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Hue Jackson press conference - 9/4

Head Coach Hue Jackson:

On the Browns having four QBs on the 53-man roster and if it will only be temporary:

“I think the most important thing is obviously we still have some young players and here is a chance to see another potential player (QB Josh Woodrum) who has some characteristics that we like. I think it will be temporary. I think we are taking a look-see at a guy. How it is all going to unfold, I don’t know. We will get to that here, I am sure, by the end of the week.”

On how unsettling it is that none of the four Browns QBs have won a game in the NFL:

“You know what is interesting (laughter)? I kind of had a little bit of that a year ago so I don’t think that is what is important. I have said that before. What is important is how we want to play on offense in our system and getting to play. This is a new year so we are starting over a little bit. (QB) DeShone (Kizer) is our starter, and he has not played one regular season game so we were going to have a quarterback that was going to have a 0-0 record. Hopefully, we can earn some wins this year.”

On having QBs on the 2016 roster that had won games in the NFL, specifically QBs Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown:

“Yeah, we had, but not guys that had played for me. That is what I meant by that, guys that had played for me and won for me. I didn’t have any guys that way. We did have some experience per se but we have two guys in the room that have played football for us in (QBs) Cody (Kessler) and Kevin (Hogan), so we will kind of go from there.”

On if the 2017 season is about winning or developing players, given some of the transactions:

“Honestly, this is always about winning. I don’t know any other way to do it. I think our players see it that way, too. We come out here every day and go into these meetings with one thing in mind: let’s win and Let’s find a way to win. That is not going to change. I understand where you are coming from and what it looks like, but I think every day everything we do is built towards winning. There is no other way you can do this.”

On if he feels the Browns’ front office is focused on winning in 2017:

“I do. I do. I don’t think that they have any other agenda. I know sometimes when you look at transactions and all those things… But I think there is a plan and a purpose to what we are doing and I think we are getting there. I think you guys can see the team has improved, and I think we will improve. We have to go do it when it counts in these games that are coming up now.”

On OL Rod Johnson’s injury status:

“Obviously, he has a knee. I think it is a sprain. It is a ligament that has some issues, and we are going to work through that, but I think there are still more tests that need to be done to know exactly how long he will be out.”

On the depth at OT following the starters:

“We have (OLs) (Zach) Strerup. We have (Spencer) Drango who has played tackle. We have tackles. We have capable tackles.”

On if keeping only four CBs is due to safeties being able to cover in certain packages:

“Yes because of the different packages that we play in. Sometimes even though there is four receivers out there, we still might play with more safeties. We might play with more linebackers. We do a lot of different things as you guys know. I think we are OK. I think you guys know this is still all fluid as of right now. There are still going to be some things, I am sure, that we continue to work through, but I think when the time comes we will be where we need to be.”

On if it is somewhat unsettling to be ‘fluid’ one week before the season opener against Pittsburgh:

“Somewhat, but the core starters are there. The guys who start the game and who are going to play the game are there. It is not like somebody is going to come in from the outside and has to go play a huge role in a game this week. I feel good about where we are and what we are doing.”

On if he considers how releasing popular veterans like DB Joe Haden and OL John Greco resonates with the team:

“Yes, I do.”

On what he talks to players about when popular veterans are released:

“I think they all know it is a business, and it is tough. I think they get that there is a start point of this and there is an end point of this and sometimes things happen for different reasons. I think those guys get it, and we deal with all of those things right up front. I think the players are appreciative of that, but I also think they yearn for their teammate and exactly what he is going through. I think we all know that and understand that.”

On WR Sammie Coates:

“What am I getting? A guy that can run fast. I think you guys know I like guys who can run and run fast and make plays down the field. He is a special teams player, as well. He has some of that capability. Here is another big, fast guy that we get a chance to see if he can make the plays I think he can.”

On if he anticipates Coates being active on Sunday versus Pittsburgh:

“I would hope he is. He is here for a reason. He has been a little bit longer so hopefully, we can get him up and running pretty quickly. All of these guys that are coming in, we want to get them up and running. The guys that we put on our football team, we are hoping that they can help improve our team, and that is why you put them on the team. They give you a chance.”

On at what point does he want to say when is it going to be about focusing on right now:

“(Laughter) I have said, ‘When is this going to be about right now?’ I think it is about right now. I do. This is where we are. This is the situation we are in, and I think we are moving forward. I think things have gotten better, I really do. Like I said, I think you guys have seen some of the fruit of that. Now, is it happening as fast as maybe all of you want? Maybe not, but it is happening pretty fast in my mind, and we just have to continue to stick to it and get the rewards out of it that we know we can.”

