"It's good to have the opportunity to be back on the grass for the final time. We only get three opportunities, but I think our guys have made the most of the opportunities awarded to us, being on the field and competing. We have done a lot of good things in the offseason. We have continued to do so so we can finish strong. The last time we had a four-day or five-day break, I didn't like the feeling of our practice. Today felt good. There were some things that were not perfect, but the feeling of practice felt really good to me. I thought the players noticed a difference because I kind of forewarned them the last time we had that many days off that we had to do the right thing. Over the weekend, whether it was Friday or Saturday, whichever it was, we had 49 players in the building. That says a lot to me. It says that our veteran players and even our young players are starting to buy in and understand what it takes to compete on this level and be a pro. Today was just the first step of getting them back out there. We have two more opportunities to do it again before we get a chance to take a break and then come back, and it becomes football for real and our guys understand that."
On recommending that the QBs work with Tom House:
"He is one of the best at what he does – teaching rhythm and timing and making sure a guy's body is in the proper throwing mechanics and position – that there is in the world. I have a really tremendous relationship with Tom, but it is another opportunity for the players to get better. How can you continue to get better? That means a guy is willing to sacrifice some of his time to go work at his skill. That says a lot to me. If there is anybody in the world I can have them be with because I can't be with them, it would be Tom and Adam (Dedeaux). They do a great job."
On how QB Cody Kessler has performed and if he's been able to justify Jackson's statement for people to trust him on the decision to draft Kessler:
"I think until you play a game… I stand behind that statement. I don't think right now is the time to evaluate the statement. I made a statement that I feel very good about. I think this young man's future is still out in front of him and he's working hard. He can throw the ball. He makes good decisions. He is learning the pro game. It's a faster game, and I think he is learning that, but he has all the talent and the ability that I thought he had when we drafted him. That phrase that I used, I guess, will go down in the history of me being here at the Cleveland Browns, but I think that will be evaluated as we go. I don't think we have to answer that one right today."
On if there is anything specifically he hopes QB Robert Griffin III could learn during time with Tom House:
"It's another opportunity to work with someone under a watchful, skillful eye, of somebody who understands playing the position and what it takes and one who has dealt with some of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. It's another opportunity. We all know the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) rules. They can't be here with our people. They can't be with myself. That is something that is legal for them to do, and I think they are with someone who understands playing that position extremely well."
On if it is possible to develop QBs' mental capacity for the speed game or if it is a have or have-not trait:
"I think you can help. I think it is the environment you create for the quarterback. The term you're talking about is 'processing.' If a guy can process things fast enough because the game happens so fast, there are a lot of things a quarterback has to do in milliseconds. It's the environment that you create. That's why we play fast and kind of in a frenzy because the game is kind of played that way. Hopefully, by the time you get to the game, it slows down for you so you're able to make very sound and correct decisions. Our guys have done a good job. They're growing in that area. I don't think it is a processing problem with any of our guys. I just think I ask a lot of our quarterback. We will continue to ask a lot of our quarterback. They have to exceed and match that expectation each and every day."
On Kessler's extra preparation on his own and if being an NFL quarterback is a seven-day-a-week job:
"First of all, that's very encouraging. That's what you want out of your quarterback. You want a guy that's totally committed to the process because that is what this is truly about, a winning process. That's what gives you a chance to have success. I don't know too many quarterbacks that it's not a seven-day job. It's an everyday grind. These guys are some of the best in the world at what they do. That being said, they get paid pretty hefty to do what they do. You should expect the most out of that position. You would want that position to do the most, and I think our guys get that. To a man, I think a lot of that goes on within that group, maybe some more publicized than others, but I think they're all working at it. I think they are all using every resource available to them to get better. We have an expectation of how that position should play, and I truly believe we will get there. Like anything, it is still a work in progress. Nobody needs to master the test right this second, but I think we are getting there and that is all you can ask for."
