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Hue Jackson press conference - 12/6

Posted Dec 6, 2017

The Browns coach meets with reporters Wednesday

Opening statement:

“Another opportunity, another week, another opponent. Obviously, the Packers are coming off of a big win against Tampa Bay at home. They did a good job. They won in overtime, pressured the Bucs’ quarterback and made some huge plays to win the game. This is a good football team, well-coached. I have a lot of respect for the coaches. I know some of those guys personally. They have done a good job. Obviously, you lose your quarterback (Aaron Rodgers), that is tough, but they have managed to keep fighting, keep playing and they have done a good job.

“(WR) Sammie Coates was out at practice. (DB) Jabrill Peppers is still kind of nursing his injuries and so is (DL) Danny Shelton. Hopefully, we will get those guys back before the end of the week, but we will see where it is. Outside of that, we are a pretty healthy football team and looking forward to playing.”

On DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun being listed on the injury report:

“He is a little sore. He has some things going on. We will know more about him as the week goes on, as well. I’m glad you brought that up. Sorry for missing that one.”

On being hopeful Peppers and Shelton will play Sunday:

“Yes, I am hopeful for both. We will see where we are as we go through the week.”

On if Peppers would fill all normal roles if he plays Sunday or if RB Duke Johnson Jr. would return punts:

“If he can play, then we will put him back there because it means he is healthy, but Duke will be prepared to go back there, as well.”

On if the Packers have been depending on the run more without QB Aaron Rodgers:

“I think they are running the football. Obviously, they are trying to do everything they can to put their team in a winning situation. Obviously, they don’t have their quarterback as I said earlier. I do see them running the football. That means that we have to do everything that we can to stop the run and play our gaps better, do those things and see if we can get the young quarterback (Packers QB Brett Hundley) to have to throw the football.”

On if QB DeShone Kizer and WR Josh Gordon can improve when given more practice time:

“Hopefully, it is another step. Hopefully, those guys take the next jump, not just so much Josh but our whole passing game because I think Josh’s presence gives everybody else an opportunity to get less pressure on them. I think Josh has to continue to grow in our system. I think he is. He sees how we go about doing things. It is up to DeShone to get that rhythm and chemistry with him as we go throughout the rest of this week.”

On TE David Njoku improving as a blocker:

“I think on the line. On the line, blocking defensive ends. It is tough for these young guys that come in the league and we put them out there to play and they are playing against these old men playing defensive end that are 290 pounds, some of them and some of them are 300 pounds. He has found out guys are bigger than him, as tall as he is, weigh more than he does and some of them are just as athletic as he is. He has had to learn how to fight that. Sometimes he is giving away 40 pounds and sometimes 50 pounds, and he has had to learn different techniques on how to block those guys and sometimes just get a stalemate. It is not about knocking them off the ball if you can just get a stalemate. That has been tough because that is not something that he has had to do. In order to play up here in the National Football League and in our system, it is something we require. That is a skill that we are still developing with him.”

On Njoku’s upside as the team’s youngest player and limited time playing TE:

“He has an opportunity to be really good if he keeps working at it. He is second on our team in catches and first in touchdown catches. The guy has done a lot of good things. There are a lot more plays that we feel like he has left out there and we have left out there. If he will keep growing and keep working at it, I think again a year from now, like I said about a lot of these young guys, they are going to be a lot better a year from now than they were this year.”

On what OL JC Tretter has brought the offense and if Tretter is eager to play against his former team:

“You would have to ask him that. I’m sure. Like anybody, when you face a former employer or someplace where you have been, you want to do well. I think what he has brought is he has been very consistent and the durability. He has been out there every play. I think he is a real calming presence for our offensive football team. Everything kind of starts for us up the middle from the center to the quarterback. Those guys have to be on the same page. I think he has done a really good job of managing the other four guys up front and making sure that we do stay on the same page.”

On if Packers LB Clay Matthews is still the player who jumps out most on film on the Packers defense:

“Oh no question, he is one of them. He does jump out. He is a tremendous football player. He is good at what he does. He is very instinctual. He understands how to play the game. I think he is a real studier of football and understands what teams are trying to do. Those two inside tackles, they have 97 (Packers DT Kenny Clark) and 76 (Packers DT Mike Daniels) who are as good as I have seen. Those guys can play. They are really good players, and they do a good job inside.”

On if he watched the Steelers-Bengals Monday Night Football game this week:

“Bits and pieces of it.”

