Berea (WOIO) - Browns head coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media one day after the team's 7-6 win over San Diego. Here's what the coach had to say.
(Opening Statement) – "After watching the game, when you watch the tape the day after, you kind of got to remember the elements when you watch some of the plays in there. If you forget a little bit, then you sit back and say, ‘Boy, we didn't play very well in some areas.' I will say this, when I drove to the stadium yesterday, I knew that the elements would be a factor. The combination of the rain, the wind and then of course the cold, I felt like it was going to affect the game. I would have never predicted a 7-6 game. I just felt like there wouldn't be a great deal of scoring, because I knew it was going to be a tough day to throw the ball, kick the ball, and catch the ball efficiently. It even affected the coin flip in my opinion. That's why we won it. We deferred it, which allowed us to kick off with the wind to begin the game. Obviously, we took the ball in the second half. Typically, teams will then take the wind in the third quarter to kickoff, which would have got us the wind in the fourth quarter. Had it come down to a field goal, that might have been significant. That's why I chose to do it that way. For the most part, I talked to the players we had a couple of balls on the ground. The guys that handled the ball yesterday, I think did a good job protecting the football. We were fighting for two and three yard chunks the whole game and that's why the score is what it is. For people that liked watching defensive football, people who like seeing the ball run, I hope you had a good Sunday. I sure would like to be able to score more points, but to score one more than they did is important because we all know it's about winning. That being said, I'm sure you've got some questions for me. There are some players that played well and stood out. I thought Kaluka (Maiava) did a nice job on special teams. There are guys stepping up each week on defense and playing better. JMJ (James-Michael Johnson) played well. Billy Winn had production. We had a lot of guys in there that I thought battled. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, but it's something that we can build on. Of course, our guys are quickly onto the Ravens. To have another division game at home here, I think it's important that we show up, play well, learn from the first time we played against these guys and try to play even better. Try to fight to get a victory. That's where we're at."
(On if the most satisfying part of a win is the idea that it's a building block) – "The fact that it wasn't perfect. The fact that they fought through the conditions and the elements, and did the things necessary to win the game; I think that's the lesson. There are no ugly victories. That's a win."
(On if it's a trend that more teams are deferring) – "No, I think you get a feel for your team, and there are reasons why you do it. You never count on when you defer the team driving down and scoring. I talk about it each week and obviously, yesterday there was a reason for it."
(On Buster Skrine's confidence) – "He has always been a guy that has challenged. I think there was a lot he had to learn about playing defensive football when he got here. His natural ability to challenge, it's there. That has shown up since day one, and I think that's why we were excited to work with him. I'm glad that he's having some success."
(On if making plays down the stretch of a game is part of the team's natural growth) – "Yes, I think it's important that we make plays. Against the Bengals three weeks ago, we made plays. Last week we didn't make enough. This week we did. From an offensive standpoint, the first drive was really good. To get the ball and score, because there were plays within that drive that we didn't execute well. We had a big play action pass that we had Ben (Watson) that we missed on. I knew then, it was going to be a tough day throwing the football. That drive was important. The next most important drive, of course, was in the fourth quarter when we were backed up and we flipped the field position. I think that was huge. Then, of course, some of the plays, (Johnson) Bademosi catching the ball inside the five, those types of plays in games like that are huge. It's good."
(On Brandon Weeden's performance yesterday) – "I think he can play better. I think he battled. We've all said that you evaluate a quarterback though, based on how he leads his team to victory. I think he battled throughout. At the end of the game I think he did something smart. It was third and six, and there are some quarterbacks in that four minute situation that would have thrown the ball away. That's the one case when taking a sack is the right thing to do and he did it. It was less than perfect. As I mentioned, most of the mistakes he made are very correctable and will be even better this week."
(On things Weeden can improve on) – "We missed some throws that we need to be able to make. That's it."
(On if the reverse was there) – "Yes it was. I would say this too, and the ball handling on that, it's a handoff and then just a little flip. It was there though. What happened was we had a little penetration. They defended it pretty well. The next time we do it, we'll do if from a little bit different formation. We've run that play twice already this year. We ran it from a little different formation to disguise it. They got penetration on us, but had we executed the ball handling, it could have been a big play."
(On if they can gain anything from practicing in the kind of weather they had Sunday) – "You know what I do think, I think practice, it's so important that there's focus and concentration that there are times when it's yes. There are other times I think because you're learning and putting in new schemes and doing different things, that being able to concentrate and focus is just as important."
(On if the batted balls issue is because of the same thing) – "This is a scheme where it's a 3-4 scheme. They have their rush players on the end of the line of scrimmage are stand up guys. They can rush. If we don't do a real good job of getting their hands down, they are naturally in position to bat down balls in the flat. That's a couple times what happened. We can combat that though."
