Hue Jackson press conference - 12/28

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

On if WR Josh Gordon being sick was a major factor into his lack of involvement on Sunday:

“I think it is a combination of that and of us not playing as well as we could. We didn’t protect as well as we could to get some balls to him. There were some chances that we missed. There were some places just from a chemistry standpoint of being in the right place, but I know for a fact that he wasn’t feeling good. That is for sure.”

On if Gordon is feeling better now:

“Much better.”

On who QB DeShone Kizer was frustrated with on a scramble play early in the first half:

“I can’t recall what play that was. We had several like that so… (laughter) I don’t recall which one exactly that was.”

On if he expects the Steelers to have CB Joe Haden cover Gordon:

“I expect them to play their good players. Whether it is Haden or whether it is (Steelers CB Artie) Burns, I think both of those guys are really good players. I think they are going to play their defense against our offense.”

On if Browns are preparing to face all of the Steelers starters:

“Oh, absolutely. I think we have to. If they surprise us and don’t play them, then they don’t play them, but I think we have to expect that they are going to put their best people out there.”

On DL Myles Garrett’s rookie season:

“Myles did some good things. Coming off of the injury earlier in the year, came back, obviously, the first game was sensational. I think he started to get into the routine of the National Football League just having to go against offenses when they prepare for him, when they are chipping him, when they are turning to him, when they are trying to cut him and just all of those different things. He went through that process, and I think he got on top of that and came back and kept playing stronger and harder. I think he understands that this is a grind. First seasons for guys are tough, but I’m happy with what he has done thus far. I want him to finish strong this Sunday.”

On how much the Browns defense has missed DL Emmanuel Ogbah:

“We always miss any guy who has been a starter on our team that is not there. That is why they are a starter. That means they are one of the better players on our football team. Yeah, we have missed him. He was an anchor in the run game, and he provided pressure in the pass game. I think he would have been a complement to Myles in pass rushing. Yeah we miss him, but at the same time, (DL) Carl (Nassib) has done a nice job doing some things filling in, and I think our guys have rallied as a defensive unit to play some decent football.”

On if he expects Garrett to make a big jump in his second season:

“I think the sky is the limit for Myles. I don’t want to say what the number [of sacks] will be or anything like that, but I just think he has to take in everything he learned this past year, have a great offseason, stay healthy and then head into the offseason program ready to go. I think Myles is going to be one of the better pass rushers in this league. I still feel that. I see it, and it is just a matter of how that is going to happen and how that is going to unfold. I think it is definitely going to happen here pretty soon.” 

On Garrett having fun in the snow at Chicago:

“Yeah, that snow angel (laughter)? Yeah.”

On how Garrett has handled the weather during the week, given his comments about avoiding snow before the draft:

“Oh yeah, he has handled all of that. I think that was the pre-draft talk. I think that is all that was. I think he has handled himself extremely well that way. The weather hasn’t made a difference to Myles.” 

On WR Corey Coleman’s decreased production:

“I think it is a combination of everything. As an offense, we have sputtered. We need to continue to get better in a lot of different areas. Obviously, throwing the football, completing the ball can have an effect on receivers, but receivers have to also get open. It is working together. Corey, he has come back and he is playing. I think that is what is important for all of these young players is that they are playing and they are playing through it, and playing through not just a tough season but also tough times. You just have to keep working at it. These guys are really young and they have bright futures ahead of themselves, but they have a lot of work to do, too.”

On if the Browns need more production from Coleman, given that he was a first-round pick:

“I think we all want more, and I think he wants more so I’m not saying something that I don’t think he feels. He wants to contribute more to the football team. I think it is a combination of things. Sometimes he is open and we don’t find him, and sometimes he has to do things a little bit better. That is what young players do. I just think that is where he is, but I think he is getting better and I think he has worked hard. The fact that he has made it through the rest of the season I think is encouraging. He just needs to go out just like all of our players, all of our young players, veteran players, we need to go play well on Sunday.”

On evaluating Garrett, DB Jabrill Peppers and TE David Njoku:

“I think I want to get through Sunday. I’m sure I’m going to talk to you guys again before I give you that report card, but I think all of them have contributed and quite a few of them have made [an impact] – obviously, (TE) David (Njoku) has made an impact – but it is inconsistent but good. That is what young players do. Jabrill Peppers, you just mentioned our quarterback, it goes on and on and on. There are a lot of young guys that are playing, but right now, until I can get through this last game do I want to really assess them all as a group and where they are, but we will know more about them, I think we all will, a year from now.”

On if he is on good terms with RB Isaiah Crowell after his comments about Crowell’s 59-yard run against Biltmore:

“I don’t think I’m bad terms. Let me go back and clarify what I said. When I said, ‘all of us could have run through there,’ I was giving credit, not putting him down. I was giving credit to the line. That was a well-blocked play. When that is said, that means that there is a lane that is open. That doesn’t happen in the National Football League, and that all of us could run through. That is not trying to put Crowell down, but running backs, I said after that running backs in this league; they don’t get basically those kind of holes. You have to make those holes, and I think our guys have done a fairly decent job of doing that this year. It wasn’t meant as a slight to him. I will say it again, a lot of people can run through those holes. That is just what it is, but that is not putting Crowell down. I think we took it and made it more than what it was. Those things happen sometimes.”

On impressions that Crowell took offense to his comment:

“Whether he did or didn’t, I don’t think that is what matters. I don’t think there is any issue in our locker room more so than what I think people are trying to make it out to be.”

On if he has started to talk with General Manager John Dorsey about Browns players, including in reference to pending free agents like Crowell:

“We talk about players every week. Right now, when I look at our football team, I have to coach this team Sunday. I want them all back. We are not an organization that can give players away. I think we have been through the gist of that. I think we need all of the players we have and then more. I think we are going to do everything we can. If a guy wants to be here and we think it is the right fit for us, we will do everything we can to have all of our players back, but it has to work both ways. We might make a decision, but the player might make a different decision. That is their right. We will go from there.”

On if he gets a sense that the organization will be more aggressive in free agency this offseason, including retaining current players:

“I don’t think those decisions have been totally made, but I think we will have those discussions soon. As I just said a second ago, I would like to have all of our guys back. They know our system and they know what we are trying to do, but in the National Football League, you don’t just get to have it that way. A player gets to make a decision that is best for him too in those situations.”

On if he has had discussions with OL Joe Thomas:

“I talk to Joe every day, all the time.” 

On if he has talked to Thomas about if Thomas plans to return next season:

“I talk to Joe every day, all the time.”

On his sense of Thomas’ decision:

“I talk to Joe every day, all the time. I hope Joe does [return next season]. Joe hasn’t made that decision, I don’t think, yet but I hope he does. This football team needs him. He is a leader of this whole group so we would love to have him back, but again, in his own time, he will make that choice and decision and we will be there awaiting that word.”

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