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Hue Jackson conference call - 12/11

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

"Another tough one for our team and our fans yesterday. I have said this many times over the course of the season, and unfortunately, it remains true: we have to find a way to finish the game. I know it is frustrating when you have such a great opportunity to win a game and you come up short. We can all point to a number of different plays throughout the course of the game. The opportunity was right there in front of us to end the game in our favor, and it just didn't happen. This team, they are going to keep fighting. They are going to keep working. We have a big game this week here at home. We are going to work hard, work extremely hard to see if we can get some improvement in some areas and see if we can get us a victory before this season is over." 

On if the Browns made it through yesterday's game without significant injuries:

"Yes, we did. We made it through pretty good. We came out of it healthy."

On if QB DeShone Kizer should have thrown the ball to RB Isaiah Crowell on the third-and-2 in OT, given Kizer referenced WR Rashard Higgins:

"No, I think he was thinking through the progressions. On that particular play, Crow was just going down the boundary. He was kind of Decoy Leroy at the time of the initial play. Now, once the play broke down and all of a sudden he started to scramble, then everybody is alive as you know. I think he took his eyes back inside because after you come off of (WR) Josh (Gordon), Higgins became the No. 2 guy working the middle and then I think he got kind of stuck there."

On if Higgins was open on the play:

"Higgins had a chance to slide away as DeShone was moving, but I think DeShone was moving so fast that he couldn't get himself stopped to pop Higgins the ball. He felt like he needed to keep moving and then he waved Higgins further down the field. That is when Higgins turned and ran, and that gave (Packers LB Clay) Matthews a chance to catch up with him."

On if Gordon was held on the third-and-2 play in OT:

"I'm not going to say that Josh was held. I'm not going to get into if he was or wasn't. We weren't able to make the play. We have to find a way to make that play and execute it better."

On if Kizer should have thrown the ball away or if he liked that Kizer was trying to make a play on the third-and-2 in OT:

"Oh no, I think you have to throw that ball away. We are in overtime. You are not trying to make a play. The one thing I have always told our quarterbacks is tipped balls don't find the ground. They normally find the other team. That is a time to be team-protecting, see if we can throw it away and live for another play, another opportunity."

On if there was discussion about punting the ball out of bounds on the punt that was returned 65 yards by Packers WR Trevor Davis, despite the punt coverage unit's success prior to it:

"No, I don't think so. You just said it, I think we had done a really good job of hemming that guy up pretty good all day. We felt like we were going to get this guy inside of the 20-yard line. We had numerous opportunities inside of the 20 to get him down, and obviously, he made a play and we didn't. No, that was not the thought."

On if the Browns defense could have made adjustments to take away shorter passes from the Packers offense or why the team didn't:

"Those things were out in front of us. It wasn't like the ball was getting behind us. Yeah, they were marching and moving forward, but I think we were getting it slowed down. Could we have played off of a block or two a little bit better and maybe had some more negative plays to it? Yes so there are some things that we can do better, but we felt like the ball wasn't going over our head, they were completing the ball in front of us and we were tackling them for the most part. Obviously, at the end, they got away."

On reviewing the game with General Manager John Dorsey for the first time and if the meeting was different than other Monday meetings:

"It was much different. We got together early and really talked through the game and just continued to dialogue on what we need to continue to do better to get the team better and how we see the football team as we continue to move forward."

On if the Packers made adjustments to take Gordon away after the first drive:

"No. We attempted to throw and we called Josh's number several times. Sometimes the ball went someplace else. Sometimes they made a play. You saw the first third down of the second half, we tried to throw him the ball and the guy kind of had his arm locked. We couldn't get him there. There was the play at the end of the game. There were several other plays in between. The one where he got undercut down the left side, that ball was going to be for Josh. I don't think that they took him away. I don't think we executed at a high level as well as we did earlier." 

On Dorsey's impressions of the team's performance and roster in general:

"I'm not going to get into all of those things. I thought it was a real back-and-forth conversation, which was really good. He was able to tell me how he saw the team, and I was able to tell him how I saw the team, as well. Then obviously, we have those discussions on what we can do better and how we see it coming together here at the end, trying to find ways to improve over the next three weeks. That was really the dialogue that we had."

On if Dorsey's and his thoughts about the team's performance were in sync:

"Very much so. That is what it is all about. We are having conversations about how we see football, which I think is really important, how we see winning evolving here and how we are going to get to it. I think you have to be able to talk like that all of the time."

