Hue Jackson teleconference - 11/11


Opening statement:**

"Obviously, last night was not the result that we wanted. We have not reached the result that we are after, and I think we all get that. It was a tough night. I think there were some positives to the night. I watched a defense that played much better in the first half and did some things extremely well. I watched an offense that was kind of hit and miss but was able to take a lead in at halftime against a really good defensive football team. There were some positives. Obviously, the disappointment is not being able to finish the second half and that is something we have to do better. I say it every week, I am not going to get discouraged by what is going on. It is disappointing, but at the same time, I am just more than determined along with this group of men to keep fighting. Let me say this about our players, I have never been around a group that works as diligently as these guys trying to do it right, doing everything we as coaches have asked of them to give themselves the best opportunity. It has eluded us, but I can't say enough about the guys and how they come to work, everything they do to put this football team and organization in a position to try to have success. We just have not had it. The reasons to me really do not matter right now. What matters is the mindset of our players as we get ready to come back. I have asked them to get away from football for a couple of days and refocus and get ready for this last stretch run. There will be a bye in between there, too, but we are going to have six games left to have an opportunity to do something that we all want to do which is win a football game. I think they will do that. I think they will get away and get recharged and come back and be ready to go when we start back up on Monday."

On ensuring Browns fans that they will not have to suffer through a tough season next year, given expectations for this season and the record:

"Because hopefully, there will be a lot of growth and things will be in the positive a year from now. Obviously, next year is going to really kind of take care of itself. I think that our fans, and I understand their concern, but I have a strong commitment to the Cleveland Browns. First myself, I know Dee and Jimmy Haslam do, too. I know (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Sashi (Brown) and (Chief Strategy Officer) Paul (DePodesta) and AB (Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry), we all understand where we are, and it is disappointing. None of us want to be in this situation, and especially for our fans, we do not want that for them and our players, but this is where we are. This is our reality so we have to fight our way out of it. All I can say to our fans is hang with us. I have never been through this this way and it is new and different, I don't like it and we have to do something about it. I am very confident that we will."

On balancing the development of the Browns roster and trying to win, and if that becomes even more of a challenge as the Browns are 0-10 and want to reward players with a win:

"No, it can be. There is no question about that. Development is important. There is no question. We have some young players that we are trying to develop and see, and I think those things are important, but also these guys do deserve an opportunity to win because that is the ultimate. That is what this is truly all about. You said it, there is a fine line between the two, but if I had to choose right now for our football team for everything they have given to me and how they have been, I would choose winning over everything."

On where the Browns have improved the most since Week 1:

"The biggest growth I have seen in this team is their ability to stick together. Not that they were not together from the start, but when you are in this kind of situations, it is very easy to fall off the cliff and go the other way. That is a credit to our players and our coaches. I think that is where the development has been. We are doing things better on defense than what we started. I do see signs of that everywhere. I see individual players on offense getting better here and there, but collectively as a group, we can do some things better as a unit. There has been a lot of improvement in a lot of different places but not collectively as a team good enough for us to win games. That is the most disappointing part for me and for our staff."

On how Dee and Jimmy Haslam have responded and their feedback to him:

"Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam have been outstanding. Obviously, they don't like to lose, either, but I think they understand the plan and what we are trying to accomplish. I have total faith and confidence in them and the vision that we have created. No one wants to be sitting here in the position that we are in, but they have been outstanding to me. They have been outstanding in their support of me. I feel very comfortable with where we are – not where we are as far as our record – I feel very comfortable as far as where we are in my relationship with them and how they feel about where we are headed."

On the Haslams understanding the team's plan and what are the Browns trying to accomplish:

"That is something that you would have to talk to Sashi about as we move forward. At some point, I am sure that will be kind of laid out. What you guys have seen is the development of a lot of young players on our football team for numerous reasons, not just because that is what we wanted to do but also because of injuries and because they were the best people to put in those positions. We all recognize when you are playing a lot of young players that these seasons, records, whatever it is you want to say can go a lot of different ways. For whatever reason, it hasn't gone the right way for us. We have not had very many breaks as we have been through the season. That is a huge part of it, but at the same time, I don't think anybody wants to be in the situation we are in today."

