys that we have that did not have an offseason. You're starting to see a certain amount of work starting to take shape and I think he'll only continue to get better. In my opinion, the lights coming on and when you practice hard and then you can have success in the game, and then they start to say this works. Hopefully that will continue."
(On if route running is the biggest thing for Josh Gordon to learn) – "I think it's everything and it all runs parallel. Guys that come from offenses in college that are more advanced probably have a better chance to get up to speed quicker. Route running, learning what we call things, dealing with defenses that challenge you and all that runs parallel. I think he's just getting more and more comfortable with playing the game."
(On if Gordon's long completions open up the running game) – "I think it has an effect. When you can complete deep balls, 62 and 71 yards, it has an effect on the defense for sure. If they know they only have to defend a 10 yard area, the game gets real small for the offense. When they know they've got to defend the deep part of the field in the middle and on the outside, then there's no question that it helps the rest of your offense be more efficient."
(On what was going on during the stretch of three-and-outs and what the team did to snap out of that stretch) – "We were calling bad plays and we weren't executing them right and I thought we were playing a pretty salty defense too. I think when you start the second half there were three-and-outs on both sides. They were having their three-and-outs as well and you just kept picking away. Then, we found a combination of plays that work well. You get into a little rhythm and then you're calling runs when they think you're going to pass and calling passes when they think you're going to run and then you have a chance to get yardage. I want to mention Montario Hardesty, I think he stepped in and had 57 yards. He was running hard and he was holding on to the football, he caught the ball and he scored with the ball. All the things you want from a runner whether he's starting or playing in a backup role. He came in and gave us a spark and I thought that really is a credit to him."
(On how does the performance of Montario Hardesty change the offense and running game with Trent Richardson coming back healthy) – "You want everybody that's in there to be productive. When guys come in, in a backup role or you bring them in from the dugout, they've got to produce. He stepped up his game and played well. It's good for me to see and it's good for our offense to see that a guy that's serving as a role player can come in and have a big impact on the game. I think that's the important message here."
(On if he coached any differently yesterday) – "No, not at all. I had my moments that I enjoyed as you probably could tell. There were moments when I wasn't enjoying it. I don't think it was any different. I think it was pretty similar to the way I coached the rest of the games."
(On D'Qwell Jackson saying that it was a really big win for him) – "I think we needed it. You guys have known me long enough (to know) this isn't about me. This is about my players, this is about our city, and this is about trying to build a consistent winner. It's our first win in a long time and I think we've been building up to it. I've sat here and told you that I think we're getting better and it's easy for folks to roll their eyes until you win a game. Now what we've won one, I want our players to get greedy with that feeling and go out and try to win this week against the Colts."
(On if there is any other difference between a supplemental draft pick and a regular draft pick besides being behind) – "I think you have to add up some of the other stuff. He (Josh Gordon) was at two different colleges, he hadn't really played a lot of football on a consistent basis. I think it's fair to say guys come in a little bit behind. He kind of came in a little bit like the rookies the year previous, when they were going through a lockout. It's probably better to judge him based on the rookies that had to compete coming off that lockout year."
(On if it is possible for the college spread offense to work in the NFL) – "It's just my opinion, I don't have any way to quantify it, but you sure don't see many eight touchdown throwing games in the NFL. You just don't. The defense is not going to stand there and take that. From a coverage standpoint, you just see a great deal of bump-and-run. In college, you see a lot of situations where you can just drop back and throw a six yard hitch and get away with doing it all the time. They're going to tackle you and kind of keep it in front of you, but if you throw a couple hitches on people in this league and they get tired of it and they crawl right up on you and challenge you to throw something else. I don't know. I do know this, the talent in the NFL, there are defenders over there that can challenge and offense players get challenged. I just think that's the difference between all those points you see in college and then the pro game, where you find ways to score points, but you've got to be a little bit more creative with it."
(On what Brandon Weeden is able to do now that he didn't expect) – "I think it's not always obvious, but he's much more comfortable with our progressions. He's much more comfortable with getting the ball off on time, aside from a tipped ball that turned into an interception; for the most part I thought he was efficient last night. You guys were probably all upstairs, down at field level, that was a less than ideal situation to be throwing the football in. It was windy and there were a couple of easy throws that Brandon made and the balls were coming out as nice tight spirals that kind of took off on him. I thought he handled that pretty well though."
(On the slant route passes getting knocked down) – "This is slant route running 101, but if the defender is playing off on you, you take a three step drop and throw it. If the receiver is facing bump-and-run coverage, then you've got to kind of bounce for a second and throw it. Then of course, there's obviously the distraction of the rush in there. I think he throws the slant route well. It's important, though, that you're throwing in windows and you just don't want batted balls."
