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Quotes to Know: Best soundbites from Browns' win vs. Giants

Posted Aug 21, 2017

'I'm watching a team that is growing and getting better in some areas'

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

“I am watching a team that is growing and getting better in some areas. I thought it was a really good effort by our defensive football team. The offense, we are still playing really spotty. We started off with too many penalties early, and that put is in a hole when we are always trying to dig out so we are not where we need to be yet and I get that. We are going to keep working at it and get better. Special teams is doing some good things. It is good to see (DB) Jabrill (Peppers) making plays. That is another plus for our offensive football team. We are seeing some pieces of our team start to really make a jump. We just have to keep working in the phases that are not and keep getting better.”

On if the QB competition became any clearer tonight:

“I will watch the tape. There were some things that I felt on the sidelines just being out there watching the game, calling the plays and watching how things happen. Like I told you guys, I hope by Wednesday of this upcoming week we will have a decision of where we are headed, and I think that is what we have to do."

On if naming a starting QB will be a difficult decision:

“We will see (laughter). I need to watch the tape and honestly answer that question, but I have an idea in my mind based on what I felt and what I saw from our football team. We will just kind of go from there.”

On the performance of QBs Brock Osweiler and DeShone Kizer:

“Brock did some things early, but obviously, the tipped ball… Again, you are getting holding calls and all of the sudden you are playing behind the sticks all of the time. That is not good. We are kind of mixing and matching the offensive line a little bit right now so that is tough. DeShone, there were some things he did really well and there are some things he has to keep improving on. To answer it all, I want to watch the tape before I give you an honest assessment of both those guys.”

On reaction to select Browns players kneeling during the National Anthem and if it may potentially occur again:

“Obviously, we put out a statement about that. As I said two days ago, we respect our players; we respect the flag. Those guys came to me and talked to me about it before they ever made a decision to do it. That is the way we feel about it, and we have talked about this. I said at some point in time, they may, and they have. I won’t know about the next game until it happens, but again, this was tonight and we will move on from there.”

On if he had objections with the hit DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun put on Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“Honestly, I really didn’t see it. I don’t think any of our players try to do things maliciously. I didn’t get that feeling. I know some guys who are thinking that maybe it wasn’t a legitimate or a good hit, but again, we have to watch the tape and see. Sometimes guys get put into [tough] positions, and it is tackle [football]. I thought Briean was just trying to tackle a player and got him on the ground.”

On if any of Kizer’s rushes were planned and if that is something he does not want to see:

“No. Three of those were planned because there were things that the defense was giving us. He has that ability with his legs and a couple others were scrambles, legitimate scrambles, but he has to learn to get down. That is what I told them. He said he wanted to make sure that he ran into somebody so he could see what it felt like. I go, ‘Nuh uh, that is over with. Get down.’ He has to learn how to slide. I don’t care how big you are. I have always said these quarterbacks only have so many hits in their bodies so he has to protect himself that way.” 

On Osweiler only playing two series tonight and if that indicates he is the projected starter:

“That was my plan going into this game, and I said before that I wanted to see the younger guys play so I have done what I said I was going to do. Now, my decision and our organization’s decision as we move forward, we will get together, huddle together and talk about where we are.”

On if Kizer looked more ready tonight that he did after the first preseason game:

“Yeah, I saw improvement in a lot of things. There were some things that he did much better. Some games, you are going to have the big numbers and the touchdown passes. Some games, you are not. It is about playing efficient football and moving the team and doing what is asked of the quarterback position based on what the defense is doing so I think there were some good things he did. Like I said, I think there are some good things (QB) Brock (Osweiler) did, and there were some good things (QB) Cody (Kessler) did. I just need to watch the tape to be very honest and forthright with you guys about where we are.”

On the Browns defense holding QB Eli Manning to 80 yards passing in the first half:

“Like I said, I think this is a football team that is becoming something. I really do. Our guys on defense are battling. Not that our guys on offense aren’t – I think our guys on offense are battling, too – but I think our guys on defense are making plays, making stops and are doing things really well that helps our football team win. This was a team win. I don’t want to sound like this is defense against offense or special teams. It is not. This is about the Cleveland Browns football team, and the Cleveland Browns football team is getting better. We are getting better in units. We had more units play better on defense. We have to continue to do that. We need more units to play better on offense. We will continue to work at that. We need to do the same thing with special teams. We have to continue to work on that, as well.”

On clarifying if the Browns hope to be ready to name a starting QB for Week 1 on Wednesday or simply Saturday’s game:

“I kind of want to put this thing to bed by Wednesday. I kind of want to say, ‘Here is where we are going’ because I think this upcoming game, we will play a little longer with the first group because I think it is important to do so and have as many guys that are going to play in the opener playing because this is the dress rehearsal game. I would like to put this thing to bed and just move forward in that direction, and whatever decision we make, we make. We want to make the best one for the Browns.”

