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Hue Jackson conference call - 11/21

Opening statement:

"Yesterday was another tough blow for our football team. It is extremely challenging for us because it does get frustrating, but we all must remain positive together and determined. I know we will all do that. I understand where we are. I understand how people feel about us right now. This team is going to continue to work hard. We are going to continue to stick together because we know that is the only way success will come. We have to continue to work hard. We have to continue to have each other's backs. That will bring us the success. When that is going to happen, I don't have that crystal ball but I know it is going to happen. We did not play well yesterday. That is obvious. I know we can play better, and I am committed to us to play better. The Steelers played a great game and I commend their players and their coaching staff for the job they did, but we can do better and I know we can and I know we will do better. That will be our focus this week like it is every week. I know by Wednesday our players will be chomping at the bit to get back in the meeting and get back on the practice field and get ready to win a game coming up this weekend against New York.

"As far as injuries are concerned, (QB) Cody Kessler is in the concussion protocol, obviously. The doctors will take the lead on when Cody can return and play, and we will welcome him back whenever he is able to get back."

On projecting QB Josh McCown to start this Sunday:

"Yeah, it is looking like that at this point that Josh will be the starter this week."

On how many of yesterday's sacks were due to the QB holding the ball too long:

"I don't want to really get into… It is a unit issue obviously. It is not one guy's issue. It is a unit issue. We all have a part in it. The receivers have a part in it. The linemen have a part in it. The backs have a part in it. The tight ends have a part in it and obviously the quarterback. We all have a part in it. We just have to do it better."

On how much the QB has to determine protections compared to what is built into the gameplan:

"There is a lot where that is already decided and there are some where the quarterback does has to have the proper ID based on how defenses move and align and do those certain things. We just had a unit issue. It was everywhere. We need to get better."

On if there were any positive takeaways from the Steelers game:

"There were not many to be very honest with you. Obviously, I thought that the second half for our whole football team was a little bit better than what it had been thus far. The second half issue seems like it got a little bit better, not where we want it to be, but that part of the game was different for us."

On if it appearing the Browns line got 'manhandled' up front for the first time this season:

"I am not going to say we got totally manhandled. There are some things that we could do better. I know it could look that way, but I think there are some things from a technical standpoint and schematic standpoint that we could do a little bit better to put our players in better situations."

On if media can report that QB Josh McCown will start against the New York Giants:

"Yes, you can."

On if OL Cameron Erving is putting too much pressure on himself or if other factors are affecting his play:

"I don't think [the protection] was just one man's issue. It was a unit issue. Cam obviously has a part in that, as well as all of the other linemen, too. We have to continue to work and improve and get better. I know he will do that this week."

On WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.'s comments about the protection needing to improve and if he had issue with any of Pryor's comments:

"Yes, I do because that is not Terrelle's job. I know he is frustrated and we all are. No doubt, we need to protect our quarterback, but that is not for him to say. Let's focus on ourselves and support each other. That is what good teams do, and that is what we are going to work to become."

On if he has spoken to Pryor on that subject:

"Yes, I have. He was awesome, as always. Sometimes, like most people, after the game and after the heat of the moment, you are a little frustrated and maybe you say some things that you wish you hadn't. I understand it is coming from a good place. I know that no one wants to see our quarterback getting hit, but I think everybody has to let me be the judge of that."

On if that could be a sign of concern about team members having each other's backs:

"Nope. We are going to continue to have each other's backs. I have to do that better, too. It is an everyday and every situation deal for me and this football team. We are going to work our way through it. We are going to stay together. We are going to stay committed. We are going to get better."

On if keeping the team together is one of the challenges of coaching a winless team:

"Absolutely. Again, these guys work extremely hard. They come in this building every day and they are in here working their tails off with the expectation to go out and win and play well. When that doesn't happen, frustration does set in for everybody involved. I am going to be the calming voice and the calming leader that is going to get us through all of this, and we are going to understand that there is one way and it is kind of my way. We will all work together and we will figure it out from there."

On if he also felt he needed to say something to OL Joe Thomas, given his postgame comments regarding the Browns OL:

"No, [I did not feel I needed to say something to Thomas]. I mean, I did talk to Joe about his comments. Me and Joe have a great relationship. Again, I just think all of our players are frustrated. Again, they want to win. It is all coming from a good place. There is not a guy in our locker room that does not want to win. When things do not go well, it is very easy to point back to some other things. In order for us to get to where we want to be as an organization and as a good football team, we all are going to learn from every decision that we make, but I think right here in the middle of the season and late in the season where things have not gone as well, it is easy to feel, think and wish that things were different. I understand those questions that are going to be asked, and I understand some of the answers that will come from our players, but at the same time, I think what we have to do is just stay positive through it all. It is not easy to do. It is hard to do, but that is how I want our team to handle it, and we are just going to continue to move forward."

