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Browns players quotes - 11/21

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LB Christian Kirksey:**

On Head Coach Hue Jackson stating the Browns went backward in some areas and what that says about a young team that is expected to make progress throughout the year:

"It is just we have a lot of guys that are trying to win, just going out there and playing their hearts out trying to get our first win of the season. When you are in the position we are in right now, sometimes, guys can try to do more than what they are supposed to do. That is probably natural for people to do in a situation like this. We are sticking together. We are trying to make strides in certain areas that we need to improve. I thought that we had the best practice week of the season this week but just the outcome was not what we thought. That is the beauty of the NFL is you get another week to better yourself and better yourself for the team. In my mind, I am all positive right now. The guys in the locker room, they are all positive. We are just going to try to win another game this following week."

On how LB Jamie Collins Sr. is adjusting to the Browns, given the difference in his former and current teams' records:

"Jamie, he knows that he is a Brown now. He has been the best teammate for us. He has been the best player that he can be. He hopped right in and bought into the program, bought into the plan and he is doing a great job for us. It was like night and day. He was with the Patriots and then the next morning, he was with us and he just totally bought in. I am happy with what he is doing for the team. He has been out there making plays for us."

On players adjusting to losing in consecutive weeks after being on a winning program in college:

"You just have to take the punches. It is funny because I was just talking to my mother yesterday, and I look at her as the person I like to talk to. She was telling me that it is just like life. We did not expect to be in this situation. Nobody expected it to be like this, but it is life. You just have to get up and deal with it. You can't sit there and pout about it. I know a lot of guys, like you said, came from winning programs and now this is new for them and something new for me. You just have to make the adjustments. You can't just sit there and complain about it. You have to keep improving, keep going out there every week, fighting and trying to get better. That is all you can do at this point. You don't have time to sit there and panic and dwell on the past because all it would do would roll over to the next week. You just have to have short-term memory doing this job and in this profession. You just have to clear it out and try again next week."

On if his mom has been his support system this year:

"For me, you always have to have that person to sit and just get things off your chest. For me, I talk to my teammates because I have a good relationship with my teammates. I talk to my family, my mother. I talk to my best friends from college. I talk to people I feel like have their best interest for me and I have my best interest for them. It is good to just get things off your chest when you are going through a tough situation. At the end of the day, it is football. You have to go out there and you have to continue to fight. I don't think we should make it bigger than what it is. It is all about winning games. At the end of the day, you have to look yourself in the mirror and the team has to look themselves in the mirror and just see what our struggles are and see what we need to improve on. Things will get better in time. You can't lose faith. I know a lot of people are talking about the comment that I made about winning a game this season. That is your mindset every week. You don't go into a game thinking you are going to lose. That is not going to be a good competitive attitude so of course I am always going to go into the game thinking we are going to win and that is what I will continue to do. We just have to get through it."

On remaining committed to his statement that the Browns will not go 0-16:

"Yeah, as long as I am strapping on the pads, as long as I have this Cleveland jersey on, I am going to always have hope. I am going to always go into the game thinking win. That is just my attitude, and that is how I am going to be. I am always going to be a guy that is willing to do anything for my teammates, be a guy that is going to give it my all and always going to think win. That is just my mindset so I guess that is not going to change, so of course I still have that in me and still as my main focus and so does Hue and so does the whole team. Our main focus is to go out there and prove that the next week, go out there and play to win. It is as simple as that."

On if the losses are taking a toll on Jackson and if players still have the same amount of faith in him:

"I have all the confidence and faith in Hue. It is new for him, and it is new for us. We are all in it together. That is why we are a team, we are an organization, and I stand 100 percent behind Hue. He has been a great coach for us. I know our record is not where we need to be, but I have all the faith in Hue. I have all the faith in my linebacker coach, Johnny Holland, I have all the faith in this program, Jimmy Haslam and the whole Browns organization. I have faith in these guys and we are all in it together so we are not pointing fingers at anyone. We are all fighting, and that is what it means to be a team. When things are not going well, you have to stick together."

On if Jackson has changed his approach, given his comment yesterday about wearing many hats:

"He is just trying to find out the best solution for us. He is always taking care of his players. He is always asking us what are things we think we can do differently. He is always saying if we have a problem, his office is always open. Hue has done a tremendous job with us. He is taking care of us as players. He takes care of the coaches. Like I said, we stand 100 percent behind him. He is just trying to figure out a solution to win us ball games. I believe he is doing an excellent job with keeping the team up, keeping the attitude positive and going into the week with a good gameplan and giving us the best chance to win. I salute him for that. I stand 100 percent behind him."

