News

Hue Jackson press conference - 1/1

Posted Jan 1, 2018

The Browns coach looks ahead to 2018

Opening statement:

“Obviously an extremely disappointing season for us. Cleary, it was a difficult year for our players and obviously for our fans, as well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our fans for sticking with us and being in this with us all of the way. I would like to also thank the players in the locker room for everything that they have continued to try to do to get this organization to winning. That is the one thing I came here for and I have not delivered that to this organization or the football team. For that, I apologize. I promise you this, I am going to do everything in my power from this moment on with the help and resources within our organization to get this organization turned to winning. I understand the disappointment that all feel right now because I think we are all working through it, but I know one thing, we are going to do everything we can as an organization to get the Cleveland Browns to where we feel they are a winning football team. We have a lot of work to do. I think the No. 1 thing for us a coaches, personnel and everybody in the building, we all have to go back and look and see and make sure we are doing the right things to get us there. We will do that. I am excited about the opportunity for 2018. I am thankful and grateful for Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) for allowing me to come back and be a leader here. I do get that all of our fans, they truly want results. I understand that and that is something we need to give them, but nothing I say is going to make a difference. I get that. I think the only way we change the things that are said is to get to winning. That is what we have to do.”

On difficulty in explaining to fans why he deserves to return to the Browns next year:

“I get that. I do understand our fans’ thought process that way, and I do understand the tremendous amount of pressure it puts you under trying to answer that. I think Dee and Jimmy answer that best. He made that decision. Like I said, I am just grateful to be given an opportunity to do that.”

On if he ever came close to quitting, given his comment yesterday that other coaches may have said ‘uncle’ at some point during the past two years:

“No, it is not about quitting. I hope people do not take that the wrong way. When I said, ‘I don’t think any other coach would do that job,’ I am not trying to sound arrogant, flippant or anything like that. I just think these situations are hard when you don’t win. When you are doing everything you can to win and it does not happen that way, I think those situations are hard. I don’t think the average person could go through that. That is what I meant by that. I think that is a tough situation to be in. At the same time, I am grateful and thankful that I do have enough strength, courage and fight and have enough support – I think that is the biggest thing to me, and I am being very honest with you, support from fans, support from the people in our building to get through this so we can get on the other side.”

On the Browns’ QB situation:

“We have a young player who has played a lot of people. (QB) DeShone (Kizer) is a young player who we drafted on this team. He started the first game that we played this year. I think DeShone has the necessary tools to be a good player to play in this league. We just have to continue to work with him and get him over this. There are a lot of players before him who are young who have come in this league and played and not had success right away, and then you look up and these guys some of them are Hall of Famers. Not saying that is going to be the process for DeShone, but I just think it is really early to write him off or really early to say he is ‘the guy’ because I think we all know we are going to continue to add good football players to this team. We will look to add people at the quarterback position, as well, just like any other position on our team. At the same time, there is a lot of experience and growth that he had this year because he went through the whole season for the most part that he is going to be able to grow from in the offseason. I think that will be important for him.”

On where he has succeeded as a head coach, in addition to that players have played hard each game:

“I think there are some player here that have been developed. When I look at (RB) Duke Johnson (Jr.) and his ascend to what he has done this year. I think there was some hit and miss with (TE) David Njoku. It is not always consistent when you are talking about young players. I think even at times DeShone did some good things. I know what you are getting at, but at the same time, I think there are a lot things that we have done well. We just have not won the games. I think players playing hard in the National Football League is important. I think our locker room sticking together and fighting every week is really important in the National Football League because it does not happen all of the time. I think there are a lot of things that we have done well. Obviously, the record is what it is. We can’t run from that, neither.”

On the major flaw in how the Browns were set up and losing games:

“The bottom line is we did not play well enough, we did not coach well enough and we did not get the things done that we set out to do. I think to make it more than that, you can’t. We had the opportunity every week to go out and play and to go win. We did not do that. That is what it is.”

On if he will add an offensive coordinator and if he will other make changes to the coaching staff:

“I kind of addressed that some weeks ago when I said that is something that I would be looking into. I am going to take this week myself and go reflect on all of those things. It is something that I have thought about, adding a coordinator here. I think the staff decisions for me will be from reflecting over the next week or so and just seeing where we are, seeing what I think in need to do to help this organization be the best it can be. I think that is one of my jobs as a leader is to go back and look how can we improve and how can we get better in all of the areas.”

On special teams breakdowns this season:

“Have to play better and have to coach better. That is what it is.”

On if run game coordinator/running backs coach Kirby Wilson be considered for offensive coordinator:

“I will look at everything. I will go back through and look at everything, all the guys that are on our staff and all of those things. That is going to be a little time.”

On DB Jason McCourty’s comment that the roster is far more talented than 0-16:

“I respect what Jason says. He is a player on the team who works extremely hard and has been in the National Football League. That is his opinion. I think you guys asked that right after the game. That is how he feels so I have to respect what he feels.”