On building a winning culture given the Browns struggles since returning in 1999 and record this season:

"I will be the first to tell you that is tough, but that is something we have to do. We have to move beyond the past and we have to make a new future here. We do need to make that as fast as we can. I don't want anybody to think we are not trying. We are so there are some things and some T's we have to cross and some I's that we need to dot before we can get there, and I think we will. It is not happening as fast as I would like it to or our fans would like it to or even our players would like it to, but I promise you this: we are going to get there."

On how he personally is dealing with the Browns struggles and if he talks with anybody to help him through it:

"Yeah, I have talked to several people I wish to keep anonymous. Trust me, this is tough. I am not going to sit here and tell you that it is not. I could not tell you that it is not. I have never encountered this, but at the same time, I know what I signed up for. I truly believe I am just the man for the job. That has not shown, and I respect that and I understand how our fans and all feel, but I am not running from this. I am going to run through it, and I am going to deal with it head on. We are going to fix this. That is what I came here to do. You said it, we are in the midst of a lot of past deeds and past things that have gone on, and I get that. We have to get it right, fix it and turn it over and get it to looking the way we want it to look. I have total confidence that we are going to do that as an organization."

On what elements allow him to believe that the Browns can beat the Giants this week:

"I think we have a chance every week. What we have to do is go play Browns football. I don't know that we have done that yet all year. At some point in time, it is going to click where we play for four quarters and give ourselves the best opportunity to win. I know everyone is doubting us and counting us out and saying we have no chance, but I feel like we have a chance every week if we play football the way I think we are capable of playing."

On when QB Cody Kessler got hurt:

"I don't know exactly when he got hurt, but it was in that period of time that you just mentioned when he hit his head on the ground and when (Steelers LB Lawrence) Timmons went over or whatever that is. We know Cody is in concussion protocol and our medical professionals will advise us on the best way to move forward with him. There is really nothing further really to talk about at this point. He won't be back out there until he is medically cleared to return."

On what he can say to QB Josh McCown to help him keep from pressing and trying to make plays:

"I think what he will do, just me knowing Josh a little bit, because he will go out if everything stays as it is, he will get all the reps in practice and he will totally be grooved in the gameplan – not that he was not this past week – but he will be ready to go. I think he will go out and he will play extremely well for us. Obviously, we don't want the turnovers. We have to take care of the ball. Turnovers are what get you beat. I think he understands that, and we just have to do a better job of protecting the ball."

On if it is still too soon to consider QB Robert Griffin III as an option:

"It may be. We will find that out a little bit more as we go, but I think right now it might be a little early."

On why the Browns RBs only had 10 carries yesterday, given the bad weather conditions:

"We were not running the ball as well. At the end of the day, we have to do what we have to do to try to win the game. We had some chances earlier to make some plays that we didn't make that we have to continue to execute better. We had some chances in the run game to make some plays, but this was a little different feel of an AFC North game. I have been in those games. I have been where Pittsburgh has stymied you doing one thing and you are forced to do another, and I have been in games when Pittsburgh does not stop you from doing certain things and you are able to do it. The most important thing we have to understand is that we have to do whatever it takes to win. Every game is not going to mean that we run it 40 times or throw it 40 times, but sometimes it comes out the other way."

On areas the Browns may have taken a step backward, given his comment yesterday:

"I just think I thought some players who were just trying to do too much. As I said, I think I understand where it is coming from and it is coming from a good place, but I just think we have to be careful of just trying to do more than what we need to do. We just need to do our job. That is when you know a team is pressing, and that is what I mean by taking a step back. When you start pressing, you are looking for ways to make it happen, and the only thing you really have to do as a player is just do your job and do your job the best you can do it."

On examples of players pressing:

"I don't want to get into all of that. I know I am answering your question without being very specific about who those players are because I don't think that matters."

On generically speaking what happens when players are pressing, for example if it is when a player is out of position in a gap:

"Absolutely, just when you are trying to cover up maybe for a teammate. You see an opportunity to make a play that because you are going to make the special play for your team and you kind of do something a little bit more than what you need to."

On if he is happy with the Browns rookie class' development:

"It is growing. Some guys have totally improved. I watched DB Derrick) Kindred play as well as he has played all year. I watched (DL/LB) Emmanuel (Ogbah) battle yesterday. I watched (WR) Corey Coleman demonstrate toughness in a game that was tough game. Some of our rookies are growing and getting better, but I think the class will be judged at another time. It is too early to say where they are or what they will be or anything like that."

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