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Press Conference

Hue Jackson press conference transcript - 4/6

Opening statement:

"How is everybody doing? Thank you for coming. Obviously, we started the offseason program. I am really happy about our participation. I am excited about what we are doing in the weight room, what we are doing in the classroom. I think we all understand that we have a lot of work to do. I think our players understand the expectation each and every day. I think they are working extremely hard to meet that expectation. Again, we are just going to put our head down because we understand to be the type of team we want to be, there's a lot of work ahead. I think we all get that. It's been reinforced from our staff to our players and from our players to our staff. It's kind of gone both ways, which has been really good. We are looking forward to the challenge and we have so much to do. At that same time, we have a lot of time to do it in so we will get that accomplished."

On QB Josh McCown's future with the team:

"Josh McCown is a tremendous football player. You don't play in this league for 15 years having not been very good at what you do. He provides us with a really good quarterback, obviously a veteran presence and I am just excited to work with him. As far as what is going to happen in the future, I'm not concerned about that and having talked to Josh (about that), he isn't either. What we are worried about is getting better each and every day when we walk in this building. That goes for our coaches to our players. When we get out of our cars we have one thing on our mind and that is to get better."

On the offense having a lot of running plays built into the system for QB Robert Griffin III:

"In our system, it isn't just about Robert. Our system is about our offensive players. I think we are flexible enough to handle whoever is playing for us. Not just at quarterback but at running back, tight end receiver, everywhere. That's the flexibility I think you have to have as an offensive football team in the National Football League because the defenses are just too good. We will be able. I've said from day one that we will be dynamic on offense and I think we will be that as we continue to move forward."

On what Griffin did to convince him to get a second chance:

"First of all, it wasn't just me that he convinced. I had a role in it, but (EVP Football Operations) Sashi (Brown), (Chief Strategy Officer) Paul DePodesta, (Vice President Player Personnel) Andrew Berry, (Associated Head Coach-Offense) Pep Hamilton and myself. We all spent a lot of time, a lot of time with Robert. It was the right decision for us. Obviously, he was looking for an opportunity. I think the conversations that we had with him, the opportunity to sit down and talk football with him, the opportunity to sit and talk about his past. What was good and what could we fix? Those were the things that I felt very strongly about. I think he showed me that he has grown, that he has learned. He understands sometimes we all play roles when things don't go well. It's not just one side or the other. That he had a hand in that as well and he wanted to move beyond that and grow and become better. Obviously, that is what he is doing."

On what happened with Joe Haden:

"Let me tell you about Joe Haden. All I know is this guy is working his tail off right now. Joe was probably a little disappointed when it came out that it was going to be a little while before he makes it back. I am not going to put a timetable on it, how it happened, when it happened nor exactly when he will get back. I just know this, he is in this building every day working extremely hard and wanting to be back out there with his teammates and doing exactly what they are doing. There's not a guy in the building that is working as hard as he is. Trust me when I tell you that."

On if he knows what happened with Haden:

"I wasn't here. I know what is going on now. Obviously, it's an ankle and we are working through that. When Joe Haden is back, he is going to be back playing the way he always plays. He is one of the best corners in the league."

On the timing of Donte Whitner's release:

"I know it's a hard situation, but I think we all know in the National Football League decisions are made when it's time to make those decisions. It's unfortunate that it happened when it did, but at the same time I think you guys know there's never any perfect timing to make those choices except for when you make them. You guys have seen guys that are going to be let go right before the draft, right after the draft and there will be some in training camp. I get it. I know it's unfortunate that it happened that way but we all recognize that and know that those things do happen. We made the decisions when it was time for us to make the decision. Obviously, that decision wasn't made before because if it was we would have made that decision before. I get it. I know the feeling in that situation but trust me, we went through this 1,000 times to get to that conclusion. It wasn't like it was just a knee-jerk reaction."

On him not talking to Jay Gruden or Mike Shanahan because signing Griffin:

"That doesn't mean I didn't call. I have heard that said. I think what was important is there are other people that have been around Jay that I do know. There's other people that I know who have worked for Mike. If I can't get in contact with you right away. We all can recognize in this room that I am pretty busy and doing a lot of different things. I think what is important is that I felt very comfortable with the people that I did talk to when I was able to talk to them and find out exactly what I needed to find out for me to feel very comfortable with Robert. And I feel more than comfortable with Robert."

