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Hue Jackson press conference - 6/12

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Opening statement:**

“It was good. We are at the final phase of the offseason program. The guys are excited. Obviously, we have been grinding on them pretty good over the offseason. Today, I thought that the guys came out with a lot of energy and did some really good things—things that we have got to clean up, as we know. But I like the progress of our team heading into minicamp. I thought it was a good day today—just have to come back tomorrow and get better.”

On the off-the-field growth and development of WR Josh Gordon:

“He is working at it. I am proud of him. I think we all are in the organization, because that is something that is tough. He has handled it. He has done his responsibility. We have tried to create the right environment for him to be all that he can be. We have supported him. He has done what we have asked him to do. So far, so good. He knows that we have got to keep going this offseason, once away from here, and it will be very important. We will get Josh back here and get ready for training camp.”

On if Gordon has put on physical size:

“I think that is from lifting. He has lost some weight, to be honest with you. He is doing some good things. They all have to get into better shape. That is just what I see from the group entirely. The have got to get into better shape, but I like the makeup of the group. We just got to keep working.”

On if he is having fun during minicamp, possibly due to having a ‘better team’:

“I am not going to say that *(laughter). *We still have to play the game. We still have got a lot of work to do. It is just fun to be around the guys and to watch them run around and work—watch things start to happen the way that they should offensively, defensively and with special teams. Again, I think that I have a really good staff. There are some good players out there and I think that they are working hard.”

On QB Tyrod Taylor’s history of success showing through during minicamp:

“I think the players follow him. If you ask our players—to a man—offensively and defensively, who they look to, they look to him. He has done a good job in the building. He has done a good job on the field. I think he has kind of established himself. Obviously, he has the experience to back it up and the wins to back it up. I think he is showing and displaying what a pro starting quarterback should do at practice. He is making plays, directing things and doing all of that. To me, he has done a really good job.”

On if LBs Jamie Collins Sr. and Mychal Kendricks and WR Antonio Callaway will practice at all during minicamp:

“More than likely not. Those guys are not totally where I want them to be at, or where our medical staff, I should say, wants them to be. There is no rush. I think we are definitely going to have them back for training camp. I do not think there are going to be any issues whatsoever when we start. I think that we have got to take it slow with those guys. We do not want all of a sudden for them to do something and have a setback. But we are really, really close to having those guys be out there.”

On this upcoming season’s WR group, compared to last season’s:

Jarvis Landry has been put on our team, who is one of the top players in pro football. Then there is Josh (Gordon) who is here, in the offseason program and practicing every day. That right there just uplifts the talent level in that room. There is Corey (Coleman) and Rashard Higgins, and the guys that we drafted and the free agents that we have put on the team—from (Antonio) Callaway to (Derrick) Willies to (Damion) Ratley. There’s Higgins, who is an older player who has been here. There are a lot of guys, which that is good. Again, I do not want to compare to last year. I am just excited about the group we have. They have a chance, if they work and get into great shape. As I mentioned earlier, to be good and in order to be great, you have to do it on game day—week in and week out. If they do that, then we will talk about that at another time.”

On DL Emmanuel Ogbah’s health level:

“He has done good. As I have told you before, I think you did not catch him on days that he was practicing. He is back and ready to go. Again, with those guys, we are going to take it slow with them and make sure that when we hit training camp there are no issues whatsoever. That is what it is all about. Not that we are babying anybody, we are just being safe and cautious. My goal is to get all of our player to training camp healthy and ready to go. And then, keep building this football team.”

On the different groups that DB Jabrill Peppers is playing with:

“I think it is a good rotation. More so than anything, I think that we have two very-capable players that are playing that strong safety position—(Derrick) Kindred and him. There is competition throughout our football team and guys are going to have to earn what they get once we get to training camp. But it is a good problem to have. Jabrill, I think, is going to have a sensational season. I really do. He is working hard. He has been very vocal back there. But Derrick Kindred is not going to just give it away, so it is going to be fun to see.”

On RB Duke Johnson Jr.’s contract extension:

“That was great, having who I think is one of the best play-makers on our team back in the fold for years to come. Duke has done some great things for our offensive football team. We expect him to do even more this year.”

On how much the newly-implemented kickoff rule will affect normal operations:

“It is going to affect it. How much? I do not think anyone knows. Is it going to look like a punt? What is it going to feel like? I think as we start working it in training camp more, I know that (special teams coordinator) coach (Amos) Jones has worked on it, we have talked about it a lot. But at the same time, you will not get a feel for how teams will play it and how teams are going to try to use it to their advantage until you start playing the game.”

On if the rule change puts a ‘premium’ on the returner:

“Yes. Who knows? It might be a punt returner back there. It might change a little bit. So probably a dual guy that can do both you will probably want to stick back there. It all depends on how the ball will come to you now.”

On if he thinks Johnson’s role will be similar to last season’s:

“I do. I think Duke is just a playmaker. I think he can run with the ball. Now obviously, we have two other very capable runners. Obviously, his trait has been catching and he has caught it as well as anybody. He gives you that versatility to where you can put Duke in at a lot of places. I think he likes that. I think he relishes that opportunity to be all over the field, and create mismatches and all of those things. I think (offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) will come up with a great plan for him and our offensive staff will put him into a position to play.”

On OL Austin Corbett playing a few different positions along the offensive line in practice:

“As I told you guys, I am going to find the five best guys. We have shaken it up a bit everywhere, because I think that we need to. We have moved him over and let him do some right side tackle, and play some left guard. We had (Chris) Hubbard over at left tackle and did some things that way. Just wanted to look at all of the different combinations as we go through it. Once we get to training camp, it is a little harder to do those things, because you want to start to lock in. So now is the time to do it.”

On OL Donald Stephenson’s absence from camp:

“That will all come to an end here pretty soon. Obviously, the guy is not here for minicamp. There are fines involved. There are all of those things that we will deal with. At this time, I only want to talk about the guys that are here and working and doing the things that they need to be doing right now.”

On Taylor being a mentor to rookie QB Baker Mayfield:

“I think that any time you are a young player and you have a player who has the experience that both Drew (Stanton) and Tyrod have—they are learning the offense together—I think that he sees how those guys are picking it up a little bit faster, because they understand the concepts of the National Football League. I think that that information passed onto him helps him grow a little bit faster. To see how Tyrod is every day in the building, you cannot make that happen. If you have guys on your team that can show a young player, especially at that position, what it takes to be a pro first—off of the field and all of the studying you have to do, and taking care of your body and to be a leader throughout, not just in the locker room but throughout the organization—I think is invaluable. I think what he is seeing is really going to help him, because he will look back on this time and really grow from it.”

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