Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference: Browns vs. Giants

Opening statement:
"Sorry for taking so long. That is totally on me. Another tough one. Our inability to finish in the scoring zone kind of outdid us today. Our defense for the most part did some good things. They played hard and held these guys in check. We were not able to consistently to some things on offense. They had some big turnovers at some key times against us. (QB) Josh McCown is playing as hard as he can play. He is battling, and there is nothing he can do about the sack-fumbles as a starter. He is getting hit and the ball comes out. I don't want people to get the idea that this guy is a turnover machine or something because he is not. That is not who he is. He is put in some tough spots. Sometimes it does not come up the right way and it has not this season. All that falls on my feet. Our players played extremely hard.  I am proud of their effort. Obviously, it is not winning right now, but they are trying and they are giving me everything that they have. I do know that. In inopportune times, the things and the reasons that you lose football games show up for our football team – turnovers, inability to score, inability to finish drives and those things. That is what losing football is. I am at the head of it and that part is frustrating. As I said a long time ago, I am not discouraged because of the guys. I know how hard they hard work. They work at it each and every day.

"We will practice tomorrow. We will practice again and then I will probably just send them on their way. They need to get a little break. We need to do some self-scouting of ourselves and get a break. We have four games left, the last quarter of our season. We have to find a way to put together a win. Who knows? There are four games that we have an opportunity to go out and play so there are four opportunities to win and there are another four opportunities to lose. One thing I do know is the guys in the locker room are going to dictate it and they are going to determine it, as I should say about which way it is going to go. I have never been through this – I know you guys always ask me – but as I told you before, I am not going to fall off a cliff or anything like that. These guys, these players, this organization, Dee and Jimmy (Haslam), (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Sashi (Brown) and the group mean too much to me for me to ever feel like that. Do I ever get disappointed and frustrated? Yes, I do not want you guys to feel like I do not. I do want you guys to think I do not get mad or sad or disappointed. I go through all of those emotions. At the same, I know what I signed up for. I know through our injuries and the things we have been through this season where we are and where we are trying to go. You can either beat yourself up, and I do that enough, or you can just put your head down and keep fighting and push through this. That is what we are going to do as a football team and as an organization."

On ensuring fans that effort is being made to improve the Browns, given he always takes responsibility for struggles:
"When you look at it, it is everybody's deal and at the top of this ladder is me. I don't think I am ever going to change that statement, even when we win the Super Bowl. It is going to be the same way. It is not going to be me; it is going to be them. It is going to be our players. When things do not go right, it is easy to point fingers at a lot of different people. The best place to point it is at me. I am the head of it. With our staff and even with them, the issues we have that anybody feels on offense, defense or special teams, that starts with me because I am responsible for it all. I am not one to pass the buck on anybody else. I am never going to do that. If anybody is looking for that, that is not going to happen. What I have to do is continue to coach this football team. We have to continue to get better. Next season or next year or this offseason, we will take care of ourselves about the things we need to do to continue to get better. We have what have right now, and we have to work through it that way and just keep going."

On his message to the Browns fans about the team improving, in addition to the team working hard:
"You can see some younger players getting better here and there. I totally get where the fans are or what they are feeling. They deserve better and we get that. They deserve better, and I totally respect that. It is tough with the situation we are all in because everybody wants an answer. Is it this? Is it that? Is it exactly this? While I am not going to exactly give you that answer, what it is, is Coach Jackson. Coach Jackson has to continue to push and keep getting these players better and there are things we have gotten better at. There are things we have not gotten better at. That is just part of it and we will continue to work at it."

On where the Browns have improved:
"I see some young players. I see some guys shedding blocks. They are making tackles. I see some guys at the point of attack doing certain things, gap blocking a little bit better than where we were. I see some of our receivers still emerging. I see (WR) Terrelle Pryor (Sr.) getting better. I saw (TE) Seth DeValve get better today. It is not just because he caught the ball. It is just certain things he did in the passing game. I do see improvement across the board, but it is not enough. It is not enough to win at this level. We just have to keep working at it. That starts with me and it kind of trickles down everywhere else, but I have to get it fixed."

