Advertising

Hue Jackson press conference - 8/21

Opening statement:

“That wraps up training camp. I think that it was productive. We got a lot of work done. Practiced a lot of situational football. I think that we competed extremely hard. We did some tackling. We did a lot of things leading up to the first preseason game and I think that showed in the first preseason game. I thought that there was some improvement in the second game offensively and defensively. Now, we need to put it all together. The starters will play longer. They will play about a half. Everybody wanted to know that answer. They will play longer than they played the other night. I doubt if I play them in the second half. Obviously, I reserve the right to stick them back out there if need be. I think that the guys know what I am looking for is just improvement. We just have to keep getting better each and every time that we go out. I saw that the last time. I need to see it again and in some other areas – how hard we play fundamentally; the penalty issue, we have to continue to curb that. That involves the discipline of our football team. We talk about it all of the time. We have to go do it. I am expecting our veteran players to lead that charge. We have to continue to get good quarterback play. We have to protect our quarterback. We have to put more pressure on the quarterback and take the ball away. Those are some things that I will look forward to seeing. Also on special teams, covering punts better. We have to do that. We can’t have the ball coming back at us like it had the last week. We have some improving to do. To a man, I have seen improvement throughout training camp from our players. I think that the staff is finding their way, too, together. It is new in some areas. That is a good thing, as well. We have been in two ball games now so all of the kinks should be ironed out. We are heading into our third game together so that will be fun, too. We have to keep getting better every week. We have to go from there.”

On if QB Baker Mayfield will play most of the second half:

“He is going to play quite a bit. I want him to play. He is going to play. That is for sure.”

On if QB Drew Stanton will play:

“If we have to stick him out there, we will, but I want Baker to get as much exposure as he can.”

On who has improved the most during training camp:

“There are quite a few guys that hit my mind, but obviously, I think (QB) Austin Corbett from where he started, playing tackle and guard and really kind of solidifying himself playing left guard. I think that you have to give kudos to (OL) Joel Bitonio for what he has done. He has moved out to a new position, and I think that in the first two ball games, he has held his own against two pretty good rushers. That is impressive. When I watch (DL) Myles (Garrett) play and when I watch him practice, he has been phenomenal. We expect him to be that way, he was the first pick of the draft. That has been exciting. I would be remiss if I did not say (QB) Tyrod Taylor and what he has done on this football team since the day that he walked in the building at practice, his leadership, how he has conducted himself here and trying to do everything he can to get this organization get to winning. There are so many players that I can talk about, but those are the guys that hit my mind right now. I am sorry if I am forgetting anybody. There are a lot of other players, too, on our football team that I think have made huge strides.”

On if LB Genard Avery’s size and athleticism has ‘taken him by surprise’:

“No, that is what we saw when we were evaluating him. The question was going to be where do you play him because he is versatile in that way. He can play linebacker. He can rush. He can do a lot of different things. He is not surprising. I think that you guys started to see what he can be a week ago. I think that the more he plays, the better he is going to get. I think he is going to be a real contributing member of our football team.”

On if he believed that Avery could earn first team reps this early in the year:

“I did because I saw it. I saw the tenacity, the relentlessness, the power and the speed. Those things show up and it is real, and it is against the first team offense all of the time. He can do it.”

On message to young players who are almost ‘out of chances’ to make an impression:

“I think that they have to keep growing. You are talking about ‘out of chances,’ I do not know if anybody is out until they are out. To the young guys in general, they would be getting ready to play a NCAA game. We are still in the grind. We are just getting done with training camp, trying to understand what the National Football League is really all about. It is not what they thought it was. A lot of guys play, and pretty soon the team is going to get cut down. It is really important to be at your best and put your best foot forward for 31 other teams. If it does not work out here, hopefully, it will work out somewhere else for you.”

On if the Browns answered the questions that he had entering training camp:

“Quite a few of them we have. We are still solidifying the rest of the offensive line. We know who possibly the starters will be. Who else is going to contribute there? We need to still see that this week. I think that the secondary is starting to shape itself out as to who the front line guys can be. At the receiver position, we have to continue to work through that. Who else is going to rush the quarterback besides Myles, and Avery, (DL) Emmanuel (Ogbah) and those guys? Can we put pressure with just four? Do we have to do more? Can we cover the really good elite recoveries in the league? We will not really know that until we play against Pittsburgh.”

On if Mayfield playing against Philadelphia’s starting defense is a potential goal, if the Eagles first team defense plays into the third quarter:

“Not really. It all depends on what they do. I am not concerned with what they do. I know what we are going to do. I am going to play our guys – I am talking about our starters – up through the half. If I decide to stick them out there in the second half for a series, I will. Right now, my mind does not work in that way. On the other side of it, when Baker does go play, whoever he is playing against, he is playing against. Last week when he went into the game, he was still playing against a lot of guys who were ones. That is just a part of it. Everybody has to do on their team what they have to do. I do now know how that is going to unfold.”

On if it is ‘overrated’ to have starters play the first drive of the second half to experience a halftime and series after the break:

“I do, for me. I think that a lot these guys know how to play. Corbett has kept playing. The guys that have needed to keep playing have done that. They have come back out and kept going. The other guys are pretty real veteran players who have been through it for us so I feel comfortable that way if I decide not to do that. That will not be anything that stops us from having success in the future.”

On if there is more clarity on when WR Josh Gordon can return to practice:

“I think very soon. I think that the most important thing for Josh is let’s make sure that he is in great shape and in a great place. Keep him where he has been since he has been here, which has been outstanding. Keep moving him forward. If there is a chance against Detroit at the end, it would be great. If not, my real goal is can we get him up and running by the time that we play Pittsburgh? I think that is really important.”