On if he feels the roster is more talented than the record:

“I do not want to get into the roster and if we are talented enough. We are 0-16 so I think to make it more than that and say the roster is or is not doesn’t do anything.”

On what Kizer proved yesterday and if Kizer will be in the QB mix for the 2018 season:

“He will definitely be in the competition. There is no question about that. I thought yesterday DeShone played extremely hard, made some plays obviously, throwing the football, made some plays with his legs and put us in position to have an opportunity to win the game. I thought that was one of his better games, but there are still some things that he will be the first to tell you that he has to continue to work at and grow from. He is just still in that young stage as a young quarterback, but there is no question he is going to be here. He is going to have every opportunity to compete and that’s what it should be.”

On how much time he has spent discussing QBs with General Manager John Dorsey and their alignment on QBs:

“A lot. We have spent a lot of time together so I feel very comfortable with that process that we are going through, myself and John. John is a tireless worker in the building, and all we do is talk about how do we make this football team better.”

On a report that Dorsey will hire an offensive coordinator:

“I really appreciate John’s expertise. He has seen a lot of different ways to do things, and I will lean on him for things, but I don’t think John is making a decision on if we are going to have a coordinator or not.”

On the responsibility of hiring an offensive coordinator being the decision for a head coach:

“I would think so, thank you (laughter).”

On addressing the history and significance of finishing 0-16 and a perception that members of the Browns aren’t as upset about it as they should be:

“Oh no, it is awful. You said it, we all have to wear it. I don’t think anybody wants to be associated with that. No one started the season thinking that this is how it would turn out. I’m sorry and I apologize if people think that we are not distraught about it, but I don’t think us talking about it over and over and over again because I think everybody else will. I think what it has done is the urgency within the building, within our team, within everybody to get it fixed because if you don’t, this is what things lead to. I think we all get that. It is tough. Like you said, this is going to be next to my name for the rest of my life. This is part of my legacy now, some of the players that are here, the coaches that are here, everybody. There are a lot of coaches in here that have been in Super Bowls and have won Super Bowl games on this staff. That is hard, but at the same time, we can’t just truly make it about that. We have to make it about how do we get this better as fast as we can. That is what we are trying to do.”

On opinions that a different coach could have won some games with the team’s roster:

“You are entitled to your opinion. Me saying whatever I feel is not going to change that. I’m sitting here, going to be here and going to coach this team until I can get this team to winning. Nothing I say is going to matter so I get it.”

On the Browns WR corps:

“Where we are, obviously, I think getting (WR) Josh (Gordon) back was good. Obviously, he made some huge plays yesterday. There were other times we tried to get him the ball and Pittsburgh was definitely denying him that opportunity, but he made some plays. (WR) Corey (Coleman) is still a young player who has to continue to grow and get better. (WR) Rashard Higgins showed up and made some outstanding plays in the game, two touchdowns. He had a catch and run as good as we have had all year so I thought that was good. (WR) Ricardo Louis is another emerging player on our team. He didn’t play as much once Josh got back. I just think we have guys who have to continue to get better, but like I said at every position, we are going to look to add more talent everywhere on our football team as we move forward.”

On if Coleman’s attitude and approach played a role in his drop on fourth down:

“I know everybody – the drop was huge, and it is a play that Corey had an opportunity to make and he didn’t make. There were a whole bunch of other plays in that game, too, that we had chances to make. We fumbled the ball and we did these things. Does Corey need to continue to improve? Yes, he does, but I just don’t want to make it all about just that one play, too. I just don’t think that’s fair. There were so many other things that happened in the game that could have made the difference, but I know that play will be remembered as I said yesterday because it was the last play we had. Does he need to get better? Yes. Does he need to continue to work in our program and get better? Yes, he does. I think he will.”

On if he will need to do damage control to recruit young players and free agents to come to Cleveland with the team’s record, specifically in reference to UCLA QB Josh Rosen’s comments:

“I don’t really want to comment about the young quarterbacks who may be coming out. In general – I think the question was said earlier – I think being 0-16, the stigma that comes with that is that we are going to have to do some recruiting everywhere. First of all, not just players, we have to re-recruit our fans. I think we have to re-recruit everybody who is associated with the Cleveland Browns first and foremost. Then I think we have to do, like you said, we have to go out and do a better job with the players and get them to understand really what is here and what we are trying to accomplish and what we are trying to do. I get it. Right now is not a good time, but like I said, me talking about it or trying to explain it a way is not going to change it. I think the only thing that is going to change it is results. In order to do that, is there some convincing we are going to have to do? Absolutely. I think we are in a war for talent on every level right now. That is OK.”

