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.
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.