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Hue Jackson press conference - 12/8

Opening statement:

"Wow, that was one of the coldest practices I have ever been a part of. I'm sure it was the wind, but it was cold. Guys fought through. I thought we had a good practice. As I have always said about this team, they always work hard and enthusiasm. That part we do as well as any team I have ever been around, and what we have to do is play good for four quarters. That is our challenge. We get it. We are looking forward to playing the Bengals this weekend. What do you have?" 

On when the Browns decided QB Robert Griffin III would start:

"Since I hear it is already out now everywhere, I probably did that last night after watching practice. After I left you guys, I kind of got with our coaches, watched practice, went through more detail, watched more practice, went back and watched his first game and thought it would be best to go in that direction. Probably late last night after sitting there and really contemplating everything and looking at it and watching more tape and then making the decision about which way I wanted to go in this game. I knew I wanted to make a decision by today – as I told you guys, I was close – but I am sorry if it got out a little bit sooner from other people or whatever that is, but those things do happen. It was really late in the evening when I made that choice that I thought it was best for us to go in that direction."

On why it is the best choice for Griffin to start and it is to see how he can perform for the team:

"No, it is not so much to see. He gives us a chance to win. Any decision I am making is for that locker room. Right now, it gives us the best opportunity to play well but also see him. That is part of it, too, but hopefully to give us a chance to go out and play better on offense."

On who will be the No. 2 QB:

"It will be (QB) Cody (Kessler)."

On why Kessler will be the No. 2 QB:

"Cody has played. As I told you guys, I think he is fine from a medical standpoint, and I'd like to see him play some more as we move throughout the year. There is a possibility for that to happen. That is kind of the way I see it right now."

On how important it is to see Griffin, given that the Browns have to make an important decision about the QB position at the end of the year:

"Oh yeah. No, it is important, but again, we want to make sure it is in the right context because I think it is important that he is able to go out there and play and play well – not just play but go and play well. What I have seen in practice is that he is up to the challenge so we will put him out there and let him have at it."

On if he expects Griffin to play like his usual self and be willing to run with the ball, given his injury history:

"Oh yeah, I think so. That is what I have seen in practice. I wanted to really evaluate it all because sometimes, guys tell you they can do that, but they will not do that. We won't really know until Sunday, but I think what I have seen in practice is a guy who is ready to play. We will put him out there and go from there."

On what Griffin showed at Philadelphia that made him believe he is ready to play now:

"I thought it was just like I thought it would be a first game, he had not played a lot of football and here he was, the first game in Philadelphia on the road and did not happen as well as we liked, but the good part about that game that day is that he was out there and played. It is unfortunate what happened with the injury so there is a lot of time that needed to be made up. Hopefully, we are past that. I can't tell you that we are, and I can't tell you that we are not. We will see on Sunday, and obviously, we are going to have to coach him through some things and get him to where he needs to be, but the biggest part is I think he is ready to play from a physical standpoint, from a mental standpoint and from an emotional standpoint. I think he is ready."

On if QB Josh McCown could play, even though Kessler will be the backup QB:

"You guys know how I feel about Josh. Josh is one of my favorites, but I think in the situation that we are in now, it is about seeing guys for the future. I know what Josh is, and I appreciate everything Josh is and has been, but I think we have to give these younger guys right now an opportunity so we know more. We will know a lot more about them, about our future, the organization's future and how we are going to move forward."

On if QB Kevin Hogan will be active against the Bengals, given his success in the run game the last time the teams played:

"I do not know that yet. That part I have not really been through, but that could be a possibility."

 On if Griffin still has an opportunity to prove that he can be the Browns' franchise QB moving forward:

"I think so. The fact that we are putting him out there says that. We want to know. I want to know more. I have only seen him really play for not even a full game. The more information, the more time I get an opportunity to evaluate him, the better it is going to be. I will say it again, I am not expecting for everything to go perfect. It is not. I don't want to put that kind of pressure on anybody. It is his second game in a little over maybe two years so hopefully it will go right, but if it does not that is OK, too. We have to go get him to play and hopefully play well, but we all understand the situation that he is in and that he is facing. I think he is up to the challenge."

