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Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference - 12/20


Opening statement:**

"Obviously, looking forward to another opportunity with our team against the Bears. It has been a difficult season. We all know that, but we have kept our focus down the stretch and guys continue to work. Another good day of practice. We just have to keep staying after it. I think the guys are looking forward to going to Chicago and playing well. It is a chance for us to play another game so it is an opportunity to win another game, and we have to continue to do that.

"As far as injuries are concerned, we held (DB) Jamar Taylor out with a sore foot. We hope that that gets better and makes progress throughout the week. Everyone else was able to practice."

On QB DeShone Kizer's inconsistent play week to week and if his preparation or process is different during the practice week:

"I think he prepares the same way. I think it has been the same commitment. The challenge changes – who you are facing, what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses. That is the National Football League. I think that is what he's finding out. Every team is not a cookie cutter. Some teams have different strengths than the team you played before so they are going to look at the things he struggles with and they are going to attack those. He is starting to understand that. I'm sure he is because he has been through it quite a bit, but that is where that was coming from."

On Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky:

"Playing well for a young player. They protect him a lot. They have a really strong running game. He has made some plays. He is a young player just like all of these quarterbacks, but he has been able to win some games. I'm sure that confidence level for him is strong. I think he has a good future there. He can throw the ball and complete the ball, and he has done some good things for him."

On who will fill DB Derrick Kindred's role:

"We are going to use a combination of guys. (DB) Kai (Nacua) will probably go down there, but also, we will have (DB) Jabrill (Peppers) down there. We will play in different packages with people and we will move Jabrill a little bit closer to the ball so he will have an opportunity to be down there, but Kai will, too, as we go through this."

On his pre-draft evaluation of Trubisky and reports the Browns debated selecting DL Myles Garrett or Trubisky 'down to the wire' of the draft:

"No, we drafted Myles. Obviously, Trubisky is a good player. He was the second player drafted, a good quarterback. He is definitely a guy that we looked at. He had talent. He is from the area. It turned out the way we thought it would. Myles is here, and he is there in Chicago."

On if he pushed Kizer to develop as a passer in his system, rather than running the ball a significant amount to protect him, given the Bears' strategy with Trubisky:

"I think the difference is they started off with a veteran quarterback.* *I think they knew what they had in (Bears QB Mike) Glennon first and then made the switch to Trubisky. Our situation was totally different. When you start a season, you are still trying to win football games, not that they weren't. I don't look at them and compare them to us or us to them. It is just how we saw it. Our quarterback room was much different. The charge for that room was different than maybe what the charge was for their room. DeShone started off in a little different capacity. He was the starting quarterback before the end of training camp and on you go. Would we have liked to run the ball more? Yeah, we have tried to do those things, too, but at the end of it, you are still charged with winning football games. It is not just making sure that he can make it to the next game. We have a locker room that is trying to win each and every week, and I think that is what we are trying to do."

On Kizer's confidence level:

"Any quarterback who has been under the duress that he has, that is a struggle, but I think DeShone is still a very confident person and a confident player. That being said, are there some scars there? You better know there are. I don't think any quarterback that goes through what he has been through that doesn't have them, but there have been many other players before him that have been in some similar situations that has had the same scars – maybe not to this extent, but they have had them – and they find a way to come back out of them and have great careers. I think we know that, and that is what we anticipate from him. He is a young player, and if he couldn't handle it, we wouldn't stick him back out there. I truly believe that he can. That is part of my process with our staff of looking at this, too. That is why I said what I said after the game. I was going to look and see what was best for all involved. If I didn't think he could handle it, I wouldn't put him back out there, but he is ready to go and is excited about playing."

On Kizer saying it feel as if four or five years of experience was compacted into one season:

"It is going to feel like that. He has been through a lot. Obviously, the issues are well documented. The successes that he has had, the little ones that he has had, those are documented, too. What he has to do is continue to have more good times than bad. I think that is [the goal] to a man on our football team. I think we are all chasing that. I think that is what has eluded everybody. I think he gets it. It is hard, but this is a hard sport for hard people. This is not an easy sport so you have to continue to grow from it, learn from it and then hopefully in the future these experiences that he has been through now will pay off for him."

On if he focuses on Kizer's positives or negatives when coaching Kizer at this point in the season:

"I talk about the positives – I try to more than the negatives because the negatives are there for everybody to see. Those are the things that people talk about the most. There are some things that are negative that you want to continue to work at and improve on, but at the same time, I don't think beating him down is the best way to go. I think trying to get him to be the best version of himself is what we have to do and that is what we try to accomplish."

