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Hue Jackson press conference - 10/24


Opening statement:**

"Yesterday was no fun. Obviously, I was disappointed because I know we can play better, but at the same time, I know we are going to get better. We are going to continue to work at getting better. I get disappointed for our players, for the franchise, for all involved, our fans and everybody because I want everybody to experience winning because that is what we came here to do, and that is what we want to get accomplished. Obviously, we haven't done that yet, and I think everybody knows that. We have some work to do, but by no means are we going to stop working at this thing. We are going to continue to work our tails off to get better fundamentally to play better football as we move forward. We get it. We have dug this hole for ourselves. We have nobody to blame but us, starting with me. We know we have some things to fix. At the same time, being disappointed is different than being about to jump over the fence. I say it all the time, but I'm not discouraged. I'm more determined than ever and going to stay that way to get this football team where it needs to be. That is my job. That is our coaching staff's job. Our players' job is to keep getting better fundamentally and become a better and more intelligent football team and to play winning football. That is what we are going to set out to do.

"As far as injuries are concerned, there is not a lot of clarity right now on the injury front. We will work through that as the week goes. I'm sure you will have questions about specific guys, and I will give you the information that I have to the best of my ability, but right now, I don't have a lot of clarity on several guys. I will let you kind of fire away."

On QB Cody Kessler's status:

"Cody is in the concussion protocol. I think we know that is where it is, and until he is taken out of that will there be any changes."

On QB Josh McCown's status:

"We will know a little bit more as we move through this week exactly where he is. Hopefully, we will see where he is by Wednesday. He has been practicing. I think you guys all know that. There are some things we need to still take a look at to make sure he is ready to go."

On if the Browns expected McCown to be able to play earlier than now, given he has practiced the past two weeks:

"No, I did not. I knew he would be able to throw and move around but not play. That is just kind of where we are."

On who the Browns first-team QB will be on Wednesday:

"We will find out. Today is Monday. Tuesday is tomorrow. Wednesday is a day-and-a-half away so we will figure that out as we go."

On if the Browns will look to bring in QB No. 7 on the year and it being a tough year:

"(Laughter) Well, I don't know. It has been, but you never know. We will cross that bridge when we get there."

On OL Cameron Erving leaving the Cincinnati game due to illness and if the Browns are considering shutting him down for a period of time:

"No, I think Cam is feeling better. Like you said, we just have to get some more clarity on exactly what that is and where he is. He is definitely one of the ones I don't have a lot of the answers that way yet. When we know, you guys will be the first to know."

On if Erving's illness is related to the pulmonary contusion sustained earlier this season:

"I don't know that it does or doesn't. I don't know. I don't know that. I think it was an illness. That is what it is, and we will go from there."

On approaching the week not knowing the starting QB:

"As long as you have a flexible system – you said it – we have been through this. We are just going to keep working and be prepared for many different scenarios as we go through it and make sure that we can field a good offensive football team on Sunday. That is what we will do."

On how much of the Browns QBs' injury history was discussed considering QBs Robert Griffin III and McCown:

"I think none of that matters right now. I appreciate the question, but right now, they are injured. Whatever their past was is not going to really matter right this second. They are not playing. What we have to do is find who is going to be playing, like you guys asked, for this week and get ready to practice for the guys that can play and compete and go from there." 

On an update on WR Corey Coleman's status:

"I know he is making progress. We will just see how it goes. He is another one I don't have total clarity on yet, but we are working towards that."

On OL Shon Coleman at RT against the Bengals and if OL Austin Pasztor is still the starting RT:

"Yes, he is. I wanted to get Shon some playing time and see where he is. The only way I am going to find out about these guys is by them playing a little bit. Austin Pasztor is still the starting right tackle."

On his message to the Browns after the loss and if his message to the team varied at all this morning:

"No, not at all. We are going to work. We are going to keep getting better. We don't like the situation we are in – nobody would – but the only people that can change it are the people that are in the locker room and the coaches. That is it. This is us. Nobody is pouring sand over our head or dirt over our head. We are going to go to work and get this thing better. I am fired up about Wednesday's practice because that is the next time we get the chance to do something about this. Watching the tape, make the corrections, and then we have to go out and get better, and I know that is going to happen. We are going to keep getting better. We are not going to go backwards."

On reports about the Browns looking to trade OL Joe Thomas:

"We are not going to trade Joe Thomas. Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what we are trying to accomplish here in our future. Like you said, there are a lot of reports, but that is what they are."

On level of concern with the Browns defense:

"We have to get better. Have to get better, there is no question about that. Fundamentally, we have to do those things better. We did not play as well as I think we can play, and that is where my disappointment lies."

On if the Bengals' success in the run game came predominantly from the same type of play:

"No, it was several (laughter). Yeah, it was not one. No, there were several. They did a good job. They did a good job, and we did not play as well. It is just that simple. Anything that happens with this football team – I am going to keep saying it because it is a top-down deal – it starts with me so I have to do a better job and our coaches have to do a better job, and then our players have to take that and then do better, too. That is the way this thing works."

On being upset at the five-minute mark as the Bengals 'ran all over' the Browns:

"Putting it mildly (laughter)? Running all over me. OK."

On how the Browns stop opponents' ability to run the ball from being common:

"That is the one time I felt that way was yesterday. I haven't felt like that prior to. Yes, yes, I did take timeout. I didn't go and scream at them like some people thought I did. That didn't happen. I went to encourage them. I wanted these guys to go and do their jobs better than what they were doing them at the time. To a man, I think the guys got the message and went out there and did that. I am not concerned that is what it is going to be. Hopefully, it is a one-time occurrence because we have a bunch of prideful men in that locker room that are going to come back to work and are going to do their jobs better than what they have done it. We are going to coach them better and put them in better positions and give ourselves a chance to make more plays." 