On if players are pressing and trying to do too much and if that is leading to mistakes:
"I don't know. I have to look at the tape to be honest with that.  I know there is not a guy in that room is not trying to win or is not trying to do everything they can to give our team the best chance to win. I know I felt like that last week. Today, there were some plays that maybe when I watch the tape that we could have made that we did not make. Maybe we were not in the right spot. That is football. That is what you guys need to understand. The hard part for us right now is everything has to be perfect, and this is not going to be perfect football. Football is not perfect. It is a game. You are going to have the ups and downs and this and that. That is just how football goes, but you have to make enough plays to win. I wish I had the right answer for everybody that everybody is looking for. I am going to leave it at me, and we are just going to keep going from there."

On attempting a FG on the 2-yard line after going for it on fourth-and-1 earlier in the series:
"We needed points. I did not want to come away from that situation with nothing. I think that would have deflated our football team. We needed to do something to put some points on the board to keep this thing close. I thought it was going to be a close game, and it was. A play or two here or there, like I said the way football goes, and this is a whole different game, but it is not. It is a loss. It is a 27-13 loss again for the Browns. Until you can make these plays consistently all the time, this what we are going to come up with. I do not second guess myself for not going for it there. I know everybody wants that but there is a time and a place for that. We needed points because I know what our football team is and I know the emotionally part of it, too."

On how frustrating it is to not score a TD when inside the 10-yard line twice:
"Very.  Very. That is football. You have to score touchdowns, and I get it. We had our chances and we did not get it. That is how this thing works."

On if he will spend time away from football during the bye week, given his statement that it will be good for players:
"I am going to be very honest with all of you, I don't know how to do that yet because being 0-12 is probably the hardest thing ever."

On why he was later to the postgame press conference than normal and if it is because it is becoming more difficult to compose himself to address media:
"Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no. No, not at all. No, I was in a conversation with some people I needed to have a conversation with. No, that was not it at all. That is why I apologized. I probably got talking a little longwinded back there because again, I do not like this. I do not think anybody does. This is hard. This is a hard deal. No, it was not that at all. I was having conversations with our upper management about some things that I saw and some things that we have to just continue to correct and look at to get better. That is what it was more than anything."

On if the Browns have enough talent on the roster to win a game or if the restructuring process was too significant:
"I am not going to get into all that. I do not think none of that matters right now. We have the team we have, and we are going to just keep coaching the heck out of it and try to get better."

On if the Browns will be burning the midnight oil during the bye week:
"I know I will. I have to find a way. I do not want to be down in the scoring zone and can't score. I have not had that feeling in a long time. I have not been in that situation when you have been down there a couple times [and don't score]. Normally, you call the play and you know how it works and you score. That is not what is happening so we have to go figure those things out and get better at it. I did not become football illiterate over something like that overnight. That is not what it is at all. Sometimes you just have to flip your thinking and think in a different direction so that we can get this ball in the end zone. I have to get this ball in the end zone, and I have not been able to do it."

On teams needing to learn how to win and if the Browns players don't know how to win yet:
"You have to learn how to win. I am not going to say that they do not know how to win. I would never put that on players. It is not that, but you have to do the things that it takes to win. You can't turn the ball over. You have to make plays at crucial times. You have to make sure their really good players do not win games for them. There are a lot of different things that go into that. It is critical over these next four weeks that we do come away grasping some of those things as you are mentioning as we walk out of here. We have to because if not, these things repeat themselves. I am not going to – I have told our players, and I mean this, and I am going to tell all of you – this will be the last time, this year, that we ever feel the way we feel. I know that. I know that in my heart. I know that without question, and that is why I have always said if you are going to get us you better get us now because we are not going to feel like this a year from now."

On how frustrating it was that the offense couldn't capitalize after WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.'s 54-yard reception:
"It is frustrating. Yeah, it is. It is tough. It is tough to do that. When you call plays, it is in rhythm and you see things and you know how things should work. Sometimes it does not work out for a lot of different reasons. That is not what is happening right now. Like I said, everything has to be almost perfect to make it happen and that is tough on anybody because football is not perfect. It is never going to be. You have to work through it and be able to make plays even when it is tough, and we have to do that better."

