Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur Press Conference 11-5-12
(Opening Statement) – "I had a chance last night to say a lot about the game. We got behind against a very good football team. We fought our way back with just under nine minutes, and were winning 15-14. It becomes an issue of being able to finish, and I think that's what I talked to the players about. They are going to be games where you're going to be ahead and you're going to stay ahead the whole way. There will be games when you get behind and you fight your way back in and you have to finish. Then, there are games when you're ahead, and they come back and get the lead. We just have to finish better. I think there were a lot of plays throughout the game we were visiting today. It is important to be ahead at halftime. We talk a lot about the fourth quarter. We need to play better throughout. There were some decisions, when I look back on them now, of course, that don't work out. Then I'll say, ‘well, you know what? Maybe we should have done something else.' That's what you do on Monday. I'm sure you'll have specific questions, so I'll leave those to you. I am not discouraged. I remember a year ago, we played the Baltimore Ravens here, and the score was close, but they beat the brakes off us. They ran the ball on us. We found a way to get it kind of close. There were special teams issues that popped up. This was a very fine football team we played. I don't know how it's reported locally. They're a very good football team, we had a chance to beat them and we didn't. That's what's disappointing, but not discouraged. You're going to hear me say it, because I believe it. We're just getting ourselves ready to go as we move forward. We have a bye week here wedged into the preparation (of) getting ready to play the Cowboys, and that's where we're at. I will say, the special teams part of this thing, we've made huge improvements there. Huge improvements. That was kind of a heavyweight fight when you watch the special teams compete. They have a lot of very fine athletes. They have a lot of very dangerous people on their special teams units. I think our guys went out there and battled. I think they have done so, for the most part, all year. Best game out of our punter (Reggie Hodges). Phil (Dawson) made five field goals, which we'll talk about the red zone. You don't ever want that to happen, but he did it. We didn't win the game, (and) all that is for not, because we did not win, but we will build on that."
(On if he would call the fourth and two call differently today) – "What I would like us to do is execute, give him a better play and make it. I watched the game last night, the (New York) Giants punted in that situation (and they) never saw the ball again. Being that we did get the ball back, yeah, I would consider doing something different if I can guarantee I'm going to get the ball back. That will be, I'm sure, in comparison to the one against Indy."
(On if he would run a more simplified play instead) – "(It was) pretty simple, the one we ran. We just didn't execute it well. I have to give him a better play and then we've got to make it. You're talking about it being a gutsy call to keep the drive alive."
(On if Greg Little ran the right route) – "Absolutely. Everybody did the right thing. We didn't execute it well. There were five receivers in the route, so we've got to do a better job."
(On if they considered using Trent Richardson with four minutes on the clock instead of spreading and throwing) – "We were trying to get going, so we tried to spread the field. We were going to run the ball in one situation from a spread out look, which has been good for us. We didn't go away from Trent if that's what you're talking about."
(On why the plays didn't get in on time) – "I mentioned about the communication. That's something that we're going to talk about. I'll take full responsibility for all of it. I think we can streamline some things to help the players execute better. That's about what I'll say about that."
(On the play calling process) – "Brad (Childress) and I call the game. I send in the play to the quarterback, and then he calls the play in the huddle. That's it. (It's) very simple."
(On the conversations between himself and Childress) – "We talk about what the plays are going to be. We have them written down, we just don't make them up as we go. Then there's also getting different players in the game because we use multiple players. There's a lot that goes on. That's where we need to be better than we were the other night in all of that and make sure it happens."
(On communications running smoother this year) – "I can't tell you exactly. I know exactly why. There were a couple situations getting the right people in the game, getting the play to the quarterback in a timely fashion and then him calling it properly. That's the string of events. There were a couple times yesterday that didn't get done. I'm absolutely responsible for that. We'll make changes here and we'll streamline some of things. That's what's nice about the bye week. It's about the Browns. It's about whoever you're team is you focus on, ‘What can we do better as we move forward?' We just happen to have the latest bye of the season. For instance, we'll look at third and ones, what we can do better, the people we use, the plays we run as we move forward to make that absolutely better. We're going to do that."
(On if Brandon Weeden can call audibles) – "Actually, he changed a couple plays. An audible to me is once you're at the line of scrimmage, he makes changes there. Yeah, he does."
(On if Weeden is being overly cautious in the red zone) – "You want to be aggressive, but you also have to have a huge amount of concern for the football. I think they did a nice job yesterday. There are times when teams won't let you throw it. They played some soft zones where then we were forced to check the balls down. Now, we've got to get more out of our check downs. When we choose to run the football, we've got to carve out more yardage. Just generally speaking, there are times we'll look at everything there too, whether we run it or throw it, situations and whatnot."
