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Hue Jackson press conference - 6/1

Opening statement:

"It was a good, toasty one today – a little hot. I thought our guys fought through and did a good job, a lot of enthusiasm, guys practicing extremely hard. I'm really with where we have gotten to after eight practices. Our guys have done a really good job, and I am going to conclude our OTAs because tomorrow – it is important as an organization – we have the Cleveland Browns Foundation, and as you guys know, the focus for us throughout the city and Northeast Ohio is in areas of education, we want to help and assist. Tomorrow, there is a [Cleveland Browns Foundation] golf tournament that we are going to take the whole team to because I truly believe it is something that you just do. The team had an idea, but not a true idea but an idea, that I would do that, but I think it is very deserving. Our guys have done a really good job. Obviously, we still have a minicamp to finish this offseason off. I think our guys understand that, but I have been extremely pleased and happy with the progress that we are making each and every day. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the guys are starting to truly understand what it takes to have an opportunity to win in this league and just how hard it is each and every day. When you go on a football field or in a weight room or into a classroom, just the focus that you have to have to go out and compete at such a high level. There are 31 other teams that we compete against and some of the best players in the world and some of the best coaches in the world. I think we are starting to get it. I know we're still a long way away, but I'm proud of the group and what they have been able to do thus far in OTAs."

On TE Gary Barnidge not practicing:

"He has an excused absence today."

On breaking OTAs early and possibly 'leaving two practices out there' as a new coach:

"That is one way to look at it. I don't think that we are. I think we have accomplished what myself and the staff have set out to do. It is not leaving two out. Like I said, tomorrow we are going to do something that I think is very important to our players' development, as young men and is a way of us giving back to kids who are very deserving. As far as the other one is concerned, I feel very good that we are going to get that work in during minicamp next week. Again, I wish everyone was with these guys each and every day as we were. It is not like I'm rewarding them. I'm really looking at our schedule and putting things back-to-back. The way they are, I think this is the best thing for our football team."

On what players have stood out during OTAs:

"I don't have a particular player. What stood out to me, as the head coach, is our team and the way we compete each and every day and how they respond and how they want to work to be the best they can be. If I can take away anything from this part of it, my whole goal was to get these guys to learn our language, master our language offensively, defensively, and on special teams, and then understand how you practice – how you practice situational football, how you have to go out there every day and compete to get better, that there are no 'bad days.' You can't have 'bad days.' I'll be the first to tell you, we did not practice as well as we know the way we could on Tuesday, but these guys came back today and practiced like you're supposed to practice. It was not like it was a bad one. It just was not as good as what these guys have set as a standard. I want to keep them at that standard or above, and I will not let them slide. I think they get that, and they responded like I never imagined they could today. They got after it."

On his hands-on approach coaching players and if it provides younger players with a sense that the coaching staff is as invested as the players:

"I never looked at it like that. I love coaching and being hands-on with our players, whether it's on offense, defense or special teams. The players respect that the head coach is involved, that I am not just standing over there just watching, that I can give advice and that I know what I am talking about and where I am coming from because I have been there as an assistant coach. The coaches have done a great job of allowing me to coach within our offense, within our defense and within our special teams. I hope that it is a response from our young players but it is something that I truly enjoy doing each and every day, and hopefully, I can continue to do so."

On if Browns players knew before today's practice that it would be the team's last of OTAs, given the team will join tomorrow's Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament:

"They had an idea that we were going to go because I had to put them in polo shirts to go out as a team tomorrow (laughter). They get it. They kind of had an idea that we were going to do this, but this is an organizational thing that I think is important to us. Trust me, if I didn't think so then we wouldn't do it. We could very easily be out there practicing, but to be able to give back to some young kids, see smiles on their faces and do something worthwhile within this community for the people that truly support us, I don't think there is even a question in my mind not to do that."

On LB Emmanuel Ogbah's development and his athletic ability:

"He's coming. It was fun today watching him come off the edge a couple of times. It felt like a real game there. He's very explosive. He's a big man. He is truly starting to understand the NFL game and what it takes to play up here each and every day. I think our veteran players have done a good job of taking him under their wing and showing him the ropes on how you have to prepare to play each and every day in the National Football League. Obviously, his position coaches – (linebackers) Coach (Ryan) Slowik, (inside linebackers) Coach (Johnny) Holland and (defensive coordinator) Coach (Ray) Horton – have done a good job of making him better. That is something our staff is going to take a lot of pride in is developing our young players. We drafted these players for a reason, and we want to give them an opportunity to see if they can play. This is where it starts, but we will truly find out in training camp. "

The Browns took to the practice fields for their final offseason training activity of 2016 before next week's minicamp.

On what the new Browns strength and conditioning staff have brought to the team, given the number of muscle pulls and soft tissue injuries sustained in past years:

"Again, I was not here in the past, but (director of high performance) Adam (Beard) has done a tremendous job, along with his staff. They have done a real good job of tailoring what they do to our players and positionally. He is one of the best that I have been around. I know people get on me about saying 'the best' all the time, but he is one of the best at what he does. I think the proof is there. We are not having the soft-tissue issues that we have had before. We have players on the field that are practicing every day, and we are not getting as much of the pulls. We get the normal tweaks that every football team gets, but at the same time, for as hard as I think we push them, Adam and his staff are doing a tremendous job of getting our team into the best shape that we can be. I think our guys understand that we have a way to go, but Adam is just the man to lead them into that process."

