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Hue Jackson conference call - 12/18

Opening statement:

“Tough one for our team and our fans yesterday. We all know we have a lot of work to do in order for us to become the type of team we want to become. We know our fans deserve better. There is no question about that. (General Manager) John (Dorsey), myself, along with the support of Dee and Jimmy (Haslam), are committed to fixing this and becoming better. The work our players continue to put in is going  to lead us to success that we all want. The football team will keep fighting. I do know that much. Working hard throughout this week and finding a way to improve so that we can earn a victory. Nobody is going to give us anything. We get that. We are going to have to earn it, and we are going to have to play well to do it, but I truly believe this group of men on our team, they deserve a chance to win, and our fans. We have to go out and do it as a football team.

“On the injury front, (DB) Derrick Kindred, his wrist injury, at this point that is the only thing we have. It could result in him missing time. We will know more about that as we go through the week.”

On if he has decided who will start at QB against Chicago after watching the film:

“Yeah, it is still (QB) DeShone (Kizer). What I said yesterday, I wanted to make sure I push back on that. What I said yesterday was I wanted to take a peek at the tape to determine where he is and make sure I had a chance to see him and talk to him to see where his head was and make sure he is ready to go. If he wasn’t up to the challenge, then if I needed to make a change, then I would. I think he is up to the challenge. He has some improving to do. He has some work to do this week to continue to get better, but he is going to start at quarterback for us.”

On if there was something that made him question if Kizer was up to the challenge to finish the season:

“I just think it was hard. That was the last home game in front of fans, family and friends. That was a tough one. That was one that I think everybody concentrated on, wanted to get and it didn’t happen that way so I think everybody was disappointed. It wasn’t just him. Just seeing him after the game, it is something that he wanted to help his teammates accomplish, and he wasn’t able to do it.”

On RB Duke Johnson Jr. becoming the first RB to have 500 receiving yards  three consecutive seasons since Herschel Walker (1986-88) :

“Duke has been a tremendous football player for us all year. He has done a lot of good things in his career since coming here to Cleveland. We expect even bigger things from him in the future. That is a tremendous accomplishment for him, and I’m sure he would share that with all of his offensive teammates because that is a unit issue. Everybody has to chip in for him to do his job, as well.”

On OL Spencer Drango’s recent struggles after having success early in the season:

“I just think the more you play, the more tape that other teams get on you. I don’t think lately that anything has really happened. I just think he has played some really good players. Obviously, got put in some tough spots from time to time. He has to continue to work at it, but again, I think Spencer competed hard. There were a couple of plays that he would like to have back, but those things are going to happen every now and then.”

On if DB Jamar Taylor will be able to return to play or if he may miss the rest of the season:

“The hope is that the foot will get better. I think the fact that we were able to dress him and play him on a need basis was good. Obviously, it didn’t lead to that so he should be a week better.”

On if a group of fans planning a potential 0-16 parade is painful:

“No, they are entitled to do what they want. I truly get that they have true passion about the Browns, and we really appreciate that. We haven’t been good enough, let’s just be honest. That is where we are so everyone in our organization is working extremely hard to make sure that there is not a parade, but we have to uphold our end of it and make sure that we are winning. I get it. Would it be disappointing if they had one? Yes, but at the same time, I do get it. We just haven’t been good enough to get all of that kind of talk stopped.”

On Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis stating reports that he would leave the team was inaccurate and if discussion of it was premature:

“I don’t know. I don’t spend my time concerning myself with the Bengals that way. I think Marvin is going to obviously deal with the media and come out and say what he needs to say about his football team. I wish Marvin the best in that situation, and whatever they decide to do, they will do, but I’m trying to make sure there isn’t a parade going on here pretty soon (laughter). That is where my focus has been.”

On if he has talked to Browns players about avoiding the history of a 0-16 record with only two games remaining:

“I will talk to them but I think our players know. We do not want to go in the record books that way by any stretch. Nobody does. We did not set out for this to happen this way. This is football. This is the way things go when things are not going well for you. We have to do everything we can on our part over the next two weeks. As I said a second ago, our whole organization is [going] to try to do everything possible to make sure that we come away with some victories here. We have had some chances and have not been able to secure them. We have two more opportunities, and we are going to give it everything we can.”

On where he expected the Browns to be better than the team is at this point in the season:

“Honestly I just think to really talk about those things would not do us any good. What aspect is and what is not does not matter right now. We are 0-14 so there is not much good of anything right, let’s just be honest. What we have to do as a football team is get better this week. We have an opportunity this week to get to 1-0. That is what we are going to focus on.”

On Kizer’s performance being ‘atrocious’ and why play Kizer against the Bears, given the challenges this season and his pysche:

“First of all, I do not know that I have used the word atrocious. I know that did not come from me. No. 2, this is a decision that I think is best for our football team at this time. I think DeShone’s psyche, as you guys are saying, if I felt like he was not ready to play, I am not going to stick a young man back out there if he is not going to be ready and prepared. I hate to say it this way but it is true – we have seen a pendulum swing like this with DeShone. This week it did not go so well. The next week he plays well. This week he does not go as well. The next week he plays well. Hopefully, that cycle holds true and this week he comes back, gets himself ready and he goes out there and plays his tail off. That is the way I see it and I still think with him playing with his teammates that he gives us the best opportunity to get us a victory.”

On what he can do to help Kizer decrease turnovers:

“It is interesting. When I look at them, so many have come from the scoring zone. For the most part, I have tried to do a better job of managing that, but sometimes the defenses when it happens, you do not get total control. Whether we are outside or right in the scoring zone, we have shot the ball in there from distance quite a bit. Sometimes the ball gets run down there and then all of the sudden, you have to do what you have to do in order to try to score points. I will continue to manage as much of it as I can. The other part is he has to find the small wins for himself as he is in those situations and playing. He has to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and he has to do a better job of understanding the situation as it happens.”

On speculations that WR Josh Gordon was not fully into the game both on the sidelines and playing yesterday and if he saw indications of it:

“No, especially on the sidelines. I would not have known that anyway. I am sure our coaches would have told me. I would challenge anybody to watch the tape. Josh is hustling as well as I have seen any of our receivers hustle when Crow (RB Isaiah Crowell) breaks off that big 59-yard run. He is out in front blocking down the field and celebrating. On the touchdown to Duke, he was one of the catalysts for the touchdown. He ran the corner through the back of the end zone so the guy could not come off and make the play. I just think when these young men come back like he has, he is very talented, and I think everyone [publicly] expects him to play at a Pro Bowl level from Day 1 and that he would be the big catalyst to get this team over the top. He is a football player on our team. He is very talented. I think he is getting better by the week. He has to continue to adjust and play pro football at this level again. I think he has hit the ground running. He is still finding some new things in our system and how to do things differently, but I have not seen Josh Gordon have any problem on the field from a competing, hustling, doing what we need him to do standpoint.”

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