On if Gordon was potentially bogged down by having more of the playbook and if he was given too much:

"No, I don't think he was given too much. I don't see it that way. I don't think he was bogged down. Was there one time where there was an alignment issue? Yes, but I didn't see it that way and I don't think he saw it that way. This is football. Sometimes the ball can go where you want it to go and sometimes it doesn't. Our quarterback had 28 opportunities and completed 20 of them. He can still do those things better, but there were a couple of times DeShone had opportunities to throw him the ball that we didn't. Those are the things that DeShone has to maximize his opportunities on throwing the ball to Josh. We have to continue to grow that way."

On if Gordon was interfered with at the goal line late in the first half:

"It is very clear to me watching the tape that we wish that the call should have been different. He definitely on the video tape we saw hit the offensive player before the ball got there."

On if he had issues with the team celebrating TDs with sunglasses, given the team's record:

"Honestly, football is supposed to be fun. I know it is fun when you are winning games and we all want more touchdowns and more celebrations, but I didn't [have an issue with it]. Obviously, I caught wind of it later than what it was. I'm sure it comes off of the [turnover chain] thing that the University of Miami did. Hey look, if that means those guys are going to keep scoring touchdowns, I will buy them some Ray-Ban glasses."

On a report last night that Dorsey wants to hire his own coach:

"(Laughter) I think it's funny that you guys comment on that kind of stuff.

On the report coming from a national outlet:

"I respect that and I can understand why that would be said, but that is not the feeling that I get at all. I'm focused on the task at hand, which is doing everything I can to work to win games here. I can't really concern myself with those things, but I can honestly tell all of you, I don't think that is the case at all."

On how to confirm Jimmy Haslam's statement that Jackson would return in 2018:

"I just think you have to trust in what he said. I know I do. I don't see it any other way, personally, myself. I think what he said is what he meant. That is what I believe and that is what I know."

On if he saw the critical tweets from former Browns WR Kenny Britt's agent following yesterday's loss:

"No, I really didn't. I don't know much about those things. I have heard about it, but did I see it? No. I'm not going to get caught up in those things. At the end of the day, we felt it was better for us to just move in another direction. People are not going to like that. People are going to say what they want to say. People are entitled in this damn world to say whatever they want. It doesn't mean they are right. It doesn't mean they are right at all."

On the disappointment of Britt's tenure in Cleveland:

"I don't want to go back. Kenny is now not here. I think what is most important for us to focus on is where we are headed now."

On Gordon's tweets with Packers CB Damarious Randall that Randall 'couldn't hold his jockstrap on his worst day':

"I would hope that we wouldn't [do that]. I want us to do our talking on the field with our play. That is where the focus needs to be because that is what it is going to take to get us to winning. Talking isn't going to do anything. I'm sure the emotions are high. We were close to having an opportunity. We didn't finish. He didn't really make a huge catch in the second half so I think all of that stuff fuels into it, but I would advise our players let's not get caught up in social media and going bantering back and forth. Let's just continue to play and become as good as we can over these next three weeks."

On why QB Kevin Hogan was the backup QB yesterday:

"Just like I said before, there are certain things that we do game in and game out. Sometimes we change a few things. I just thought Kevin would be the best fit if something was to happen to DeShone in this game based on what the gameplan was.

On if he was satisfied with the effort of the punt coverage unit on the 65-yard return:

"I thought the effort was good. I thought us being in the proper lanes and taking the necessary shots, as we call it, across the bow of the returner wasn't as good as it could have been. Obviously, the guy was able to make a play, but I think we have to go take our shots when we have those opportunities to get the guy down. Obviously, it wasn't as good as we like at a really important time when it needed to be so we have to grow from that."

On if the Packers releasing the ball quickly on offense is what kept DL Myles Garrett from being more effective:

"Yeah, that had a lot to do with it. People were throwing the ball quickly. He gets two steps up the field and the ball is gone. They made a huge effort as you saw in the second half to do just that, but then he is going to have to find other ways to combat that to be able to be more of a factor in the game. That is just part of it. He is learning so many different things that the National Football League teams do to nullifying him so that he can't make the impact plays that we all want him to make. He has to continue to find ways to do that."

On if Garrett's ankle injury is still lingering and if that is impacting his play:

"No, not at all. I don't think that has anything to do with it."

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