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Hue Jackson press conference - 12/7


Opening statement:**

"First of all, I want to say congratulations to (OL) Joe Thomas, Walter Payton Man of the Year. Obviously, Joe's career is well documented. The things he has done on and off the field are second to none. It is an honor to coach someone like this and be around him each and every day. I think our young players probably do not truly understand how fortunate they are to be around a player like Joe. Obviously, Joe is a tremendous asset to this organization in so many different ways. You are talking about a guy that has never missed a down, never missed a game, finds a way to be out there when I know maybe there are times he should not be but it is that important to him to be out there with his teammates. For him to be recognized like this, it is a tremendous accomplishment for him. At the same time, just the person that I am sure all of you have gotten to know him and spend time with him, what a tremendous football player and person. I can't say enough about my opportunity to be around him this year.  If there is a silver lining in this, it is the time and conversations that I have had with him because he has taught me a lot and taught me a lot about what being a pro truly is, coming in here every day and just finding a way to get it done and then walking out on Sunday and competing the way he does. You can't say enough about him. I am glad for him, for his family and they deserve it. I hope there is many more for him to come in his future.

"Now, let's talk about Cincinnati. Obviously, we get the Bengals, another team within our division here at home. They are starting to play really well. I have watched the team obviously quite a few times because they are our division. They are starting to get a little hot. Their quarterback is playing extremely well and defense is playing extremely well. Last week, they beat a really good Philadelphia football team. They are going to come in here and be ready to play. Our guys are excited about the opportunity because it is another opportunity for us to play and it is another home game. It is a division game so we look forward to the challenge, and we are sure it will be a good one. Our guys went out there today, and I thought the focus was good. I thought the work was good. We have to get in these meetings today and continue to work at it to get better and look forward to the opportunity to go out there and practice tomorrow."

On the QB situation:

"I am going to practice guys and see where they are. We have had a couple practices now. I am getting closer, but no decision today. We will keep watching the practice tape and see where we are and keep putting this gameplan together and kind of go from there."

On how QB Robert Griffin III looked at practice:

"He did well. He was moving around, throwing the ball and so was (QB) Cody (Kessler) and the rest of the guys – (QB) Kevin (Hogan) and (QB) Josh (McCown.) It is hard to get four guys reps. It is good to have them all out there ready to play. The guys are excited about whoever gets this opportunity to play."

On if it is a gamesmanship tactic to not name a starting QB or if the team still needs time to evaluate Griffin and the other QBs:

"No, I do need to see Robert go through the week. It is not so much gamesmanship. We are talking about a young man that has not played much football this year. I need to be for sure about everything that could potentially go on. Before you stick him out there, you want to make sure you are putting guys in the right situation, give him the right opportunity. We will keep practicing and we will keep getting these guys ready to play."

On if it is hard to determine how OL Jonathan Cooper well play while only being to evaluate him in practice:

"You said it, it is tough. You never know until you play in a game so we see sparks of things that look really good. You do not really know until you play. The test is the game. We will find out more about him on Sunday as we play."

On if Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis's statement of the 'Browns will have a ball of knives ready on offense' is accurate:

"A ball of knives? Tell Marvin he has to be careful saying stuff like that (laugher)."

On if after the bye the Browns have unseen plays in the gameplan:

"Well, I have not sharped any knives, I can promise you that (laughter). I do not know that we will have different things. Hopefully, we can do things better. The goal is to come out of the bye, identify some things that we need to improve on and get working on those things because we believe those things give us the chance to win football games. Obviously, one is turnovers. We have turned over the ball way too much. We have to protect our quarterback better. On defense, we have to continue to get turnovers. You need to get more and we need to affect the quarterback. Those are the things as a football team that we need to do better. That is 'the knives.'"

On QB Cody Kessler's status and if he would only be used as an 'emergency QB':

"No, I have talked to him and I feel very comfortable if we put him out there, he will be fine. The most important thing is protecting our players to the utmost. With the conversations I have had, I think everybody feels very comfortable that part is behind him. He is a young player. You never know what can happen. Football is a tough game. I know Cody wants to be out there. I am not concerned if that is what you are asking, If we decide to play him, I would not be concerned about sticking him out there."

