Hue Jackson press conference - 9/21

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

On DL Myles Garrett's status:

"I think we are getting closer. We will see where we are as we get toward the end of the week. But again, our medical team has done a really good job of working through it. He has done everything he can do, and then some, trying to make sure that he can hurry up and get back. Because, he wants to be out there with his teammates. At the same time, we are going to be smart about it and make sure that everything is good to go, so that when he is ready to go, that he is really ready to go."

On Garrett breaking out into a run in front of the media during practice:

"(Laughter) I think he is messing with you guys a little bit."

On if running is part of Garrett's training regimen:

"It is. Honestly, it is. Like I said, we are getting closer. We will see where he is as we finish this week, but I feel good about where he is headed. We are closer to him having a chance to be out there, than not being out there."

On if Garrett could potentially play in Indianapolis on Sunday:

"I think what I'm going to do – what is today, Thursday? Tomorrow we will know more. I think we will be closer to knowing for sure where he is."

On statistics showing the Browns offense has pushed the ball down the field often through two games:

"(Laughter) We have done that. We have done some other things, too."

On why he feels strongly about trying to push the ball down the field:

"Well, I think in this league to score points you have to have explosive plays, unless you can just methodically move the ball down the field with 12-play drives, 13-play drives. That doesn't happen a lot against these defenses. Some of these defenses are really good. So when you have a chance to have an explosive play, you want to get it. That being said, we have done some things that way. But turnovers don't let us do some of the other things we want to do, like throwing the quicker passing game and doing those things. We have a variety of things that we like to do that we just haven't been able to do yet. We are working through that and I think we will start to see more phases of our offense as we move through this season."

On the trend of offenses throwing shorter, quicker passes in the NFL:

"The defensive players are really good in this league. They are really good. Obviously, the quicker you get the ball out, the better it is for the offensive line. The better it is, sometimes, for the quarterback. But everybody knows that. Just what you said. So defensive coordinators are starting to sit on that just as well. It is a chess match every week. As an offense, you want to be able to dictate. Then, there are some games you have to take what the defense is giving you and that is just part of it."

On if QB DeShone Kizer's migraine episode made him rethink dressing three QBs:

"No. It hasn't. I feel very comfortable with our medical team and the information given to me. Again, that is today, as you are saying. We are going to know more. And believe me, we are going to work through that. And if we need to, we will. But I feel comfortable that those things, hopefully, are behind us right now."

On DB Jason McCourty's performance:

"Jason has done really well. Jason is a pro. Not only has he played well, in my opinion, he has been really good in the locker room, really good with his teammates and I think that was a really good find for us. Jason has done a really good job."

On if there was a comfort level moving on from DB Joe Haden knowing that McCourty was there:

"No question. Again, Jason has taken up the slack. He is a pro. He knows (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams') system. He knows what we are trying to accomplish here. He has been great. And again, I'm glad we have him here."

On McCourty carrying defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' message of creating turnovers:

"I think what he has done is carried the whole organization's message about what we are trying to do here, on top of those things you just mentioned as far as defense is concerned. He has been a great teammate to our players. He has been really good to players on the field and off the field, on top of making sure that the defense gets more turnovers, too. Like I said, he has been a really good find for us."

On if Kizer will get the ball out quicker as he gains more reps:

"Absolutely. Guys, every young quarterback goes through what he is going through. I know this position is what everybody's – let's be honest, we all want this position to be what we want it to be in this room. We want this guy to be our franchise quarterback. I stand behind this guy wholeheartedly. He is going to get better. This guy has played two games in the National Football League and we are already trying to compare what he does, or we act like he should be playing like Brett Favre or something. That is not going to happen. He is going to continue to get better each and every week. There are going to be dips sometimes, there is going to be a big high sometimes. I need to get him to play consistently over a period of time so our football team and our offense can play consistently. I think this guy has what it takes. He is growing every day. He grew even through the negative last week. It's not fun, but he is learning. He is learning that you guys are going to crucify him when things aren't going well and he understands you guys are going to praise him when things do go well. That is part of it. That is part of this process for him, and he has to go through it. Do I like going through it? No. But I also like having a quarterback that we all feel comfortable with that potentially could be the guy for years to come in this organization. That is what I think is important. I think we have to allow him to do that. I think we all have to allow him to do that. I have said before, we are going to ride with him through the good and the bad. Doesn't mean I like it, but I'm going to ride with him through it because I think he has what it takes. We are going to keep getting him better. We are going to keep surrounding him with better players, guys who understand exactly what we are trying to accomplish and do. I think our offensive line has gotten remarkably better in two weeks, and I'm being honest with that. When I watch our guys, they have really started to step it up because they are starting to play with each other. I think you guys can see that. I can see that. Hopefully, there are other facets of our offense that continue to get better too around him, which will make him better. So, I think it is a process. Nobody likes to hear that word, but that is truth. That's what it is."

On if he thinks Kizer has been 'crucified' so far:

"No, not crucified. That's probably strong. I'm sorry. That's not fair. He hasn't been crucified. Not yet (laughter). Just kidding. But again, not by you guys. I think people - sometimes when you have a good game, we start to build him up a little bit. Then, all of a sudden, it's a high and here comes a low. He didn't play as well. All of a sudden, 'Uh oh. Is he this? Is he that?' This guy is still the same guy. Like many rookies, I can name many guys in this league who have thrown three interceptions in a game, four interceptions in a game and came back the next week and played their tails off. That is going to happen. I don't like it. Nobody does. But hopefully he will keep growing from it and keep getting better."

