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Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference - 12/4

"I have told our team we are heading into the last quarter of the season. Obviously, we have a couple of big games here at home in a row. We are going to take them one game at a time. We get the Green Bay Packers here. We have to prepare better, work better and find a way to go out and play our best game of the year. When I looked back at the tape, we had some opportunities to do some things better. I think our players will say that, but at the same time, we have to continue to put them in situations to where they can do things better all of the time, and then we have to make plays when they present themselves. I thought our defense improved in the scoring zone, obviously, keeping that team from scoring touchdowns – quite a few other than kicking some field goals. We have to continue to score the ball in the scoring zone. Great pass to (TE) David Njoku for the touchdown, but there were some others that we had opportunities that we didn't finish. We are a group that is growing and getting better, but in those critical situations in games, we have to learn how to make those plays to finish games to keep giving us a chance to win. I think our guys get it. They were outstanding in the building today, coming in to talk about the game, watch the tape, understand what we did do, what we didn't do and what we need to continue to do better. I know for the group it is frustrating, but at the same time, they know that they are the only guys that can change it. They have to play better. We have to continue to coach better. We have to continue to work better. I think that is what the guys see.

"From a medical standpoint, there is not much that has changed from yesterday. We will continue to get you guys the information as we know it, but like last night, the two guys we talked about were (DB Jabrill) Peppers, he is going to have his knee looked at and make sure exactly where we are; hopefully, it is nothing serious. We will know more as we go. Then the other one was (TE) Randall Telfer, who I think is going to be fine, but again I want to make sure that we get him totally cleared before I tell you guys exactly where he is."

On clarifying the timing of DB Jabrill Peppers' MRI:

"I think he has had it. I think we just have to get it read and make sure exactly what it is. Hopefully, it is just nothing more than a bruise or something like that. Hopefully, it is nothing serious."

On clarifying that TE Randall Telfer does not have a concussion:

"He does not have a concussion, that is for sure, but exactly what it is, until I know what the medical term is do I want to say. It is definitely not a concussion."

On how to replicate game situations and make those improvements on Sundays other than taking the lumps and growing pains:

"We have taken the lumps, but we have had some of these situations come up earlier in the year. Our players have to be able to go back and put themselves in those spots when you are there and remember lessons learned. Some of those things we do try to re-create at practice as much as we can, but like you said, there is nothing like the game rep when it happens. We just have to continue to put them in those situations when we can as much as we can and hope that our guys learn from those. Outside of that, it is kind of what you said. You just have to keep pushing through it. You just have to plow through it and make sure you are managing it every chance that you get."

On the decision to use a timeout on offense late in the game down two scores:

"It wasn't what was going through my mind; it was what was going through the headset. I don't think you guys knew that all game there was an issue with our headsets and with the coach-to-quarterback communicator. He (Kizer) never got the play. He never got the play call at all. It was either you are going to end up getting a penalty or we try to get up on the ball earlier – I think, in the second quarter, he called a play because he couldn't get it. We ended up running a play into a bad defense that we shouldn't run because he couldn't hear anything. I thought the best thing to do there since he couldn't hear anything was take the timeout and let's get our composure. First, let's see if we can get the phones to work again and make sure that we run the next best play for us. That is what that was about. It wasn't about let's just go burn a timeout. That was about the headsets not working."

On anticipating needing two scores late in the fourth quarter:

"This is what we needed to do: if we could score a touchdown, score a touchdown. If we need to kick a field goal, kick a field goal. We are going to have to do both anyway so that is what I was thinking. More so than that, I wanted to make sure that we didn't end up getting a penalty that was going to push us back so I called timeout so that I could try to get this phone thing squared away and get our quarterback settled down because that was frustrating to him all day having to deal with that. That started in the first quarter and didn't stop until the game was over to be very honest with you."