On a media member’s interpretation that he feels like the past two seasons happened to him and that he is a victim of the situation:

“That is you saying that. I have never said I’m a victim. I said it the other day, I’m just as big of a part of this as anybody. I don’t know what it is you want me to say that would make you feel OK. I think at the end of the day, I am the leader of this, part of the leadership group of this. I have been very disappointed in all of it, but at the same time, we are going to fix it. Jimmy and Dee have given me the support needed in order to feel that we are moving in the right direction, and I think that is what we are going to do.”

On if Dorsey shares his philosophy that QBs should be 6-2 at minimum:

“The profile (laughter)? I think we are very close on the profile fit. Yes, I do.”

On that profile eliminating QB prospects such as Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield:

“It all depends. There are outliers to anything, right? A guy can do it, a guy can play. There are some things that you have to overlook, but there are some things that we are going to be hard about and steadfast on, but there are some things that we will work through, as well.”

On how long his roster evaluation process will take and his involvement with Dorsey during that process:

“I will be very involved with John that way. It is going to be ongoing. That is going to be fluid. We are going to keep working through every piece of it. I think you have to really dig into everything now. There is nothing you can leave out of this equation. I think you have to go through it all on every player and make sure we understand exactly how this guy fits – what is the intended use? How are we going to go about placing this guy on our football team? The whole nine yards. I just think you do that at every position as you move forward, and I think John feels the same way.”

On if he has a better idea of whether or not the Browns would coach in the Senior Bowl again this year, if invited:

“Do I have a better idea about it? Right now, it hasn’t come to me so I don’t know that. You’re saying if somebody asks? Oh yeah, if we have the opportunity to, then we would.”

On if being around players like Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield in the Senior Bowl is beneficial:

“No question, anytime that you can be around those guys, I think, is great because you get to see them in a whole different light. We will cross that when we know.”

On if he expects WR Josh Gordon to return to the Browns next season and if the team can count on him for the future:

“I do because he hasn’t done anything to justify anything else other than that since he has been back. He has worked extremely hard on the field. He has worked extremely hard off the field. He is a very talented player. Now, he has to continue to do the right thing as the offseason comes. Here comes the next phase for him so he needs to go handle that the right way once he leaves here. I do expect Josh Gordon to be a contributing member of this football team, come back and get ready for the offseason and the season.”

On if he is even more grateful for the opportunity to continue to coach the Browns as other NFL head coaches are being relieved of their duties today:

“Oh, absolutely. I get it. There are a lot of guys who have better records and all of that who are being let go. I am very fortunate and blessed as I said earlier. I thank Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) for that because there very easily could be somebody else sitting up here. Obviously, they see something – I am very fortunate that they do – that I can lead this organization and this football team to where it needs to go. I thank them for that.”

On his statement that the Browns also need to re-recruit fans and his message to fans to do so with the team’s record the past two years:

“Just get to winning. Get to winning. It is not going to be anything I can really say. We are going to say a lot of things and there are going to be a lot more media opportunities as we go throughout the offseason program and getting into training camp. None of that will matter until we start playing. I get it. That will be the convincing part. It is not going to be words; it is going to be actions and it is going to be what we do. It is going to be the players that we place on this football team. It is going to be what this football team potentially can look like and what it can be and then how it plays as it goes through the season. Nothing else is going to change this in my mind.”

On if he would consider giving play-calling duties to a potential new offensive coordinator, depending on the individual:

“Oh yeah, there is a possibility. I have said before that at some point in time I would like to do differently because I think it is important to coach the team. Now that I truly understand the situation and have been through it and have looked at it… Again, I did not want to put that pressure on somebody else early in this situation. Now knowing, now seeing and now truly believing in that the team is going to take a step forward, I think everything is on the table.”

On if it may have potentially been too much responsibility to take on all of the duties as head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive play caller:

“It could have been too much. When you look back, there are all kind of decisions that you could say, ‘Man, I wish I would have done this differently.’ I don’t regret [not] putting somebody in a situation to not be successful. I just don’t believe in that. I believe I got this job because I was very good at what I did, which was call plays. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case here that way. I just think it would have been somebody else’s issue, and I don’t think that would have been fair. I think as we move forward, it is something I will really think through of what is best for the team and what is best for the organization. If that is what it is, that is what it is.”

On if the goal this offseason will be adding players who can help the Browns win quickly in 2018, given the team’s record the past two years:

“You said it best. I am not going to say what it is, but I do believe without question that this organization needs to get to winning as fast as it can and Hue Jackson needs to get winning as fast as he can because you can’t continue to go down this road of 1-31 and losing. That is unfair. That is unfair to all involved. Like I said, I am here because I truly believe we are going to win, I truly believe we are going to do the things that support the coach in giving him an opportunity to win and supports the organization and gives it an opportunity to win. That is what I believe.”

On if any Browns players will need surgery this offseason:

“No. No sir.”

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