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Hue Jackson press conference - 8/23


Head Coach Hue Jackson:**

On naming QB DeShone Kizer the starter for the third preseason game at Tampa Bay and why he hasn't yet named him the starter for Week 1:

"I think this was another step in the process for DeShone. He has gotten better each and every week. He is showing the characteristics that I look for in our quarterback. When I looked back and looked at everything and thought through it all, it was best to give him this opportunity to walk out there again. I think he has a right to earn the opening start by the way he plays, and I think he knows that. He is trending in the right direction with our offensive football team. I thought hey, let's give him a chance to go play and see if he can show and demonstrate those characteristics to the rest of our team, the staff and the organization."

On what is separating Kizer from QBs Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler:

"I don't want to compare it to the other guys – I don't think that would be fair – but I think what I see him doing is he gives us the potential to do a lot of different things with our offensive football team. He has really grown over the last month. He has put in a lot of work and put in a lot of time. He has worked at it. It is like anything else, my job as the head coach and the leader of the offense is to make sure that I put the best players out there that give us a chance to win. That is what I am trying to do."

On when he believed Kizer could potentially start the third preseason game:

"Well, I just think a couple weeks ago – you watch things in practice, you watch things unfold as you go through games and you see things that in my mind gives us a chance on offense to do some dynamic things and so you just continue to add to the list as you move forward. It has been going and happening. I think you guys know, I don't ever want to put something on someone too soon if they are not ready, but he has demonstrated that he is ready so let's give him a chance to see if he can do it."

On when Kizer demonstrated he was ready to start Thursday, given comments earlier in camp by QBs Coach David Lee and him saying Kizer was not yet ready to be the starter:

"Absolutely, he keeps passing every test, and there is still another one to pass. Here we come this Saturday night against a good defensive football team in Tampa on the road and in the heat. There are a lot of different elements he is going to have to deal with. Again, here is another opportunity, but he has been knocking down everything I have put before him so here we are."

On not putting the QB competition 'to bed' today for Week 1 as mentioned earlier this week:

"Well, it is in the bed (laughter). It is definitely in the bed with me so I am very close to putting it to bed (laughter). Yeah, you guys liked that one, huh? Alright. Again, a lot of things can happen over the next several weeks. You just never know, but I feel good about the covers that are on top of me right now (laughter). We are doing well."

On Osweiler's status

"Brock, who I had a great conversation with this morning, is doing a good job. No one has said to Brock that Brock, 'You might not play here' or 'You wouldn't be the quarterback here.' That is not what was said just so we can all be clear about that. I can't tell you what is going to happen at Pittsburgh yet because I have not said that for sure, without question this is our Day 1 starter. It is trending in that direction, but I have never said that. Let's see where we get to after this week and see where we are and go from there, but I think Brock is a member of our football team, will be a member of our football team and has done some good things in our building and on our practice field and in the game. This is just where I am right now. I want to play DeShone. I think DeShone deserves this opportunity and let's see where it goes."

On Osweiler mentioning the 'general manager' in his press conference and clarifying if he determines who plays and does not play:

"No, it is my decision. I don't know where that came from. Brock and my conversation this morning had nothing with a 'general manager' thought process in it. I can't answer that for him, but our conversation was very good. He handled it, but like any quarterback or any player in the National Football League, you are disappointed when you don't get that assignment. There are only 32 of these so I get that. That is what comes with it sometimes, but that is OK. We will get through that, as well."

On if Osweiler will play in the third preseason game:

"I want to play these young guys. I have told him that, that I want to give these young guys a shot and let them play. When I'm talking about young guys, I'm talking about DeShone, (QB) Cody (Kessler) and (QB) Kevin (Hogan). I want them to play, and that has been explained to him."

On the decision to release DL Desmond Bryant and if it was for health reasons:

"No, I think Des was healthy and trying extremely hard. You guys know I have a relationship with Des that goes all the way back to Oakland, and we wish him well. It is just that this is where we were. This is the decision that we made to move forward and go in a different direction. Those things happen."

On if he has watched tape on Pittsburgh:

"Oh, I have seen Pittsburgh. I see them every night. They are really good. They are a good football team and so is Baltimore, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. I know who our first four regular season opponents are. We have our work cut out, but we have to play Tampa first. This is the next step in our process. We have to go down to Tampa and play some good football against a really good football team."

On if Osweiler's experience made the QB decision difficult:

"Oh, absolutely. Like I said, I thought through this at a lot of different angles. When you come to the end of it, for me – I think it is always this way for me – I think you have to play the players that I think fit best for us and who is going to help us win. That is what it comes down to. I will be the first to tell you, if I don't think DeShone can handle it or can do it, then he won't. Let's just be honest. We aren't playing a regular season game this Saturday. If that is the way it works out, that is the way it works out, but I also owe it to myself and the players here to make sure that if a guy is talented enough to do it that you give him an opportunity to do that, too. That is what we are doing."

On if Kizer would have to 'completely flame out' against Tampa Bay to change his mind:

"That is a pretty good statement (laughter). In my mind, this young man is going to go play extremely well. My job is to help him do that and create the right environment for him to go and do that with the rest of the offensive football team. There is nothing in my mind that says he is not going to do well. I expect him to do well, our organization expects him to do well and his teammates expect him to do well."

On LB Joe Schobert's development since last season:

"He came in here as an outside linebacker and played probably about 25 pounds overweight. He has gotten the weight off. He is playing the MIKE linebacker position. He is extremely bright. He is able. That is the quarterback of our defense so he has a lot of input and say from snap to snap what our defense does. He kind of controls that, and that is a perfect fit for him. He obviously still has the ability to rush the quarterback from the edges, but he can play inside. He has demonstrated that in these two preseason games and all throughout training camp. He has done an outstanding job."

On if Kizer has anything to prove to veterans like OL Joe Thomas and other Browns veterans, and if he spoke to Thomas about the decision:

"I think he has to prove every day that he belongs. That is his job as a quarterback. He has to earn the right from those guys. Joe has been doing this for a long time, and yeah, I do talk to Joe. I trust Joe, and I trust Joe's judgment and thought process, but our conversations are between me and him. They are always good and pleasant, but Joe knows what we are trying to do. We are trying to win, and that is all Joe Thomas wants. He wants the best guy out there that can help him win football games."

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