Skip to main content

Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference - 9/24

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

"As you know, opportunities to play quarterback in the National Football League come in a lot of different ways. I informed the group this morning that we are going to start (QB) Baker Mayfield and that (QB) Tyrod (Taylor) will be the backup if healthy. He is still in the concussion protocol as far as I know. If [Taylor] is not able to go, [the backup] will be (QB) Drew Stanton. Baker has worked extremely hard. He put himself into the position to be a backup and in this game was able to play well. He nailed it. He did really well. He helped lead the team to victory, which I thought was really important. I think that Baker would be the first person to tell you that he was able to do the things that he has done because of the work that he has had with Tyrod and with Drew. Both of those young men have helped him push his talent a little bit higher because I think those guys have taken him under their wings a little bit to show him the inner workings of the National Football League. I think that is a good thing. Baker understands that there is still a lot of work to do. He has to continue to grow in the National Football League, continue to understand our system better and even execute it even more. Now, the other added pressure of being out there first is there, but I think that he can handle it. He has demonstrated that. He has shown me at every opportunity that he was working at it to be ready for when his time was called that he would make the best of it. He has done that. He has earned it by the way that he has played. Like I have told that group, I told our football team we are going to support him however we can as a team, and we are also going to support Tyrod, as well, and Drew. That is the way that we are going to go about it."

On if Mayfield is the starter for next week or the season:

"He is the starting quarterback of this football team. We know that it is a long season – all kinds of things can happen – but Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback of the team."

On Mayfield's play on Thursday showing he was ready:

"As I said, I wanted to go back and watch the tape, talk to our coaches, talk to (General Manager) John (Dorsey) and really think through it myself. Obviously, there was nothing that I saw that he was not ready to handle. He went out there into some tough situations, down 14 [points] late in the second quarter and handled all of that extremely well and went and played well. He checked off every box for me as I looked to the things you look to to make these kinds of decisions."

On what Mayfield does best:

"He completes the ball. Obviously, he gets the ball into guys' hands so that they can make plays."

On how the Browns offense will look with Mayfield:

"I do not know that it will be totally different. Baker has been here from OTAs through training camp and through the preseason. Obviously in that game, there were no plays that we changed there. He understands the system and how to play in the system. I am sure that (offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) will tailor everything to his strengths. At the same time, he has handled everything that we have asked him to do thus far."

On his message to Mayfield:

"That he was the starting quarterback. That he had earned it through performance and his work and here is his opportunity. He has to go make it happen. I think that he will. He had a big grin on his face."

On if naming Mayfield the starting QB feels different than previous times he has done so:

"Too many (laughter). It does [feel different]. This was a guy that we picked together that John, myself, the personnel department and the coaching staff, that we went all in on unanimously and said this is the guy for the future. I felt really good once it got to this point to where this decision made is being made about a quarterback that we all feel good about. How this was all going to unfold, nobody knew. I said that before. Nobody knew how exactly it was going to go. Tyrod started off as the starter. I think that he gave us everything he had. Then all of a sudden, Baker came in. The guy who we all felt good about is now starting at quarterback – not that we did not feel good about Tyrod; that is not what I am saying – but the guy that we picked for the future of the organization is now the starter of the team."

On what led to the decision of naming Mayfield the starting QB and how much Thursday influenced it:

"I started seeing it in practice. That is why I made him the backup. You could just see that he was growing. I did not want to put a timetable on it because I did not know how it was going to happen or when it was going to happen, but we kept dialoging, talking about myself and John (Dorsey) every week, talking about the game and talking about just what we saw in Baker at practice. I would always try to give him extra reps in practice at the end of practice. You continued to see him growing and just getting better. I am not surprised by what he did in the game. I think a lot of other people are. I do not think that his teammates are. I do not think that the coaches are. I think that we knew, once he got his opportunity, he would go in there and nail it. That is what he did."

On if Mayfield is starting sooner than originally anticipated:

"Absolutely. I will not deny that. This is sooner than what I thought it would happen because I thought that we would have played much better earlier on offense. We did not. There was a stark difference in how we performed when he got in there. That is the nature of this business. That is the way that it works. It is an earned business. The young man went in there, and he earned the right to be the starter."

On if Mayfield's experience starting in college benefits him, compared to other rookies who may not have started as many when entering the NFL:

"There could be something to that. What really makes him different, since he has been here with us is just his work ethic – the way that he works at, the way that is works with his teammates, the way that he approaches the game, the way that he studies the game. I think those things are huge in his favor. Then you take the talent and you put all of those things together, you get this guy who is playing at a high level."

On if Mayfield is different since being named the starter:

"No, he does not change much in that way. He competes. He is competitive. Likes to play. I did not see anything today than I have seen before."

On Mayfield working with the first team offense in practice:

"The ball was completed. The ball went where it was supposed to go and the ball was completed. That is a good thing. That is what we anticipate – that he will go make the most of this opportunity with his teammates and play well."

