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Hue Jackson press conference - 10/19

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Opening statement:**

"It is good to get back out to practice with our team as we get ready for Cincinnati this week. It is another division game so it is a big game. It is a game within our division. We have only played one of those thus far against Baltimore. Now, we get a chance to play against Cincinnati, which I think is a fine organization, as we all know. It is a challenge, but I think our guys will get prepared and get ready to play."

On the Bengals potentially creating a succession plan for him to remain in Cincinnati and ultimately replace Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis:

"Wow, that was a long time ago. Obviously, I think you guys all know I am very fond of Marvin (Lewis). Marvin is like one of my best friends in this profession. The Bengals from (Bengals President) Mike Brown and (Bengals Executive Vice President) Katie (Blackburn) and (Bengals Vice President) Troy (Blackburn) and (Bengals Vice President - Player Personnel) PB (Paul Brown) and that family have been very good to me and my family. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the organization and what they did for me, but at the same time, to really go back and rehash that doesn't do anything. I will say this though: That is Marvin's football team. He's been there a long time. It is hard to ever replace a best friend that way and be there waiting behind. I didn't think it was the right thing for me to do. I didn't think it would be right for their team. Meeting with Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) and (Executive Vice President, Football Operations) Sashi (Brown) and (Chief Strategy Officer) Paul (DePodesta), I thought it gave me the right opportunity and the right fit for me. Obviously, I will always be in debt to the Bengals, but I think I'm where I'm supposed to be right now." 

On separating personal emotion and his relationship with Lewis from the game this weekend:

"It is called a football game. We are 0-6. Trust me, I'm trying to win a game. This is not about personal friendships, relationships or any of that. This is about trying to win a football game. We are trying to be the best we can be. Our guys are working their tails off to get prepared for a big game this week. This weekend won't be about Marvin and Hue Jackson. It will be about our football teams more so than anything."

On if the Browns are hopeful DB Joe Haden and WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. will play Sunday:

"Very. We will see as we go through the week, but I'm very hopeful that both of those guys will be out there playing for us this weekend."

On if Haden and Pryor could be game-time decisions:

"I like guys to practice a little bit before they play. I just do. It is just one of my policies. They need to do something before we get ready to play, but we will give them every opportunity to get out there. If they can, great. If they can't, we understand that, too."

On how much DB Tracy Howard has practiced at S before Sunday:

"He had practiced back there quite a bit. He is kind of a jack of all trades. He kind of does it all for us. It was good to have him go back there and play. He will get a chance to play back there this week."

On if the Browns would have won at least one game if the team was healthier:

"It is hard to say we would have. I wish we were healthy to know that. I'm not going to say we would have or should have because we are where we are at the end of the day. I wish we were healthier than we are right now. That is part of the National Football League and you just find a way to keep going at it."

On RB Duke Johnson Jr. on punt return and if he will remain in that role this season:

"He has done a great job. He really has. He has caught the ball extremely well. He is a threat to make plays. He is one of our primary punt returners, yes, but obviously, we have some other guys that can do it, too. He adds so much value to our offensive football team, as well. I'm always going to be cautious a little bit, but he wants to be back there. He is chomping at the bit all the time, 'Coach, I want to do it.' He wants to help our team and he has the skillset that allows him to do it. We will have him back there, but there are others that we can also stick back there as well."

On how his familiarity with the Bengals may help the Browns this weekend:

"I know the players, just like they know me. I'm sure the same question is going to be asked to their players and their organization. It won't be about that. As I said, those guys are a group of men that have won a lot of games together. They know how to play and have good coaches. It is a great organization, led by the Brown family. What I know is what I know. Just like what they know is what they know. It is going to really come down to our players playing, starting this game at one o'clock. The players will decide it."

On if injuries can allow a team to learn more about players it might not have known as well otherwise:

"Absolutely. We were going to play a lot of young guys, anyway, but there are some guys that are playing maybe a little sooner than we thought they would. That is part of it. There are some guys that are going to be better a year from now from playing, from getting experience of playing in the National Football League and playing in games and preparing and going through the process getting ready to play. We will be a little bit more experienced a year from now for that, but at the same time, you don't wish that to happen but it does happen."

On Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict and if his style of play 'toes the line':

"Vontaze Burfict is one of the best football players I have ever been around. He plays the game the way you want a guy to play it. I know sometimes people think he gets on the other side of the line. He is very competitive. Whatever he has done, he has been disciplined for it so that is going to be what it is, but this guy is a tremendous football player and he loves the game. He will be the first to tell you sometimes his emotions get the best of him, but he is a good player. I'm not there to talk about all the other things that go on, but my experience with him is the guy loves the game and likes to play."