On how close he was to making the QB decision prior to tonight’s game:

“I have seen flashes of what I want to see, but I think timing is everything as you go through it. As you start through this – you guys said it best the other day – we are doing this with three different players so you are really somewhat playing three different offenses because you are trying to show these guys’ skillset and give them the best opportunity to have success, but at the same time, that might not be the best for the offensive team. I think that is what you see. You see kind of mixing and matching and trying to give guys opportunities to show what they can do so that you can make the best decision for the team. At the end of the day, the best decision for the team is who can put the ball in the end zone and score points because that is what we are going to need to do. If we can play good defense and score some points on offense, I really and truly believe in the National Football League that is the formula for victories. That is what we are chasing, and that is what we have to try to do.” 

On why he feels ready to make a decision on QB prior to the third preseason game:

“I think I have seen enough. For me, I have seen enough. I have done this long enough in my career and know what it looks like and what it feels like and what it should be. I feel pretty good about it. We will travel in that direction. If I feel like after watching the tape we need to wait a little longer, we will wait a little longer. I just feel like we are at the point where we can move forward and feel good about it.”

On if much should be read into Osweiler not scoring points in the first two games, given his emphasis on scoring points:

“No. When you evaluate Brock, you might evaluate him a little different scale as you go through as you do the others. At the same time, we are going to throw in it the pot, look at it and make the best decision for the Cleveland Browns.”

On if the Browns’ WRs are getting enough separation:

“I think our receivers are open. It is a combination of a lot of things. It is protection, first and foremost. It is blitz pickups by our backs. It is making sure that our eyes are in the right area when we are looking to throw the ball. It is a combination of everything. That is what preseason is for – work out all of these kinks and get moving in the right direction, but it is hard. I think you guys all understand and know it is hard when you don’t have an established quarterback. That is just part of it. That is what it looks like. Until you start traveling down that road with one guy and you start giving him those reps the way you can do it over and over and over again, repetition is the mother of learning. You just have to keep doing it that way, and eventually, it gets righted. That is why this game coming up is so important. To get to where we need to be before we play Pittsburgh, there needs to be a jump in execution on offense. I get that. You all get that. I know how that works. We are going to get that fixed.”

On updates on LB Tank Carder and TE David Njoku:

“Tank has a knee. We will know about that more tomorrow. I’m not going to say anymore – what did I normally to say? ‘Oh, it was nothing?’ I’m not saying that anymore (laughter). We will find out more about that tomorrow. Obviously, he has to go and get that checked. David has an ankle. We will know more about that tomorrow, as well.”

On if DE Myles Garrett’s first sack was encouraging:

“Yes, it was. That is what you look for. That is what he is here for is to tackle the quarterback and get people down to the ground. He did that tonight. He had a couple of good rushes and got close a couple of times, and he will keep learning and growing from these experiences that he is having, as well.”

QB Brock Osweiler:

On his performance, despite playing two series:

“Yeah, that is probably a better question for (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) as far as an evaluation. Until I watch the tape, it is going to be hard for me to really judge the two series that I was on the field. However, just kind of thinking back comparing to how we started the Saints game to this game, I think we made some improvements. Given I say that, and we still had penalties in this game in our first series, which is obviously a negative, but we overcame those penalties. I think that is a huge positive. It shows a lot of growth, where in [Preseason] Week 1 against the Saints, we had setbacks in those first three dives with penalties, but we weren’t able to overcome them. Tonight, being able to be in second-and-long, first-and-long and find a way to still get a first down I think is a big key. Obviously, we can’t have a turnover in the red area. Our defense did a tremendous job of giving us a short field, and we can’t turn the ball over.” 

On what happened on his interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage:

“I am going to have to see it on tape. I took my five steps, I threw on time, it looked like (WR) Corey Coleman won on the outside on the route that he was running. It was just a great play by the defense. Sometimes, unfortunately, they win. Those guys are very talented on the other side of the ball, as well, and I think one of their good players got a hand up and was able to tip the ball and make a great play for their team.”

On if he is frustrated that he has not led any scoring drives this preseason, considering limited drives:

“No frustration yet. Certainly, we are striving every single drive to put points on the board so the fact that we are not, absolutely, that is upsetting, but at the same time, you still have to look at the good that is taking place and there is good, but we do have plenty of room to grow as an offense and I think all of us know that. Nobody is shying away from that and we are going to come back to work hard this week because we know we need to improve.”