On if playing in pads and under the lights is part of QB evaluation:
"Absolutely, but you have to lay the foundation before the pads get on and before the lights are on. Obviously, it is different all of a sudden when you're playing a game and people are truly coming after you to take you down. That is why you want to be sure the foundation is laid right. When it's time to throw the ball away, you throw the ball away. When it's time to say 'uncle' and take a sack, you take the sack the correct way. That the ball is thrown the right way and in rhythm and the ball is thrown in the right progression in which it is supposed to be thrown. If not, then it looks terribly bad. Right now, our players are laying the right foundation. Like I told them today, we have two more opportunities before we come back and the real football starts to get played. That is when the pads come on. That is a different game. I think we all know, respect and understand that."
On the Browns starting QB and waiting to make a decision:
"I think everyone here is waiting for Hue Jackson to say, 'Here is the quarterback of our football team.' That's not going to happen and I've already told you that. I feel very comfortable where our players are and what they're doing. I'm not in a rush, like everybody else wants me to be in a rush. I think I've been up here the last three or four times and it always leads back to if I am going to make a decision about the quarterback. I just think it is way too soon. It's not that I can't see enough, but I'm kind of old school. I just know how I want this position to play for this organization, this city and for the football team. I'm not going to say it's going to be all pads, but there is just a certain feeling you get when you know. Do I think guys are working towards it? Yeah, there are guys working extremely hard. I think the guys are happy with the progress. I expect a lot out of this position. This is not some fly-by-night, just hand a job to somebody. This job is earned, and it's earned through trust, it's earned through leadership, it's earned through repetition and guys understanding the process of what it takes to play that position in this league week in and week out, day in and day out."
On what it means that DL Danny Shelton reached his weight loss goal months before his goal of reaching it by the season:
"That is important. One that (director of high performance) Adam Beard and his staff have done a tremendous job. We have hired a nutritionist as well, but, I give a lot of that credit to Danny. I think Danny was motivated himself to be a better football player. He knew in order to do that that he needed to shed some weight. Our guys have done everything we have asked them to do. I have never been happier with a group than with this group. We understand that all this that we are doing right now only gives us a chance when we get back. It guarantees nothing. It signifies nothing. You have got to give ourselves an opportunity to have success, whether it is Danny Shelton or any of our football players doing the things we have asked them to do and that is where it all starts."
On WR Corey Coleman stating he'd work out with QB Robert Griffin III during the offseason and if that was his directive:
"Coach Jackson is going to be on vacation somewhere getting away from this for a little bit (laughter). It's not so much our directive. Our quarterbacks, that is one of their responsibilities. They have to put in the time. You can't just put in the time by yourself. You have to put in the time with the people you throw the ball to. All that goes hand-in-hand. To be good in the National Football League, there are a lot of variables that have to fall into place. I think that is one of them. You have to spend time with the people that you are going to throw to and that you're going to play with. You get to know them and they get to know you. I hope it is not just those two guys. I hope there are a host of guys that will be there. It is important that they continue to build that bond and get to know each other on a whole different level."
On how far back WR Jordan Payton is in his development because he's not able to participate in offseason activities until after UCLA's classes have ended:
"He's back a long way. We understood that when we draft him. We do everything we can within the CBA rules to be in contact with him. At the same time, we have to give him the opportunity when he's back because it's not his fault that the rule is in place. Everybody throughout the National Football League deals with it, and we're not going to not draft a guy because of it. If we think a guy can help us, we're going to draft a guy and we'll deal with the rest of it. Do we wish he was here so that he could learn the nuances of our offensive system? Yes, but at the same time, we get it. When he gets here, hopefully, he's not too far behind, but you would think he is because there's been so much football that we've been through. He deserves an opportunity, and we'll give him that."
The Browns took to the field for the first day of the mandatory veterans' minicamp.
On if the Browns have communicated with Payton:
"Yes, we want to communicate, but outside of that, that's about all you can do."