On if he understands why on the outside it would look strange if he didn't talk to them:

"I don't think it is strange. You might look at it as strange. I get that. I don't think that's strange when maybe if you do attempt it and you can't get people. If I don't talk to someone directly then I have to move on. My day is really filled. If I can talk to people that I really trust as well as those men and those men are great football men, but there's other people that I have maybe been around a little more that I can speak to who will really tell me exactly what I needed to know. Not that Jay or Mike wouldn't, again they are fine coaches and they have done great in their careers. Jay still is. Trust me, I got enough information to feel very comfortable with the decision that was made here."

On if Griffin is healthy:

"He's healthy. There's no question about that. He's very healthy."

On what convinces him that he is healthy:

"I think you go through all the right protocols. Obviously, he had to take a physical then he was able to work out for us and did any and everything we asked him to do. He looked extremely well doing it. After the doctor says that he is healthy and watching him work out, I think he is extremely healthy. He's been in our offseason program and there's been no issues what so ever."

On if Griffin can succeed as a pocket passer of if you have to run read option:

"I don't think you have to do anything. What you have to do is let the young man play. I don't think it's about read option or can he succeed in the pocket. We are going to build our quarterbacks from the ground up. We have a long ways to go and we will find out what's best for Robert and the rest of our football team as we move forward. I think it's a little early. Obviously, we haven't had a chance to go out on the field and do anything but that's coming. When it does, we will have a better idea of what is best for him and what is best for our football team."

On what Griffin has to do to get back to his 2012 form:

"I don't really think in terms of what does he need to do about 2012 because it's 2016. I think what he needs to do is play quarterback the way the Cleveland Browns want him to play quarterback and the way I have vision for that position playing. We put this young man on our football team to compete and to give him an opportunity. We have some other young quarterbacks here and we are going to coach all of these guys the same and hopefully get them to play the way we think they can play. I think they all have different strengths because they are different. They are different people. But at the same time we create an environment for our quarterback to be as good as he can be. That is what we are going to do for all of them."

On where Griffin's skill set is right now:

"I think it's really early because I haven't had the opportunity to be on the field with him. The CBA rules won't let you do a lot at this point. We will know more as we move forward. Having spent time with him, watched football with him, I feel very comfortable with where he is there. We all have things to get better at, every last one of our quarterbacks. Our team needs to get better collectively at every position. It's not just the quarterback or Robert. We all have to get better and that is what the expectation is."

On if he wants Josh Gordon on his team if he is reinstated:

"I think it's premature for me to talk about that because he hasn't been reinstated."

On establishing the culture he wants to see and players in the locker room hearing the same speech from other coaches:

"First of all, I don't know if you know exactly what I said on Monday. I will say this because you mentioned the players that have left here. I've said it before, these players get an opportunity to stay or go. It's not just our decision. It has to go both ways. Sometimes it happens that way, but at the same time we aren't going to burry our heads in the sand. We are going to work. It provides more opportunities for guys that are on this football team to set up and seize those positions. Now, only time will tell who those men are and what they will be able to do, but we do know that there are some people here that have an opportunity to move forward in their careers and get better just like the men before them. As far as what has gone on with past head coaches, I can't speak to that. That wasn't my concern. I feel very comfortable with the direction of our organization from the top down. I am talking about from (Owner) Jimmy (Haslam) to (Owner) Dee (Haslam) to Sashi to Paul to Andrew. We have been in lockstep with everything we have done. I know sometimes people don't get that because they see thing happen and say it must be different. There's no better group that I have ever been around than the guys I am working with each and every day. I feel very blessed and fortunate to be in this situation regardless of what the outside people think. I think our football team understands where we are and what we need to do and what we need to do is just put our head down and work. We will let everyone else talk about all the other things that are going on. We are only interested in working and getting better."

On his impressions of OL Cameron Erving during the first three days, given he struggled in 2015:

"Again, that was last year. I think he is excited about working. I think he is committed to what he needs to do to continue to get better. I think he is working at it every single day. I have been fairly impressed with all of our guys for three days, but it has just been three days. We have a long time to go, but I think that guys understand what the process is each and every day, and I think they are getting the idea of what it is going to take to get there."

On the importance of signing LB Demario Davis:

"He is a good football player."

On if Davis can be a leader on defense:

"There is no question. I think he can. I think he truly will be. Playing the position that he plays kind of thrusts that on you, but I think he is looking forward to it. He is a very talented football player. He is very athletic. He kind of likes to mix it up a little bit, not a little bit but a lot. He likes playing football. He is a guy that we have put on our football team who we think is going to help us as we continue to move forward."

