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Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference - 3/15


Opening statement:**

"What an exciting time. Some good looking bodies in the building, some tremendous football players and athletes. Glad that they are Cleveland Browns. A lot of kudos to (General Manager) John Dorsey, the personnel group and the coaches. What a plan put in place and executed. We picked up a lot of guys that we felt are going to help get this organization get to winning as fast as possible. I think we all recognize and know that you don't win right now. This is just the starting piece of putting everything together so we have an opportunity when football season comes around to showcase our abilities and our opportunity to play football at a winning level. It is a great time to be a Cleveland Brown. We are excited about it, plugged a lot of holes and added some depth to our football team. It is just the start. It is exciting, but we have a lot of work to still do."

On reports he liked QB Tyrod Taylor last year and him being in Cleveland now:

"I am very excited that he is here. A year ago, we did have some overtures back and forth about him then, as well. Obviously, last year was last year. He played for them and led them to the playoffs. For him to be here now is very exciting to me and also for our offensive staff. We sat with our personnel group and watched all of the quarterbacks. We made a decision we thought was best for the Cleveland Browns and Tyrod Taylor was best for the Cleveland Browns. He is our starting quarterback. Very excited about it." 

On what attributes Taylor brings to the Browns like arm strength and dual-threat ability:

"It is a combination of all of those things. One thing he has done a great job of doing is taking care of the football and is putting the offense in the best position to score points. Obviously, he has arm talent. He also can win games with his legs. He is a leader of men. This guy's work ethic is second to none. He comes early and stays late. He is another coach on the field. He has really worked at his game. I think he has really improved in some area every year. What he did in Buffalo by leading them to the playoffs says a lot. This guy walks in the building having more wins than a lot of people in this building. Hopefully, a lot of that goodwill will rub off on the rest of the organization."

On his reaction when learning of the trades and free agency signings during the past week:

"It was very exciting for me. I think anytime when you don't win, which we hadn't, you have to do something to change the course of the team and the course of the organization. To me, that started awhile back when we hired John Dorsey. I think John Dorsey is a football guy who puts a lot of work into it with (vice president of player personnel) Alonzo (Highsmith) and (assistant general manager) Eliot (Wolf) and our coaching staff – hiring (offensive coordinator) Todd Haley and keeping (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) in his position – and getting everybody in a room together and making a decision about what we thought was best and then coming up with a plan and watch it start to execute itself and watch it start to happen. These moves that we made were by design. We worked at this. This was the plan. That says a lot. I give John a lot of credit for that because he is the crafter of the plan. Through him, we were able to execute it and get some better players on our team."

On singing a song about OL Joe Thomas retiring and wanting him to come back:

"I have been singing it for days. For days."

On when he knew Thomas would retire:

"I'm not going to say 'did I know.' Joe was always in constant communication with us. Obviously, he waited until the last second to make a decision. We were still holding out hope that Joe would not go and that he would stay. I still hold out hope. He has made it very clear that he is not going to play. I think you all know what Joe means to me and what I think he means to this organization. My disappointment is we never got him to winning. This guy is going to be and was a Hall of Fame player who hasn't won a lot of football games. That is unfair because I don't people truly understand how good Joe Thomas is as a football player, as a person, as a person within the community and the whole nine yards. I am going to miss Joe, but as I told him again today, I am going to always reiterate to him, this is still his football team. He still has a [key] fob that gets in the door. His locker will stay the same. It will be in the same place. His place on the plane will be the same if he wants to go. That is how much I think of Joe Thomas. He will be missed."

On filling the spot left with Thomas' retirement:

"I don't think you fill that spot. Somebody has to go play left tackle, there is no question, but do you really replace a Hall of Fame player in the organization? We hope to go draft another Joe Thomas someday, but Joe Thomas is not in this building and he is not coming back this year. We are going to play somebody at left tackle, and we are going to give some guys opportunities to do it, but I hope nobody in here thinks the next Joe Thomas is fixing to go play over there this season. We have to go find that guy, just like anything we find. We are going to play some guys, and they are going to play their tails off. There is no question in my mind. We have some athletes here that we think can play. We are going to play the best five guys, but obviously, somebody has to start over there first. I am going to tinker around with the offensive line a little bit first. Maybe move (OL) Shon Coleman over there who was are starter over there at RT because we were very fortunate to get (OL) Chris Hubbard here. I think there is an opportunity to still be a good offensive line, but we are not going to be the same line without Joe Thomas. There is no question about that."