On what has been the most difficult decision during training camp, specifically referencing WR Antonio Callaway, free agent WR Dez Bryant, Gordon and changes on the OL:

“I think that they all were pretty tough. I am not going to say one was… Probably the biggest one for me was (WR Antonio) Callaway just because here is a young player and I want him to get off to the right start, not the wrong one. That is important. A player that comes here wants to prove that he wants to be here. When things happen that way, you have to handle it right for his future and for the organization, as well. I think that we did that. I think he is remorseful for what he did. I think that he understands everything that comes with that, and that there is a chance that you cannot be here; that you have to do it right. That is the message that I send to any young player. We will work with you if you will be honest and up front, but we have no tolerance for B.S.”

On if learning new language of an offensive system is one of the biggest challenges Taylor has faced:

“I think it is for anytime that it is a new system, but if you work at it – he is the hardest worked in the building – I think that he has tackled it the way you have to. The language has to become his language. At the end of the day, he has to be the guy that verbalizes it, says it and knows it stone cold. The extra work that he has put in has given him a chance to do that.”

On who surprised him most in training camp:

“I don’t know that I am surprised. When I look at (TE) David Njoku and what he did in the first game, that is what we want David to become. I thought that last week he blocked extremely well. That is tough. I do not think that people still recognize that he is still a young player. He is playing against some grown men at defensive end and has to block those guys play in and play out at 255 pounds, is hard. He has taken that challenge on, and I think that he has done a great job in that way. Obviously, our young corner (DB Denzel Ward) is very, very talented, very talented. He has to play a lot of football. There are a lot of really good receivers down the road that he is going to have to face here pretty soon week in and week out. The pressure of handling that, we will not know until we do it. That is just the way that it is going to be. He is not a surprise, but I think that he has done some good things, and he is the type of player that we want. When I look at what Baker has done, walking in here, handling everything form the media to his teammates to all of the expectations and all of that, I think that he has been outstanding. I can’t say that enough. He is handling all of this the right way, and I think that is very, very important for his future and what he is trying to accomplish.”

On his feelings going into the season, given expectations this season:

“Very excited. Probably more excited than I have been the first two years because I truly believe that winning is in this group, in this coaching staff, in this group, in the plan that we have laid out. I think that there is a chance. Now, we have to go do it. We have to coach well. We have to improve our players, and the players have to buy into what we are all selling. At the same time, I have never been more confident about a group having the opportunity to have success than ever before.”

On if having ‘dress rehearsal’ game against the reigning Super Bowl champions is significant as a measuring pint:

“It does. I just said that to the guys. This Thursday, we play against the defending Super Bowl champions in our stadium. What better way to have a dress rehearsal game. It gives us a chance to go out and measure where we are and really go play good football. I think that our guys to a man are excited about the opportunity.”

On how much the team is ‘shaped by’ the outcome of the starters’ performance in the third preseason game:

“I am not going to tell you a shape by that. I have been in this league long enough to know that it is just what it is – a dress rehearsal where the guys play longer. Our team is really shaped by how hard it has worked in training camp and the building blocks and the foundation that we have set. How much has everybody has truly bought in to how we go about our process of working in the classroom, working on the field, getting rest, coming back and doing it again? That is what is going to give us the jump start to get our season heading in the right direction.”

On the importance of good QB play this season:

“It is paramount. Forget the past, it is going to be the catalyst to us having the opportunity to change the narrative that has been here. I think that we have some guys that can do that. I truly do.”

On if he has ever had a position group as deep as this year’s Browns LBs:

“No. No sir, I have not.”

On having multiple talented LBs with versatility:

“Yeah, you said it. Some of the guys have played in Super Bowls. We have guys who have been seen to be some of the best players at their position. We have guys that have experience of winning. Some are young, and some are old. It is a good mix. They are very talented and they all have different skillsets. They are versatile. They give (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) an opportunity to do different things at different times. That helps our defensive football team.”

On being in the ‘CEO’ head coach position with the addition of offensive coordinator Todd Haley:

“I see more. Probably the assistant coaches do not like me as much because I am always in their rooms talking about something I have seen, whether it is in walkthrough or whether it is in practice. It allows me to see a lot more of our football team and to give some real concrete evaluation to the things that are happening. Obviously, when you see it in real time, it is different than when you go up and have to see it on tape. I really appreciate the staff that I have. I am glad that Todd is here. He is doing a great job with the offense. I always tend to lean that way, but at the same time, this has been really good for me because I get to see our team at all the different levels and see where we need to improve and how we need to get better and sometimes even lay out a plan on how to do that. That has been good. The season is going to be the season, but I kind of like where I am right now. I have to continue to help our staff help these players be the best that they can be.”

On young Browns players and team structure after training camp:

“We still provide them structure. You said it best, it is different when they are here. Now that they are away, it does not mean that we are going to let them go. We still have to provide that structure and leadership and give them some guidelines as they go. I think we have done that. We have sat down as a group with those players and have kind of mapped out and laid out what the expectation is. For all of you, this is not ‘You go that way and we go this way.’ No. We are in this together. Our job is to get them through all of this over the next six, seven months – whatever that is – so that they can make it through the season the right way.”

On if his situational football decisions can be made more quickly in his role compared to last year when he was calling plays on offense, specifically in reference to a fourth down call last week:

“I truly believe it was something that I would have done. Period. I have a young man as I have told you guys earlier (football research analyst) Dave Giuliani, who comes down and meets with me way before game time, and I make those decisions pretty early about what I want to do or what I do not want to do based on the team we are playing and the information we have about the team. I would have liked to say that I would have done it anyway.”

Advertising