On why he feels there is not too much on his plate with developing Griffin, potentially developing a rookie QB, calling plays and it being his first year with the team:

"I have been here before, maybe not to that degree, but I have seen this a little bit before in my career being in Oakland. Obviously, we didn't draft a quarterback, but I think at the same time, everybody keeps saying 'what we're going to do,' like you said at some point in time. I know what you're trying to get at, but we will at some point. Hopefully, we will add – I love adding other arms on the team – but I don't know how that is all going to all unfold. We are going to do what we think is best for our football team as we continue to move forward, but when I look at it from my standpoint, I am surrounded with, as I said before, I think one of the best staffs in football. I am truly blessed to have the men that I have on my staff so I am not doing this alone. This is not the Hue Jackson show. This is the Cleveland Browns show. I have some very capable guys in Pep Hamilton, Al Saunders, Greg Seamon and Kirby Wilson who are there to pick up any piece that I may drop. Trust me when I tell you that."

On if Griffin's presence will influence if or when the Browns select a QB in the draft:

"That is a question for Sashi, but at the same time, I don't think that has anything to do with the draft. I think the draft is going to play out the way it will. I am all about adding good football players to our team anyway possible. I think anybody is. If there is an opportunity to make our team better, then that is what we need to do all of the time. I think the players truly understand that, too. At the end of the day, this is about being as good as you can be. This is not about feelings. This is not about relationships. This is about winning football games, and I think we all understand that."

On how he developed as a coach:

"I have worked under some tremendous people, as you mentioned. I go all the way back to (former NFL Head Coach) Marty Schottenheimer, who was here when it was really good, to (Bengals Head Coach) Marvin Lewis, who is a closer personal friend, to (Ravens Head Coach) John Harbaugh, who gave me a chance to coach and help draft his quarterback. You learn a little bit everywhere you go, and you take the good and you try to learn from the things that you can do a little bit better. I can still go back to (late Raiders Owner) Al Davis, who was one of my greatest mentors who always talked about just win, and at the end of the day, that is what this business is all about. What I try to do is take the things that were really good from the people that I've been around and tried to instill them in the people who were around me because those people have had great success as they have gone through their careers. It has been great. At the end of the day, I am not trying to be any of those guys. I am me, and our football team will be the Cleveland Browns and nobody else's football team."

On being confident he can revive Griffin's career:

"I don't think it is just about me reviving his career. At the end of the day, RGIII is going to do the work. My job is to create the environment for him to do the work and do everything I can to assist him be the best he can be. You have to have a player that is willing to accept that. He has from Day 1. He has done everything that we have asked him to do. The young man comes early and stays late. I am about people and creating environments for guys to get better. Like I said before, it is not just him. Collectively as a football team at every position, we need to get better. We are just going to keep putting our heads down and keep working."

On determining a position for WR Terrelle Pryor:

"I still think until we can get on the grass, it is still a little early. It is still a little early. He is a talented individual. He can do a lot of different things. We will find a way to showcase his talent and ability. Obviously, we all know he is very gifted in a lot of different areas. We will see what we can put together to give him a chance to have success."

On if Griffin still has the bark and swagger that he has said he likes to see in QBs:

"He is not afraid, that is for sure. Neither is (QBs) Josh (McCown), neither is Connor (Shaw) and neither is Austin (Davis). That is what you want to see. This is pro football. You can't shy away or run from the things that maybe there has been fear before. At the end of the day, this business is about doing it and getting it done. We kind of talk in our room about getting the job done, and getting the job done at that position is winning. You have to have some inner confidence. Obviously, you have to keep your ego in check. We all do, but at the same time, I do want a man that has a little swagger to him because that guy has to be a leader. It is not just RGIII. It is also Josh, it is Austin and it is Connor. All of those guys within their own way have that edge to them. That is really important."

On public speculation that the Browns will not win many games in 2016:

"I don't get caught up in what everybody else thinks. I can only worry about what this organization thinks and what our players think. We know we have a job to do. Like I said, we are just going to keep working at it each and every day. Our job is to win. We are not going to just show up and roll the ball out and say, 'You can have it.' We have a lot of work to do, but I think this team, if they keep working and keep pushing, has a chance to do something that people maybe think they can't, but we will see. It is way too early to talk about those things. I have said it from the day I sat up here before: I expect to win. Please, I expect to win. Our players expect to win, and we understand that in order for that to happen, we have to work to win. That is all we are about right now. We are not about anything else other than that."

On if the Browns could potentially retain McCown in 2016, given the team signed Griffin:

"He is on our football team. I think you guys have talked to him today. I think Josh is excited and happy to be here. What we are talking about is in the future. I don't know about all of that. I do know this: Tomorrow, he is going to be in this building, we are going to get ready and we are going to have another good day. That is the most important thing going right now."

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