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Conference Call: Browns Coach Pat Shurmur



(on his level of concern that Chris Johnson is going to get on track this week)

I'm concerned that he is going to get going. I have seen him over the years change games when the ball is in his hands and I know what skill and ability he possesses. I'm seeing solid run schemes, I'm seeing an outstanding running back, and I'm seeing a team that throws the ball well, so there is going to be a point when he gets his yards, we just hope it's not this week.

(on what is solid about the Titans run scheme since their running game is struggling)

I think they have an NFL run game, and you have to look too at some of the opponents that they have played. They have played teams that are good defenses and they have found a way to move the ball through the air. I like the way the block them up and I worked with their line coach in St. Louis and I know Mike Munchak and Chris Palmer, and they know what they are doing and so I think it's just a matter of time before he breaks out.

(on why there are so many running backs struggling early in the season)

I don't know, I do know this though, on offense sometimes the game dictates whether you are ahead or behind or what not in terms of whether you are going to throw it more than you want or stay with your plan in terms of going in and running the football. I think it's different, each game is different but I think very few teams would go into a game and say they don't want to establish the run. I know Tennessee and the history there, and I'm sure Mike (Munchak) is talking about that. I think as we all get practicing more and we start getting ourselves into more of a midseason groove guys will be able to get yards running and throwing. I don't read too much into it right now and again, everybody has only played three games and so there's so much more to evaluate and I think rankings and yards-per-carry early in the year, it's a little early to settle in on.

(on how much familiarity he has with Matt Hasselbeck and what he is doing well)

Well I'm very familiar with Matt (Hasselbeck), I followed his career, competed against him a lot of places both in Philadelphia and St. Louis and I would say this, he is playing a very very good game right now. When I watch him play, I see elements of the west coast that he was very familiar with in Seattle, and I also see elements in terms of the passing game of Chris Palmer's background with his years with the Giants. It looks like Matt is handling it well and executing extremely well so I'm impressed with what Matt is doing, I really am. It looks like he is healthy, he's able to move around, he is throwing the ball on time, he is getting good protection and he hasn't been sacked very often. That may add to, in terms of the run game, they are having success throwing it too. Typically you try to do what you do well that day and get your team in the end zone, so Matt is going a good job.

(on if Matt Hasselbeck is doing anything different than he did in previous years)

I don't know about that, I do know that the last couple of years in Seattle, at least my understanding was that he was dealing with injury. Anytime you are battling injury or you are less than 100% that can affect your performance. It appears to me that he is healthy and running around well and I think that maybe that has something to do with it. He is a good quarterback, there is no question that the guy can play the game.

(on how Colt McCoy has looked while throwing on the run)

Well the one he threw the interception on was a drop-back pass that was a third down that he flushed and scrambled and was trying to make a play. The one he threw for a touchdown to Josh (Cribbs) was a structured keep. So they were two different scenarios, but none the less, on the interception when you are out of the pocket trying to make a play you have to be smart with the football and in that situation there if it's not right then you either run it, or you throw it away.

(on how Browns quarterback coach Mark Whipple has helped Colt McCoy's development)

I think Mark (Whipple) has done a nice job with Colt (McCoy), they spend a lot of time together. I think it's safe to say that we are all on the same page with what we want to get done, and then Mark and Colt spend a lot of time beyond the installations and whatnot going over the details of things. I think I have liked what I have seen so far with them working together.

(on starting a rookie QB in the NFL)

I think each team is different. When we went into last year with Sam (Bradford), and there are a lot of different scenarios… I remember when we drafted Donovan (McNabb) in Philadelphia, you go in with the idea that he is going to play game one and then Donovan ended up playing game eight, Doug Pederson started out. Last year was the same thing for Sam, we had AJ Feeley that could have started if Sam wasn't quite ready. Then you watch his development and he was ready game one and then you are off to the races. It was the same thing with Colt (McCoy) last year, he played because of injury, but was forced into action and had some success and had the ups and downs that you would expect from a rookie quarterback. Then going into this year, he has been pretty much the starter here, but he is playing the first game and in a lot of ways, because I wasn't with him last year, and remember him coming out of college, I think of him in some ways as a first year guy because it is a new system. There are some similarities, but each case is different and I think we are all working through that.