(On why calling a draw play after Josh Gordon's touchdown gets nullified) – "Here's the thing, and the reason I called the draw. We were at the top of the field goal range. The field goal there puts us ahead 15-14. I did not want a holding call. I did not want a sack. I did not want anything crazy that knocked us out of that situation. At that point in the game, a field goal puts us ahead. That's why I made that call. We had a situation there where we could have got some yardage, and we saw Trent on that very same play score against the Bengals. That's why I did it in that situation. Now, if the situation is different, maybe then you take another crack at the end zone. They did legislate against it though. They played pretty soft, which should have made the run better."
(On if they adjusted well enough to the Ravens defensive changes) – "We saw it. Typically, when you try to throw the football you're passes are layered. They take away the deep ball, you throw a short one."
(On if there were plays in the red zone that would have got him in the end zone) – "A couple that we could have been a little bit more heroic or aggressive with. Then, the situation in the game, there are plays throughout the game, not just the red zone that I wish we would have executed better."
(On playing the Ravens to a draw) – "That's where the mental toughness of the people involved comes into play. We've got a bunch of tough guys in there, and you have to be able to conquer your own mind in these situations. You just have to keep moving forward. You're probably getting tired of me saying that. That's where the mental toughness comes in. You clean it up, you make corrections and when you make mistakes or you look back and say, ‘you know what I'd have done this better.' You've got to be able to say that. You have to be able to say that. Then you move forward."
(On considering Josh Cooper and Weeden's connection on deciding active receivers) – "We considered it. We basically played Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) instead of Cooper. Then Mo played some. He didn't have a huge impact on the game in terms of production in the passing game. We considered it, for sure. They have a thing going because they've played. Yeah, we considered it. I'll put that on my list as something to consider. Do you have anything else? (jokingly)"
(On if Massaquoi re-injured his hamstring) – "No. He did not re-injure it, but he was less than 100 percent. Let's put it that way."
(On Weeden saying Ravens played a lot of cover two and having patterns not for cover two) – "I would ask you to clarify what he meant. Most plays are designed when they play cover two. They are designed to be zone coverage, which we called a lot of zone beaters last night. There are places to go with the football. There are times when they'll legislate against you making a deep throw. That's when you just have to take the check down. I would encourage you to ask him to clarify that."
(On if he notices something about Weeden's numbers in the fourth quarter) – "They need to be better, especially when we are in a situation where we need to come back. Yeah, we need to improve there."
(On if Weeden is pressing) – "No, I don't think so. I don't sense him doing anything. We just have to get better."
(On how a formation infraction can occur at this point in the season) – "That's why I look like I do. You don't want that to happen. There are not a lot of great answers sometimes for it, other than you get it fixed, so it doesn't happen again. That's where the mental toughness comes in. You've got to find a way to correct it and move on. Then, you've got to overcome it. There's a lot of football left after that play. There were mistakes made that we're not talking about. There was some really smart stuff that we did that'll go unnoticed. As you're playing the game, you just keep trying to keep going."
(On D'Qwell Jackson saying that you have to earn the official's respect) – "No. I don't believe in any conspiracy theory there. I do think that everybody's trying to get it right. Things happen quickly out there. There are times when we all see things a little differently. Nobody wants to make the wrong call. I'm sure you can see that there are times when I see it differently than the way it gets called. No, I don't feel like as teams you need to earn the officials respect. I don't believe in that."
(On if his view changed on the Gordon block) – "Nope. I'm not telling you what I thought."
(On the rule on the Gordon block) – "Basically, the players in those positions are deemed defenseless, so you can't hit them in the head with your head. Now, the question will become, is if that happened. You of course can't go low on them, which didn't happen. The player is defenseless so it has to be right."
(On if you just stand in front of them to block) – "I'm going to try to get clarification. I'll get back to you on that."
(On if the interception that was returned for a TD in the first game against Baltimore factored into Weeden's aggression, or lack thereof yesterday) – "No. One guy that roams around the middle of the field for these guys, Ed Reed, he has an effect on me too. There are times when he's supposed to play half coverage and you find him in the middle or on the other side. He's kind of a UFO in there. That has an effect on some of the balls you throw down the field in the middle of the field, just because he's an outstanding ball hawk."
(On if you put an extra emphasis on the limited opportunities you get) – "You have to hit him regardless of who's playing in there."
(On the third and ones they didn't get) – "They covered the primary route on the first one and Weeden reacted back to the side we were protecting and threw the ball to (Alex) Smith. That's what happened there. We all saw, we've talked about the other one quite a bit. We had a post called and a flat swing route called and then check downs underneath. The halfback was wide open wasn't he? The post route got nailed."
(On if he still considers Chris Ogbonnaya as a primary playmaker for the offense) – "There were two halfbacks in there. We faked it to Trent who is your primary ball carrier right?"
(On how was it interference on Gordon on that particular play) – "I am going to get clarification. We'll find out."
(On the players seeming frustrated and angry postgame and if they should be) – "I think we all kind of go through the spectrum of emotions after a game when you don't win. You'd probably have to tell me who they are specifically. Yeah, I was angry when we lose. Get disappointed, angry, but not discouraged. Keep playing."