On confidence that Kizer is the QB of the future for the Browns, given Bears Head Coach John Fox's comments in respect to Trubisky:

"The quarterbacks on our football team in general, all of them, I think they all understand that we are always trying to better our position. We did not draft a quarterback in the first round and say, 'This is our quarterback of the future.' We took a quarterback. We are trying to grow him. We have a very young quarterback room. We need to continue to improve that room as much as we can as we move forward for it to be the best it can be. I understand when you take a guy in the second round, everybody suspects that that is the guy. We wish it is. You hope it is, but if it isn't, that is OK, too. Hopefully, that guy will continue to grow and get better, but you also have to get better at the position."

On if he has ever coached a team with zero wins in the QB room:

"Never in my life. Never. A lot of this is a first for me. A lot of this is a first for a lot of people on our staff and maybe some of those players in the locker room other than their experience a year ago. I  get it. I know all of the things that get said and the things that people do not understand, but that is where we are. We can't change it. The only way we are going to change it some day is for them to get wins."

On the challenge of not having a veteran QB to provide an example to young QBs:

"It is a challenge, but what difference does it make right now? I am just being very honest. Nobody is going change the record because that is the situation. It is what it is. That has a lot to do with a lot of different things as you go through it. This is a young football team. This is a very young football team, the youngest in the league, that is trying to get  better, that works hard every day and that goes out to games and gives it everything they have. Sometimes, it does not go as well. Sometimes, they fight like the dickens. We still have a lot of work to do to get this organization, the football team and all involved to where we need to be. That is what we are working at."

On excitement of DB Jabrill Peppers playing SS, a more natural fit for when he was drafted:

"No, that is exciting. You do not want it to happen when somebody gets hurt because I think (DB Derrick) Kindred was doing some good things – he really was – but it is also exciting to watch Jabrill do something that maybe he is natural at. He has done some great things back thee deep for us this year. That experience for him is going to pay off for him in his career as he continues to move forward, as well, because he has now done both. That is another toy for (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) when we put different packages out there. People are not sure whether he is deep – is he in the deep third? Is he up close? Where is he going to be? You get to play that game a little bit."

On how Peppers handled his position and transition from college, given he never made excuses for his performance:

"He has [handled it well]. He has been outstanding, as a lot of these guys have. A lot of these young guys, they are grateful and thankful for the opportunity. They are learning in their way in the National Football League and what works for them. I commend the men in that room because they come here every week with the right mindset and with the right attitude to work, to get better, to do anything they can to go win a football game. That is what we have to continue to try to do."

On if Williams and he have had to help uplift Peppers after games, in reference to Kizer:

"Who? Jabrill? He is not that kind of guy. We will slap him on the butt and tell him, 'Let's go,' but I have never seen Jabrill down about anything that way. He plays a little different position than quarterback. At the same time, all of these young guys, we always try to monitor them because we have quite a few young guys playing. (TE) David Njoku playing, Jabrill, (DL) Caleb Brantley, there are quite a few guys. We try to do a good job as a staff to keep these guys upbeat and going because this league as a I said a long time ago, not just for quarterbacks is tough. It can bring you to your knees. These guys have handled all of this extremely well."

On if it is disappointing the Browns did not have anyone initially selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl:

"It is tough, but we have two guys who made the alternate team. I recognized those guys in front of the team because it is a team award, as well. Those players get recognized individually, but somebody had to do some things for (LB) Joe Schobert to be where he was. Obviously, there are some people making decisions up front, whether it is the quarterback or (OL) JC (Tretter) for (OL) Joel (Bitonio) to get the accolades that he has gotten. Until we start winning here, that is what I told them is that when we start winning, we will get more guys on team. For now, these are the two guys who have been recognized."

On the significance of Bitonio being named a Pro Bowl alternate after a season-ending injury last year:

"Big time. He has been outstanding. He has a really, really solid year. I am going to say it again, until we start winning will these guys really get recognized for what I truly think they are because we have some guys that are really good football players. We just have to continue to put them in situations and environments so they can continue to get better."

On if he will talk to the Browns more about the winning feeling after last year's win on Christmas Eve last year:

"No, I am not going to. Honestly, I do not want to dive into that because that was a year ago. This team is different. This team, I hate to say it, is younger. The guys that are playing now is a younger team. I know you are laughing about that, but it is the truth. It is a younger team, a different year, a similar situation, but I do not want to attack it the same. What I think is important is that we continue to work as hard as we can and become better over this next week. This is a two-week season. Here it is this week. We are playing the Bears in Chicago. How can we put together the best plans – offensively, defensively and special teams, meet well, practice well, get on the plane and travel and go play the best we can play? That is the big focus for us right now."

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