On saying he is still holding out hope and if he may try to get Thomas to return:

"I am not kidding, Joe can call me anytime to say he changed his mind (laughter). No, I know that is not going to happen. He said it, and I believe him. We all do wish that he was here, but he is not so we are going to move forward and he is going to help us move forward because he is going to still be here helping and help mold these men to be the best they can be."

On WR Jarvis Landry and QB Tyrod Taylor entering the media room with a lot of swagger and charisma:

"Swag, absolutely. It gives me back my swag (laughter). His nickname is Juice, Juice Landry. He does have juice. He is a tremendous football player. Obviously, his stats speak for themselves. He is a proven football player in the building who has a lot of intensity and a lot of pride about what he does. We are looking for that to show here for our football team. You look at Tyrod and the way he carries himself, you can tell he is very proud of is accomplishments. I know everybody is talking about the past and what has gone on here. I don't think that is what phases him. He has been in tough situations before. I think we all understand the situation we are in. We have a lot of work to do. Those are two guys that you start to turn and change the narrative with and change the culture with. These guys are good players, and they are not going to come here and all the sudden change. They are going to come here and play well for us."

On the difficulty recruiting players to the Browns in free agency:

"I think I made a statement before that it is a war for us on talent. I think it starts with John Dorsey. I will keep going back to John. His relationships with agents and his reputation preceded him. Right now, my reputation is not very good. I told John, 'You have to hold up that slack right now until we can get this thing changed.' Obviously, my relationships and the people that I know around the league and Eliot and Alonzo and Todd Haley being here, we use every resource possible to make these guys understand that the culture here is going to change and that we are going to get to winning as fast as we can."

On if there's no QB competition entering 2018:

"He (Taylor) is going to be the starting quarterback. There is no competition."

On what it means to know his starting QB this early:

"It is the first time I have had the chance to do that. That is what it does for me. It really gives me a chance to show the rest of the team who the leader of the franchise is. It is going to be Tyrod Taylor and we are going to get in line with him, follow him and he is going to lead this organization to winning."

On the decision to trade QB DeShone Kizer:

"It was an organizational decision. We know we needed to improve in the secondary. Obviously, DeShone is a young player and we wish him well. I still think DeShone is going to have a tremendous career in the National Football League. Obviously, we wanted somebody with experience who has played and won in the National Football League. We made that decision. It was Tyrod. Those are all hard decisions to make, but we think we improved our football team in some other areas that we needed to. Sometimes, those things happen. I think you guys all can understand that."

On the response the Browns could acquire a rookie QB and if their response that they will not start in 2018 be a factor in the team's evaluation:

"It could be [a factor], but it could not be. I think the young players who have not played in the National Football League are just that – they haven't played. There are a lot of things to learn. We have played young players here the last two years and that hasn't worked. Let's just be honest. That hasn't worked the best for us. We know that. I think grooming a young quarterback, letting him sit, learn, grow and understand what it takes to play in the National Football League is truly the way to do it. All situations are different. You go into this saying Tyrod is the starter, God forbid something happens, but we have to make sure we have other quarterbacks who are ready to play, too. Whoever the backup quarterback is will be a play away. We are going to draft a quarterback at some point here – I think we all know that – but again, that guy just needs to know the starter here is going to be Tyrod Taylor."

On some individuals labeling Taylor 'a bridge quarterback':

"There is that magic word (laughter). No, honestly, I get tired of hearing that word 'bridge.' This guy is the starting quarterback on our football team. There are no bridge players. This guy goes out and gets this organization to winning and gets us to the playoffs or whatever all that is, none of you guys would be writing 'bridge' anymore. You would be talking about how this is your quarterback. I see this young man as our quarterback. If we draft somebody who in the future is a better player, that will all take care of itself in time, but he is not a bridge. He is our starting quarterback."

