BEREA,Ohio — Pat Shurmur met with the local media for close to an hour before leaving for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Here are some other questions he addressed besides the quarterback information.
Q: What's the biggest difference for you from year one to year two as a head coach:
Shurmur: "I learned much more about the players. I have a vision as to what I want to do moving forward and have much more clarity as we move on. My first team meeting in July was the first time I met some of the guys. To know the players now, we know what we need to do to get better."
Q: Can the Browns make the jump this year from 4-12 to a winning record?:
Shurmur: "Absolutely. When you look back on all the games in total, I think we're very close. The margin of error between winning and losing is very small. I think the way you do business changes the culture, and I know I've spoken with a lot of players and they're really looking forward to April 16."
Q: Thoughts on the draft:
Shurmur: "We have a real good feeling and are committed to building through the draft. We have nine picks right now and as coaches are just getting involved in the process right now."
Q: Thoughts on Peyton Hillis' return?:
Shurmur: "I really like what I saw of him when he was playing healthy. I really can't say a lot more than that. We want to try to put the best roster we can. When he was playing he did a good job. The last time we visited, it was good. I've spoken with him a few times and I try to communicate with all our players."
Q: D'Qwell Jackson:
Shurmur: "He's a guy we want back. We haven't issued a tag, but there's a starting date for that, but we want him back."
Q: Phil Dawson:
Shurmur: "He's another guy that obviously, performed well for us."
Q: Will you use the franchise tag on Jackson, Hillis or Dawson?:
Shurmur: "We're going to be willing to use it as we go through seeing what is the best way to use it."
Q: How's Eric Steinbach doing?:
Shurmur: "He's doing very well. He's getting better and we'll see how it goes. I like what I saw of him (in 2010)."
Q: Do you see Jason Pinkston as a possible tackle?:
Shurmur: "I see him more as a guard."
Q: Who will play right tackle?:
Shurmur: "We'll have to see who can play there. We have Tony (Pashos) and some other guys like (Oniel) Cousins and (John) Greco."
Q: Thought on free agency:
Shurmur: "We meet on it all the time. It's very fluid and we have some areas we'd like to address, but to keep the (information) private for competitive reasons. There are obviously some attractive free agents that would fit."
Q: What about the wide receivers?:
Shurmur: "What you're counting on and confident the guys coming back will improve. There's a good group of talent and will use both free agent and the draft to fill needs. I think it's important you have leadership and experience at the position."
Shurmur: "Dimitri did a good job for us and is a nice player. Adams did a good a good job and he's one of our guys."
Q: Are you locked into offense with the first pick?:
Shurmur: "I don't think we're locked in to anything right now. It's way early and I don't think we'd every divulge that. I'm sorry for that."
Q: Who will call plays?:
Shurmur: "Here we go. Here's what happens. Unless something changes, Brad will be upstairs. During the week we decide what plays will be used and then call them. I'll be on the field, calling (plays)."
Staff changes: The Browns made three changes to their staff in the off-season. Tim Hauck replaced Jerome Henderson as defensive backs coach.
"I've known Timmy since he was a player when I was on the staff in Philadelphia," Shurmur said. "I've followed his career and he's a good fit."
Nolan Cromwell is senior offensive assistant.
"I coached with Nolan in St. Louis and he was a good fit," Shurmur said. "He's a terrific teacher."
The most notable was hiring Brad Childress as offensive coordinator.
"I worked with Brad for seven years. We actually were hired on the same day and we learned together and I've known him for a long time and have great respect for him."