(On how he feels midway through the season) – "Obviously, we're not record wise where I want to be right now, but I see a team that's improving. I see a team that's battling. I see a team that's with me every step of the way. They believe in their coaches and I see a team that's improving. I'm hopeful that we're going to continue to make those improvements and win a heck of a lot of games. That's where I'm at."
(On what areas he's improved most since the start of season) – "I think we function better as a team. I think our young skill players on offense are better and we're getting production. We've won two games in the last three weeks, so let's call it for what it is. I think we're getting some defensive players back that'll help us. If you function better, you're playing better. You've found a way to win a couple games, and you're getting some players back that can help you win. That helps me stay positive."
(On why he's had more success this year with 20-yard completions) – "You have to be able to challenge all parts of the field, really in all down and distance situations. If they have to defend a run and a pass all the time, I think it helps you. If you've got a team where you can't stretch the field out, the game gets awful small and it gets awful tight. We've added some players to our roster that can run and then make plays down the field and we have a quarterback that can get the ball there."
(On if Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor will play against Baltimore) – "There's a good chance. We'll see though."
(On what it says about his roster turning down ‘Victory Monday') – "I was impressed by it. I tend to get really happy after victories, because you put so much into the game. That's just me. I do understand how important the process is. I was going that way because as you've all been in winning locker rooms, it's good. It's good. That's what you fight for. It made me feel good that they have the maturity. Even though they are young, they have the maturity to know how important the process is. We're a team that has a lot of improvement to make. They are getting a lot done today. It made me feel good."
(On what areas of improvement he could see in the next month) – "I'd like us to be able to be more explosive and more efficient running and passing. I think when you have guys, skill players, that have a little bit of a taste of success and they have talent, they've got their health, there's a reason for them to continue to keep pushing. I'm looking for that. I'm looking to see more of the defensive players that I thought we would start the year with on the field. All of them playing together, there's a little synergy there. What happens too is you get more of your guys back; you get more good snaps on special teams from some of those role players that have had to play more of a significant role. There's a synergy there."
(On if he'd like to see more big plays) – "Big plays are important, but I think just general efficiency."
(On Owen Marecic being inactive and putting Alex Smith at fullback) – "I wanted to get Alex back on the field. I wanted to have a defined role for him, because I think he brings some energy to our team. He was coming back from injury, and he played that position for us. He actually showed up very well. We'll see as we progress. The roster changes each week. The only thing I didn't want to do is we have some young receivers and you can only put up so many skill players on offense. That's why I made the decision to switch. Basically switch Alex and Owen for this game. Again, each week you evaluate it and make the decision."
(On if Smith has an attitude) – "He's a very emotional guy. He loves to play the game. He's back healthy again. He helps us on special teams, because he's tall, he's long. He has energy and he's a tough guy."
(On if Smith's emotions help him in blocking) – "Emotion helps you, sure, because you want to do it I guess. I'm not saying you can't be a quiet guy and not block. I think I like to see the emotion, and I think everybody feeds off it."
(On if he was involved in the discussion saying San Diego had 12 men on the field) – "Yes, I'm involved in everything."
(On Smith saying that the Chargers didn't get a guy off in time) – "Alex? Stanford guy, he can count (jokingly)."
(On the decision of how much they would play Richardson) – "He's no worse for wear. He didn't re-injure himself. You watch him. You get to know your players. You watch him perform. With a running back, if he's going and the score's right, you feed him. That was a game for him to have an opportunity and he showed up pretty well."
(On if he feels good about young defensive players stepping up) – "Yes, I think they are making improvements. The football gods look down on us. They dropped some balls and did some things, but then so did we. I see enthusiasm and an energy there, that's good. It's important that they are good players. I think we've added some youthful players to our roster on both sides of the ball that will help us we move forward."
(On James-Michael Johnson) – "I think he was the second leading tackler. I don't know if it was a break-through game, but I've seen him improve each week. I've talked about it. Typically, young players, you see bigger jumps in their improvement than guys that have been in the league a long time. I think he'll continue to even get better."
(On if there was a difference in the way the offensive line blocked Sunday) – "What are we comparing, this week and last?"
(On why the offensive running game was successful this week) – "We had a couple of long runs which were good. We ran the ball a lot. Some of our guys up front made improvements in their run blocking for sure."
(On if yesterday told him that they can be more dedicated to the run) – "No, we're going to run the football, but I think it's important you throw the ball efficiently or you play a lot of 7-6 games. Let's call it for what it is now. I think that game played in different conditions could have been played a little bit differently for both teams."