On evaluating Kizer's performance, accuracy and development this season:

"I think DeShone has improved. He has [improved] obviously from the beginning of the year until now. Obviously, some of the things that we have talked about earlier in the year reared its ugly head yesterday late in the game. There were some things that I thought early he did well, but as the game went on, there were some things that he needed to do better. I think DeShone is still a growing young quarterback. I think he is working extremely hard. I think he is trying his tail off to win for his football team, and I think sometimes in those moments, you kind of revert back. You are going to take the good with the bad. He has done some good things. He did some things that he has to continue to grow and learn from. I am not down on DeShone. I want DeShone to keep working at this thing. He knows he has my backing and my support, but he knows there are some areas he has to grow and grow up pretty fast. I think he has taken that challenge. What I saw in his face today, he was down – I'm being very honest with you – but I told him in front of the whole offensive football team, we are not doing that. We are not going to get down. We are going to keep a smile on our face and we are going to keep working at this thing to get better because being down is not going to do anything. I need his energy and his passion because he has done a lot of good things. He has done some things that young quarterbacks do, I think we all get that, and there are some things that he has to continue to fight through, but he has to keep working at it."

On incompletions to WR Josh Gordon and how much it is due to a lack of ability to build timing between Kizer and Gordon and how much is simply due to accuracy:

"I think a lot of it is game reps. You can do a lot of this stuff and simulate a lot of this stuff in practice, but the game rep of how a guy runs a route, what your drop is, the timing of everything and how it is going to time up in a game is different. I think we saw some of that. We saw some plays that were made. We saw some plays that were left out there. I think until they have these game situations and you start to understand Josh's body language and how he goes about doing things and whether as a quarterback I need to quicken up my drop or stretch my drop or these things, the anticipation when the ball comes out, you are learning. I thought that was a huge learning piece for DeShone yesterday. Hopefully, we will be better because we will practice. DeShone will not just let it be just, 'Let's go have this normal rep.' It has to be a real legitimate game, full-speed rep so that you don't miss those anymore. Not that we don't do that, but I still think it is easier when you are going on air and doing those things. Now all of a sudden, here comes the game and somebody is next to him who is trying to take the ball for the other team and take it away. That is a different type of pressure. You just have to work through those things."

On if accuracy and timing can be coached or if it must simply be individually learned and worked through by the QB:

"I think it is both. I think it is something that you can coach because fundamentally you can help a guy be better. Then I think it is something that a player also has to work through. If  you are missing balls because your fundamentals are not right, first you have to get the fundamentals right in order for the ball to be delivered to the right spot. I think it is a combination of both in quarterbacks that you are mentioning that those lead to struggles. If you are not fundamentally consistent in what you do, it will be hard to be consistent in how you throw the ball accurately all of the time so it is something that you have to work through."

On if a QB can improve significantly or only marginally with accuracy:

"I think a quarterback can make strides with accuracy because I think it is a combination of two things. I think it is a combination of the people around you because I think you have to have time, precision and good route running and all of that, but then on top of that, this guy has to deliver the ball – the me to you piece – and do it consistently all of the time. Like you said, we are not talking about our quarterbacks here; we are just talking about quarterbacks in general. I think that is how it works."

On the headset communication problems, how hard they worked to fix it and if the Chargers were having the same issues:

"Our people worked their tails off yesterday trying to get that done. I have asked the officials if the same thing was happening on the other side, but this started in the first quarter and it didn't stop. A couple of times, DeShone ran over to the sideline. I was no longer using the coach-to-quarterback communicator; I was using a walkie-talkie in my hand to be able to talk to him and sometimes that would go out. This is a league issue. We will take it up with the league. We heard there was another team that had the same issue one time at that particular stadium. I felt bad because DeShone had to handle of that and handle playing the game. He is not going to make excuses and neither am I. This is not an excuse. These things really happen so we had to do with it, but that is not why we lost that game – I will be the first to tell everybody that – but it sure didn't help some of the situations that we were in."

