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Hue Jackson press conference - 10/17


Opening statement:**

"Another tough loss for our football team. I think I have been saying that every week, but I like the fight in our players. Our players are playing extremely hard. We have to continue to work that way, continue to get better. We are doing a good job of stressing fundamentals and techniques and things. We have to play better. I think the guys have bought into the process of how we do things. I think they enjoy the process. There is no question we need to go get a win to validate a lot of the things that we have done. We continue to stub our toe a little bit in some areas. We just have to continue to fight to get over that hump. We are not going to stop doing what we do. I'm more determined – I say that every week – than ever before. It is really because of our players. They come in with the right attitude, with the right mindset. We have a good group of veteran leadership and players who understand what we are trying to do and how hard it is. At the same time, I think they have enjoyed the process that we have gone through trying to get there. We know it is coming. When it is coming is the part that is hard for all because we don't know, but we know that it will get there. We will just continue to stay the course but do some things better. You can't keep doing what you are doing because you will keep getting what you get. That is what I tell our guys so we have to do it better. We are going to ask for more and expect more and coach them to do more. That is what we will do.

"On the injury front, I just want to clear all these things up. There are a lot of them so just kind of let me work through it. (DB) Jordan Poyer, who I have text with quite a few times, obviously, has a lacerated kidney. He still remains in the hospital for observation. I hope he will be released here soon so he can get back with his teammates. I know he wants to be back with his teammates battling with those guys. Like most of our players do, I feel like when they are not around these guys like they are letting them down. He is not. He took a major hit, and obviously, that is going to take some time for him to heal from. (WR) Terrelle Pryor (Sr.) has a hamstring injury, and we will see how he goes through the week. Hopefully, that is not a big issue, but we will work on that. (DB) Marcus Burley has a hamstring issue that will require some missed time. We will see that as it goes, as well. (QB) Josh McCown, his status is unchanged. He has not been cleared to totally return to the field, but we will continue to work with him that way. He will continue to practice and be where he needs to be. (TE) Randall Telfer, we will hope he will return to practice this week and be able to go out and play. (DL) Xavier Cooper, the hope for him is that he will be able to return also and be able to play in this game, as well. (WR) Corey Coleman, his status is unchanged at this point. He hasn't been cleared to practice so we will see where he is. (QB) Robert Griffin III, his status is unchanged, too. We will keep pushing on these guys. Hopefully, we will get some of these guys back soon, though. That is kind of where we are from an injury standpoint."

On if QB Josh McCown could still be cleared to play Sunday, even though his status remains unchanged:

"I don't know that for sure. We will go through the week and see exactly where he is. I'm never going to say never, but right now, I would think probably not. We will see how he goes through the week."

On Poyer's spirits:

"Good. He is. He was playing good, too. He had, probably in my opinion, one of his best weeks in practice, and I think he was looking to have a tremendous game. That is a blow for us because he is one of our better players, but we want to wish him well and a speedy recovery."

On if the play Poyer was injured on should even be allowed in the NFL, given the defender had at least a 20-yard free run to target him:

"I get it. I think you guys know how I feel about this. It is football. I don't think… You do, you have an assignment and you have a guy to block. The guy is clearly in your sights and you see him, whether he is 25 [yards away]. I don't think the player was trying to intentionally hurt him. I think he was trying to do his job, which was block him, and he did. He blocked him. He might have led with his head a little bit, but that is what he got flagged for. That is part of this game."

On if Poyer will return to play this season:

"I don't know that. Obviously, a kidney is a serious thing. I hope we can, but if we don't, I do understand that, too, because that is something that is very serious."

On if Poyer also has a concussion:

"No one has spoken to me about a concussion. It has been more about the kidney than anything."

On attempting the two-point conversion:

"I think you kind of need to know exactly what you are going to need in these possessions, whether you are going to need to onside kick or not. The only way to know that is you have to take a shot at going for two. It gives you a better idea of what you are going to need within the next possession. We went for it. You make it, and it is 21-28, right? That is what it would have been. Obviously, then you don't. Now, you know you are going to have to kick the field goal and now onside kick."

On if he considered kicking a FG on first down first from the 34-yard line when the Browns were down nine points after missing the two-point conversion:

"Why not kick a field goal on first down? In that situation to me, I wanted to go for the touchdown and see if we could onside kick after that. I think we need to score. I know you are thinking have more time to see if you can do it. You give them more time too to go make some plays. I think we played it the best way we could at that time. I don't think I would have changed that thought. I think we go and we tried to score like we did and then try to go back and onside kick the ball."