(On Weeden's play calling while his headset was not working) – "There were about four plays where it went out. Two of which were critical and I think it must have been the moisture in the helmet and he got whacked a couple times. Then there were a couple other times in the game when he got a partial and he fixed it and did a good job. That would be another area where he made improvement."
(On if the inability to convert on third down was caused by the weather) – "No, we just need to get better. I'm watching the film today like it was sunny and 70, and so that's how we coach it, today. We left a lot out there. I think Norv (Turner) can say the same thing about his team. We left a lot out there in terms of efficiency. That's not good and that's what we're working on today."
(On if Weeden or any other rookie quarterback ever hides behind the fact that he's a rookie) – "Not on my watch, nope. I haven't seen it. I think most of these guys know that they're professionals and they have to perform whether they're a first-year guy or a 10th year guy."
(On if he is confident Jimmy Haslam is seeing the growth that he talks about) – "That's a better question for him. I think all along here our conversations have been good. As I've mentioned before, I've encouraged him to learn everything about our operation and what we're doing because I believe in it. I think the conversations have been good. Joe (Banner) and I are getting reacquainted and we've had great conversations since he's been on board. I'm going to try to just keep making that more natural and I think it's going alright. I think that's a better question for him."
(On what impact two wins in three weeks makes) – "It's important when I keep talking about how we're getting better that they see the results and we know the results in this business are based on winning. That's what helps keeps these guys going. They can see what it's like on the other side of the fence and that helps keep them going. That's why it's good. Let's face it, we all feel better, everybody goes to work in Cleveland on Monday morning and it feels better after you win on Sunday. That's the reality of it and that's what we're fighting for each week."
(On if any players received game balls and who were they) – "Well typically, I don't tell them until I present the game balls later in the week. I'll tell you what I'll do though, I'll let you know."
(On if this team is on a mini-roll and on the verge of being on a roll) – "Hey listen, we're fighting for every inch. Like last week, I said let's not talk about Trent, we're talking about winning each game. I talked to the players and I told the players, ‘Let's stay right in the moment. Let's make Monday good and then we make Tuesday great and Wednesday better and just keep working the process.' It's hard for coaches to look at trends. We're looking at days. It sounds pretty remedial I guess, but that's the way we approach it."
(On what he feels the players got accomplished by coming in today) – "What we got accomplished is we got the film corrected in a structured setting of a Monday. Typically, when I give them a, ‘See you Wednesday' I make them come in and watch it sometime in those two days and get it done, but to be able to do it in a structured setting with the coaches and in a way that's familiar to them, I think that's good. It also gives us a chance to get a little jump on Baltimore. Then of course, we can see where they're all at physically from the game as well, so that's what you get accomplished. The fact that they wanted to do it the last week in October says a lot. I've been around a lot of other good teams that will do whatever they can to get a, ‘See you Wednesday' and so that shows me that there's a level of maturity there. It shows me that these guys understand the importance of work."
(On Johnson Bademosi) – "He's big number one, he's fast and he's been productive. Each week, the teams that we play watch him on tape and he continues to show up. I think that was a terrific play. It's rare that you see that, where you catch the punt like he did. That's a big time play, because it was hard for the returners to do it. With him running down turning around and doing it is even more difficult. To answer your question, he's youthful and he's working hard at it. He loves to play the game. That kind of energy is infectious, it really is. I like to watch him when he's out there."
(On T.J. Ward) – "He played well, he had some production and he was definitely in the mix. We talked about how we felt like (Antonio) Gates could have a big impact on the game. When he didn't, so to speak, he had some production, but when he didn't, obviously the safeties are involved in that."
(On if this was the most impactful game since T.J. Ward has been here) – "No, I wouldn't go that far. He's played some good games. He did alright."
(On if he was surprised that the players wanted to come in today) – "No, but I grabbed right onto it. I think that's important. This time of year you get a feel for where they're at mentally and sometimes mental fatigue shows up physically. I kind of try to keep an eye on that as we move forward and keep pushing and keep working. Knowing the team much better than I did a year ago, I have a better feel for where they're at. The fact that they understood that the process is important and wanted to do it, I think was good."
(On if Weeden should get a pass on the throw he missed to Ben Watson)- "No, he didn't get a pass. Your question said in essence what I was thinking. The throw to the left to a wide open Ben Watson, you've got to make that throw. No, he didn't get a pass. You don't give me a pass, you know what I mean?"
(On what Weeden could have done to make that throw to Watson) – "Not throw it as far. In that case, if I had to be ultra-critical you take the air out of it and drive it to him he was wide open. I think he'll tell you the same thing."