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Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference - 8/27

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

"Hot one today. Hot and humid, just like we like it. I wish it was like this every day. It was good for our guys to work. Got in some good work today. Heading to Detroit, have a big game coming up for a lot of guys. A lot of opportunities are still out there for some of our players. They need to continue to work. Last opportunity for our guys to earn their stripes and earn an opportunity to be on this football team."

On if WR Josh Gordon was able to do more today:

"He has done a little bit more every day. He is getting closer, much closer. That is exciting."

On if Gordon will play on Thursday night:

"No, he won't play on Thursday."

On Gordon being able to do more and if he is doing more than what is seen when working with the athletic trainers:

"I think that he is hiding someplace else and doing it (laughter). No, he is doing a little bit more. He is catching, getting in there with the offense a little bit and making sure that he is on the same page with the guys. Pretty soon, we will progress through running routes and having him practice."

On Gordon potentially playing in the season opener and potential concerns for playing when he did not play in the preseason:

"It is tough. As I said before, he is not going to start any way. That is not going to change. We will come up with the right package for him to play. I would not expect him to go play the whole game or anything like that, but I expect him to contribute to the football team when we get ready to play Pittsburgh and he is ready to go."

On clarifying that Gordon would not start in the season opener:

"I do not care if he is 100 percent. He is not starting against Pittsburgh. I have already said that."

On WR Antonio Callaway returning to practice:

"He is back out there. He was out there practicing. He needs to get back to where he was. When you are out a little bit, you have to push yourself through. You have to get back."

On if Callaway needs to play and will play against Detroit:

"Yes, he will play."

On defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' comments about DB Denzel Ward's tackling style and how it contributed to Ward's injury:

"Gregg does not get to do just what he wants to do. We will work through all of that. Our players, there is a certain way that we do want them to tackle because of size, structure and all of that. We do not want a guy to get hurt or anything like that. I am sure that Gregg does advise. We do not need to do all of that stuff in the media."

On getting players healthy for the season opener:

"I think that we are getting them there. Hopefully, we will have a healthy football team when we get ready to play. I think that is important. Our best opportunity to win is to have 53 of the best guys and 46 [active players] on gameday that can really play. I think that is what we are working towards."

On if DL Trevon Coley and FB Danny Vitale will be ready for the season opener:

"Coley I feel real good about. I think that he is really, really close. Vitale, I think that there is still more work to do."

On how many roster positions 'are up for grabs' against Detroit:

"Less than a handful, a handful – whatever all of that is. There are some up for grabs. There is no question about that."

On the OL coming together with OL Kevin Zeitler returning from injury:

"Once Kevin gets back, my biggest concern is that he needs to be ready to play football. He is practicing now. I would hope to get him to play a little bit this week because I think that he needs it. We will just kind of go from there. I feel good about the five starters that we will put out there. It is going to be the best five guys that we can put out there. I feel good about the line heading in. Now, they have to go do it and do it in a real game. I feel good about that."

On if the starting OL will play in the final preseason game to get reps together:

"No. Just so you guys know, I am not playing the starters in this game. You guys have been looking for that. They will not play. Specific guys will play and play quite a bit, and then we will let some other guys finish the game."

On not playing the Browns starters in the fourth preseason game:

"I do not want to take a chance. Our guys, the best team that we are going to have for the 2018 season is going to be the team that we will trot out against Pittsburgh. I think that I have to keep them healthy and get them ready to go. I think that I have seen enough in practice and in watching a lot of the tape. There are some things that we need to get better at. There are some things that we have to improve on. I think we can do those things in practice and get better at them."

On not playing the Browns starters opens up significant playing time for QB Baker Mayfield:

"It opens up for Baker to play quite a bit, yes."

On DL Myles Garrett's ankle injury last season and Williams' comments about the severity of it:

"It was bad, but again, the guy was the first player in the draft. Sometimes, you have to do these things. It was tough. He fought through it. That is what pro players got to do. Gregg did a good job with him. We got him to the game every opportunity that he had. He made some plays. It was tough, but he did good things last year."

On if Garrett has any 'nicks' going into the season:

"I do not think that he has any nicks. I think that he is going to be 100 percent. That was one of my goals when we came to training camp – let's make sure that this guy gets to the first game as healthy as he can be and ready to go. I think that we have seen that. I am excited about the first game getting here because I think that he will be totally healthy and ready to play."

On if Mayfield will play the first half against Detroit:

"Possibly, yes."

On if Gordon's absence allowed younger receivers to get more reps and develop:

"Absolutely. Yeah because probably if he was here, there are probably some young guys that we would have not known much about. We want all of our players here when we come, but the fact that he is here now, as you guys know, the last two seasons we have never had Josh Gordon to start the season. I think this is going to be good. At the same time, he has to get in football shape, get in rhythm with the football team and do those things, but I am excited that he is here for Game 1 and not Game 11 or whatever that is. I think that is exciting for all involved."

On how much WR Rashard Higgins has improved from last offseason:

"I think he has really improved. He if one of the most improved players. I truly believe that. If you think about Year 1, and Year 2, he started contributing. Obviously, the young man got cut before the first game, made it back, made plays and now you see him now. He is contributing as a member of the offensive football team."

On if Higgins has to get open on technique as opposed to speed:

"He had the longest touchdown catch and run last year for our team against Pittsburgh. Whatever that is, he has it. He has enough speed on gameday to make those plays. Sometimes speed – obviously, we all want it –I think it is a little overrated. Can the guy play, play fast and play consistently throughout a game? I think that is what is important."

On if he is aware on who the Detroit Lions plan on starting and playing:

"I am doing what I want to do, independent of what they do."

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