On people in the organization talking about the encouragement Jackson gives them and how much of that is his personality or his consciousness of the fact that the organization needs a lift:
"I hope a lot of it's me and is genuine. I am what I am, and I want our organization to be one of the best in the world. I come here every day with an excitement and a passion to help this organization be what we want it to be. That's why Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) hired me and (executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown) and (chief strategy officer) Paul (DePodesta). I have an obligation to everyone in this building to come in here with the right mindset and the right motivation to push us to where we want to be. We're competing against 31 other organizations. I love this opportunity, and I want our players and everybody in the organization and our fans to understand that this is what we do. We do this for one thing – I said it when I was hired – to win. I'm not doing it for any other reason. To me, I learned a long time ago if you want to motivate people, you better be motivated yourself. I come in here with the right, hopefully, mindset and attitude for our players. Hopefully, that rubs off and they understand that this is the only way. This is a hard, driving, grinding business. If you don't have any passion and you don't understand why you're doing this, then it's hard to do it because it's tough. This is a tough business. I think we all understand that. Every day I do, I ask our players, why are they doing this because it is hard. There are a lot of other things that you can do that are a lot easier than doing this, but there's nothing like this. It's one of the most rewarding opportunities in all the world, but it's only rewarding when you win. That's all we talk about, and that's all we expect. We understand that there's a work ethic that we have to deal with every day to do that."
On who may back up TE Gary Barnidge:
"I think we have some candidates. It's hard – I think you all kind of mentioned this earlier – to really say who is until you put the pads on. Until we line up across a guy and you need to defeat somebody with your hat and hands and do it when the other guy is trying to get around you and really go through you will you really know. There are a lot of guys that look good in shorts. I don't want to heap praise on somebody and then everybody will say, 'What happened to this guy?' I think that's unfair. I think what we need to do is really channel the expectation of every position. Seriously, I'm talking about everybody, even the quarterback position. Until we have an opportunity to watch these men under true duress. Under true duress as in until we get these in pads and we start going after it because right now this is truly just about learning the foundation, learning how to practice, learning how to prepare yourself, learning the processes that you go through to be a pro football player. After that, the real guys are going to start to separate themselves when we come back here for training camp because that's when football really starts to be played when you put these pads on and start going after each other."
On if he consulted with the team's sports scientists on full padded practices scheduled for training camp:
"Honestly, they got kind of mad at me to be very honest with you. We had a very candid conversation where they said, 'Hue, you might want to double-check your padded days schedule.' I told them, 'No.' I know how to take care of a football team. I get a feel for when the guys, we're pushing them too far and when we need to reel it in. We're only going to build our football team through playing football. Good football teams play football, real football. They line up and they go after each other, and they come out and do it again the next day. Somewhere in there, Coach Jackson has got to be smart enough to say, 'OK that might be enough. We need to pull off.' That's part of being the head coach, as well. It's part of having a sports science team. I'm sure they'll give me all the statistical data that you can to forewarn me, but I'm going to trust my football instincts on that one and see if we can get our team to be the best that they can be."
On if there will be tackling and live work at training camp practices:
"I will tell you guys this. There will be a siren at practice. OK? The siren is not for the health ward to come. It's not for that. It's just for we're going to put the ball down and it's kind of anything goes. We go after it. You've got to teach your team how to play football. That being said, it's also about being smart. You've got to be smart because we don't want to get any guys injured. We're not trying to do that, but I don't know any other way to get better at playing football other than playing football the way you truly play football. I think I've coached that with our players. I think they understand it. I think they're accepting of it because, at the same time, they understand it's what it's going to take to get us to where we need to be."
On if it's hard to keep up the energy at practice and if it is difficult to keeping doing that throughout the season:
"No, it's what I demand. It's just what we do. We're not going to change because all of a sudden the months change. I'm not going to change and be a different coach when November comes. I'm hopefully better, but I'm not going to change. Our standard is our standard. We want guys that can meet the standard each and every day. I'm not going backwards. Our player's aren't going to go backwards. We're going to do things the right way all the time. I don't believe that you start changing. I think you start getting better. I think people accept what the expectation is and they meet the expectation."