On Ravens QB Joe Flacco throwing three interceptions in his fifth game as a rookie:

"Scared me (laughter)."

On if that game was a point of growth for Flacco:

"I did. Let's be honest, let's think about where this young man has come from and what he is doing. He is playing with a bunch of men. He's young. He's 21 years old. He is leading an organization that hasn't been what it needs to be. He's surrounded by a ton of guys who, we haven't won a ton of games, and he's trying to uplift everything. There is a lot of pressure. Let's just be honest, it is. He is trying to play at a peak level. He is trying to learn this offense, learn the language, adjust to some of the better defenses in the National Football League in the last two weeks, and then score points and throw the ball to guys that he hasn't thrown the ball to every day. That is hard. You can say what you want, that is hard. That is not an excuse. That is a fact. That is OK because we understand that is part of it, and that is what I tell him every day. That is the way it goes. This is the National Football League. It is what you signed up for. You have to get it done. That is the challenge. We will get through it, and I think he is handling it extremely well. He doesn't run from the mistakes, he doesn't run from the things he needs to do better. None of us do, but again, we understand that we all want results. That is what this business is. It's a results business. Get it."

On what has allowed DL Trevon Coley to grow into his role:

"I think he is taking the coaching. He is working extremely hard. He had a great offseason, training, getting ready for training camp. He came in here, put his head down, just bought in to what we wanted and just did it every day. What you see is a young man who is emerging in a defense that fits him, fits his skillset and he is playing well."

On what he has seen from LB James Burgess, and if he is confident he can step in for LB Jamie Collins if Collins can't play on Sunday:

"Good. James is another one of those young guys who came back, had a real good offseason and we said, 'OK, let's give him a little more.' We did and then he earned more and he took more. Now, the guy is playing. He is a real important part of our defensive scheme and the things we do. He has done really well, and I'm happy to have him here. These young guys that you are mentioning are just the cornerstones of our organization that are going to continue to get better over time because they are playing a lot of football – and playing some good football.

On if LB Jamie Collins Sr. is still in concussion protocol:

"Yes, sir. He is still in protocol."

On if Collins Sr. will play on Sunday at Indianapolis:

"Probably tomorrow we will know which way that is going to hit.

On why Collins Sr. has not had many 'game-changing' plays:

"I think we have seen some. Maybe not as many as we all would like, but I think Jamie has made some un-impact plays that are impactful within our defense in different ways. I know what you are saying, you want to see the 'kaboom tackle,' you want to see the interception that is run back for a touchdown. I think all of those things are coming, I really do. I think within the scheme and how we play, as you guys have seen, our defense has played and done some really good things. Well, Jamie is huge piece of that. A huge piece of that. Sometimes when you don't see those other 'wow' plays everybody thinks, well this guy is not doing what he should be doing. Jamie has had a good season thus far. A really good season in our opinion."

On why the defense began practice by doing 40 up downs:

"We won't go into that."

On how the offense looks without WR Corey Coleman and if he envisions elevating a WR from the practice squad to the active roster before Sunday:

"You know, it has been a good week. I think the guys have all rallied to a man. From (WRs) Kenny Britt all the way to Kasen (Williams) and the rest of the guys and Jordan (Leslie) being back here and Rashard (Higgins) and Ricardo (Louis). They understand there is a job we have to get done and so, I think they went out to practice with (senior offensive assistant) Coach (Al) Saunders and have done a really good job. We will see tomorrow or Saturday if we are going to make a move that way – to help keep strengthening and improving that position and we are trying to, but I feel good about the guys that are there. Part of this is knowing what to do, being accountable, being in the right spot at the right time, so we have some guys and that is what we worked through this week and they have done a good job thus far."

On if he knew the team was going to elevate Higgins to the active roster last Thursday prior to the Baltimore game:

"No. He earned it. I had a pretty good feeling, based on what we were trying to accomplish and it fit his skillset, what it is that we were asking that guy to do. Again, the other side of that was for (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) for me, I thought Duke played that whole game, almost, in the slot [and] he didn't touch the ball very much. I mean, he is too talented not to touch the ball. We have to continue to find ways for him to touch the ball."

On if the team is 'playing with fire' by only having three main cornerbacks:

"Well, I think we feel like we are always looking to improve the position. I won't say that we feel like we are playing with fire, but we also know that this is a long season and we want to be as talented as we can be at that position. Again, (executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown) has done a good job of going out and trying to find what is there and guys, if they are better than what we have, let's continue to look at guys and see if we can continue to get better as we move on throughout the season."

On if Collins Sr. will play if he is medically cleared on Saturday or if he needs to see him practice:

"For me, I have always been – I need to see a guy practice before a guy plays. That is just the way I am. Again, Jamie is a huge part of our defense, but I think just for our defense and for him, the right thing would be to do, if he can't practice it would be very hard for him to play."

On if Collins Sr. still has a chance to play on Sunday if he is medically cleared tomorrow:


On if he has talked to Britt about needing him to produce:

"Absolutely. Oh, I have challenged our guys every day and I have challenged him that he needs to step up and make plays and I think he will, I really do. Again, this is where we are. We have to make some plays and we understand that these are the guys that we have and Kenny is the elder statesman in that room and I think he will raise up and help lead these young guys and we will go play good this week."

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