(On if he understand the line of questioning with him not going for it on Indianapolis' 41-yard line and going for it yesterday and passing for a first down on third and one three times and running it on third and long) – "Absolutely, I understand it. I'm trying to answer the questions for you based on why you did it. Throwing it on third and eleven you guys understand why I say that? The field goal there puts us ahead by a point. You get that? And if we take a sack or we have a 10 yard holding call we're knocked out of field goal range. You good with that? I'd like us to do better executing on fourth and two and I've talked about the fact that because we didn't get it sure I'm going to sit here and think about doing something different."
(On if there is an overriding philosophy on third and short in his mind) – "Yeah, I think you have to be able to run it effectively and then when you throw the ball you have to be able to do that effectively. When it's not happening there are multiple reasons for it. We've got to get better."
(On how you work with Weeden after performance on Sunday) – "You go through the process that you go through. You just get back to business of getting him better and you look at all the mistakes for what they are. Just like last week, we looked at the film like it was sunny and 70, but we knew it wasn't. Today, we look at the film based on the progressions and where the ball should have gone and the rhythm and the feet and all that stuff. You just look at it and try to improve on it."
(On if there was one area of the game that Weeden struggled the most) – "I think it's different on each play and he did do some good things yesterday. Let's not understate that, but not enough to win."
(On the two third and one pass plays in the first quarter and how much consideration he takes in how the run game is going) – "All I would say is the first one they covered and we threw a check down. We've got to catch it and get the yard. So that's feasible and then we had a guy running wide open down the boundary. That might have been a touchdown, which would have been fun, huh? So, you look at those types of things. Then the next time you get a third and one and you run it, maybe they're a little looser. It all goes into it. If the defense knows you're going to do one thing all the time then the game gets very small. We need to be able to do everything better. That's the point, regardless of what we do."
(On if Richardson's fumble on the second and one changed his philosophy on the play call for third and one) – "No and again, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. If the ball doesn't get punched out its first and ten and then there is no third and one. I would have been out of here five minutes sooner."
(On going for the field goal versus going for the fourth and two) – "The pick we threw at the end there, (Travis) Benjamin is running wide open down the boundary. That could have been a quick touchdown right there. In my opinion, the game wasn't over regardless of the situation right there."
(On the Ravens being up by ten at that point) – "Yeah, they were up by ten, but now we still got to onside kick and do what we do. In my opinion, the games not over there. I really didn't think of it that way."
(On if you should try to be more aggressive based on being 2-7) – "No. You try to make your decisions based on what's best. I think it's important that you're aggressive. I think it's important you're smart and I think you think through all the situations. Quite frankly, if you remember, just before the two minute warning, I'll give you one that we talked about. Just before the two minute warning, we're in the red zone and then we run a run. We could have let the thing go to the two minute warning before we ran that second down play and we talked about it. Well, I'm glad we didn't because we got the ball back with enough time to then go two minute and get three points later. There's constant conversation about all situations all the time."
(On if the fact that the defense just giving up a touchdown played into his decision to go for it on fourth down) – "Nope. I mean that was some pretty darn good defense. Credit to them, they ground out an 82-yard drive with a couple of chunks and then the T.J. (Ward) play."
(On what happened to Joe Haden on Torrey Smith's touchdown and then the two point conversion after that) – "It was third and long and they threw an under route. You just want to get him tackled and make them kick the field goal. That's what we were choosing to do and he did an outstanding job of circling back on us and scoring."
(On the two point conversion) – "Obviously you have to cover the guy."
(On if one of the assistant coaches should have noticed the illegal formation before the snap) – "We all saw it. You're talking about the one with Chris Ogbonnaya? Yeah, well he was trying to get back, but you'll notice he was doing it as the ball was snapped. We saw it and yeah, we were yelling."
(On if someone on the sideline should tell Ogbonnaya that he is lined up illegally) – "If you notice, it was outside of our sideline. If it was down the line where I could look at it, it was beyond our 30-yard mark there and you can't see it. Now, we saw it upstairs. Yeah, no we saw it. We saw all the craziness."
(On what he saw on the T.J. Ward roughing penalty) – "I'm going to try to get clarification on that."
(On what he can do to improve overall efficiency during the bye week) – "We just have to do everything a little bit better. Missed throws, dropped passes. I didn't see that being a huge thing yesterday. There were a couple of drops in there of course. We're getting better there. You just have to keep practicing it. We just have to keep going back to the progressions that our guys know the best and just keep repeating them."
(On if Weeden was less efficient in the passing game than expected) – "Yesterday we were. We want to get more completions. We want to score touchdowns and win games."
(On if they are trying to use Gordon more than the start of the season) – "He played almost every play yesterday. We're going to try to use him as much as we can, and then remember that there are some things he does well and try to focus on those."