On expanding on his comment that ‘something special is building here’ and specific aspects of the team that have improved since last year:

“When I look at our roster, it is better. I think it is stronger. I think there is more talent on our football team. When I watch our defense play, I see a defense that has a chance to be really good. Those things I feel really good about. I see a young, promising quarterback. If we can keep growing him and getting better and keep surrounding him with more tools and more guys that will give him opportunities, I think that is what it is all about. I think that is how you start to build a team. I have watched what we have done in free agency with the offensive line and defensive line. Those things are positives for our football team.”

On who is the Browns’ backup QB this week:

“What we are going to do is, obviously, we practice tomorrow so I am going to go through this week. As the game plan unfolds, I will make that decision who the backup quarterback will be.”

On if naming a backup QB will be a weekly decision:

“No, once we make it, we are going to keep it that way.”

On his reaction to a Cleveland police union representative’s comment about not having members participate in holding the flag during pregame:

“I respect that. I have great respect for our police, and we have great relationships with them. They are entitled to say what they feel, just like I have always said about our players. They are entitled to say what they feel, and I respect that. I get it.”

On WRs Kasen Williams, Reggie Davis and Sammie Coates:

“They can play. They can make big plays. Coates can run. Williams has a knack for making plays on the ball anywhere and everywhere. He goes and gets the football. That is documented. That is seen. He does it as well as anybody I have seen. Then (WR Reggie Davis), he can run. He can run, make plays and score the ball from anywhere on the field. As I have said, we need to continue to be more dynamic around our quarterback and give him chances to make bigger plays. Our guys went out and found some guys that we think can do that.”

On the Browns roster being younger this year than it was last year and challenges it presents:

“I haven’t seen that (laughter). It is a challenge, but at the same time, it is also an opportunity. It is an opportunity for some of these young guys to step up, make plays, be here for a long time and help this organization and football team be better.”

On the process of preparing new WRs for Sunday’s game with limited time:

“You coach them. You have to coach them and spend a lot of time with them. (Senior offensive assistant) Al (Saunders) probably has a bed in his office right now. We are going to spend a lot of time with them. Obviously, some of those guys are going to have to contribute, but we feel like, as I said, the core guys, the core starters on our football team are still here, and I think they will be ready to play this weekend.”

On if WR Ricardo Louis is the No. 3 WR on the depth chart:

“Yes. No doubt. Absolutely.”

On evaluating a fourth QB with limited time this week:

“I get to meet with him. I think it is still mental, as well. Being on the practice field with him, there are things you will get a chance to see. I think it is important if you get a chance to see a guy and if you see if a guy fits what you are looking for to try it out and see what it is. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, that is OK, too.”

On if the Browns didn’t want to risk losing QB Josh Woodrum to another team by placing him on the active roster rather than the practice squad:

“I will let you determine that.”

On if QB Brock Osweiler’s salary impacted his release:

“Oh, no. No, not at all. I can guarantee you guys that.”

On if he felt better with Woodrum on the roster rather than Osweiler:

“I felt better that once we made a decision to move on, let’s keep searching, just like we have at every position, and making sure that our team is as strong as it can be.”

On if there are discussions between Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown and him regarding the roster when there are different preferences to keep or release a player:

“Oh yeah, we do. I think every team does. We have those discussions, but once we make a decision, we stand behind it and we move forward. That is just part of it.”

On the challenges of starting a rookie QB against the Steelers and helping Kizer overcome those challenges:

“I’m supposed to give you my secrets (laughter)? That’s not fair (laughter). No, it is a tall challenge for any young quarterback, but also it is an opportunity as I said earlier. I think our team and our players, we all understand that we are playing a really good football team within our division, and we have to go play our best football game. I think he has to go play his best game, and I think he will. It comes from practice and work. Obviously, it is going to be new to him – the football is ratcheted up a little more as I have said before – but I think DeShone is up to the challenge.”

On team captains for the 2017 season:

“The team – this is not something the coaches do – the team makes these decisions [on captains]. I make sure that I pass out the papers, but they decide who the captains are. They are (OL) Joe Thomas, (LB) Christian Kirksey, (LB) Jamie Collins (Sr.), (DB) Jamar Taylor) and (P) Britton Colquitt. I think that is a tremendous honor for those guys to be voted captains by their teammates.”

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