On continuing to develop young players when the Browns have not seen success in the second half or by winning games:

"That is my charge. That is my charge and our staff's charge. It is one finding a way. I don't know and I would be the first to tell you – I am not going to sit up here and sugarcoat it – I don't know what that is because we have tried many different things, and we are not going to stop. We are not going to stop searching, trying to figure it out because somewhere in there is the key to unlock something that will get us to where we need to be. That being said, I think our players will tell you that there is nothing that anybody is doing differently or any of that. Sometimes, the newness – I have said this before and I think I have said it to all of you – I think the pressure of playing and doing things right play in and play out is tough. We are the youngest team in the league with the most rookies, I get all of that, but what is put in front of them can be a very daunting task. I don't think our guys are running from it. To answer your question, how do you keep developing? You keep putting them in those situations. I know the next question will be, 'But boy, you are not having success so how do you keep a player from internalizing this and them feeling this way?' That is what we will play us to. We have to find a way to make sure that we keep creating the right environments for them to continue to get better."

On rating his first Browns rookie class:

"It is too soon to rate it because the season is not over. I don't want to give it a grade and I don't want to compare it to anything until I have really had a chance to see it all, which I have from a coaching standpoint, but I would love to be able to step away when this is done and really go back and look at it in a little different type of detail. It is important to give you guys the answer that you are looking for and that I am very forthcoming and honest. That is what I want to be, but I would need to have some time to really dig through it all and really look at each player and each situation that they have been put in, practice and just the whole nine yards to really tell you where this class is and where I think this class can eventually be."

On an injury update:

"There was nothing really to report. We came out of it pretty good."

On stating last night Kessler wasn't doing what he normally does well and what those were:

"First of all, let me say this about Cody: Me and Cody had a great conversation this morning. Cody is in a great place. You guys all know, I think he understands the situation from last night was a tough one. I think you guys will find when you get the opportunity to talk to him that he learned that this experience of a Thursday night game is tough. It is different. This was his first opportunity under the lights and our whole team's first opportunity under the lights, a kind of pressure-packed gameplan on Thursday night and a whole different process during the week than what you normally do, and it can be a little unsettling. What I saw earlier were just some things of putting the ball in the proper spots where I wanted the ball to be, and it wasn't there, but it wasn't just Cody, let me say that. When I look back at it now and had a chance to watch the tape, it is an offensive unit issue. Obviously, everything that you guys know from me is driven by the quarterback. He knows that and understands that. He is the quarterback and he will come back out here and get ready to fight against Pittsburgh."

On if he was surprised by the scrutiny he has received in benching QB Cody Kessler:

"No, I'm OK with that. We all have our opinions. Like I said, I did it for my reasons. As I explained last night, I will not shy away from that. At the time, it was the right decision to make for our football team because I was looking for a spark and I didn't get it. I am not going to be perfect in everything I do and I am not going to do what everybody thinks that I should do. I am going to do what I think is best for our football team. Last night, I made the choice and it did not work out. I will take the heat. I understand how this works, and I respect that."

On QB Robert Griffin III warming up during pregame yesterday and if there is a status update on Griffin and if he expects him to play again this season:

"I do not have a status update on Robert at this point right now. It would be premature really to get into that conversation. As far as him throwing on the field, I do know and I have heard about that. That is something that obviously the league is taking a look at, and hopefully, there is no issue with that. I believe there will not be, but we will see how that goes, too."

On if he has had to coach himself up some, considering the tough circumstances:

"I am having to coach myself up. I am not going to kid any of you about that. I never could have dreamt this ever. This is different, but at the same time, I get it. I am in it. It is at my feet. I am not going to run from that. I do understand what the issues are and where we are and where we are going to go, but also, it has been tough. I have a good staff who stands behind me. I have an owner who has been unflinching. I have executives in the front office starting with Sashi, Paul and AB who have not blinked, and they get it. Are we disappointed for where we are? Yeah, but I think we also understand what we have to do in order to get this changed."

On if it is against NFL rules for Griffin to throw before the game since he is on injured reserve:

"It would be if it was 60 minutes prior to the game starting. Then he cannot be out there throwing to a player, any player at that particular point in time, from what I understand from the rules."

On if the Browns are in jeopardy of NFL discipline:

"From what I know, we did not break the rules. Obviously, until the investigation is complete, you don't know. We will wait for them to have that down, but hopefully, everything will be alright as far as that is concerned."

On if the Browns need to reevaluate the interior OL, especially C:

"As I have told you guys, we will continue to evaluate that. Obviously, we will. All of it from top to bottom other than left tackle, I have to continue to look and it and see what is going to be best for us. Today, do I feel we need to make an adjustment? No. Will I feel like that as we continue to move forward and talk about it and discuss things as a staff, but right now, today, we are going to leave things intact because I think continuity and being able to know where guys are will be the most important things for us these next six weeks."

On the Browns' schedule this weekend:

"They will be off over the weekend and they will be back Monday, and we will have an extra day to hit the ground running and getting ready for Pittsburgh."

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