On if the conversation he had with upper management is something he does after every game:
"Every game. Every game. I just took longer because there was a couple things I had to do first – maybe use the bathroom (laughter), grab some water – and then I took more time talking to them. That is all it was. These conversations happen after every game. We brief about injuries, those things and then we have conversations about where we think we can do better. No, I just took longer today because that was my fault. PJB (VP of Communications Peter John-Baptiste) came in trying to get me out, I needed to keep talking and again, just thinking back through it all. It has been a long 12 weeks. It has been a long 12 weeks and unfortunate for the men in that room over there we have not been able to get them a win yet. We will go back to the drawing board, and we will come back tomorrow. I know these guys will come to work, they will be ready to go and we will work through work tomorrow. Then they will, like I said, they will get out of here and we will self-scout ourselves and see where we are and go from there."

On if there can be meaningful progress for a football team that is not winning:
"Yes. Yes because you have to learn what it takes to win. You have to know and learn and know what it takes to win in this league. This league is rough. It is hard to win a game. I don't care what the situation is. This football is a hard, driving, grinding business, and it is not for everybody. I have always said that. I said that to our players. There are a lot of people in it that do not belong, and there are a lot of people that are not in it that do belong. It can go either way, but at the same time, you have to know what it takes to win in the National Football League. I think we are going to get there. I truly believe that. I think right now we are not. Our record says we are not so that is obvious."

On if the Browns opening kickoff was supposed to go to the corner:
"(Laughter) You had to ask me that, didn't you, Tony (Grossi) (laughter)?!"

On the field position costing the Browns on that drive:
"It did. It did. You are right. No, he was trying to kick it directional away from the returner, and he mishit it."

On the injury status of Browns OL John Greco:
"I think he has a sprain and we will know more about it tomorrow. It is one of those mid-foot things. We will find out more about him tomorrow."

On if upper management continues to assure him that his job is safe:
"Oh, yeah. Oh, come on. Please, I am not worried about that. If you guys think that is what the conversation was, no, I am not worried about those things at all. I am going to be here, and I have said that to you guys before. That is not what the conversations are by any stretch of the imagination. It is not that. Please, so let me go on record of saying that. I have the full support of Jimmy and Dee (Haslam) and Sashi (Brown) and his crew, and we are not apart or splintered or whatever term you guys want to use. There is none of that going on. What it is is in these times of toughness and times of crisis, you have to have good strong conversation, and I think we all understand that. That is important. It is healthy and it is good. That is how you do not go through these things in the future. You work through those things and you talk through them so that you can come on the other side, and they have been great with me from top to bottom. Hopefully, they feel the same from me to them. I don't like losing. I never have and I never will, and I have had my butt kicked up over my shoulders enough this season that I really don't need my butt kicked anymore. I have to figure out how to quit getting my butt kicked. It is just that simple."

On his statement that 'this will be the last time, this year, that we ever feel the way we feel:'
"Yeah, not this season. I said this season. Now hold up now (laughter). I did not say… I am talking about this season. That is why I said if you are going to get us, you better get us now because I am not feeling like this next year. There is no way. Uh-uh. No. I am a fighter, and we have a bunch of fighters in that room, and I do not lose many fights. I have never lost many fights. We are going to keep swinging. I have lost a lot right now, more than I have ever lost in my life fighting, but we are going to keep fighting and we have to fight the right fight, and that is what we have to do."

On if the young Browns players have the same passion and fight:
"Do we have a lot of those guys? Yes, I do. I do. I see more. I have seen that from this team. I just don't want to give that to the young guys because (OL) Joe Thomas fights, (DL) Danny Shelton fights, Kirko (LB Christian Kirksey) fights. All of our guys fight, (DB) Joe Haden fights. I do not think we have a guy that is not fighting, and I think we are fighting our tails off and that is what makes it really hard when you fight so hard and you play as hard as you can and you still come up short. There is an answer in there somewhere that is going to give us what we want, and we just have to keep searching for it."

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