CLEVELAND, Ohio — Browns head coach Pat Shurmur sees progress, and he knows a win can be a building block. After the 7-6 squeaker of a win on a day fit for ducks, Shurmur talked of what he felt were signs of progress.
“The fact that it wasn’t perfect,” said Shurmur. “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.”
That is indeed a win, but just No. 2 at the midway point of the season. The Browns have been in most games but in the majority of them, have found ways to lose, rather that what they did on Sunday: find a way to win.
So at the halfway point, with a 2-6 team, how does the coach feel?
“Obviously, we’re not, record-wise, where I want to be right now, but I see a team that’s improving,” said Shurmur. “I see a team that’s battling. I see a team that’s with me every step of the way. 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.”
Shurmur has been under a lot of pressure, and although he could point to one area or another as indications that progress is being made, he has understood from the beginning, that the true measurement is with a W or an L.
So tell us coach Shurmur, what areas are you seeing improvement since opening day?
“I think we function better as a team,” he said. “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.”
His players turned down an opportunity to have Monday off and chose, instead to come to the facility and begin to get ready for the Ravens game. Is he confident, the new owner Jimmy Haslam is seeing the growth that he talks about?
“That’s a better question for him.” said the coach. “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.”
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