On if the Browns take any consolation that the team has sustained multiple injuries that may have impacted the results this season and will return next season:

"Whenever we lose some key players like that early in the season – like, we lost (DL) Des Bryant at the beginning of the season – whenever you lose key players like that, it is going to affect you in some way, but it all goes down to the next man in. I have full faith in the guys that are playing on the field. You have to roll with what you have got. I am looking forward to having those healthy guys back, but right now, we have to play with what we have and continue to have faith in each other. That is all you can do at this moment."

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QB Josh McCown:**

On the Browns' biggest pass protection problems in the second half against the Steelers:

"Obviously, the guys up front are fighting hard and I think it is everybody kind of took a turn so I don't really speak on what those guys are doing. I feel like I could have helped direct some things better from the quarterback position. You said second half but just in the time that I played is what I am speaking about. I look at it and they had a good gameplan for some of the stuff that we were doing protection wise. Every time after you finish a game, you have to look at things you could have done better, and I look at that and looking back just feel like I maybe could have helped us in some of those areas as far as directing some of the protection to enable us to have better matchups at times and give those guys some help. They fought hard, though. Really looking back on it, that is my take. I felt like everybody fought hard. We just have to improve. Everybody has to improve what they can. For me, I start with me and what I can do better."

On how difficult it is as a QB to be forced into action after not starting the game:

"Obviously, it is not ideal, but I have been in this league a while and that is part of the job. You prepare all week and do the best you can to get yourself ready to go, and then the main thing is, especially on a day like that, is just getting yourself warm and in rhythm and ready to go. I didn't feel like that was too much of an issue. We moved the ball down field fairly quick and got in the end zone. We just didn't keep it going. That was the difference."

On how difficult it was to be effective offensively, given the inclement weather and the Browns not getting into a good rhythm in the run game:

"That is pretty hard obviously just because you want to have balance as much as you can as an offensive football team. Sometimes, games dictate different scenarios, but obviously, if that is what you have to do, you have to go do it. Certainly, if you are in a pass mode and obviously after when we went down two scores – and even there early, we are still down a couple scores – you have to move the ball as quickly as you can. I understand why it went that way, but the balance is obviously what you are looking for. It helps out everybody – offensive linemen, quarterbacks, receivers, all of that. When a team can make you one-dimensional, it is tough, but you have to be able to ride it up even in amidst that circumstance. Yesterday, we executed well on the first drive. We just didn't keep that going."

On if he has been told that QB Cody Kessler will not play against the Giants due to a concussion and that he personally will start:

"I don't know yet so I will let you all discuss that with (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) whenever you guys talk with him. I don't know yet. I will just start in my preparation process and we will see what they say."

On if he has talked with Kessler today:

"I have seen him, yeah. I have seen him and talked with him. Obviously, he is disappointed, and it is just frustrating for him just coming out of the game and having it already happened once, I think he is disappointed and wants to be in there for his team. I understand that. Yeah, he is just disappointed."

On how difficult it is to remain motivated given the Browns' current struggles and record:

"You have to find the same things, really, should be your primary focus and motivation, whatever you boil that down to as a man individually, and then you go out there and you do your job because we get paid to do a job. For me, it is still my focus. I love playing this game, and a lot of those cool components of why you play certainly gets tested when you are going through a time like this because it makes it tough. If what you said is true, then you continue to play hard. If whatever you determine is the reason why you play, whether it is for your faith or your family or maybe it is just for money or whatever a man indicates that this is why he does something, whenever you get tested, that really shows whether or not that decision that you made way back when, whether it was true or not. It is a difficult time, there is no doubt about it, but we will keep preparing and come out fighting because that is what it is about. It is about being in the fire right now and saying, 'What are my corps values?' When you are in the fire, what is going to burn up and what is going to come out of that fire and be there? That is what my foundation is and that is what I am about. That is for me playing through for my faith and my family and for this game and for the love of this game. That is what it is about. As hard as this time is, it doesn't change anything for me."

On if Browns players are still fully on board with the coaching staff, given the team's record:

"I believe so, yeah. It is unfortunate, but I think everybody understood going in that you are in the first year of a head coach and so many things change. Nobody certainly expected to be 0-11 – that is for sure – but at the same time, I believe the players and everybody in this building has continued to trust the vision that Coach Jackson has for us and where he is taking us. It has been a rough start, there is no doubt about it, but we will keep trusting where we are going and look forward to better days."

