July 26, 2014

Pat Shurmur Makes the Media Rounds

Before he gets embroiled in the day-to-day operations of running the Cleveland Browns training camp, Pat Shurmur took a lot of time to talk to the media. He spoke to ESPN Cleveland, PD Sports Insider, and finally Bull and Fox on 92.3 the Fan. You can listen to them all, but just in case you can’t find the time, I did it for you. The coach was a little dry as he repeated a few mantras, but overall, he came off pretty well and sounded relieved to be starting his second year without all the unknowns involved in last year’s lockout.

Shurmur made very clear to say that while this year is decidedly easier, that he wasn’t making excuses for last season’s results. In every interview, Shurmur made sure to say clearly that nobody thought last year’s results were good enough. Even still, he went on to say that it would be much different addressing the team for the first time this year than it was this time last season. Last year, Shurmur had never coached anyone in the room. This year, Shurmur has had a full year with many guys and rookie camps and OTAs with others.

Shurmur also made sure to point out the differences in his coaching staff talking up the presence of Brad Childress at every opportunity. Shurmur wouldn’t admit to being overwhelmed, but his acknowledgement that Childress’ presence him many more opportunities to more things is telling.

If you were hoping for Shurmur to name a starting QB you will be disappointed. As I said on Twitter last night though, I’m not sure why anyone would want Shurmur to name everyone’s presumptive favorite Brandon Weeden the starter yet. It should be good enough that the Browns drafted a guy in the first round. That should be enough to assume that it is Weeden’s job unless he gets hurt or plays so badly that he takes his name out of contention for the job. I’m not sure what purpose it would serve Shurmur to name him starter before the first throws with pads are thrown. It would just make him look silly if Weeden somehow managed to be so bad that the Browns had to oust him from the top of the depth chart.

That’s the point I wanted to make when I also jokingly pointed out that Shurmur hasn’t named a starter at running back yet either. Everyone knows. I’m not sure why everyone is clamoring for him to “make it official.” Maybe it is negatively affecting latter rounds of fantasy drafts.

Other than that, Shurmur talked about Josh Gordon, who Scott talked about at length this morning.

Shurmur talked about not being worried about the depth at safety between T.J. Ward, Usama Young, and Eric Hagg. Not sure what else he’s supposed to say, but this is a real area that the Browns need to be solid. Usama Young never seemed fully healthy a year ago and T.J. Ward missed plenty of time. It could be a concern if there are repeat occurrences this season.

Overall it was a good day of media for Shurmur. While he did sometimes come off a little bit defensive at some of the questions about last year, he did a pretty good job of trying to set the table for a much improved 2012. Now comes the hard part. This team needs to actually be much improved on the field. If the team does that, when Shurmur makes the rounds next year, he’ll have a heck of a lot more fun.

  • Tron

    No one thought last years results were good enough? Well, at least I can agree with him there

  • Harv 21

    woo-hoo! The season’s first post about Shurmur. Ok folks, you no longer have to awkwardly shoehorn his name into comments on Cavs and Indians posts and pretend there’s a connection. Just let it out.

    Spew. The. Vitriol.

  • Steve_Not_Chad

    I thought he did well on THE FAN. However, I’m sure this will get over-analyzed by some.

  • Kildawg

    Let’s see what this team can do. We need more OLB depth (assuming JMJ can effectively back-up DQ) and S depth as well (starting FS maybe to compliment Ward, unless S. Brown can back that up as well). It’s good that we got depth at WR. This might make me unpopular, but how about trading B. Watson for draft picks and depth where needed?

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    does he sound like a leader of men?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    he does not to me.

    still rooting for the browns and all. but .. if you dont mind … if youre hiriing a first time HC, shouldnt you hire the best possible leader of men and not your ex-DC’s nephew?

    i’m so hoping you’ll rag on me for my misplaced shurmur pessimism.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    while i’m at it, good to know cleveland radio is bringing the hot sports takes with the ‘name the starting qb’ questions. sheesh.

    what i’d ask shurmur:
    1. what did you think of bill belichick playing his (14-2) starters and the nfl’s mvp/poy in the 4th preseason game because he thought they needed more work?
    2. why did colt primarily throw to right last year?
    3. what exactly was the audible policy last year? colt read and checked off a lot under mangini; why didn’t he do it as much last year?
    4. why do you want to call the plays? who assumes the strategic role while youre performing the tactics of play-calling?
    5. what is different in this year’s ‘full training camp?’
    6. did you see peter king’s publication of the paul brown lecture? (if not, why not?) do you plan anything comparable to kick off camp?
    7. four offensive linemen were brought into berea pre-draft, as well as schwartz. as an old offensive lineman, did you get more engaged in evaluating the draft for o-linemen?

    or you can have mary kay cabot ask who the starting qb is every time she sees him.

    why dont you guys interview shurmur? youre credentialed, no? when you do, ask him some good questions.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Nothing awkward about the truth, brother.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Yeah wow he sounds terrible. I like how Craig suger-coats the interviews, though. He really ought to ask to work for the Browns PR department.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Well said, I like all the questions. I might add:

    1. Have you worked out whatever kinks exist in the communication with your players so that situations like (a) McCoy’s concussion, (b) not knowing when certain players are on the field, a la Hillis, (c) not knowing when punters have slipped discs, etc,?

