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Browns coach Hue Jackson conference call - 8/24

Head Coach Hue Jackson

Opening statement:

“When I watched the tape, I was really impressed by what our defense has done over the past two week. I have been asking the defensive guys to improve by forcing turnovers. That is not where we needed to be last year, as you guys know. (LB) Jamie (Collins) and (DB) Briean (Boddy-Calhoun) took advantage of their opportunities. When they intercept the ball, and when we are able to knock the ball out, our guys got to the ball and recovered it. I thought that was outstanding. The sack by (DL) Myles (Garrett) for a safety. The play by my man (LB) Genard Avery to knock the ball out and for (DL) Emmanuel (Ogbah) to get on that ball, I thought that was outstanding. On offense, we are not where we want to be. Good to see us strong in the run game again. I like the grit and determination that we saw with the other way that our backs are running, as well. We did not put many points on the board. We were 0-2 in the red zone. We know that we have to get better in that way. We have some work to do. We know what it is going to take to truly get that done. We just have to put our heads down and keep working and fight through this, and continue to work at a high level. On special teams, the 54-yarder by (K) Zane (Gonzalez) was impressive. Obviously, you guys saw the kicking competition that we had last week. From that, I think that it just carried over into the game. I think that he did a great job. We want to see our kickers take advantage of their opportunities, and that is what Zane was able to do. We have two weeks to prepare for our opener against the (Pittsburgh) Steelers, which is around the corner. We will get some work this week – some really good work before we head down to Detroit. We have some really good practices planned out. I feel good about what we are trying to accomplish over the next several days. Then, we will make out cuts and get down to the 53, and get the roster to where we want it to be.

As far as injuries are concerned, (QB) Tyrod (Taylor) had a dislocated pinkie. But obviously, they were able to get that back into place. Real quickly, it takes 15 seconds to do that. He has a bruised hand. He is sore, but he is going to be fine. (DB) Denzel Ward, he has some back spasms from the way that he was twisted by attempting to make that tackle last night. We do not think that he will miss much time, if any. (LB) Genard Avery has a hip injury that will force him to miss some time. He will work through it and we hope to have him back sometime soon. (DB) Damarious Randall being held out was more precautionary than anything else. Everything else – there were a couple of bumps and bruises – but nothing really substantial to report.”

On if he sees Taylor missing practice time:

“I do not.”

On WR Josh Gordon’s practice plan:

“Josh Gordon is going to go into the second phase of the process that we have him on. He will definitely be involved in walk-throughs. I am going to see where we are as far as practice is conferenced – I am not sure yet, I have not seen him today myself, personally – before we put him out there. He is definitely getting into the next process or us. He will definitely be involved in the walk-throughs and doing some other things.”

On Avery’s progress:

“He is coming on. Obviously, he did a tremendous job last night of rushing the passer and being in the right spot to make plays. You see his tenacity. He is relentless – he is a very relentless player. I have seen that over the last couple of weeks. His first week playing was against Buffalo. He played again last night. I just see glimpses of a young player who is going to be able to help contribute to our football team in his rookie year. How much he contributes will correspond with how much he can handle as we go throughout the year. I really like the makeup of the young man. I think that football is very important to him.”

On if Avery playing in the season opener is in doubt:

“No. I am not going to say that is in doubt. What that time is—I do not have the timetable for sure. He is going to be down for a bit. The hip situation is something that we have to really make sure that we take care of, so that we do not have anything that reoccurs.”

On if WR Jarvis Landry’s downfield blocking is ‘infectious:’

“Very appreciated. That is what we have to have. The second-level blocking is what will lead to longer runs for our running backs and lead to scores, really. We really harp on that – (WRs) Coach (Adam) Henry, (offensive coordinator) Coach (Todd) Haley and myself, because I think that it is so important to be able to block at the second level. I think when a young guy sees a veteran player doing that, they kind of fall I line and understand that this is how we do it.”

On if Landry’s complete game reminds him of former Steelers WR Hines Ward:

“It is hard to compare players. Hines Ward was a great player during his time. Jarvis has started his career and has obviously had some great years catching the football. I think I know what you are talking about as far as the tenacity of the players and their mentality – there are some similarities in that way.”

