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Hue Jackson press conference - 12/7

Posted Dec 7, 2017

Cleveland's head coach meets with reporters Thursday

Opening statement:

“It is cold today, very cold, but another opportunity for our team to practice. Guys again worked hard. There are no injuries to report. Nothing new that way. I think it was good to be outside because that is the way it is going to be on Sunday from everything we hear. We have some flurries. We have some cold weather. Just seeing the flight of the ball, catching balls, being in the grass like that in our cleats is really important. The ground is a little hard today, but I think the guys understood those things happen. That is football. That is AFC North football. That is December football. It is just part of it. The guys worked hard, worked through the day. Have to have good meetings and come back and have a good one tomorrow.”

On his reaction to the Browns parting ways with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown:

“I think all of those things are difficult decisions. Sashi is a good person and a heck of a worker. Those are decisions that are made above me. I’m sure that is something that you guys will take up with Jimmy (Haslam), but those things are always tough. I don’t think there is anything that is good about that. Here is a guy that I’m sure has given it everything he had here trying to do everything he can to help the organization win and get it to where it needs to be. Sometimes these things happen.”

On his reaction to Haslam’s statement that he will continue coach the Browns in 2018:

“I appreciate Jimmy saying that. My focus of coming here to the Cleveland Browns is to coach the football team and help get this organization turned around. I haven’t been able to do that yet. That is something that I think we all want to do – Jimmy and Dee (Haslam), obviously. Hopefully, I am still a part of that, which I am, and hopefully, our players that are here, a year from now, hopefully, we can get this thing to where it needs to be.”

On if he would like to have input on who the new personnel director will be:

“Those are decisions that Jimmy is going to make, but I’m sure as he goes through it, hopefully, he will ask questions, see how I think and what I feel because I think the true part of all of this is making sure that, if I know Jimmy a little bit, is just getting it right, putting us in the best situation so we have an opportunity to move forward and win games.”

On what went wrong and led to Brown no longer being with the team:

“I don’t think any of those things matter right now. When you look at it – and I’m just as big a part of it as Sashi is – right now, we are a 1-27 football team. I take my responsibility in that, too. I have some things I have to work through and get better, as well. At the same time, I don’t think it all should go towards him. I think we all have to do our part and do it better.”

On if he would like to have final say on 53-man roster decisions:

“I don’t think that is something that I want to have personally. As was stated earlier, I would like to know and be in concert with the person that will do those things. I think that is too much of a role to be the head coach and do all of those particular things, but whoever that person is is somebody that I would have to work very closely with and feel very comfortable with as we move forward.”

On if he wasn’t comfortable working closely with Brown:

“I’m not going to say that was the case. There are things that we all wish we could do better, and I’m sure that all of the things that were said, it was never like that here in the building. At the same time, obviously when you lose like we have, that is not good either. Like I said, as we move forward, I just want whoever that person is going to be to be somebody that understands the vision, exactly what we are trying to accomplish and what we want to accomplish here.”

On if Haslam talked with him about Brown’s future and his return for the 2018 season:

“You would have to ask Jimmy that.”

On clarifying if Haslam had a conversation with him about his future:

“I think my contract allows me to come back. I don’t think he has to have that kind of conversation with me.”

On if he ever doubted that he would return for the 2018 season, given the team’s 1-27 record:

“I have never felt that that was the case. I have never wavered on that, even talking to you guys. I have always felt like I have had their support. My job is to coach this football team, try to get this team to where it needs to be and hold this group together and hold our coaching staff accountable to be the best we can be. It isn’t good enough right now – I’m being very honest with you – but I think the things we are trying to accomplish, I think some of them we have done better here in the building. At the end as I told you guys, it is about winning and losing so we have to get to that as fast as we can.”

On if it is ‘awkward’ for ownership to say the head coach will return prior to a general manager search:

“I don’t think that is awkward. There are all kinds of ways to do this. I don’t think there is any cookie cutter that says you have to do it this way or that way. Obviously, like I said earlier, I think you have to talk to Jimmy about that, but obviously, he made a decision that he felt that this was best as we move forward within the organization.”

On if he addressed Brown’s release with the players:

“I did. I told them this is tough. Sashi is a good person. I have enjoyed my time working with him. At the end of the day, there is a goal for everybody. I’m not naïve enough to understand that could not have been me, just as well. This is a performance-based business, and I get it. This is all I’ve known for the last 17-18 years of my life. I do understand that that arrow is pointing directly at myself. My goal is to move in the direction that helps this organization be the best it can be as we move forward."

On how much the trade situation involving Bengals QB A.J. McCarron played into the decision with Brown:

“I wouldn’t know that. Again, that is something that you would have to talk to Jimmy about.”

On the team’s reaction to Brown’s release, given the youth of the team and most players not being through turnover before:

“I think our guys listened. I don’t think it was about a reaction. I just think I’m always up front with them, just like (TE) Randall Telfer winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. I thought that was huge to talk about those things. I always talk about things that are happening within our organization and on our football team. Obviously, this is a huge undertaking of our football team so I brought it up to the team. I think they get it. I wanted to make sure they knew, and we move forward.”

On what it will take for the Browns to make the turnaround:

“I think the most important part is the alignment. I think Jimmy is totally doing that and trying to make sure that is what is first and foremost. Again, I think you would really have to ask him exactly how he sees it, but I know one thing that he really truly wants is collaboration, people working together – not that anybody wasn’t. Again, I think you guys know what the record is. The record is still the record, but I think that is what we are striving for. We want people to want to be here and do it for a long time. At the same time – I’m going to say it again – this is a performance-based business. I get it. My performance, if you measure it by wins and losses, is not very good. At the same time, I am in charge with coaching this team and trying to do the best I can with what I have. That is where we are. I think what it is going to take is for us to continue to work in a process that aligns us together that gives us an opportunity to continue to move forward to be the best version of this organization that we can be as we start towards 2018.”