On the possibility for wintry conditions during the game and if he and Griffin have talked about what kind of cold-weather QB he could be:

"It was good to practice in the elements today. It snowed, the wind blew today and I did not see any issues with him throwing the ball or moving around. He has played in an environment where there was snow and wind before being in Washington. I think he will probably tell you guys, he has different balls he kind of throws with his arm. It is kind of funny. He has a snowball. He has a straight ball. He has a long ball. He has a lot of different kind of balls so we are going to find out if he can throw all those balls come this weekend."

On the Browns WR corps' ability to improve at getting open and providing good targets:

"As I am going to say to all of you, it is a unit issue. It is not just the receivers. It all goes hand in hand. It is the protection, receivers being in the right spot, the running backs' protection part of it and the running backs being out on the check down. Everybody has to do their part. I know you are getting really specific about the receivers, but that is hard for me because sometimes when things do not go well we think it is the receivers or we think it is the quarterback – it is the unit. As a unit on any given play, everybody has to do their job to the best of their ability for it all to work. We are a rhythm passing football team and everybody has to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there as fast as they can, and protection has to hold up and the quarterback has to look in the right spot and the ball has to come out. We have good receivers. Our receivers are young and improving and getting better, and the more football they play the better. At the same time, it is a whole group issue that we need to improve on to get better as a passing offensive."

On if four games will provide him with enough time to make a definitive evaluation on Griffin:

"I do not know that for sure, but it will definitely provide information. It will provide more than what we have now. The more you know, the better you are equipped to make decisions. We will start this Sunday, which will be the first piece of it and see how long we can go."

On if WR Rashard Higgins will have more opportunities to play in the slot this season:

"He is going to play, whether it is in the slot, outside, wherever. These next four games, I would like to see more of him, but again, I do not want anybody to think that I want to see more than I want to win for this team. If those guys, whoever it is, can go out there and help us win a football game then we will stick them out there."

On the process of naming Griffin the starter and informing other members of the organization:

"I inform them as soon as I know. When I know, it is the right thing to do to let them know the direction we are going in, and I have total support from them on whatever that decision is. From that standpoint, they will kind of weigh in, but I think they leave that kind of part to me and I appreciate them doing that."

On how much Griffin's injury history has to be considered when evaluating him as the possible QB of the future for the Browns:

"Everything is weighed. The most important thing about that position is availability. You have to be available to your football team and able to be out there. I think he gets that. It is unfortunate what happened, and we can't change that. All he can do is play from now and see what he has to show this organization, this team and all of us. That is where it has to start."

On if he will have fewer designed runs for Griffin in an effort to protect him:

"I don't know if that has been the strategy to keep him upright. To keep him upright, we need to protect better, and he has to protect himself obviously. We are going to play our offense and do what we do and do it as well as we can. I think you guys all know we will do different things to give us a chance to have success. Whatever those things are, I am sure you guys will find out on Sunday."

On the Browns evaluating the potential to host training camp in Columbus:

"I like the bonding opportunities of going away and being together in a different environment because you really have to focus on each other and depend on each other a little bit more. At the same time, I do get that being here has been a tremendous opportunity, too. I do know this much about our organization, if we are doing this, which it sounds like we are, we are going to do anything and everything that we can to make sure that our fans here get an opportunity to still be able to see this football team and touch this team. If that is the case, and I know that is a couple of years away that we are talking about, I am not opposed to doing it. At the same time, I want to make sure that we do right by the people here because they have done a great job of being here at practice. I know what practice has been like here, and they have been outstanding. I know Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) will do everything they can to make sure that the fans still have an opportunity here to be around this football team."

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