On acquiring players with playoff experience and how it changes the personality of the team:

"Winning. Those guys know what that's about. I will never forget the first day I walked up on this podium coming from Cincinnati, I knew what that was about because it is truly getting into the tournament. It is winning. That means you won. Those guys know what that feels like. None of those young men you met today came here with the thought process that they are coming here to lose, or anything like that. They came in here with the mindset that they are going to win and they are going to go into that locker room and share their experiences with these other young guys we have and the other veteran players we have. We are going to talk about what it takes to get an organization to winning. It takes a lot of work, too. Don't get me wrong. It takes players that have experience and have been there because they know what that grind is. They know what that is like. The more guys we have in that locker room that have experienced it, the better chance we have of getting there."

On if acquiring Taylor impacts the chances of the Browns taking a QB No. 1 overall:

"I don't think that has anything to do with anything. If that the decision we make as an organization to take a quarterback at No. 1, then we will, but Tyrod is the starting quarterback. That is not going to change that."

On Haley working with mostly working with large quarterbacks and what allowed Taylor to get the Browns out of that mold:

"What me and Todd discussed – I think he said it to you guys before – it is not about system. It is about what we do to fit to the players we have that's at our disposal. This was a young man that gave a us a chance to do a lot of different things that we have done, that he has done, that I have done, that we can craft something together to give us the best chance to have the best offense. When it came down to it, he was the guy who gave us that chance."

On if Taylor's mobility was a determining factor:

"I think his ability to throw the football, too. The guy completes a high level of his passes, he takes care of the football and he has the ability to make plays with his legs."

On McCarron:

"It is not about comparisons or anything like that. We made a decision that this was best. I think it was said earlier, I think sometimes because of the AJ connection with me and Cincinnati, everybody thought that is what it was and because of the opportunities a year ago. That is not what this was about. Nobody in this room knew last year we were trying to get Tyrod Taylor, too, so here it is. We were able to get a guy on the football team that I feel really good about, that our offensive staff feels really good about and that our personnel staff feels really good about."

On when the Browns tried to get Taylor originally:

"Last year, the offseason."

On RB Carlos Hyde:

"Oh, boy, he likes to carry that ball. That guy is a violent runner. He goes downhill, then he bounces off of people and he keeps on going. In order for us to be the type of team I think we want to become, late in the year when it becomes November, December and January, you have to be able to run the football. You have to be able to line up and knock the other team off of the ball and hand the ball to somebody who is going to make plays, and that is who Carlos Hyde is. He has played in these elements before, and he understands it. I think he is excited about the chance to be back here doing this and we're going to give him every opportunity to run the ball."

On what WRs Josh Gordon and Landry could accomplish as a tandem:

"I'm not going to use all of the combination words people do, but I think it's going to be a really good mix. Jarvis has done a tremendous job of playing inside and playing off of linebackers and safeties. He has been hard to cover, and then you look at Josh and what he brings to the table. You know? You think of (WR) Corey Coleman, a young, ascending Corey Coleman. If he comes back here and plays as well as he can play, (RB) Duke Johnson and (TE) David Njoku. There are so many other weapons now when you add these kind of players to your arsenal, especially guys who are proven who have made big-time plays in the National Football League. What these guys will become? It will become as hard as they work. Whatever I think these guys want to be I think they can be, but they have a lot of work to do."

On having to control Gregg Williams' excitement now with the defensive additions:

"He is very excited. The mad magician is up there, I should call him the mad blitzer, he is up there finding different packages right now. He is excited. I can't say enough about how important it is for the alignment of the organization with John and myself and sitting down and talking about the areas of our football team that we needed to improve and how the positions affect the game. Obviously, the quarterback position, at receiver and then the secondary, those are prime positions that affect the game so you have to continue to improve in those areas as fast as you can. The planning of John's staff and our staff to come together and start to make that happen is truly what this is all about. This is what's going to give us a chance to get to where we need to be."

On what he will tell QBs about their chances of starting for the Browns when they conduct private visits:

"That Tyrod Taylor is the starter. I don't think these young men, just because he's a starter doesn't mean that the guys aren't going to want the chance to start. I think they understand. There are a lot of these teams that are going to look at quarterbacks, too, that aren't going to have a chance to play. I think guys understand that. Now, are they going to compete, be competitive and do everything they can to be out there? That is what we expect from them. That is why you want a guy on your football team. At the same time, you have to have a starting point, and our starting point is going to be Tyrod Taylor."

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