On NFL rules saying the other team has to cut off their communications if one team has issues:

"That the other team should have to take theirs off, as well."

On if the opponent also shut off their communications when the Browns had difficulties:

"I don't know that. I'm calling plays. I can't, 'Hey, did you make them take theirs off?' No, I'm in it. It is something that we have to address as we move forward."

On how the game changes for a QB in the fourth quarter, particularly for Kizer:

"I think any quarterback in the fourth quarter is different because it all depends on if you are behind or ahead. In those situations if you are behind, obviously, quarterbacks are trying to make plays. Sometimes, young quarterbacks that I have seen, they take more chances than what they need to. Sometimes they have to understand the situation when they are behind. Sometimes it calls for a field goal or a touchdown so you have to understand what situation you are in at that time. When you are in those things, your mind gets away from that and gets to 'Let's make the play.' I think that when you are ahead, obviously, there are guys that won't take a chance on a play just because they are trying to be really team-protecting. Yeah, it makes a difference in the fourth quarter, but I think it depends on what the score is."

On if he still believes Kizer can be a winning NFL QB long term:

"I'm not changing from that. Yes, I do. I think this experience for him is invaluable. He is getting real-time game reps in the National Football League against some really good defenses that have shown him where he has to improve. I think we all know players make huge improvements from Year 1 to Year 2 because all of a sudden, you understand the speed of the game, what it takes to win, how you prepare – everything with a National Football League quarterback to go through it as a rookie. I am not trying to compare DeShone to anybody or anybody I have ever had or anybody I know, but I just know quarterbacks from Year 1 to Year 2 make huge jumps. There have been some this year that have done that. I'm not saying that he will have that kind of a jump a year from now, but I would be surprised if he is not remarkably better a year from now from this experience."

On acknowledging the Browns could have an awkward or challenging situation believing Kizer could potentially be a long-term NFL QB but also own a top draft pick at the top of next year's draft with QB prospects available:

"It could be awkward, but I think that is… It is not a good problem because that means you are losing, but I think it is a problem that in this situation, you want to have. I think we can't have too many good quarterbacks right now on this football team. I just think we have to and we have said it before use resources at that position and go get the right guy that we feel comfortable with to pair them with some of the players we have here to come up with the best quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. That is just what you do."

On preventing QB DeShone Kizer's rookie experience from being negative, given past Browns rookie QBs 'taking a pounding' and not recovering:

"Absolutely, you said it. This is what I see from DeShone, and I do not think he has taken a pounding physically. If anything, I think it is more emotionally because of the losing. Let's just be honest, that is tough on anybody, but he is a very strong-willed young man. He is not one of those guys that all of the sudden just stays in the tank or stays down on himself. He is very confident. He believes in his ability. He has a burning desire to be a really good quarterback because I have watched his work ethic. He does not run from that. He does not run when he makes mistakes. He owns up to it. He is trying to be the best version of himself. He knows there are things he has to improve on. He never said he was going to come in here and light this up. He said he was going to take this opportunity and try to make the most of it. I don't think he is getting beat down. He knows he has my support. He knows he has his teammates' support. This young man is going to keep pushing. The goal for me for him are these next four weeks, one week at a time. Let's play as good as we can play and let's see if we can be consistent through these next four weeks and see if we can come out the other side of this feeling really good about your first year's experience and get some wins."

On where Kizer has improved most since Week 1:

"The turnovers. There is no question. I think we are not turning the ball over at the alarming rate we were earlier in the year. I think he has done a better job of that. Obviously, the last one yesterday, that was disappointing. We do not want to flip the ball down the middle of the field and the one prior, too, but let's look at the situation. That is what I said earlier, young quarterbacks in those situations, sometimes that is what you get. That is something I have to get out of him, and that is something I think he is going to grow from. You hate it when it happens. It is unfortunate, but we have all seen it happen. There is no question about that."

