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Hue Jackson conference call - 8/22

Posted Aug 22, 2017

The Browns coach talks with reporters the day after beating the Giants

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

“Here are some thoughts from last night: I felt like we improved in some areas and definitely saw that on the defensive side, but there were good spots on offense and special teams, as well. As we settle more on personnel, we will see more consistency, I truly believe that, on offense. I am excited about our football team and excited about where we are headed. As I told the team last night, I truly believe we are becoming something because I can see the fight and the will and the grit in the guys. If we continue to work and continue to improve the areas that we need to, then we will get better. We just have to keep working at it, keep our head down and keep pushing. I think the guys understand where we are right now is exciting, but at the same time, we understand that there is so much more work to be done.

“The injuries, I know we will talk about those. Unfortunately, (LB) Tank Carder sustained an ACL injury that will cost him the season. He will have surgery. We all know Tank has been a great teammate and has worked really hard for the opportunity that was in front of him. He will be missed, no question. We think (TE) David Njoku is going to be fine and should not miss any time. (DB) (Justin) Currie and (OL) (Matt) McCants suffered ankle injuries and will miss some time. Other than that, we made it out of the game OK, except for some guys. We will get some guys back like (RB) (Isaiah) Crowell, and I know (OL) Joe Thomas does plan on playing this week.”

On potentially announcing the starting QB today rather than Wednesday:

“Today is Tuesday. Not today.”

On assessing QB play versus the NY Giants after watching the tape:

“There were some things that we did better. There were some things we have to continue to work on and work through, but I saw some growth in some areas of our quarterbacks. Like I said before, it is never as bad as you think and never as good as you think until you go watch the tape. I had a chance to do that and saw some things that are very correctible but also saw some good things as well.”

On the importance of LB Joe Schobert’s play thus far with Carder out for the season:

“I thought Joe is really improved and has done a great job. He has had a tremendous training camp and first two preseason games. He is very smart, understands the system and what we are trying to implement from the MIKE linebacker position. Having him obviously has been great and it is a real luxury when you lose somebody like Tank. I think Joe will fit the bill and do what is necessary to play the position and play it well.”

On if the Browns would potentially seek another QB who is not on the roster or if it is too late in the process to attain one:

“No, I think it is too late as far as getting ready for this week, but we are [always going to] look for ways to improve our football team. We have said that since I have been here. If there is somebody that we feel fits the criteria that we are looking for and that can help our football team, we will always continue to look.”

On if QB Brock Osweiler only playing limited time with the first team offense is negatively impacting his performance or if that is just an excuse:

“No, I don’t think it is an excuse, but I also don’t think it has hurt him either. I think he has represented himself well. He has done some good things and worked hard and done a great job in this building. There is no question he is in the discussion here, but at the same time, I think all of these guys have had ample opportunities to showcase their talent and ability and what they bring to the table.”

On if there is enough confidence to name one of the Browns current QBs the starter for Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh:

“Yes, I do. I do. I think we will definitely head in that direction, and somebody is going to play quarterback for us from the four guys we have as we get ready to face the Steelers.”

On QB DeShone Kizer’s comments regarding players praying during the National Anthem and saying ‘we have to make sure football is about football and not making a bunch of statements:

“I think you have to ask DeShone exactly what he meant by that. For me to comment on that would not mean anything really.”

On if he needs to watch more tape or have meetings today to finalize the QB decision:

“It is a little bit of both. Watching the tape from last night, which was good, you go back and see it again and put all of that into the pot to think through it and have discussions with the executive team, people I trust, as we start to finalize this decision, and I think that is important to do.”

On a number of Browns players standing near teammates kneeling in prayer during the National Anthem and placing hands on their shoulders:

“I think there is a brotherhood within our football team. I think they all support each other. They have the right to do that. As I said before, we respect our flag. We respect our players. I think all of our players feel that way. I think they all respect each other and support each other.”

On if he has determined who will start at QB, given conversations have ‘danced around’ the topic:

“No, we haven’t been dancing around (laughter). No, not yet. Today is Tuesday. We said that we would have that great conversation tomorrow.”

On OL Roderick Johnson’s performance last night:

“I thought he battled. When I watched the tape, I think that was a big moment for him going out just starting and playing against (Giants DL) Mr. (Olivier) Vernon, who is a tremendous pass rusher. There were times that Olivier got the best of him, but boy, this young man battled as hard as he could when he was in there playing. He did a good job. He is a young player, a growing player learning how to play in the National Football League, but I thought he represented himself well.”

On if Kizer being 21 years old and how that factors into the QB decision, given he is younger than some other QBs who started as rookies:

“No question, I think this is a sport. You can grow differently when it comes to sports. Obviously, he is a young man who is very talented, he knows how to play the game and he has a great feel for the game, and those things will serve him well as he gets older. What we try to do here is create the right environment for him to learn a process that is going to help him be the best quarterback that he can be. We do that with all of our quarterbacks, whether they are older, young, first year, second year, fifth year it doesn’t matter. Do I think youth can be an issue? Yes, if you allow it to be an issue.”

On if there is a need to balance gaining yards by running the ball and protecting Kizer when making play calls:

“Absolutely, you never want to put any quarterback at risk when they are back there playing. As I said, there are only so many hits that they have. We try to do everything we can to put them in the best situation that showcases their talent and ability, and we will continue to do that as we move forward.”

On Kizer improving on calling plays in the huddle, executing at the line of scrimmage and not holding the ball too long:

“I saw some. Obviously, I think he got better at communicating with his teammates in the huddle. I thought that was pretty obvious. I thought there were times where he could have gotten the ball out better and a little sooner, and I think he saw those. That comes from playing and playing with players and going through the system. There was improvement, and there are things he has to keep growing at. This is going to be a process for him as he continues to move forward.”

On if he has made up his mind on a starting QB and simply hasn’t told the Browns QBs and media yet or if he is still going through the process:

“I think I feel pretty good about where I am. I have been feeling pretty good about what I feel and what I think for a little while now, but you have to let things, as I have always said, play out. Today, I wanted to finish the things I wanted to watch, have the conversations I wanted to have with others and just kind of move from there.”

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