On if the Browns would have attempted a PAT or two-point conversion at the end of the game in the event if the score was 28-27 late in the game:

"Can't tell you that. Had to be in that situation to do it. I would have had to have been right there to do that one. That would have been fun. I know what our players would have said. 'Go win the game.' But Coach Jackson probably would have kicked it. That would be a fun situation to be in, though. I promise you guys that."

On if there are psychological variables to kicking a PAT first and leaving an eight-point deficit late in the fourth quarter:

"You are right. There are two sides of it, but I think at that point in time, I felt very comfortable and still do with the decision that we made to 'Hey look, let's try to go for it here so we know exactly where we are and what we are needing.' The morale of the team was great. I don't think to a man anybody was concerned or questioned the decision that I made for our football team. When I look back at – trust me you guys made me think of it all night (laughter). I turned, tossed, pillow over my head, cover over my head, said, 'Hue, OK.' I have even called everybody that was involved with this with me, and I feel even better about what we decided to do today than even I did yesterday. I know there are two sides to every situation there. I respect how you all feel, but I feel very comfortable with the decision that we made for our team."

On how analytics played into the decision and if it would have been less of a factor when he was offensive coordinator in Cincinnati:

"No, I don't think that was it. Even when I was a coordinator at Cincinnati, there was someone who I talked to. Same thing here. We go through these things. We play all these different scenarios as I'm walking and talking and calling plays and trying to get in the end zone, and you think, 'Throw it,' the best you can. I felt very comfortable with the decision that I made to say, 'Hey, look here, let's go for it right here and see if we can make two.' Honestly, I felt very comfortable with the call, and when I look back at the call, we had a great opportunity to make it. We have to pull the trigger at that time and we didn't."

On where the Browns pass rush can improve:

"I think our guys are trying as hard as they can. Outside of blitzing everybody, which we have done that at times, too, we just have to try to play better fundamentally across the board. Obviously, it has been an issue. I think we all know that. We don't run from that. We know we have to get better at it. I think our guys are trying as hard as they can. That is all I can ask for is that you give us all you have and if we are not good enough to get there, we are not good enough to get there. Our guys are scrapping and clawing and trying to get there. We are going to continue to harp on the fundamentals to get there. I truly believe we will get these things done. We have 10 more opportunities to get this thing done right."

On OL Cameron Erving's performance:

"It was his first game back. He had been out for a while as we know. The practice right now, it is not like training camp practice. That was like another first game for him if you really go back and think through it. That was exhausting for him. He probably had not played that many snaps since the last time we played Baltimore to be honest with you. It was a tough spot for him to be in, but I thought he battled. He battled as hard as he could. There are some things he is going to clean up and needs to clean up as continue to move forward, but here is a guy that had not practiced a lot of football or played a lot this season because he has been out lately. He hit the ground running against a good defensive front. Some things we have to get better at. He has to get better at over this week of practice, but I think going in there and battling and fighting put him right back in that frame of mind what it is going to be like as he moves throughout the rest of the season."

On the 'trigger not being pulled fast enough' on the two-point conversion attempt to WR Ricardo Louis:

"Yeah and probably just the whole process of that from the snap to the first progression and the second progression. In that situation, we had a chance to make that thing work, and some things just didn't unfold correctly. The execution is what I should say didn't happen the way it could have, which I thought we had the right play call in the right situation. We just didn't execute it as well as we could."

On QB Cody Kessler's development:

"He is growing. He is growing week to week. One week, he is staying in the pocket to make plays. Yesterday, he was making plays outside the pocket. He made some huge plays outside the pocket. He continues to impress with his courage. He stands in there. He gets walloped a few times. He gets back up. He stands up and on he goes. That is pro football. Nobody likes their quarterback getting hit that much. I know I don't. It is something we have to get better at still, but to watch our quarterback play under duress and still make plays, that is part of playing in the National Football League. There are some third down things we can do better and need to do better, but I think he's growing week by week, moment by moment, play by play so he has to continue to do that."

On Kessler receives a little more of the offense each week:

"I don't know that I have ever held back for him because he is cerebral enough to handle it all, but we are doing a little bit more. I think you guys have even eluded to it that we have started off throwing the ball a little bit more than we have in the past because there is a lot of trust there. I do trust him. He is making plays, and he has to continue to do so."