On if it is possible for Head Coach Hue Jackson to have enough information to name him the starting QB for the third preseason game and for the season, despite playing two series tonight:

“That is a great question for Coach. The one thing I would say is in comparison to all of the other quarterbacks in the room, I have a lot more tape out there. I have played in games. I have five years and then obviously this preseason of tape so that combined with practice and things that we do in the meeting room, maybe there is a great chance Coach is… There is always a method to the madness. That is what you always say in the coaching and playing world. Sometimes you are always like, ‘Gees, what is Coach doing today?’ You just have to trust in the process. You have to trust in what your coach is doing, and I certainly trust Coach Jackson.”

On how urgent it is for the Browns first team offense to score points in the third preseason game:

“I think it is important as far as a confidence standpoint. I think it is very important for the starting offense, whoever that is, to go out there against Tampa Bay and put together scoring drives because that is going to give you a really good feeling going into Week 1. Now, there has also been teams, if you go back throughout the history of time, who have had horrible preseasons and then they go onto play for Super Bowls. At the same token, you have to take it with a grain of salt. You really have to look at what you are doing in practice, as well as the games because practice is extremely important during training camp, but you are exactly right, as an offensive unit, we would love to go to Tampa Bay, start building some momentum, start building some confidence, put together scoring drives, protect the football and eliminate the penalties, and that is certainly what we are going to strive for.”

On if it will be a relief when Jackson names the starting QB, no matter the decision:

“Yeah, I think it is probably good for the football team. I think it is good probably for the football team to know who their quarterback is going to be for Week 1 so they can rally around him and also that quarterback can start building chemistry with that first string offense. I think that is extremely important but no relief. At the end of the day, I have no regrets towards anything. I have given it everything I have had from studying in April and May to OTAs and training camp and preseason games. We are very fortunate to play for a great football coach here, and I know he will make a great decision.”

On his sales pitch as to why he should be named the starting QB and why he has earned the opportunity:

“Fortunately, I don’t need to make a sales pitch to you guys so I’m not going to (laughter). Coach Jackson is going to make a great decision for this football team because he is a great football coach. He is great at coaching the quarterback position. Whoever he goes with, I trust his decision and I support him and this football team 100 percent.”

On if he has a gut feeling what the QB decision was going to be:

“I don’t. I really don’t.”

On signs to why the Browns can have a good offense this season:

“I think it goes back to that first series tonight. Like I said initially when I started this press conference, we grew from Week 1 to Week 2 because we started with penalties again on our first drive, but unlike Week 1, we overcame those penalties. We got first downs, and we were driving. We were getting ready to hopefully put points up on the board. To me, that is improvement. Our communication was better. We were crisp breaking the huddle. We were getting out and getting lined up quick. We were shifting quick. We were playing with tempo and I think really putting some pressure on the defense. Sometimes, I’m sure it is difficult to see, but as players and I’m sure this coaching staff can see, there are fine little details that we are improving every single week.”

On if he scrambled on third down on the second drive because there weren’t receivers open:

“Yeah, that was it. Give credit to the New York Giants and their coaching staff for making a great call. It was a play where we were expecting a certain coverage. We didn’t get that coverage. I went through my progression, and both guys were covered. When both guys are covered, the third option on third down is to scramble and try to make a play and get a first down for your team. Once again, without seeing that play on tape yet, it is really hard to give myself a grade. Is that a plus? Is that a minus? At the time, it felt like the right decision because it seemed like the receivers were covered.”

On if there was an element of his strategy to play it safe, given multiple short completions:

“I don’t think I was playing conservative at all. In fact, I believe it was that second drive, if you look at it we called a four verticals play, and I tried threading a ball into (TE) Randall (Telfer) our tight end in a three-deep zone. To me, after I watched that tape because I already know what coverage they were playing, it was probably a minus. They were playing a three-deep zone. I probably should have checked it down to the back and taken a 5-yard completion and gotten our team to a second-and-5 rather than second-and-10. Playing quarterback in the National Football League, a lot of it is managing the game. There is a time and a place to take chances, and the New York Giants played a lot of zone tonight. When teams play zone, that is when you have to run the football and that is when you have to take your underneath throws. Now, when teams come up and play man-to-man coverage, you take your shots down the field.”

On his reaction to the number of Browns players kneeling together during the National Anthem in prayer:

“First and foremost, I support all of my teammates. We are a family. We spend so much time together and we work so hard together. We are a family, and I support every single one of those guys. I think we would all admit and be the first to say that we are all so fortunate to live in this amazing country. This is the greatest country on the planet. Those guys have the right to do whatever they want during the National Anthem. That is certainly up to them to decide. Like I said, I support those guys, but me personally, the National Anthem before a football game is such a special moment. It is a moment that I cherish greatly because so many people have sacrificed so many things just to allow myself and my teammates that amazing opportunity to go out there and play football. I will continue to stand with great pride and thank those men and women who have given us that sacrifice, but once again, I support all of my teammates regardless of the decision they make.”