On if he’s thinking about keeping the stripes off of the helmets for the regular season:

“I wish I could (laughter). No, I do not think that is going to happen. They are definitely going to earn them. The guys who are the 53 that stay here, they will definitely be the guys that have the opportunity to put those stripes on their helmets.”

On if he has made a decision on if he will play the first team offense at least one series against the Detroit Lions:

“No, I have not. I have watched the tape and obviously there some things we have to clean up, for sure. But I am excited about getting them back out to practice tomorrow and see where we are. Obviously, the game is not until Thursday, so again, I reserve the right to make that decision as we get closer to the game.”

On how the OL played and what spots behind the starters he is looking to fill:

“I think, as I said when I started, I think we ran the ball extremely well. I think for the most part, pass protection was okay. Sometimes we might have held on a little bit too long, maybe the receivers could be in a different spot. But I thought overall—I thought they were good. It was very good protection for the most part and the run game was good. There are still just some fundamental things we have to continue to work on and clean up. We will try to get that done over the next several weeks and into and through the regular season. Obviously, this thing is going to come down to about three or four more spots here at the end. How can we continue to get better in our offensive line? We got a great chance to evaluate some guys in the twos last night. We will get an opportunity to do it again this week, see if we can get some improvement. We are going to look across the league and try to figure out how we can make our team stronger and better.”

On if he expects WR Antonio Callaway back at practice this week:

“Yes, I do.”

On if he has an update on Randall:

“Yes, I did. What I said is, last night was precautionary for him, as far as him being held out more than anything else. Hopefully, he should be back at practice tomorrow.”

On if he can elaborate on the play selection at the goal line and if he approved those play calls:

“Absolutely. I mean, I stand behind Todd (Haley) 100-percent. Obviously, there were some things that we were trying to exploit, some opportunities we thought we had. I think when we look back at it—hopefully, next time we may do things a lot differently in that situation. But there is no question that I think the things that we are trying to get done – I think you saw Jarvis run through – we thought he was bumped. We thought it was a P.I (pass interference) in that situation. The next time, we thought maybe we could have fought through a little harder. At the same time, as we get down there, we understand what we need to do to finish drives and how we are going to have to finish them. Sometimes, it is going to be that we throw it and a lot of times it is going to be that we are going to have to run the football.”

On if Gordon will be back at practice tomorrow or Sunday:

“Josh Gordon will be at practice every day, but you are asking if he will be practicing. Probably – again he is into the second phase of where I want him to be – he will definitely be involved in walk-throughs now, out there and be involved. How much he does will be in proportion of what I see and where he is.”

On the sense relief to hear that Taylor’s hand was going to be okay:

“Well, I definitely got the final thought that he was going to be fine when we decided to put him back in. Obviously, when (Vice President of Player Health and Development) Joe Sheehan came back, he said ‘Everything is fine. There are no issues. He can go back in.’ Obviously, the player was very excited to go back in the game. Again, I felt he needed to, because our offensive football team at that time needed to play together. They needed his leadership. He needed to be out there playing with them. I think it is important for them to develop that chemistry, so I felt comfortable that when we put him back out there, things were okay. Obviously, when he was not there and he was inside before he came back, all kinds of thoughts go through your head. But I feel good about where he is and what he will be able to do in the future.”

On the first team needing time to develop chemistry and how that will affect next week’s game:

“Well, I think I need to see more of it on the practice field, obviously, because we need to get that group together. Injuries, as you mentioned, have something to do with that—guys not being able to practice. So we will work through that piece and if I feel like we need more time out there in this upcoming game, we will do so, if need be.”

On the outlook of Ward and how he is feeling about him:

“I feel very good about him. I mean, obviously, he has the physical skillset that we want and I think he is tough. He will tackle, he will do all of those things. What he has got to do is be able to make it thought 16 games. He is going to have to be able to make it through 16 games. Hopefully, we can earn another game and other games after that. The thing with him will be durability. He is going to have to be out there on the field competing and playing, because when he is out there, it makes us a better football team."

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