Press Conference

Hue Jackson postgame press conference - Browns vs. Jets

Opening statement:
“Go Browns. Obviously, it has been a long time since we have stood up here as a winner. Our guys fought extremely hard for everything that new got tonight. Obviously, adversity early on offense, defense playing and then we started springing some leaks there, too. Special teams obviously getting that punt blocked in the game was difficult. Our guys, I keep telling them, that is pro football sometimes. We have to clean up our mistakes, but the adversity and things that happen in games, you have to be able to overcome them. I have been watching this team in the first two weeks overcome a lot of different things. I was not concerned that we would fall off of the rails or anything think that. I just thought that we needed to steady ourselves, keep playing with energy and passion and it would turn. Obviously, once (QB) Baker (Mayfield) got into the game at quarterback, you just saw a different rhythm. Which was good, good to see. Obviously, the Young man did some really good things. You can’t take that away from him. What a night for him. He came off of the bench, went in there and led this team and helped lead this team to victory. The turnovers from our defense makes a huge difference. We have been outstanding at doing that. We will continue to work hard on offense and keep growing. We will start turning a lot of those into points because we have to do a better job that way. I am just proud of our players, the organization, Dee and Jimmy Haslam for the support and just being there. Everybody wants to make this a big moment. Winning is outstanding, but we plan on doing this more. This is just the start of it, I truly believe, for this football team. We have a lot of work to do still – I think that we get that – but we are not afraid of the work. We will just keep our head down and keep working. When guys stay together, good things will happen. We just have to get after it.”

On his mindset down 14-0 and a rookie QB in QB Baker Mayfield entering his first NFL game:
“I am being very honest with you, there was not a lot. I walked back there and said, ‘Baker, you are up.’ I meet with Baker after every game in my office, and we sit and talk about a lot of different things. I always try to put things into context for him that these things can happen, and when they do, how is he going to handle it? I am being very honest with you, he normally looks at me in my office and goes, ‘Coach, basically, are you kidding me? I am going to go out there and play my tail off.’ That is what he did. He did not do anything that I was surprised at. He is a tremendous football player. I have said that to you guys. I just think that everything was going to work itself out however it was going to work itself out. Tonight, he was able to come in and help us win.”

On if Mayfield is now the starting QB:
“Obviously, I like to watch the tape. Baker did some great things. We do not play until next Sunday. We have some days. Let’s not get into those debates tonight. Obviously, what he did tonight was outstanding for the football team and his teammates and just the way he competed. I have to watch the tape, and we will go from there.”

On if he would have pulled QB Tyrod Taylor from the game if he would not have gotten hurt:
“He got hurt. Let’s not talk about if I would have or would not have. Baker played great, and he won the game. That is what is important.”

On the speed on Mayfield’s throws with accuracy:
“Are you guys surprised? I am laughing because at one time people said, ‘Whoa, we should not have drafted him.’ Now, everybody says, ‘Dang, he can really throw.’ You laugh at that. I like that. In general, when we took him, he was too small, he could not throw this and could not throw that. Now, ‘Dang, look at the throws that he makes.’ I am not surprised by any throws that this young man makes. I told you guys, he does things in practice that I just go, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Timing. Timing is everything. The right time. The right situation. You can’t deny the talent. You can’t deny what he is able to do. He showed that tonight.”

On the energy rising in the stadium during Mayfield’s first series:
“It did. It felt like it was moving quicker. It felt like that position was playing quicker. Seeing things very clearly and the ball was coming out of his hands. That was the good thing. I am going to watch the tape and make the best decision for the organization and for our football team moving forward. That is my job. That is what I will do.”

On the feeling winning for the first time in more than a year:
“This is Game 3. I just know that this is a journey. I have said before, I think that this is the best team that I have had since I have been here. I truly believe that we are going to win a lot more games. This feels great to answer your question. I am ecstatic over the win because this is what I told our guys we could do. Regardless of if it was going to be ugly, no matter how it would turn out, that we would win the game, but we were going to have to play for four quarters to do it. My big thing to them today was push. You have to push. You can’t stop. We just have to keep pushing to push ourselves over the wall. What it was going to look like? I did not know. Am I excited about tonight? Oh, my gosh, are you kidding me? I am tired of all of the jokes. I am tired of all of the things being said. You try to watch TV. You try to miss a channel, but then there is, ‘It has been six-hundred and some days since the Browns have won.’ We have been the brunt of jokes, the brunt of everything. I get it, and we have owned that. We deserve that, but hopefully, maybe people will start seeing that things are going to change here and that we are working at it. I give a lot of that credit to (General Manager) John Dorsey and the personnel staff, my coaching staff, but I have to give it all to these players. They have to believe and trust what I am selling him. If they keep working at it, we will continue to get better.”

On is Mayfield offers joy to the City of Cleveland:
“That is why we drafted him. We drafted him for that reason. He has that magnetism. He has it. He is still a young player. He has a lot of work to do. He has got to keep working. Tonight is his night. It was his coming out party. It is just really ironic that it happened that the quarterback on the other side was a rookie, too. Baker did some good things tonight. He truly did.”

On the difference that QB play makes for a team:
“It makes a huge difference. You guys have seen this organization for years, all of you have. The difference has been the quarterback play. The quarterback play needed to improve and be better. That is what you saw when he came into the game and started to play like he did. You saw the offense start to move and the ball start to matriculate down the field. That position is huge. We know that. We knew that we drafted the right guy. I knew that that was the right guy, but it was going to be the right timing. Nobody knew how that was going to happen. This is how it has unfolded.”