QB DeShone Kizer

On if he helped himself in the QB competition:

“(Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson was just in here. What did he say (laughter)? Once again, this is a day by day process. I completely trust in the learning curve that I am on and that Coach Jackson has me on. I will continue to learn and improve on these opportunities when I am out there.”

On if he has an edge in the QB competition because he was able to score points:

“I am also out there significantly longer than a lot of those guys. This preseason is geared for us younger guys to get out there and get reps. Coach Jackson continues to put this whole team in good situations when we are out there to score points. Obviously, we know the level of competition as the game goes on is going to continue to drop. We take pride in our locker room to go out there and dominant no matter who is out there, whether it is a preseason game, a scrimmage or a rep in practice. We are going to go out there and try to win. I am really proud of the situation we have been in towards the fourth quarter where we are holding onto leads rather than trying to come back at the last second. That is what it is going to take for us to be a winning football team in the regular season.”

On the experience of playing against the Saints defense and the Giants defense, given each unit’s performance last year:

“There is the guy with the name of J.P.P (Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul) standing across from me. That was definitely an eye opener to be out there with him. All in all, as long as your preparation is set for every defense you play, you are going to be able to see them all the same way. I was pretty confident walking in with the game plan we had and put in quite of bit of time in understanding the different looks they were going to give us. Obviously, in a preseason game, you don’t know what those looks are going to be, whether they are going to give you the whole kitchen sink or keep it vanilla. All in all I just think it is an opportunity for me against higher competition, I stepped up to the plate and obviously, I have a lot to learn and see from my reps out there but it was a pretty good outing on our side of the ball.” 

On where he improved from the first preseason game:

“We are still in the communication part of this process. I think I really improved on understanding the scheme and why I do what I do and why we are out there calling plays so I can communicate well to the huddle and what guys need to be doing and making sure guys are on the ball, off the ball and the line set for that play. As long as that continues to grow, we will be able to play faster and allow me to make checks. Right now, I am averaging about 12 seconds when I get to the line of scrimmage to make things happen. I need to get that up to 16 to 20 seconds to be able to go out there and get us to the right play and continue to have success.”

On if he would be disappointed if the Browns told him to cut down rushing the ball:

“There are a lot of different ways to scoring points. There are a lot of different ways of moving the ball. Once again, I trust in Coach Jackson completely to make sure the game plan is set according to what the defense is giving us. The way this NFL is set up is the defense kind of dictates what kind of offense you are going to run. If the defense gives us the opportunity to run the ball, we have two of the best (running) backs in the league. We are going to give them the ball. We have one of the best offensive lines in the league. We are going to let them pound it up there. If there are some opportunities to push it down the field, then duty calls and we have to make sure we are successful when it happens.”

On Coach Jackson saying he wants to put the QB competition ‘to bed’ by Wednesday and if he will be on the edge of his seat until then:

“No, once again, I completely trust in the process they set in front of me. If Wednesday is the day, it is the day. I know that for me, it’s just about getting better, whether I’m the second string guy, third string guy, first string guy. It is about me taking advantage of the reps in front of me. We still have two more games in this preseason for me to go out there and learn as much as I possibly can. If that is from the two spot or the one spot, I am just making sure I am doing it the right way.”

On Coach Jackson saying he was ‘test’ what an NFL hit felt like during a run:

“(Laughter). Absolutely, there is going to come a time hopefully in my career when it is going to be third-down-8 and contact is going to happen at six yards and I am going to fall over forward with this size and this body and the way that they run me in here. I just have to make sure that I let the team know, ‘Hey this is the type of guy that I can be when it is time to run the ball.’ Now, when you get up and you have the chin strap over your eyes and your lip is bleeding a little, it kind of shows you that you should protect yourself and this 16-game season has a quarter back who is ready and healthy to play every time.”

On his decision to stand next to the group of players who kneeled in prayer during the National Anthem:

“Obviously, this is a sensitive subject in our country right now. Quite frankly – it is kind of sad on my part – I don’t really know the different teams and what they are doing, but I did see an opportunity with my guys to support them on an awesome venture out there when they decided that they are going to pray in a time where this country is kind of all over the place in a sense of human rights and the racial movements. I decided it was a time for me to join my brothers who decide to take a knee and support them while they were praying.”

On if he planned his type of involvement ahead of time:

“I knew a couple of guys were going to be a part of it. I didn’t know how I wanted to be a part of it yet. I think it is an opportunity for me to support those guys and an opportunity to learn from it. If there is something that moves forward, it does, but right now, we have to make sure that football is about football and not making a bunch of statements. Today was just an easy way to show my support for the guys who have thought out the way they want to go about the situation.”

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