On the Browns traveling to Tampa Bay in August to practice with the Buccaneers prior to the preseason game:

"It is a tremendous opportunity to practice against another organization. We were going to play them in obviously in that third preseason game anyway, and I know (Buccaneers Head Coach) Dirk (Koetter). We decided to get together and practice for a couple of days. It is another opportunity to evaluate our team in a different setting away from here and teach our guys how to go on the road and prepare and focus but also understand that we are in evaluation mode as we start to put our team totally together. It is always great to compete against somebody else other than a guy that you compete against each and every day. It gives us an opportunity to see a different team, a different color jersey, a different defensive scheme, a different offensive scheme and to prepare and also teach these men to go on the road and focus to do what we need to do. We are going to be on the road early this season. I see it as another teaching moment for our football team."

On the conditioning aspect potentially helping the Browns given the hot Florida climate in August:

"Absolutely, it's the heat. We are going to go to Miami early in the year. There are a lot of benefits to doing this that will help our football team grow as we get ready to head into the season."

On WR Taylor Gabriel's status and if it is a knee injury:

"He has a sprain, but we wanted to make sure that we take care of it and give him time to get out of it. He's been on the bike. I think he is very close to having an opportunity to be back out there, but he's going to be fine. No, it is not his knee. It is a lower leg injury.

On DL Danny Shelton's status:

"He has a little tweak. You know I am going to be very cautious of those guys that way. They are out there, though. These guys are here each and every day working and practicing. If a guy has something that a report comes to me that I don't like, I am going to be on the high side of taking care of them so that we can make sure they are back and ready to go at full speed."

On DB Justin Gilbert and if it is a benefit for him to be working with the first team, given DB Joe Haden's status:

"He's very talented. I can't talk about what has gone on here in the past. For him, I know it is well documented, but that is not the young man that I have met since I got here and have talked to him and have had exchanges with. He's been sensational. He has done everything that we have asked him to do, the way we have asked him to do it. There is no question. I told him when I first talked to him that his slate is clean. Whatever has gone on in the past does not matter to me, and that is the way I am with all of our players. None of that matters. It is the picture that you paint now. He is doing a tremendous job. He is very talented, as we all know, but he has done everything right thus far. I am very proud of him, and I am very proud of the things that he is doing."

On if the Browns are closer to naming a starting QB, given his previous comments that it could potentially be after OTAs but he is comfortable with it taking however long it takes:

"I don't think so. I'm seeing the improvement out of the whole group that I am looking for, but we still have a little bit more that I need to see to feel very comfortable and confident in saying, 'This is our guy.' I think they are all competing extremely hard and extremely well. When the time is right, trust me, you guys will be the first to know what that is that we are going to do. I feel very comfortable that we have enough candidates at the position that people are starting to emerge. I want to feel very good, along with the staff, about naming that guy because it is more than just playing the position – I hope we all understand that and that there is more to it than that. There are a lot of different hats that man wears. I have to make sur, for our football team, for our city, and for our opportunity to win that we make the right choice and not just the fast choice."

On former Browns RB Earnest Byner's contributions to the coaching staff:

"He's been great. Obviously, Earnest played here when things were really good, when the Browns were really special. Earnest has a very passionate place about the city, about the football team, about playing the position. I have known Earnest for a while. He is a tremendous coach when he has coached in this league. He knows how to communicate with young men, and they can see the picture that he is painting. He has been very good for me because he will see things sometimes that maybe I didn't see. It is not unlikely that I will be home and here comes three or four texts from Earnest about something, but he has been outstanding. The thing that I really respect from him is that he is really a true Cleveland Brown. He gets it. He knows exactly what we are trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish.

On if Byner could work with the Browns coaching staff longer, potentially during training camp:

"We will see. A lot of these things, you just kind of take them one day at a time. I really, truly have enjoyed having him around, but I think, as an organization, we will see what we can and can't do. (Executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown), (Chief Strategy Officer) Paul (DePodesta), Jimmy (Haslam) and the rest of the organization will, obviously, have a lot of input in that."

On if it is an opportune time to take a big-picture look at where QB Robert Griffin III is to when he started with the team:

"Yes, I think it is appropriate. I think this is a good time to do that. I think he has made tremendous strides, I really do. He is getting better and growing each and every day. I am very proud of the work he has put in. I have said it from Day 1 that all of these guys just have to put their heads down and work, and he has done that. It has not been perfect all the time, but it has been really good. I see glimpses of it being extremely good. That is what we are chasing. That is at every position. I know that we are talking about Robert, but it is like that at every position. My goal is for these guys all to be the best that they can be at what they do, whether it is the quarterback, running back, line, defense, secondary, whoever. It is our job as coaches to create the environment for them to do that. That is all I am trying to do for Robert. That is all (associate head coach – offense) Pep (Hamilton) is doing that for that whole entire group is doing anything we can to help these guys be the best they can be, which ultimately helps our football team be the best that they can be."

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