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Hue Jackson conference call - 9/21

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

"First of all, I obviously want to take an opportunity to thank our fans for being there last night. What a tremendous crowd it was. They provided a spark, as well. They helped the football team push through. What a credit for them to show up on a Thursday night and give it everything that they had. I am very excited about that. I am excited about everything for the city. Hopefully, everybody went to work this morning feeling better about watching their Browns and having their Browns pull through and win a game for the first time this year. We hope that there are many more to come. I think last night was just the tip of the iceberg for us as we move forward. I would like to really thank our organization. To walk in the building today, when I think of obviously our ticketing department, our marketing department and the people who are in this building who are outstanding workers, I know the amount of work that they have put in. I know that what we do on the football field is in a direct relation of what they do at their job. Hopefully, this made them feel extremely well. I know what I felt walking into the building this morning that there were a lot of happy people here. That is the feeling that we want to continue to have."

On the Browns QBs' status, including QB Tyrod Taylor being in concussion protocol:

"I think that until I am able to talk to the players will I officially say where I am with that. I have given the players the weekend off. I am going to take my time because I know that I have some time. I will get an opportunity to meet with them here Monday morning and kind of go from there." 

On if it is inevitable that QB Baker Mayfield will be the starting QB next week, given his performance last night and that Taylor is in concussion protocol:

"Like I said a second ago, until I am able to talk to the players – we are all going to know soon enough on Monday. We do not play for 10 day. I want to really watch the tape and talk to the staff and talk to (General Manager) John (Dorsey). Then, make a decision from there. I think that you guys all feel good about where things are headed, so let's just wait and see and go from there."

On Mayfield's performance after evaluating the film:

"It was as good as I thought live. He made some tremendous throws. Obviously, he was able to move the team. Played with some rhythm. Got the ball into the playmakers hands and gave them chances to make plays. There are some things that he has to clean up obviously. We can't have the ball out on the ground. There are some progression things that we will work through. Overall for his first game out under the lights in that environment in that situation, he handled all of that extremely well and played well." 

On Taylor appearing to be under more pressure from the NY Jets than Mayfield:

"He did [face more pressure]. I think that there were some adjustments that we made on the sideline to fix some things that we were not doing correctly. We were able to work those things out. That was unfair because those are some of the things that Tyrod had to deal with. That is football. Those things happen. You have to make those adjustments so that things start happening a little bit better for the offense."

On concerns Taylor sustained his third concussion in 13 months:

"We will work through all of that. I think the most important thing is let's just see where he is at physically first and foremost. You mentioned it, there have been some other concussions. We just have to see how that all works over the next several days. We will see what is best for him first and foremost and then where all of this fits as we move forward."

On providing extra time after practice for Mayfield to work and how many reps he had with the first team offense the past three weeks:

"I do not think that Baker has taken many reps with the ones at all. The things that I have created for him after practice was him running our system with our players with our plays as opposed to being scout team plays. That even makes it more impressive what he did last night. It means that he is doing the extra studying. It means that he is really engaged offensively with what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it and that he is starting to really grow through the process. I think that he really showed that. I think he has done a good job in that way."

On concerns with the Browns special teams after blocked attempts in multiple weeks:

"I am very concerned. It is something that we sat down and had a good conversation about today. My disappointment is that it is happening with sometimes young players and sometimes veteran player. We have to shore it up. We can't have it become the Achilles heel. We know that teams are going to scratch where it itches. Right now, that is one of the areas that is itching, and we have to fix it. We have to put a Band-Aid on it as fast as we can."

On if Mayfield works with the first team OL and skill players during the post-practice workouts:

"No. I think that when you are developing a quarterback, the most important thing is that he is running your system. It is not about who it is [with]. When you are working with a scout team and playing for the scout team, you do not get to run the plays that are in the gameplan. I do not think that is matters who is in there running those particular plays with him. What happens in that situation is the calling of the play, the understanding of the progression, the understanding of what we are accomplishing on the play, that is first and foremost as you start to raise a young quarterback."

On Mayfield having timing and chemistry with Browns receivers he doesn't play with in practice makes his performance more impressive:

"Somewhat. There are some guys that play for us that he has thrown the ball to quite a bit in practice. He has thrown the ball quite a bit to (WR) Antonio Callaway in practice and (WR) Rashard Higgins. Maybe not as much to (WR) Jarvis Lanrdy, but the other guys he has thrown the ball to. Again, it is impressive what he did last night. There is no way around that. It was a short week, not a lot of practice time and you would think that it looked like he took all of the reps. Like I said, that is a credit to him."

On if the time frame before the Week 4 game at Oakland is a beneficial time QB development, given the extra time to prepare:

"I love the nine and 10-day window. It just gives us an opportunity as a team to get better as we get ready to head out west to go play a huge game for us. Our quarterbacks, they are prepared every week. Extra times helps them and helps the team, but I think that the most important part of this is that once we make a decision with that road that we are traveling, everybody will know, the team will know, they will be excited about it and that they will get behind it and we will be ready to play." 