(On if this was Sheldon Brown's best game in the last two years) – "I thought he played extremely well. I thought he has played consistently throughout. There are times when you face really darn good receivers. I think having Joe Haden back helped tremendously. Buster (Skrine) led our team in tackles. There was a little bit more synergy in the secondary with Joe being back and of course, Sheldon and Buster showed up as well. I was happy for him, for Sheldon to get the pick-six. I think that's terrific."
(On the effect that Joe Haden has on the other members of the secondary) – "I think it goes without saying, you add back one of the finer corners in the league to your secondary, it gives you a boost. He made plays on his own and then within the scheme of the defense. It does allow the other guys to maybe show up better. I think that's fair to say."
(On can they do things with the game plan that they couldn't if Haden wasn't there) – "The better the players you have, the more you can do with them. Typically though, if you get really good players at all positions, you don't have to do much. What happens is, it allows all your guys to play fast. You want enough
scheme where it challenges the defense, but there's that fine line on scheme and then your guys being able to pin their ears back and play. That's what we're always searching for, is that right combination."
(On if he saw more guys playing faster yesterday) – "I thought so. We still had our bad plays, but I saw routes being challenged and I do think Joe being back helped us a lot."
(On if Phil Taylor will return to practice this week) – "We're going to get him in there soon. We can start practicing, then there's a 21 day window and all that, but I'll let that play itself out here. He's absolutely where we thought he would be at this point. We're going to get him going here soon."
(On if the batted balls is a mechanic issue or if the defense is doing something different) – "No, it's not a mechanics issue. You typically want to throw in windows, no matter how tall you are, you can't really be throwing over guys. It's a coordinated effort. You throw balls in all areas of the field. You want to throw in windows. It's important that we get the defensive line to get their hands down on some of the quick throws. Batted balls sometimes are like catches, they come in bunches. We just have to keep stressing the fact that we want to throw in windows and on some of the three step drops, we have to do a better job of getting the guys hands down."
(On if it looks like their arms are up more than usual) – "No. I do think sometimes, if they get caught where they can't generate a pass rush, it's a weapon for them, to then get their hands up. If you're a team like us that preaches against giving up sacks, and we want the ball coming out in rhythm, there are times when they won't rush quite as hard and then get their hands up and try to bat balls. It's that little game we all play."
(On if it's up to the blockers to get their hands down) – "There are ways to get their hands down. We'll just make it an obvious thing."
(On if he heard from Randy Lerner yesterday) – "He texted me yesterday, yes."
(On if can relay what Randy Lerner texted him) – "He texted me, congratulations on winning the game."
(On if he's talked to Randy Lerner much) – "I've texted back and forth with him frequently."
(On if the offensive line had its best game yesterday) – "I think they played well. That was a good front. Let's not lose this now. That is a very good defensive front. We gave up a sack on a naked (bootleg). We nakeded to the left. That's a coaching thing. I'm going to take that one. There was a third and one where he got sacked. For the most part, I thought they did a nice job in pass protection. I think run blocking, it's kind of steady as you go sometimes and I think we're getting better there. That unit by the end, is going to be what I think will be a strength of our team."
(On why Hardesty was more productive than Richardson) – "I don't know. I think if Richardson had played the full game, you might have seen the same numbers from Trent. I will say, if we just want to talk about strictly Montario, he was running the ball hard. He was making quick decisions and he was hitting it and getting it. I was very impressed with his running style last night."
(On if his team grew up yesterday) – "Did it grow up? We took another step forward for sure. These guys are all full grown men, even though they're young and they're rookies, these are full grown men. I think we got better as a team because we won a game. Now, we have to show consistency and go win another game. I'm sure we'll all add them up at the end."
(On how rewarding when the ‘next man up' produces like Hardesty did) – "It's something that we preach. The guys believe in it. When you see them do it that means they're listening, and they are preparing themselves to step in when needed. It's good. That means our team is starting to get right."
(On what changed in the dynamic of the game yesterday with plays) – "We made enough to win the game yesterday. I think that's the important thing. It was a tough battle. I think the game was much closer than the score in my mind. Each game presents different sets of challenges. We got behind, after we drove the football down and had the tipped pass. I thought we were going to go down there and get points in the first drive. There was a little resiliency there (and) then they scored. Then we found a way to tie it up. Then it was back and forth. Our guys just hung with it. The guys on the field found a way to get stuff done. I think that's really it."