We talked to Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur in a teleconference with Seattle-area reporters this morning.
The first-year coach is familiar with the Seahawks from his time as offensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams for two seasons.
“They are playing very well against the run,” Shurmur said about Seattle’s defense. “And I think they’ve got a good scheme, and they’re very talented. They’ve improve in spots roster-wise, and there’s no mystery that they are playing well, because they’re good players.
“I think it’s rare that you see a corner as big as we’ll see. And I think the safeties are real good players. Earl Thomas is a very disruptive guy. And they’ve got some guys back. I was with Chris Clemons in Philadelphia, and gosh he’s very disruptive as a pass rusher. And then you have (Alan) Branch, and (Brandon) Mebane and Red Bryant. So there’s guys there that are playing well, and the scheme is good.”
Listen to a snippet of our conversation with Shurmur below.
[wpaudio url="http://blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/files/2011/10/PatSchurmuraduio.mp3" text=MP3: Pat Shurmur audio"]
Offensively, Shurmur said Seattle is getting a lot of mileage out of the no-huddle offense, and regardless of who starts at quarterback – Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst – he expects to see a steady diet of the no-huddle on Sunday.
“Both quarterbacks, whoever is going to play, they’ve both found a way to execute well within the scheme,” he said. “And you’ve got a heck of a running back, that when he carries the football Marshawn (Lynch) can really go. So I think they’re a very talented team, and they’re playing well. And I think they have a lot of confidence.”
Shurmur also talked about the difference in Seattle’s scheme defensively from last year to this season.
“I think it’s Year 2 of their scheme,” Shurmur said. “And they have a way within their scheme to pressure with the linebackers and play man (coverage). They have a to fire zone as well to stop the run. And then they also do a good job of just playing pure zone coverage. So they’ve got all the components that you need, and I’m sure they are going to look at us, and try to devise a way to stop us.”
Perhaps the most interesting comments of the interview came when Shurmur talked about his relationship with Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren. The two got to know each other during the time Shurmur’s uncle, the late Fritz Shurmur, served as Holmgren’s defensive coordinator in Green Bay from 1994 to 1998.
Pat Shurmur was coaching tight ends at Michigan State during that time, so he would regularly trek to Green Bay and stay with his uncle, hanging around at the Packers’ office. That’s also where Pat Shurmur got to know Andy Reid, who was coaching tight ends for Green Bay at the time. Pat Shurmur would later serve as quarterbacks coach for Reid at Philadelphia from 2002 to 2008.
“I’ve enjoy our interaction,” Shurmur said “There’s times we talk about football. There’s time we talk about things that have nothing to do with football. But I think as a new head coach, to have in my opinion a Hall of Fame head coach in this league as a guy that I can talk to and ask opinions of, I think it’s terrific.
“In fact I told Coach (Holmgren) not too long ago that I pride myself in being a good listener. I know I don’t know everything. And to have a resource like Mike Holmgren, gosh, it’s invaluable.”
So does Shurmur believe that Holmgren is content with not coaching and watching from the owners’ booth?
“Well, he’ll forever will be a coach,” Shurmur said. “He’s said that publicly as well. We do what we do. And I’m sure I’ll be the same. So I’m sure that’s the case.”
Shurmur joked that he has an MBA in finance but hasn’t written one check in 21 years of marriage.
“I don’t even know the pin number on my card,” joked Shurmur.