On if this game was the 'breakthrough,' given his comment to the team about chasing the breakthrough not the break:

"I do. You think back two years, you think 0-16. You think 1-15. That game that was one [in 2016] was in Christmas time. We needed a breakthrough. We are not looking for breaks. We are looking for breakthroughs. Last night definitely was break through."

On how he came up with the phrase, 'Chase the breakthrough, not the break':

"You just kind of think through things. I think that the breakthrough is getting a win, getting over the hump. There have been so many games where we have been close and have had a chance and we did not do it. It is not about breaks. How do you get the breakthrough? How do you come out the other side of this and be better? Winning. We did that last night. It has just been a thought, something that has been on my mind." 

On how mindful he is of the locker room's sentiments when weighing QB decisions:

"All of those decisions, I think those are always on the plate of the head coach. You have to think through them and how you will go about them. At the end of the day, every player in our locker room knows that everything we do is about winning. I just think how you present things, how you put things out and how you prepare the guys for the decision that you make are very important to a locker room." 

On if he will be aware of younger players' plans this weekend or if he 'makes them do what he wants,' specifically referencing WR Antonio Callaway and OL Desmond Harrison:

"I wish I could make them do whatever I wanted them to do, but it does not work that way (laughter). They are grown men and we treat them as such, but we do know exactly where they and what they are attempting to do. We can't follow them around. We can't baby them. At the same time, we know who the guys are who we have to have an idea of where they are and what they have been doing. They have been good about letting us know, and we will definitely stay in contact with the majority of the guys."

On the valuable lessons for Mayfield watching the games from the sidelines the first two weeks:

"I think he learned that this game I splayed at a fast pace. That there is a rhythm that you have to get an offensive team into. That any point that you can score are good points, whether it is field goals – everybody wants touchdowns. How important taking care of the football is in the National Football League and how important it is to be pinpoint accurate. I think he saw all of those things first hand over the first two weeks, and obviously, he was able to demonstrate some of that for us last night." 

On if he had a favorite throw from Mayfield last night:

"I had quite a few of them. Too many to talk about (laughter)."

On how much last night's win could change the narrative around the Browns:

"I think we have been working at that since we put the team together – (General Manager) John, the personnel group, the coaches and the organization. I think that has been the plan is to change the narrative. I think that stated back even with Hard Knocks. I think the narrative is even starting to change, and then it is how you validate that. You have to get to winning. You have to play winning football. We felt like we have had two games earlier than the Jets game that we were in and had opportunities to win. We did not win them. I think we needed to find a way to win this game last night even though we were behind 14-0. Like I said, nobody blinked. We kept playing. You look up and we are victorious, and I think that is what matters."

On how Mayfield's performance helps boost the confidence the team had in him:

"There has been confidence in him since he has bene here. I think to a man, everybody understands who Baker is and what he brings to the team, just like I think everybody understood what Tyrod Taylor was and what he brought to the team. I think what is most important is that these players be the best version of themselves, and they keep being as good as they can be each and every day because I think as the quarterback you are the leader. Everybody is watching what you do and how you go about your business. I think those guys to a man in our room, even (QB) Drew Stanton, all of those guys have portrayed what we are looking for. They work hard. They are the first in the building. They are late out. They relish the opportunity to be out there. Obviously, Baker nailed his last night. In the past, there are some good things Tyrod has done for this organization – the throw last week in New Orleans. It goes on and on and on. I think those thing are so invaluable to football teams. Obviously, I think what Baker did last night as I just said was good; I think what Tyrod has done is good; and I think the role that Drew Stanton has played with both of those guys is outstanding."

On if he saw something new from the Browns as they responded to trailing 14-0:

"I think I have seen the same things I have seen from the two weeks prior. I think nobody blinked. Everybody refocused. Everybody was talking about what we needed to do, what we needed to correct, whether it was stop them on defense, whether it was matriculate the ball down the field on offense or whether it was special teams trying to shore something up. I think everybody was trying to do what they could in those moments to find a way to win and find a way to be the best version of themselves that gave us a chance to win. I saw that. I had not seen that in the past, that is for sure." 

On how well DBs Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell have played, specifically their six takeaways:

"Obviously, you just said it – they have six of the 11 takeaways. They are able to take the ball away. They are able to cover teams' really good wide receivers and then we also have a chance to get the ball away from them. I think that is really good. We are getting a two-fold. We are covering guys and we are taking the ball away so I think they have made a huge, huge impact on our defense. We just need them to keep doing it week in and week out."

On injury updates, in addition to Taylor:

"(LB James) Burgess (Jr.) has a knee, and we will know more about that in the coming days."

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