On if that game seemed more violent or ‘over the top’ than any other NFL games:

“Obviously, there were some things that happened that we wish wouldn’t happen, obviously. I think the league is trying to do a better job to make sure we police those things and do them better. Obviously, no one wants to see anybody get hurt and put in those situations. It is tough, but it is football, and this division is a tough division, but we have to be smart, too. I think all of the coaches involved are doing everything they can to make sure with their players that they understand that there is a line that we can’t cross. I think our guys understand it, but we do like playing football. Sometimes, I think we all make more of it than what it is but we do have to be careful on how we approach these things when it gets on that line because that is right on the line of when things can go over the top and we just have to make sure that we are watching that.” 

On if players need to be more aware of taking care of each other and opponents on the field:

“Yeah, I think we do. You want to be, but these things are happening in real time, they are happening really fast and you react. I just think sometimes it is the reaction after the reaction that people are really concerned about, and we need to do better. Hopefully, people will apologize and understand what is really going on. It is football, and we do want to do everything we can to keep players safe.”

On WR Josh Gordon and how good he can become:

“Obviously Josh has done some really good things here in the past. I think he is hopefully back on the track to reclaiming that. Physically, he is as good as anybody I have been around, but he has to do it every day, every game. If he can do that and get himself back to where he was, then when you ask me that question, I will have a real different answer. He is really talented, I have said that before. He has been a pleasure to be around to coach to talk to every single day, and he is doing a good job. Now, we just have to continue to have him get back to where he was. I think he can from a talent standpoint, get him a little bit better shape, understanding playing. As many plays as he played last week, that is tough for the first time, but I think the sky is the limit for him.”

On WRs Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis not catching a pass against the Chargers and if it is their fault or the QB’s fault:

“It is a little bit of everybody’s part. When they are open in certain situations versus certain coverages, we have to get them the ball. They have to also make sure that they do get open. Obviously, I think you have seen the tight ends have more catches in this game combined than probably any game we have had this year. I don’t think we were not trying to target them. I think the gameplan started to all of the sudden we started putting the balls in the seams a little bit more and a couple crossing routes to (TE) Seth DeValve that made a difference. We do have a lot of guys that can catch the football. We have spread it around. It had not been just a one-man game. I look through our stats, and I am sure you guys do, too. We have running backs between (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr) and (RB Isaiah Crowell) that have caught over 70 balls. That is pretty good. We are talking about a position. Then the tight end position has caught a lot, and then if you add up all the receivers, they have caught some balls between them. I know we would love to see more protection from them because they play a lot. At the same time, teams will take those things away and the quarterback has to make sure that we are still progressing down the field so he has to get the ball in other people’s hands.”

On QB DeShone Kizer saying he has to have a completion percentage above 65 and if that comes from the coaching staff:

“That is what I am asking for. Yes, that is real. That is what we shoot for because we need to complete more balls. We just do. That is imperative for us to score more points. We have to complete more balls. Guys have to have more opportunities with the ball in their hands. If we do that, then I think that things happen.”

On Kizer evolving as a leader this season:

“I think he is demanding. I think he has a way about himself, and I think he has changed. I think when you are young and you are the starting quarterback, you do not want to push too fast. Then you are on a team that has (OL) Joe Thomas who is the unquestioned leader of the football team and Kirko (LB Christian Kirksey). Then all the sudden, Joe gets hurt, and there has to be a different voice. It can’t just be Coach Jackson, and he is an extension of me. I think he started to exercise that. Let’s be honest, in order to be a good leader, you have to play great every week. That is the calling card of leadership. You have to be able to play because you have to be able to back that up with what you are doing. I think that is hard. If you are not doing things as well, it is hard to walk in and demand that somebody else do something better. Through this process, he has learned, and as he has started to play better and done things better, I think his voice is louder. I think he is heard more. I think he has respect in the locker room. I think the guys believe in him. With any of these situations, I think he gets that the key to an offense is ‘Let’s go get a win.’ That is what is going to help him get over the hump as a true leader and the face of this organization is you have to win.”

On how Kizer can improve his completion percentage:

“Complete the ball. It goes back to the same thing. Guys have to get open, guys have to catch it when he throws it and he has to put it in the right spot more often than he has. That is just what it is. He can do it. I truly believe he can. We can do it as an offensive unit, but we have to make sure that we are playing as well as we have all year because those numbers have been those numbers all year. They have not changed so I am asking for more. I am not asking for less. I want more because I think it is in there and that is what I am demanding.”

On if LB Jamie Collins Sr.’s surgery was expected:

“It was expected. I don’t think there is anything hidden in that. No, that was expected. I think Jamie’s recovery is going great, and he is doing well.”

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