  • mgbode

    #2 & 3 would be particularly interesting to hear

    I would add one: Paul Brown was the greatest football innovator of all time and you are now sitting in his chair (as HC of the Browns). What are you doing in order to innovate the game of football in preparation, actual plays, and on gameday?

  • mgbode

    who is going to trade for Ben Watson w/ his concussion issues and advanced age?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I’ll be at training camp at times this summer / fall, but it is limited access at this point. No access to the draft or when the real season begins, for example. Nice access for training camp though.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Oh and I agree wholeheartedly about the QB thing. I was thinking about it again this morning, and I think these people desperately want to know so that they can say their predictions were right or something. Meanwhile everyone thinks exactly the same way on this, I think.

    Even the Colt supporters know at this point that the job’s going to have to be lost by Weeden and he might get traded. Agree, disagree or otherwise, is there anyone who questions what is going on here? That being the case, why the constant harping on that question?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I said he sounded defensive and then said none of the talk will matter unless the team is actually improved on Sundays. You read into things what you want and ignore the rest. Are we going to do this all season? I didn’t sugar-coat anything.

  • Natedawg86

    I would like to hear him answer the simple questions:
    How do you set yourself apart from other coaches in the NFL?
    What are some things that you feel that you can improve on from last year?
    I those would be interesting to hear from him.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Craig, come on. Just own it, man. It’s fine, no one will ignore your birthday if you admit that you ignore the glaring problem at head coach for the Browns. You like to push the glasses up or down or whatever and go for the “wait and see” approach with this coach/team. You did it all season; the worst you would say is that they have some learning to do, they are working with little talent, blah blah blah.

    Look at this graph: “Overall it was a good day of media for Shurmur. While he did sometimes
    come off a little bit defensive at some of the questions about last
    year, he did a pretty good job of trying to set the table for a much
    improved 2012. Now comes the hard part. This team needs to actually be
    much improved on the field. If the team does that, when Shurmur makes
    the rounds next year, he’ll have a heck of a lot more fun.”

    Huh? Set the table? How about the cornucopia of crap they served all year last year? How about how completely overwhelmed he was? How about the fact the we were the ONLY NFL team to have a first year coach (not necessarily a rookie, Lordy you guys tarred/feathered me for that but won’t go after this idiot, which is amusing) that didn’t improve their respective team?

    He was defensive in the interviews…think about that. He had one of the worst seasons even for the Browns with a new coach and he actually defended it! This man may be delusional. At best he is a puppet of Holmgren who was Mr. Angry all year last year. At worst he’s an idiot who doesn’t know his @$$ from a hole in the ground.

  • Natedawg86

    Most we would get for him would be a 7th rd pick, oh wait, Asante Samuel was traded for 7th rd pick

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Maybe people just want to hear some solidarity from the FO and to know that the team and coaches are behind Weeden publicly and privately. I agree with you, here, though. Who cares what is said right now? Let Weeden perform in camp first; he might really suck and then we will be in a world of hurt.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i wasnt quite coherent in the thought i wanted to get across last nite. but it’s just this: i dont thing he’s a good manager.

    like.. take your boss. is he still making excuses for a bad product rollout four quarters ago? (‘we had as much change as any team dealing with a new HC and lockout.’) when asked about a blown sales campaign from last does know exactly where it went sideways or does give non-answers like ‘we all have to do better.’

    a head coach is, first and foremost, a manager. i wish i saw more of the traits of good managers in shurmur. (and this is something all of us are experts on.)

  • neoyng

    Lol sugar coated!? You just cant win craig,I think you did a very nice job of covering his interviews

  • yngpete

    Browns were sold, no more lerner!!!!z

  • mgbode

    I don’t know. I’m torn. I like hearing the HC fired up and such, but, at the same time, the current tour was just a PR-spin on things. It’s not like he can talk much positive about last year (especially the offense). And, anything he mentions about this year will be met with skepticism (with good reason until they prove otherwise). Tough spot to be put in. I listened to it last night and it sounded fine to me.