On the play calling being a step ahead of the Titans in the first half protecting Kessler and if he changed in the second half:

"No, the game adjusts. It is not so much him. We still had plays there to be made. I think the biggest Achilles heel for us the other day was our third down conversion rate. That is the first place when I look at Cody's performance that he needs to continue to step up. He is playing against a very experienced defensive coordinator, who did try to do some things to throw us off a little bit. I would think he succeeded in that endeavor. I thought (Titans assistant head coach/defense) Dick (LeBeau) did a good job that way, but we still had plays there to be made. We just didn't make them. That is not just Cody. A young quarterback from week to week, it is going to be something that just doesn't go as right. No one has played a perfect game yet. I haven't seen it. This guy is playing as good as I have had in a long time. There is no question about that. There are some things he can still do better to play even better. We have to get those things corrected and move forward."

On Kessler's status:

"He is fine. I'm sure he is sore. I'm sore, too. Running up and down that sideline can get you sore. His soreness is probably a little different than mine, but this guy is a battler. He is. That is the one thing I do love about him. The guy fights and he battles, but I'm sure he is sore. If I know him, he is ready to go. If we had to go out and play today, he would go out and play."

On if Kessler is the starting QB for Sunday, given uncertainty with McCown's status:

"He will be if – there is no question he is our starting quarterback right now – I'm not going to get into a debate about who the quarterback is right now, especially when one is still not even cleared. Cody is the quarterback and on we go."

On if patience is wearing thin that DB Joe Haden has missed time due to injury:

"No, I watched the workout. I would like to have all of our good players out there, but if a guy is injured, I think you guys know I'm not going to put him out there so guys can injure themselves even more. I'm not going to say I'm impatient with Joe. I watched the workout, and he looked like he could not do it. I watched the play here in practice when it happened. In fairness to Joe, he hasn't played a lot of football, too, in a lot of time. Here it is, the normal wear and tear of going all the time and playing. You get these little tweaks here and there, and we just have to work through that, those soft tissue things. Do I want all of our guys out there that can play? Yes, I do, but if there is something that is not going to let them play and give us everything they have, then we have to do the best job that we can to make sure that we take care of them so that they can finish the season for us."

On what New England and Tennessee have done to contain the Browns running game:

"I will give New England credit and I will give Tennessee credit, too. Finally for me, I'm being very honest, we have some new pieces in there. The center position, having a guy that hasn't played in a while is different. Having a left guard, it's a little bit different. I'm not going to make excuses. We can do better than what we did. We have to get our run game reestablished somehow, someway. It has been off track the last two weeks and the teams that have played us have done a decent job. We are stumbling a little bit in that area. As I said after the game, that is an area that I have to get fixed, and I will. I'm confident in that."

On having confidence in Erving's ability as a starting C after returning from injury:

"I do, but I think it is still really early. I think we need more time. We need more evidence of sustained playing to say anything or do anything. I think Cam Erving is doing well. Can we do some things better? Yeah, but let's give him time. Let's not write a script on him yet. Let's let him earn a right to have a script written on him first and foremost."

On blaming OL changes on protection issues:

"I'm not blaming anything. If I'm going to blame anybody, I'm going to blame myself for anything that goes on with our offense. Please hear me clearly, anything that you guys see or you feel is not working, whether it is the run game, protection or anything, that is not our players. That starts with me. I need to do a better job of putting our guys in position to make plays and be better. That is what we will do. Now, that being said, have we had different people in different spots? Yes, and I think everybody knows that is tough. That is just part of it, but we are not going to make that as an excuse. We are going to try to grow from that because that is this league. We have mixed and matched almost every week. That is OK. Some weeks, teams are going to do certain things to you because you are and some teams are not. It is what it is. We had a chance, regardless of what the run game was yesterday, to win this game. We didn't get a chance to finish it, and it takes all three phases to do that. It takes defense, offense and special teams. As a team, we lost to Tennessee – not one unit, not offense, not defense, not special teams – we lost as a football team."

On correcting errors on special teams:

"We have to coach better. We have to coach them better. We have to become an intelligent football team, a smarter football team that way. We can't hit guys in the back. We are not helping ourselves that way. We have to get them to do it. That is our job."

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