On if one factor in determining if Griffin is able to play is that he has only started one game the past two seasons:

"Absolutely. As you are saying, there is probably some rust there. He has not played a lot of football. Practice is only a simulation of what the game could be. The game is a very different game. That is why I am taking every consideration before truly making this decision about who is going to step out there."

On if he is not naming the starter to keep Lewis guessing, even though he might have an idea who will start at QB:

"No, I wish I had that idea. If I did, I would tell you. I think you guys know who I am. Until I see guys do certain things practice am I going to make that decision because it all has to fit. It is not just about one guy. It is about a unit playing together. We have not played as well together in several weeks. It is important that we practice, and I feel good about that decision so we can go out and give ourselves the best chance to win."

On DB Derrick Kindred's injury:

"Yeah, obviously, I think he is on the NFI now. He broke his ankle. He has an ankle injury. What the extent is I don't know all that but that is what happened."

On if Kindred broke his ankle during the bye:

"Yes, he did."

On his comments about Thomas' reliability and if he has had to talk Thomas into certain aspects, particularly given Thomas' practice schedule and listings on the injury report this season:

"No, he has not talked me out of things and I have not tried to talk him into things. We are talking about a man who loves the game and knows what it takes to play and prepare himself. I trust him because one thing I know every week is he shows up. Sometimes that is more important than anything. For our football team right now where we are, what Joe does is as important as anything we do because the one things these guys know is Joe Thomas is going to show up on that field come Sunday, and he is going to go out there and give it everything he has. I would not be a good leader if I wore him out during the week and then all of the sudden didn't have him on Sunday. There are all kinds of ways to look at that. Everybody evaluates that, but I think that is what is best for our football team right now."

On how Kindred broke his ankle during the bye:

"I do not think that really matters. Whatever he did, he did not do it right, let me put it to you like that. It is unfortunate. The guy was really starting to play well. It was not anything malicious or anything like that. He did it honestly trying to prepare himself to get back. He did not do anything out of sequence that is going to cause us to feel different about him. He just needs to get back. We do not know how long that is going to be. We will kind of go from there."

On if the Browns possess one more week to determine whether or not to activate Griffin:

"Yes sir."

On who will take Kindred's place:

"It could be several people. That is what practice is. Go practice. It could be a number of different people as we move through. It could be (DB) Ibraheim (Campbell). It could be (DB) Tracy (Howard). It could be (DB) Tramon (Williams Sr). We are going to do whatever we need to do to make sure that we have the best people back there. That is why we practice."

On if giving Griffin another practice will help him:

"It could. I think the more you work at it, the more you get in the flow of things in a live situation, as much as we can simulate it in practice, the better you are going to be. Robert is a pro. He understands. Trust me, he wants to be out there. I think you guys know that. I am just not ready to nail that down yet for our football team."

On what he learned about Thomas after coming to Cleveland:

"What a pro he is. You can look from afar and hear all the different stories. I knew how good of a football player he was, but I did not know how good of a person he is, as a pro and leader he is in the locker room. I think it is important to him. There is not another person in this organization that wants to make this right more than Joe Thomas. The guy has played here for 10 years. I am disappointed for him in the records that he has had. I am a part of that with him. Trust me, I am going to do everything I can to change that. This guy deserves an opportunity to win. He does for what he means to this organization, to this football team and football. He is one of the bests I have ever been around."

On Thomas' name being mentioned each year among NFL Draft trade rumors:

"That is not happening. OK, or I am going with him. OK? I guarantee you that. I am going with him. No, Joe Thomas means too much to this organization and to this football team. As I said to everybody, I want us to do right by him. Right by that is let's go get this man some wins. He deserves that. He deserves to be on a winning football team and have a chance to chase playoffs and championships. That is why you are here. I do a lot of this for the players. That is what it is all about. It is those guys in the locker room because they work extremely hard. We have to get this thing right for those guys because it is truly what it is about – our fans, our organization – but those players, they give a lot and we have to give it back to them."

On if he put his foot down when there were rumors earlier this season about trading Thomas:

"Let me say this, there was never any talk about Joe Thomas leaving here. If there were, I would have done that. There is no question. Joe Thomas means a lot to me personally and a lot to this organization and this team and this city. He has done too much, and we need to keep him here."

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