On the next challenge for Mayfield:

"Oakland. Going on the road. As I talked to him a little bit about this in my office just going on the road. Last week, it was a Thursday night game. This week, it is going on the road and going to Oakland, a different type of stadium. There is a baseball feel to it – dirt is in the stadium. We are going to go out a day early so just being able to handle that process because it is different. Just staying in the moment himself. You have to talk through all of those things, and we did a little bit."

On if Mayfield elevates the players around him as many great NFL QBs do:

"He is not great yet. I saw him make more plays with the guys. I saw the ball being spread around. I saw the ball going to the right person with zip, momentum and with assurance. That is what I sat. I saw the offense start to make more plays up and down the field. He played well, but he has to continue to get better. He as to continue to work. This young man is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a talented young man there who likes to play, who has a fire and who has an intensity and a competitiveness that you want. That is what you look for."

On considering Mayfield's potential with the first team offense:

"Yeah. That is why we are making him the starting quarterback because we believe that he can continue to grow, which helps the offense continue to grow and continue to get better. I think his best football is going to be ahead of him, but he just has to buckle down, put his head down and work his tail off. I am sure that he will do that."

On if Mayfield working with the starters will outweigh opponents' gameplans for him:

"I think people are going to watch the tape. Baker is who he is. He is an accurate passer who can throw the ball from a lot of different arm angle. He can throw it short, deep and all of those things. People are going to try to find ways to slow him down. That is part of this business, but I think at the same time as we move forward, we have to continue to do things to put him in position to be successful and our offense successful."

On Taylor's future with the Browns, given depth at QB:

"He is going to be right here. He is not going anywhere. I think that is important. Like I said, I think part of Baker being able to play like he did was because of Tyrod and Drew. I do not want to upset that room that way. I do not think there is any reason to. Tyrod is going to be needed. He is the backup quarterback on this team if he is healthy, and he has played. His teammates know who he is and how he goes about the rhythm of his game. I think it is always good to have that kind of depth at that position, especially if we are travelling down this road, which we are."

On if the QB decision would have been tougher if K Zane Gonzalez made the missed kicks in Weeks 1-2 and the Browns' record was 3-0:

"He did not so I do not want to talk about what could have been. We did not make them, so we are 1-1-1, and Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback."

On Taylor's reaction to the decision:

"He is a professional. Obviously, he is competitive. Nobody wants to hear that they are going in a different direction, but he understands it, too. I think the most important thing he wants is to get healthy and make sure he is ready to help the football team. Any competitor is disappointed in that situation, but he is a pro so he is going to what he needs to do to keep helping this football team win."

On if he felt he 'truly had a choice to make' when leaving Thursday night game, given external and fan reaction:

"Did I feel like I had a choice? I do not think that matters to me. I think today I am giving you guys the choice that was made, whether it was going to be a riot here as people said or whatever. It is what it is. This guy is the quarterback and on we go."

On Mayfield making the decision easier based on his play:

"Yes, he did. He did make it easier by the performance, by the win and by the way he conducted himself. There is no question about that."

On if expectations for Browns' season change after Mayfield's performance Thursday:

"It is kind of the same as what it has been. I think we can win football games. I have said that since we started. I was disappointed with our start from the first game and second game. The third game, we found a way to win. We have been in every game we have played. These games have been close. Hopefully, we can get one of these games where we can move ahead and stay ahead and keep playing that way and play good all four quarters and not just two quarters. We need to play four quarters of Cleveland Browns football, and we have not done that yet. I think the best is still yet to come."

On if he believes the rest of the locker room is on board with the QB decision:

"Oh yeah I do. Like I said, I told the team this morning. What I said exactly to the quarterbacks is exactly what I said to the team. I do not pull any punches that way, and they know. They are going to support Baker Mayfield and do everything they can to help Baker Mayfield win, just like we did when Tyrod was the quarterback. That is our job and that is what his teammates will do and that is what this coaching staff will do."

On Taylor not playing well in the first half and if Taylor has been 'looking over his shoulder' with Mayfield on the bench:

"No. We did not do a lot of things early on offense in my opinion to help Tyrod. There were some blown assignments and mental errors we had that let some people had some free runners at him. We put him in a tough spot, too. It was not just Tyrod neither. Obviously, we got those things shored up pretty quickly there as we started the second half to where we could protect Baker better, and he made some plays with his arm."

On if Taylor showed any indication of getting hit in the head prior to the play when he left the game:

"I do not know that. That was never brought to my attention. He is a competitive person. If that was the issue, they would have run down and had him come out the game. I do not think so, but you never know. Sometimes when those guys get nicked, you do not know what actually had happens. I think we needed to play better around him in the first half on offense."

On sensing if Taylor will clear concussion protocol this week:

"I hope so. I think there is a good chance."

On updated injury report, specifically DL Myles Garrett:

"There is really nothing to report. Everybody is kind of… Myles is fine."

On DB Damarious Randall's status:

"Damarious still has the heel, but I think he will be fine."

Related Content