On if he will suggest candidates to Haslam during the hiring process:

“Anything that Jimmy asks of me that way, if he asks of names and those type of things, I will give him. I have been around people who I think are outstanding that way, but at the same time, I’m sure he has an idea of what direction he wants to head.”

On the team parting ways with Brown but him remaining the head coach, given the team’s record:

“You would have to ask Jimmy that. I can’t answer that for.”

On why he thinks he should remain the head coach:

“I never thought that I should not be here, but I’m not the judge of why Sashi is not here or not. That is something that you would have to take up with Jimmy.”

On how much analytics were involved in player acquisition under Brown and whether the Browns need a ‘football guy’ in that role:

“Analytics only played a part in what we did. I will be the first to tell you that. Am I a football traditionalist? Yes, I am. At the same time, I don’t think it is about analytics or football traditionalists or any of that. I think it is about ‘How do we get this organization to be better than what it has been?’ There has been too much losing that has happened here. We need to move forward in a different light and chase something that is better and different. Again, all of these questions that you guys feel that way, I think Jimmy will answer them very candidly.”

On how much input he had during player acquisitions with Brown:

“I don’t think any of that matters right now. It doesn’t right now. We are talking about a man who was here and it is unfortunate that he is not here. We are talking about trades and draft picks and all of that. Here it is the bottom line: Jimmy made a change. Whether I like it or not or people do or don’t, it doesn’t matter. The owner has made the decision to move forward in a different direction. I am fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to still lead and be one of the leaders in this organization and coach this football team. I have not gotten this football team to where it needs to be – I will be the first to tell you that – and we all have a role in that. At the same time, I think as I look forward to what we can do in the future, I think there is an opportunity to get this right. There is a lot of work to do from our players – we have a huge game this week starting with this Sunday and moving forward. At the same time, I don’t worry about what has happened in the past. I know it is important for you guys to talk about it and write it, but I think what we are going to try to get done and accomplished in the future is more important than anything that has gone on.”

On how much time he spends talking to Haslam about the roster:

“Obviously, we have had discussions about it, but we haven’t been into the detail of everything. Jimmy knows about our roster, where it is and where we are trying to get it to. I think we all know that there are some areas that we have to shore up and get better at, and I think we are going to move in that direction.”

On if he knows or has a history with former Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey, who media have mentioned as a potential candidate:

“I know who he is. I know of him. Again, you would have to ask Jimmy about that. I don’t know anything that we are doing right now. I just came off this practice field and this cold weather, and here you guys all sit. It is always good to see all of your smiling faces."

On him ‘winning the power struggle’ within the organization:

“I didn’t win a power [struggle]. I’m sorry that you feel that way. I respect that you feel that it was a power struggle. I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as I was coaching a football team and trying to do the best that I can. I think everybody is trying to do the best they can. You look at it that way. I don’t see a power struggle. I have a contract that was longer than two years. However you want to look at that, that is totally up to you, but I don’t look at it as a power struggle. I think where we are today is the organization made a decision to do something different. I stand behind that wholeheartedly, grateful for the opportunity to still be here and grateful for the opportunity to coach this team and that is what I am going to do.”

On if he will consider hiring an offensive coordinator:

“I will say this, I thought it was unfair for me when I first came here – I got the job because of what I did on offense – I didn’t think it was fair to give anybody that title and not have a football team that was worthy of that guy to be the leader of it when I didn’t think it was where it needed to be. To me, then you guys would have been telling me to get rid of him. I would rather you guys tell me to get rid of me than somebody [else]. It is like a set-up. I have seen these before where coaches hire guys and they put them in that role and they fire that guy and they keep on going and they keep getting opportunities to stay here. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t think that was fair. I understand and know exactly where we are on offense. I truly believe a year from now that we are going to be better equipped and in a better situation. Do I want an offensive coordinator? That is definitely a possibility for me, there is no question. At the same time, I knew what I was getting myself into in the beginning. I knew what I needed to do and I wasn’t worried about all of the criticism and things that have been said. That is part of it, but think about it like that with somebody else. They might not have been able to handle that, and I didn’t think that was fair to them. That is why I made the decision that I made.”

On why there were media leaks within the organization and if they were from him, his agent or his friends:

“I like the way you are saying this, me, my agent – I don’t deal in leaks. I have been doing this for quite a while. I don’t know what you are referring to when you say ‘leaks out of here’. This has been a leaky place for years. This is not the first time you have ever heard leaks out of the Cleveland Browns. Hopefully, some of that stuff will go away in time, but it is not going to go away when you are losing, that is for sure. If anything, it is going to ratchet up even more. I think you get that yourselves. I appreciate ‘my agent, my this, my that,’ but we don’t deal in that way. I have never dealt in that way.”

On clarifying that he didn’t have any involvement in media leaks:

“Any of what? I don’t even know what you are talking about.”

On if he played a role in leaking information to the media criticizing the front office and to make the front office look bad:

“Criticizing the front office? How would I make the front office look bad? I coach a football team. That right there is bad enough. 1-27 is bad enough. I don’t have to say anything. My agent doesn’t have to say anything. Just look at our football team. I’m a part of that as I said earlier.”

On if the Browns can make a turnaround in a year:

“I think we can make some headway, but I think we all have a lot of work to do. I do. I think we can turn this thing, and that is what I came here for is to get this organization turned around. I’ll keep saying that. I didn’t come here for any other reason.”

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