On Jackson stating the team took steps backward in some areas and if he senses Jackson getting frustrated:

"I think everybody is frustrated. There is no doubt about it. As far as going backward, you look at the way we played games earlier in the year, the closeness of those games and the opportunity to win some of those games, and now, some of these games haven't been as close. I get the sense and definitely understand where he is coming from when he says it feels like we are going backward. To a degree when you are as young as our team is that is part of what is going to happen. We are fighting through a lot, and we have a lot of young football players on our team. The growth process is going to be somewhat inconsistent and you are going to have times when you see flashes and then when things maybe do setback a step or two. For us, it is continuing to move forward and fight through that. I think, obviously, that is to be expected with a young team."

On having an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers and if that is a result of the game situations and trying to make plays or other factors:

"Obviously, the numbers would dictate that. That is frustrating because one of the things for us and to me was to come in here and to play efficient football and to protect the football. Obviously, there are some bad breaks in there against Baltimore and some of the things that happened. There are just some bad breaks. At the end of the day, they go beside your name and you have to figure out a way to stop them from happening. It is frustrating. You are right, there is a level of pressing and trying to make the plays that comes in a situation like this. We all have to fight that, but for me, it is on me to get that fixed. It is disappointing and certainly, it upsets you a ton because we know how everybody is fighting to get this thing going in the right direction. The last thing you want to do is feel like you are contributing to not allowing it to get where we want it to go with the turnovers. Continue to look at the tape, and (associate head coach-offense) Pep (Hamilton) and Coach Jackson continue to coach me on those things and talk with me to those things. I will be very critical of myself and how to get those things fixed because it has to change."

On how much of the QB's responsibility it is to get the proper blocking matchups at the line of scrimmage and how much is on the gameplan:

"It is both. For me, I obviously look at what I can control and my part of it. Like the turnovers, you have to focus on what you can control and how you can make it better. I look at those things and at the end of the day, the quarterback is a vital piece of the offense and the guy that makes it go. Whenever the offense doesn't move or things happen, whether it is protection, turnovers or anything, it is incumbent upon that guy to say, 'What can I do to fix it?' That is my mindset. If we feel like we are having protection issues, I take that personally. That is on me. What can I do to fix that? Turnovers, what can I do to fix that? Any of those things, I take it on me. To answer your question, we look at that, we will go look at how we prepared versus what happened in the game and I will certainly look at those things and shoulder that because that is how I feel. I feel like I could have helped us out. I feel like I could have made it better. If you are looking for someone to point the blame, just point it right here on me because those guys are fighting hard and they doing the right things. As a quarterback and in our room, we have to make it better."

On if learning earlier in the week that he may start and receive more reps in practice may be beneficial:

"Obviously, anytime you get a week to work, there is a reason why we let the starter take the reps. It is the best way to get a person prepared for a football game. Absolutely, if that is the case, I feel like it will help and I plan on it helping. I trust that we will come back and we will put together a plan just like we always do, we will be ready to go and we will keep fighting. If that is the case, I look forward to the week of work, I look forward to the opportunity to go out there and try to help us get our first win. It is a tough, tough time for us. Especially for guys who have been in the league for a little while and in our locker room, it is frustrating, but at the end of the day, we are going to continue to reload, come back to work and fight hard to make it right and get it going. We owe it to the rest of the guys in the locker room, the coaches, the people in the organization and the city to get this thing turned around."

On what young players can learn in their development from a game like yesterday's contest, given the Steelers performance in the second half and time of possession:

"Obviously, you just see what the formula is and see the things that can help you win games as far as controlling the clock, whether you run the ball and [keep the offense on the field]. Those are the things that we have talked about and that is what we are shooting for. We want to become a team that can do both. You have a ton of respect for what (Steelers QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) and those guys have been able to do, whether it is (Steelers RB) Le'Veon (Bell) getting the yards he got or Ben and (Steelers WR) Antonio (Brown) making the plays. That is an offense's goal is to be balanced like that and to do those things efficiently. Hopefully, the young players and we all can learn from that as far as offensively what we strive to be. You understand how when you can grab control of the game like that and there will be a lot of learning for the young guys when they see things like that because you realize how much controlling the clock can affect the game."

On if he will have input into adjusting blocking schemes and matchups and if protection can improve significantly by making those adjustments:

"Yeah, I think we can. That's what I mean that some of that stuff starts with me and the way that we can do things to help them out. As we prepare, we will look at those things closely and see what we can do to make it better."

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