On what more WR Josh Gordon can give the Browns:

"He did a pretty good job yesterday. I think, obviously, the more comfortable he gets in the system, the more comfortable I am at what he does and does well, the better he is going to be and the more the quarterback knows what he does. I just think it is going to get better and better and better every week that we play because there is a better understanding of Josh and what he can do and what he does not do as well. That is how you start to build your offensive football team as you move forward."

On areas where Gordon can improve from his first game back in nearly three years:

"What I think his route depths sometimes, he might have been because of his stride not because he did not know it. He has such a long stride so some things you have to tighten down for him. Outside of that, I did not see much different in anything else that he did. The guy can play football. He was obviously built to play football. He just has to continue to work in our system – again, that was his first game getting football legs underneath you and understanding what that is play in and play out – I think better Josh is going to be."

On if the Browns' record can be attributed to the team's -19 turnover differential:

"Has a lot to do with it, there is no question. I am not going to just put it all on that, but it has something to do with it. We have always said that turnovers are one of the keys to winning football games. There is no question, it has a lot to do with it."

On opponents sustaining long drives, given the Browns defense is ranked ninth in total defense:

"We have to get them off the field. Third down, we have to find a way to get them off the field and we have to make sure that we are limiting bigger plays. Obviously, like I said, I know you guys get concerned about the yards. I am not concerned more about the yards if they are not scoring, OK? Teams might have yards but they do not score. If we can keep teams down, our goal, if we can keep teams around 16, 17 points. The goal on offense, if we can score 24, we are going to win the game. We have not gotten to 24 enough times as an offensive football team to help our football team win games. That is something we have to do. Defensively, I am not trying to say we are perfect. We are not. There are things that we have to continue to do better – communicate better, play fundamentals better – but I think we are doing some good things over there."

On if the Browns' defensive headsets were also malfunctioning:

"Yeah, we had the same issues over there, too, but not to the extent that the offense did. It was difficult. That was difficult yesterday. That was the first time for me [there were technical issues for] that long. You normally have one that happens for a play or two and then they switch it back and we change a quarterback's helmet or change your belt pack. That was not it. This was a legitimate issue throughout the game."

On DL Myles Garrett's ankle:

"Yeah, I think he will be fine. I do. He finished the game and is sore, there is no question about that, but I do not think it is anything major there."

On TE David Njoku's development and if his growth jumped out to him yesterday:

"Oh no, it did. He made some plays. There was a throw to him earlier in the game, which was a great throw by DeShone, and he was not able to bring that one down. He said 'Coach, how close was it?' He wanted to know. I thought he competed hard. I thought he blocked better. Obviously, the touchdown catch was really, really good. He made some other plays with the ball, another catch down the middle of the field which was big. I think you are starting to see signs of what the offense is leading to with him in there. He has to continue to grow and get better. He can't just be one-dimensional because people know when he comes into the game, here comes the ball. There are other things he is trying to get better at, and he is going to continue to improve that way."

On how he helps pick Kizer back up emotionally after the losses:

"This is the National Football League. You have to help pick yourself up, too. This is part of it. We have another opportunity this week. You have to get back up and do it again, and you have to do it better than what you did. Being very honest with you, I think that is what we have seen out of him. Here was a good week. Then all of the sudden, things do not go as well and then here he comes back. That is why I keep saying the consistency of doing it week in and week out is what we need to become. That is when you start to really grow as a quarterback. I think that is what he is chasing. There is no question that he is working hard to try to do that. It has not happened for him yet, but I truly believe over time that is what he will become."

On how easy it is to 'take one game at a time' when there are only four more chances to get a win:

"There are only four left, you said it. I do not look at it and think of it that way. It is Green Bay this week. That is the only thing that we can worry about. I do not look and say, 'Well, maybe it is this one. Maybe it is that one.' We have to go out and play our tails off to try to secure a win this week here at home in front of our fans. That has to mean something to our players, too, being in front of the Dawg Pound and at home. I think our guys will come out and play well."

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