On if he would have left his headset on in retrospect:

"Everybody is worried about my headset. What is the question with the headset? I can call a play. There is not a play that will go to our quarterback without me knowing. I know exactly what is being said to the quarterback. I know exactly what is being said to the middle linebacker. I know exactly what is being said to the special teams coach. It is not about headset. I know you guys think if you are going to be involved in football, you have to have that on all the time. I could call the game with the headset off and just talk to the quarterback. It is not about the headset, OK? Plus, I was hot. It was a hot day, and I was getting a little sunburned. I took it off for a minute to relax. Just take the sun off my ears, I guess, whatever explanation you guys want. It is not about headset. Please. It is not at all. My disappointment of taking it off wasn't… I hope it is not tied just to the headset, where everybody thinks, 'OK, well, he lost it just because he took the headset off.' No. I was watching our team, but I'm still coaching our team. I'm involved in each and everything that we're doing offensively, defensively and special teams."

On deferring to receive second half and considering changes, given the Browns points allowed on opening possessions and 'starting every game 7-0 down':

"[You] get an extra possession. Have we? Every game? We might [consider changes], but I like having an extra possession because I think it is important for our offense to have as many chances as we can to score the ball. Can we flip it up? Yes, we can to your question. I kind of like this strategy. We have to find a way on defense to get better and get them stopped. I don't disagree. We need a three-and-out. We need a team that doesn't go down there and score. We have to find a way to do that, and we will."

On if DB Joe Haden should be fighting to play in the same way WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. did in Cincinnati, even though he was not 100 percent:

"These are medical decisions. We put these guys through a battery of tests on Sunday morning. If they are able to pass, we play them. If they don't, then we don't. I think Joe is doing everything he can to be out there with his teammates, I really do. I anticipate him being out there this week and playing and going."

On if concerns that Haden's absence is having a negative effect on younger Browns players, given he is a captain:

"No, I won't let that happen. No, because I think they know if he is not out there, it is because he can't be. I think they truly know if our guys aren't playing, they are not cleared to play."

On the Browns' rule for QBs to protect the ball and protect themselves and if Kessler is violating that rule, given his injuries:

"That is a good question. I don't think he was trying to violate the rule. I don't know if the rule was violated. He made a play… Sometimes, you react and you do things, and all of a sudden, I think he was rolling to his right and he saw (TE) Gary (Barnidge), and at the last second, he flipped the ball there and ended up taking a wicked hit. When we watch this with Cody, we will tell him again, 'Hey, if you are going to get flushed, maybe throw the ball away just to save yourself a little bit from those hits.' We don't want quarterbacks taking unnecessary hits. Cody has proved his toughness. He doesn't have to do that all the time. He can do some things better to protect himself in those situations, but it was a heck of a play that he and Gary made that gave us the chance to go score a touchdown. I don't want to take the fight out of him, but he also has to understand the situation he is in, too, at that time. Good question."

On LB Emmanuel Ogbah and his performance:

"Obviously, two sacks yesterday was good. He is doing some good things. There are some things that he has to continue to work at – play a little bit lower, play with his hands a little bit more – but his ability to rush the quarterback has shown up. To get two sacks yesterday – I think he has had three sacks in the last two games – that is huge, and we want more. There is more for him to get, and I think he is just going to continue to get better."

On Kessler learning to protect himself while playing tough, given McCown is known for being willing to fully sacrifice himself physically on the field:

"You can't do it. At the end of the day, that is what they are going to learn because if not, you are standing over there next to me or you are in concussion protocol. You just can't do it. That is hard. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes. I used to have this thing where quarterbacks just had to say 'uncle.' You throw the ball away or you take a sack just because it is the right thing to do for your football team. This is not about one individual. This is about your team. If you are not playing, then we are hurting the team. I don't think Cody was trying to do anything to hurt his football team. He was trying to do everything he could to help his team score. There is a fine line, but right now in the situation that we have been in losing quarterbacks, I think the quarterbacks all have to say to themselves, 'Hey, look, maybe I need to throw this ball away or go down because it is the best thing for our team right now.'"

On if the Browns will have that same conversation with McCown, who is a 14th-year veteran:

"Absolutely, 14 or one, I will have it with Cody again, Josh and all of them. You have to be team protecting as we move forward."

On if the changes on the Browns OL are why the team has played multiple QBs:

"I am not going to say it is them. I think it is everything. I think it is the whole. It is the offense. We need to continue to get better. Anytime there is different combinations that are playing, let's be honest – Cam, this is his second game back playing in a while. Spencer Drango, this was his first game over there at left guard. The people you work with, continuity, is really important, but we have had injuries and we have had guys out. That is just a part of it. I don't think it is by design by any stretch of the imagination. I just think these things have happened. What you have to do is still put the best five guys out there and let them play and let them grow together. We haven't been able to do that because somebody goes down and then somebody else has to go in or (OL John) Greco has had to shift from right guard to center and then somebody has to go and play right guard. It has just been a flow that way. I am not going to say that is why it is happening – that is just football – but at the same time, we have to make sure that we are mindful that there are different guys in there so there are calls that maybe are happening that guys are used to working with this guy and that guy is not there, and that does take a little sting away from the opportunity to execute at a high level."

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