    For your example, if that manager was asked by the media, then the company would have a canned line for him to say. It’s all PR at that point. Now, if he was talking internally, then he should have a better answer. We don’t know what he says internally.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yep, I’m with you… does every newspaper columnist and beat writer and radio host and idiot with a podcast need to constantly ask, “When are you naming a QB? Is it now? And now for the most important question, when will we know who starts at quarterback? Is Brandon Weeden the favorite? Are you going to trade Colt McCoy?! Who do you like to win the starting job??? Puppies and glitter and rainbows and unicorns!!!! Oh sorry, got carried away there… HAVE YOU NAMED A STARTING QB YET???”
    I don’t think any reader or listener cares about this question anywhere near as much as the people trying to get the scoop first. Scoopism… makes for obnoxious journalists.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Ori, as much as I blamed Shurmur all last year for being inept or stupid, or possibly both, he was kinda thrown into a pretty crappy situation. No OTA’s, not training camp, and a pretty dismal roster (especially after Hillis goes down in week two).

    I agree there were better candidates for head coach than Shurmur, but once we hired the dude, that’s it. He’s the coach. And it’s not his fault he was a first time/rookie head coach with basically no time to prepare. I will say that it was a huge mistake that he was calling plays. That one is on him. After week 1 (blown game against Cincy where the DEF was huddled while they scored a TD), it should have been clear to everyone that this coaching staff needed help.

    As far as his media stuff, I think everyone wants him to be more fired about about winning or losing!!! He’s just not the most comfortable guy in front of the camera, and I for one certainly can’t stand the BS responses… just tell it like it is. If we got beat, fine. Tell us why we got beat in your mind and what you’re gonna do about it. I always liked how Parcells would stand up there and yell at the reporters and say: “Yeah, we made bad plays, that’s why we lost.”

    So my point is, only some of the blame falls on Shurmur, and you’re being a little too hard on the guy for stuff that was out of his control.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i think youre being kind and that’s fine. his responses were rambling and said nothing. effective managers in real businesses are crisp and confident.

    i can only look at it through my prism — and i wouldnt hire anyone who interviews like this.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    cleveland scoopism = who retweets @ caplannfl first

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    “As far as his media stuff, I think everyone wants him to be more fired…”

    Had you only stopped your sentence there!

    Were the Browns the only team who suffered through the lockout? They all did. We were the only team with a new coach who did worse than the previous year. Think about that.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Good point, yes. The first thing Shurmur said after the Cincy debacle in week 1 was “I don’t know if the rules allow for what they did.”

    That spoke volumes about his character.

  • technivore

    Do you not think it’s legitimate to believe that Shurmur is far and away the Browns’ biggest weakness?

  • porckchopexpress

    Shurmur repeatedly said last year was not good enough. He said he has a book full of things he’ll never do again based on mistakes from last year. He specfically mentioned that the Bengals game free touchdown was ultimately his fault as HC.
    What more exactly do you want a Ned Starks full confession of sins? Short of beheading what would be an acceptable and REALISTIC response from Shurmur?

  • mgbode

    fair enough. the great thing about sports (unlike in business alot of times) is that the results on the field will determine if he sticks around or not. put up or shut up as they say.

  • BenRM

    The “who’s the starting QB” thing drives me nuts, too!

  • BenRM

    PAT SHURMUR IS IN THE NEWS??? I HATES HIM! HE WANTS MY PRECIOUS.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It’s only still July people oribiasi especially…pace yourself man…you’ll have plenty of opportunities to whack a way at the Shurmur pinata trust me. This guy actually Mangini seem like a stand up comic!

  • Bryan

    I am highly skeptical of Shurmur. Not impressed at all with his performance last year. However, I really liked his radio performance. More than being defensive, I think he came off as being annoyed by the stupid questions the media was asking him. He was, dare I say, very Mangini-esque (which I loved).

    Some on this thread are interpreting his defensive tone as a sign that he lacks leadership (which I understand), but I honestly liked it. I felt like he was openly mocking the hosts of the various shows. Anyone who recognizes that the Cleveland media (mainly the PD and the radio shows) are complete and utter morons, and has the balls to basically mock their idiocy to their face, has hope in my book.

    (God are the PD people morons. Their questions were so cliche, uninteresting, predictable, useless, etc.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Murphy/30101207 Joe Murphy

    Sharing in Jim’s sentiment – one common trait shared by recently successful coaches is charisma. Tomlin, Carroll, Harbaugh, all charismatic easy to follow leaders.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    This article isn’t meant to rate his coaching job from a year ago. It was meant to summarize and give impressions from his media appearances yesterday. Should I write the same Shurmur bashing article every day? LOL

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    Nah, just once would be fine.

  • Old goat

    He is an idiot send him back to New jersey. Weeden looked like a chump