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Hue Jackson press conference - 10/11

Posted Oct 11, 2017

The Cleveland head coach looks ahead to the Texans game

Opening statement:

“Getting ready to go back on the road and play a good football team down in Houston. Obviously, we had some injury things we are working through – (LB James) Burgess (Jr.), knee; (OL JC) Tretter has a little knee issue, we are working through that; (DB) Jamar Taylor, ribs. Those guys weren’t able to practice today and we will see how they progress through the week. (OL) Shon Coleman in practice had a little tweak of the knee so we will see where that is, as well. Those are the injuries, but hopefully, all these guys can make it back by the weekend. I think there is a chance. We will keep going from there.”

On if QB DeShone Kizer will be the backup this week:

“Yes, he is.”

On the determining factor in naming QB Kevin Hogan the starter this week:

“I just think it was the best chance to give our offense a chance to stay in rhythm and play consistently over four quarters. See if Kevin can do it. Obviously, he has done that in games. We have moved the ball. We have done some good things there. I just want to see if I can see him do that for a whole game. See where it goes.”

On if the Browns QB situation is week to week:

“No, I am not going to say I am week-to-week mode. Let’s see where we are. Kevin is this week. Next week is another game. We will go from there.”

On expecting Kizer to start again this year:

“Oh, I sure would hope so. Again, I think people think that I am doing this because I am maybe disappointed in certain things. I knew that this potentially could happen. I think I said that, but also, I think what you guys continue to write on because I said ‘I would ride with him through it’ – and I have – but also, I have to ride this football team. It is not just about one guy. It is about the team. At the end of the day, I have to do what I think is best to give our team the best opportunity to win. That is what this is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.”

On noticing any changes in Hogan when he came back to training camp this year:

“Oh yeah, I have been on record saying that Kevin came back prepared and ready to go. All of our guys did. He just keeps getting better. I think that is what you see. Quarterbacks going into their second year in the National Football League, that is normally what starts to happen. The game slows down, they start to see it differently and start making plays, and I think he demonstrated that throughout training camp, throughout preseason and now he has done it in the game.”

On where Kizer can improve most:

“As we know for young players at that position, the game is still fast for them. I think now he will see the game through a different lens. When you stand there watching you see things, he on the sideline, like I said, was outstanding this past weekend giving pointers and things that he saw and then you probably see more things now that you are looking from a different lens than when you are standing out there and people are coming after you. You start understanding more and more all of the lessons learned from training camp, through the preseason, through the regular season, through the games he played. Those things start to really sink in and make more sense to you. When you are playing and you are under that duress all the time, you don’t get to really step back, exhale and say, ‘Whoa, here it is.’ I have seen young guys go through this. That is where he is. I think stepping back, taking a peak and looking at it a little bit differently but still staying in and it making sure that he is ready to play – he is always one snap away – will benefit him. I totally believe that because this guy is very competitive. There is no question he wants to be out there with his teammates, but he understands he needs to get better over the next several weeks to have a chance to do that.”

On how Kizer is handling the backup role:

“Like anybody would. Obviously, when you are not the starting quarterback for the first time after winning the job, you are disappointed. At the same time, he understands. I don’t sugarcoat things with our players. I tell them exactly what it is, what we need to do, what we need to get better at and where we stand. I will say it again, DeShone Kizer has a huge future here with the Cleveland Browns. He needs to continue to grow and continue to get better, and he will. There is no question in my mind that he will, but right now, I think this is what is best for our football team and that is the decision that I made.”

On if Kizer would still be the starting QB if the team was not 0-5:

“It is not so much about being 0-5. It is how we are playing on offense. I know everybody keeps thinking it is the record. I have a vision for our offensive football team, and I know how this offense works. That is what I have to get it to. I don’t care how we go about that. We just have to do it. If I see an area where I think we can improve and do that a little bit better to compliment what we are doing on defense and special teams, then that is what my job is and that is what we are going to do.”

On specifically what Hogan does well:

“What he does is he manages the offense, the consistency of where the ball goes, the timing and rhythm. There is a rhythm to him when he plays. He understands the rhythms that I am looking for. He has been around me long enough to understand what that looks like. That is what he demonstrated in the game. I think that is what you all saw this past weekend. He has that. The most important thing for him – he will be the first to tell you – can’t turn the ball over. Our offense to me, there has been some times that we have played some decent offense, but we have turned the ball over. If we take some of these turnovers away from the scoring zone it is a whole different story that we are talking about right now that you mentioned. It is not just about wins. It is the consistency of playing in a rhythm that gives us chance to be successful as a football team and that is what we are looking for.”

On his confidence that Kizer has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL:

“This is where it starts for me: the talent. The young man is very talented, very young. In a situation here to where things haven’t been great and trying to take the whole world on his shoulders, I understand where he is and what he has been dealing with. At the same time, I know how talented he is and I think we all do. We see that, but what we don’t see is playing the game at a high level. I think some of us want him to be ala the top quarterback, echelon quarterback in this league right now. That doesn’t happen in five games. That happens over time. When you go through that, sometimes as the leader of the offense and him, I have to calm those things down with him so that he can get back and get his rhythm back to playing like he did when it was in preseason and training camp. We are an 0-5 football team, and he is the leader of that so all that weighs in, too, for him I am sure. It is my job when I look at something and see that it is not working is to make sure that I am able to help and assist. I don’t think that this is the best version of DeShone that you guys have seen. I think he has work to do, but I think we all have work to do. It is not just him. Everybody has to do their part in order for the quarterback to win in the National Football League, but he also has some growth over the next several weeks that he needs to take care of. I feel good about him. I am never going to run from that because I think the guy has talent and ability. Now, can he make the next jump? We are going to see that in time. He has to be able to do that so my feelings haven’t changed, and they are not going to change.”

