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Coach Pat Shurmur Talks the Day After the Browns Win Over SD

(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.”

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