On if players must be coached differently when facing emotional players:

"We do not want to obviously have the repercussions that go with those type of incidents, but you have to get up and get ready to play guys like him, too. You have to bring your lunch pail because he is going to bring his. You know it is a full day's work when you are playing against him. I think our guys understand that."

On his previous statement about QB Cody Kessler being one of the better QBs he has coached:

"I'm glad you brought that up. I want to make sure I clarify that. What I meant by that is he is one of the better rookie quarterbacks that I have coached. I have had some real good rookies before – (Ravens QB) Joe Flacco, to name one, and I'm sure I have had some others – but he has done an outstanding job. I think he is playing as well as any rookie quarterback that I have had because I have seen him do things that we did not even ask other rookies to do in different kind of teams. He is playing good. I think he is growing every week. He has seen a lot in his young career in the National Football League. For that experience, he will be better as he continues to move forward, if he will keep working through his process and working at getting better."

On comparisons between Kessler and Bengals QB Andy Dalton:

"I think it is hard to do that. Andy is a pro that has been doing it for a long time. He knows how to do it and he has worked his tail off to get to where he is. I think we all know Andy is one of the better quarterbacks in this league in my opinion. Cody is working to get there. He has a long way to go to even be on that platform. He has to do it enough over time before he can ever be considered in a conversation with anybody like that, but what he is doing right now as a young player for our football team is as good as I have seen. I know people talk about him nationally because he is doing some good things, but he has to continue to grow and continue to get better."

On what he would do if one of his players posted a controversial play on social media, such as Titans RB Antonio Andrews posting his hit of Browns DB Jordan Poyer:

"I would be disappointed."

On if it would be considered conduct detrimental to the team or subject to discipline:

"I don't know. I am not going to sit here and pass judgement. I just know that I have heard about it, saw it, and that is disappointing to me. That is one of our players. I think there is a code among the players in the National Football League. That young man suffered a serious injury so I don't think that is something to celebrate. I would hope that he reaches out to Jordan and maybe even explains why that even went that far because these guys all run into each other. Sometimes they run in the same circles. I hope that is not a feeling that he really has, talking about the player from Tennessee because I think Jordan took that kind of personally. That is hard to be injured and not playing because maybe somebody took a shot at you that maybe they, everybody felt was different than what it was, but those things happen."

On if he has seen Poyer since the injury:

"Yes, I have. I gave him a big old hug today. Big hug. Glad to see him. Glad he is back. Looks like himself. Looks good."

On what Kessler has to do to impact the Browns' draft plans for next year:

"That is a good question (laughter). I don't know that anybody will affect the draft plans. I don't think we will talk about those until the season is over. We are going to always here do everything we can to better our football team as we move forward. That is the direction obviously of Sashi (Brown) and Paul (DePodesta) and (Vice President of Player Personnel) Andrew (Berry) and myself. We are going to do everything we can to get better everywhere. I just think that is how we look at it. We want to have a good team as we continue to move forward. We are not where we want to be – I think everybody knows that – but I am not falling off this ledge about it or anything. We are going to keep working and keep getting better. We are in a process –I am not going to use that word because everybody said I can't use 'process' anymore, right (laughter)? OK, that way so I am going to quit using it. OK, so we are in a 'stage,' OK, Stage 1. We are going to keep going, but I don't know that anybody on our team can do anything to affect where we go as we move forward. I think we will continue to get better everywhere if we can because I think that is how you build a really good team as you move forward."

On if it is beneficial for the Browns to have the opportunity to evaluate Kessler in games, giving proper respect that the opportunity occurred due to unfortunate injuries:

"Oh, no question. Yes, no doubt. You find out what you have, is really what you are saying, by those other guys. Nobody wanted to see any of those guys hurt. We would like to see what we have in them, as well, but at the same time, there was another young player, Cody Kessler, who has played and we have had a really good look at him and we will continue to get a look at him as we move forward and know what he is. What he is so far looks pretty good. He is doing well, and I kind of anticipated some of that, but at the same time, you don't know until you play. He has to do it – I will keep saying it – over time. He has done some good things, but he has to keep stacking good games and practices and games on top of each other, and it is not going to always go right neither. I think we all know that. That is the National Football League. If he can stay consistent and consistently grow through all of this, then he will get better."

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