(on if Peyton Hillis will play this week)

Yeah, I think he will be back. He was out there this morning in walk through and it looks like he has recovered from his strep throat, that was what held him back Sunday, so yeah, I would say yes.

(on Montario Hardesty)

Well he has been great, as he came back from injury we really tried to manage him through training camp and in the preseason. He obviously played a lot more than we thought he would because of Peyton (Hillis) being out, he held up well and did a good job. We are anticipating that that will only improve.

(on Joe Haden)

We play a lot of bump-and-run and Joe (Haden) is a guy that like to challenge and he has done a good job so far. He is one of those guys that is feisty and loves to play the game. We hope he can keep it up.

(on the younger players on the Brown defense)

We have a lot of young players playing, Jabaal Sheard is playing on our left side now, our left defensive end and he is doing a nice job. (Phillip) Taylor inside is doing a terrific job, so we feel good about where they are at and then you forget in the back end that TJ Ward and Joe Haden, those are second year guys and I think they are doing a nice job too. We have got young players scattered throughout this team, we have a left guard that's a rookie and we have skill players who are out there playing, Greg Little who is a rookie. So we have a lot of guys out there, Owen Marecic, a fullback. So we have a long list of rookies, it would talk about all of our rookies but I think they are improving and I mentioned last week to one of the writers that with a young player you see bigger jumps or incremental improvements week to week, as opposed to a veteran who is getting better, but maybe not at the same rate.

(on what he sees out of the Titans' receivers after losing Kenny Britt)

Well I know how it goes to injuries to receivers but I remember Nate (Washington) was a free agent and I think he is an explosive receiver and with Kenny (Britt) going down. You have guys in the back there that can play and the scheme is good and Matt (Hasselbeck) is going through his progressions well. So I anticipate with Kenny being out, they may spread the ball around a little bit which can be dangerous as well because we have to defend more people. Let's not forget about Chris Johnson. They have good smart coaches there and a quarterback playing well, they are going to figure it out.

(on the injury to WR Donnie Avery and coming back from an ACL injury)

Donnie (Avery) was having a good training camp in our second year, and then he got hurt. Donnie is really a real fast guy and he has pure track speed. I haven't been around him seeing him, but there are guys that can come back from them with little or no effects and there are other guys that maybe will struggle their whole careers. I haven't been around Donnie so it would be unfair to say. I know he is extremely fast.

(on the biggest challenges for a first- year head coach this season)

Well I think the first big challenge was 20 coaches and 80-something players getting together for the first time at the end of July. Not only do you have to get systems installed but then you have to get used to one another and learn about your players and where to play them and how to play them. All of those challenges run hand in hand, where some of that you get done in the offseason. That's OK, we all had to deal with that. I think some established players had a bunch of new players that they had to get used to and teach systems to and teach them how to practice. Then once the season starts, a lot of these young guys who are in there playing have to learn the weekly process of being a pro, how you prepare, what you work on each day, how you handle a victory, how you handle a loss, how you deal with injury, how you take care of your body, all the things you need to learn as a pro along with getting to know your team. I think a lot of us are doing a lot of things simultaneously and I think that's probably the issue but in my opinion it's a non-issue because we are all dealing with it.

(on if he watches any game tape of the Titans from last year since there is a new head coach)

Well we all tend to watch the most current stuff, but I think when you start looking at personnel and who a guy is you obviously watch last year's tape. As the year goes on now and the Mike Munchak regime plays more and more games, it think teams will focus more and more on this years.

(on what impresses him about Nate Washington)

I have always found him to be explosive, he finds a way to get open and I think he catches the ball well. Those are all key attributes for a receiver.

(on if he has talked with Ben Watson about his celebrations in the end zone)

Yeah, that's become something that's been talked about. There is a rule about that and we have to follow the rules. I don't really need to comment any further on that, my thoughts are going to playing the Titans. We have had a little brush-up on the rules when you get in the end zone.

(on Browns DB Buster Skrine (Tennessee Chattanooga))

Buster (Skrine) has done a terrific job. I will tell you what, he is a feisty corner, he loves to challenge, he has excellent skill to play the position and he has had an outstanding training camp and he has played a lot of snaps already early in the season here and we are really, really pleased with his progress so far.

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