On his message to the players and who received the game ball:
“Oh, you are doggone right I handed out some game balls. The first game ball I handed out was to Dee and Jimmy Haslam for their support of me. They have always been outstanding, contrary to what people think, say or any of that. They have been the most supportive people since I have bene here, and we have been in this thing together so I thank them. I gave (defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams a game ball because he is a mad magician, trust me. I go in his office all of the time, and he is sitting there and he has it. Gregg is outstanding. I enjoy working with Gregg. I gave obviously Baker a game ball. I think anytime your young quarterback comes off the bench like that, had not played in some weeks, does not get a ton of reps and plays like that, I thought that was outstanding. I gave Jarvis Landry a ball. I called Jarvis earlier today to see because I know he was not feeling as well. He did not practice much, and I know he was going to run early today and he said ‘Coach, don’t you worry about me. I got you.’ He said ‘Don’t you worry about me. I got you so don’t worry about it.’ To me, the game he had was outstanding. That was one of the biggest reasons why we won. He had some huge plays. It is good to hand out those game balls. We have not done that in a long time either, but probably the greatest feeling I had tonight – there was a guy who played here who was out there on that field after the game was over – (former Browns OL) Joe Thomas. He was one of the first guys to come running up to me, and he gave me a big hug. I remember the last time we got a ball, I was in there crying like a baby hugging Joe Thomas. There are no tears tonight because I am telling you we are going to win more games. We just have to keep working, keep getting better.”

On Thomas being skinnier now:
“I did not even recognize who he was when I put my arms around him. That is a little man now (laughter).”

On the blocked punt and the defense rebounding afterward:
“Obviously, this is the National Football League. Teams are going to find a way to exploit you and do things that they can to make plays, and then Gregg is going to figure it out. That is one thing about him. He told me ‘Hue, this is what is going on. I am going to get that shored up.’ He did, and that is what it is all about. What Gregg does week in and week out has been outstanding, and I am proud of what he has done and I am proud of what our defense is doing.”

On RB Carlos Hyde’s performance and his baby has been born yet:
“The baby still was not had so she is at six centimeters (laughter). I know exactly what it was. He was coming in and we were on the phone talking, and I am like ‘OK, you got to get here, get warmed up. You know there is no baby yet. There is no way the baby is coming.’ I was told he was going to ask me could he leave when the baby was coming, and I said, ‘I hope he does not ask me that because I probably am going to say no.’ I am kind of glad that it worked out the way it did because he finished the game, ran extremely hard and made some tough runs. He is everything we thought he would be. He has handled himself well too, and he is going to continue to grow and get better. I am proud of our guys. I am proud of the fight, proud of the grit. We just got to keep getting better.”

On K Greg Joseph:
“He made plays. The ball went through the uprights. I tell him, that is what you are here for. As long as it goes through the uprights, you can stay. If it does not, you might have to go. That is just how it works.”

On NY Jets RB Isaiah Crowell’s taunt and if the team was fired up after it:
“Yes, they were. I did not see what happened, but somebody told me they did not think it was professional. I saw Crowell after the game. We hugged. He said, ‘Coach, you are doing a good job,’ I told him he is doing a good job and I am proud of him. I just think sometimes the emotions of the game and guys will do that from time to time. I am just excited about the win. Boy, this makes the weekend that much sweeter, I promise you that.”

On the 2-point conversation looking similar to the Philadelphia Eagles’ play:
“We did not steal that from them. Please. I know everybody wants to think that. We have had that in our back pocket for a while. Go check my tricks from before, and go check (offensive coordinator) Todd’s (Haley) tricks from before. We all have them. It is just when you pull them out and use them. That is what that is.”

On if the 2-point conversation was used at the appropriate time after the off-setting penalties:
“Absolutely. Absolutely. I think Todd called a great play there, and we were able to execute and make it happen.”

On why he did not start Mayfield earlier in the season:
“I still stand by the decision. I think it was right. I still think he needed the time. He needed the time to see, and understand the National Football League and how it works. We are better served – I can’t tell you that Baker would have performed like that in Week 1. Let’s just be honest. I think him, the way he works, the time he spends, the time I think he spends with (Quarterbacks) Coach (Ken) Zampese, it has been invaluable for him. It led up to when he was ready to play, he was going to play well. That is all I ever said about Baker – when we stick him out there, he was going to play well, and I truly believe that tonight was his coming out party. Now, we will talk about official things in days to come, but obviously, he represented himself well and this organization and this team well.”

On if the players will be off until Wednesday:
“No, until money. We have work to do. We have a big game in California next week so they can’t have that much fun.”

On if it was an organizational decision to be patient with Mayfield and if it was a mutual decision with Dorsey:
“Yes. No doubt we did. We have had a lot of young quarterbacks come through here. I am being very honest. My deal was I was not really sure about the left tackle and how that was going to unfold and how good that player could be protecting a very young quarterback by a veteran quarterback who knew how to deal with that if it did not happen as well. All of those things go into the bucket to make the decision about what is best. Let’s put him out there when we think he is ready, and let us put him out there when we feel like we are ready for Baker Mayfield too. I think that is important that we have enough talent around him that we can support him and let him play. I think that is what you saw tonight.”

On Mayfield’s success on a quick release or if the OL was blocking better than when Taylor was playing:
“Let’s not make this about what Tyrod did or did not do. I just think Baker played well. I think the offense responded to Baker being there. I think when they looked around there was only one quarterback left – him. We have to protect him; he can’t go down. I could not have went in there and played quarterback, and the next guy was going to be Jarvis Landry. He was already returning punts. I think the guys understood with everything we had, we had to protect better. We know he is pinpoint accurate. We know he is going to get the ball out of his hand and they gave him time. It just kind of all clicked and worked together.”

On Mayfield sustaining the TD drive despite penalties and dropped passes:
“He does not flinch. I am just telling you, that is just this personality and who he is. It is not too big for him. He knows how to play, and he loves to play. That is a good thing.”

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