On if Texans QB Deshaun Watson could have been the No. 1 overall selection if he attended the Senior Bowl:

“I don’t know that.”

On if Watson attending the Senior Bowl would have opened the eyes of the organization and not just his:

“I can’t speculate on that. He is not here. He is playing for the Houston Texans and is doing a good job for them. We have to go slow him down this weekend.”

On if he understands the second-guessing of passing on Watson in the draft:

“I totally get it. What did I tell you guys earlier in the week? You guys can say whatever you like. I get it. I get the second guessing, the questions and all of that. You are entitled to do all of that. DeShone Kizer is on our team. Deshaun Watson is on their team. We can’t all of a sudden flip them so why are we having this discussion? I’m being very honest about that.”

On if he advocate for selecting Watson with the No. 12 pick:

“It doesn’t matter. He is in Houston. It doesn’t matter for this reason: whether we did or didn’t, that is not the point. The point is we are getting ready to play the Houston Texans in Houston. Here is our football team. We are 0-5, and we are trying to go get a football victory. It doesn’t matter. He plays quarterback there. Kevin Hogan is playing quarterback for us this week, and DeShone Kizer is backing him up.”

On if he recognizes that his thoughts on Watson matters to the media:

“I appreciate that. I do. I understand how you guys feel, but to me, to go down that road and talk about this, that, what should have been and what could have been, that doesn’t do anything for anybody.”

On clarifying his statement that he thought everyone will be back from injury Sunday:

“I said I hope to have everybody back.”

On if OL JC Tretter’s injury will have a long-term effect:

“I don’t think so. Yeah, I really don’t think so. We will see where we are tomorrow.”

On if OL Shon Coleman was carted off from practice:

“No. That is why I said let’s see where we are tomorrow. I think there is a chance that everybody will be back and ready to go. Just go through the process, but again, I learned a long time ago after saying, ‘Oh, they are OK,’ to ‘Let’s see where they are after they go through the medical piece of it and find out.’”

On if DL Myles Garrett will be managed differently to keep him fresh for the fourth quarter:

“No, I think honestly sometimes you don’t know. I think what really was really slowed him down a little bit in the second half was we kept the ball in the third quarter. We had that long drive. All of a sudden, you come out from halftime, you are warmed up, you are ready to go and then you are just sitting there. That was a good thing (laughter). We went and scored. We will do what we need to do. I think he is much better this week. I think getting through the first week was huge. We are looking for more improvement, more time on the field and more time playing this week, and I think we will accomplish that this week.”

On expecting defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ envisioned defense with the return of DL Danny Shelton, LB Jamie Collins Sr. and Garrett:

“I think you are seeing it. If I’m not mistaken, this is the No. 5 defense in all of pro football. I know you guys even want more. I do, too, but I think they have done exactly what my vision is. We have stopped the run. We have slowed down the run, and the ball doesn’t go flying over our head like in the past. We are doing some really good things. I think they will continue to get better once all of the rest of the pieces are there. The more they understand it and the more they keep working at it, the better we are going to get.”

On envisioning the Browns to continue to be more aggressive with DB Jabrill Peppers:

“Absolutely, I told you guys a long time ago there are a lot of different things that Jabrill can do and we will allow him to do that. He is a young player, a young emerging player. He is doing some really good things. He is going to continue to grow and play in a lot of different spots for us, but you have seen him a little bit more around the ball this past weekend than in the middle of the field. You guys also saw him in the middle of the field, as well. We will keep moving these guys around to do what we need to do to do the things that will slow offensive teams down. It is about who we are playing and what our gameplan is. That is exactly what it is about.”

On what is different about Watson than other mobile QBs:

“He has probably made some uncanny plays outside of the pocket more so than most guys you have seen not just running, but also throwing. He is able to get away. He has unbelievable escape-ability, and once he has taken off down field, he can make plays. He makes football plays with his legs. He has speed. He has toughness. H has grit. He has escape-ability. He has all of those things you look for, and he has done a good job for them.”

On if people underestimate Kizer when comparing him to Watson, given the Texans offensive weapons:

“(Laughter) Everybody wants those kinds of pieces to play with. We have what we have. I know the question, and I respect the question. They are doing what they need to do. We are going to do what we need to do. We need to continue to get better. I saw glimpses of an offense that was starting to get better in some different areas this past week. We need to continue to do that all the way around. If we can do that, then we are on the right trajectory. I have not been totally happy with how we have played, but I saw signs of things improving and getting better. That is what we are trying to do.”

On K Zane Gonzalez receiving another opportunity this weekend after missing two FGs on Sunday:

“We hope that he can come out of it. He knows he needs to. He needs to continue, like another one of our young players, needs to continue to improve and get better. (Special teams coordinator) Coach (Chris) Tabor is working with him every single day. Trust me, the young man doesn’t want to miss the kicks, but he did and he gets it. He has to correct that as fast as he can because that is a huge piece of our football team and game.”

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