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Hue Jackson press conference - 11/20
November 20, 2017 06:41 PM | Clevelandbrowns.com
Head Coach Hue Jackson:

Opening statement:

"Obviously, disappointed in yesterday's performance. I thought our defense battled well. As I watched the tape, there are a few plays that I'm sure our defense wished they had back, but they battled hard. I thought the offense battled hard. We just didn't make the plays when they were there. We couldn't get much going in the running game. We had some chances in the passing game. We have to make those. We have to hit those plays. When you watch the game, as we all did today, this game is still 10-7 in the fourth quarter. We are driving, we have opportunities and then things just kind of reared their ugly head. Even after that, our defense gave us another opportunity and our special teams when the game was 13-7. We still had an opportunity. We just have to learn how to finish. What I felt and what I told our team today, and especially our offensive team is we have to make those plays. We have to learn to make those plays. It doesn't matter how young we are. When those plays present themselves, you have to make them. I think our guys, that was really an eye-opener, especially on offense for our offensive football team because there were plays to be made. What we can't do is we can't melt at those times. That is when guys really have to step and make plays. Now, you have to be in position to do that and learn how to do that because I think what has happened here over the years going on two years now, we haven't won. We haven't won very much. That is a trait that we have to learn how to do. It is so obvious to me, but I thought that everybody got a chance to see that. Our team plays hard. They play extremely hard. They try, but trying and playing hard in the National Football League just gives you a chance. You have to do it. That is just the way this league is, and I think our players to a man can see that more and more, but it is going to take a little more than what we are doing and in these critical moments. We have been in a lot of these close games heading sometimes into the fourth quarter or late into the third, and when those plays present themselves, you are going to have to make them in this league. That is kind of where we are. I like our guys. Our guys are gritty. They are resilient. They fight. We have to learn how to win. It is just that simple.

"On the injury front, I'm sure you guys know about (DL) Emmanuel Ogbah. He will be out for the season. He will have surgery. (DL) Jamie Meder has a high ankle sprain. We will know more about that as we go. (WR) Sammie Coates has the knee, and we will know more about that as we go. That is where we are from an injury standpoint. It is tough losing Emmanuel, tough losing any of our guys at this time, but that is football. Next man up. We will find a way to continue to play strong over there on defense and continue to get better throughout this football team."

On how QB DeShone Kizer responded from yesterday's loss after taking the loss hard postgame, and if he can shake it off:

"Oh, he has shaken it off. He is good. He saw the corrections he has to make. Being very honest with you guys, I think where that comes from is there were some balls that he missed. The ball sailed over our guys' heads and one ended up as an interception. I think he knows that that is not big-time quarterback play and that is not who he wants to be. We have to fix those things."

On if the best way for a young team to learn how to win is experience and to win:

"That is who we have so we are going to walk them out there and they have to learn how to do it. I have to keep putting them in positions to do it. I think what they felt today, as I was saying earlier, they saw the chances to do it. I think when you are in those spots sometimes, sometimes you feel like you can't and it is not happening for you, but I think they see the opportunity to. We just have to keep harping on them that they can do it, and they have to go make those plays."

On if players 'melting' at the end of games is due to pressure:

"I don't think it is pressure. What I think when I say the melting piece of it is when you haven't been - let's be honest, we are 1-what? What is this record? 1-25? Lord, have mercy. I try not to even think about how many it has been, but let's be honest, you haven't won. You have been in a lot of close games, but you haven't done it. I think when those situations come up again, not fear but needing to make that play is there. That is real. The football team, your teammates or whoever it is counting on you, we have guys that should be making those plays. They have to make them. Until you do it and get on the other side of it and win, you don't do it. It is just that simple. That is what I mean by that."

On how to decide whether or not to stick with the running game despite a lack of success during a given game:

"Because I get to look at the pictures, I get to see the matchups, I get to see that it is not happening as well and the game is slowing going the other way. You have to make a decision on how you are going to best win this game. I think, to a man, to a player, they would tell you that we weren't running the ball very well, and the throws we had that were sitting there, we have to make those, too. We weren't making those, as well. We didn't play as well as we can play on offense. Period. Running game, passing game, nowhere. We can play better. I have seen us play better. It is my job as a play caller to make a decision of what is going to be the best way. We still continued to try to run the ball. We made a third down and 2 late in that game, which was huge, running the football. It is not like - I think you guys all think we totally abandoned it because you watched them just keep running. That is who they were and their matchups were different. We could try to do that, but we weren't making . We were making a yard here and a yard there. That wasn't going to get us towards the end zone that way."

On if there was a time in Cincinnati when he attempted to run the football despite a lack of success:

"No doubt, when you just be stubborn and you make it happen. I didn't feel that was going to be the best way to get us a victory yesterday. I didn't see that. In order for a play caller to keep running the ball, somebody better inspire the play caller to keep running - a runner, blocking, whatever that is. That wasn't happening yesterday. We did what we thought was best to give our team a chance to win. Like I said, to a man in the locker room if you asked them, they would say we should have won that game because there were plays to be made. We just didn't make them."

On the challenge facing a talented four-man pass rush with a LT that hasn't played much:

"Right, I agree with that, but the thing was that pass rush didn't really take form until it was winning time for them - I'm being very honest with you - towards the end. That is when it looks like, 'Oh man, here we go.' They made the decision at the end when we had to throw it at the end when we had to do something to try to get points on the board, that all of a sudden they got him down. The other sack that was earlier in the scoring zone when the game was 13-7, that was an assignment error by us. That is what I am saying. That had nothing to do with their rush. That had to do with the Browns. If we do those things better, those are the things as an offensive football team, we have to do better. In moments when we know we have to get done what we have to get done, we have to do those things better. That has nothing to do with running. That has nothing to do with throwing. That has to do with fundamentally understanding your job and doing it as well as you can do it."

On if Kizer was too deep in the pocket on some of the sacks:

"That was the one early. I think it was the one where we were trying to throw the ball to (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.). We had Duke kind of open on the right side. It was a sack. He ended up knocking the ball out of his hand and he recovered it. Yes, he was too deep on that one."

On if Kizer felt the pressure of the pass rush and dropped too deep on that play:

"No, it wasn't the pressure. That is what I'm saying to you guys. The pressure doesn't happen if he doesn't get too deep. That is my point. That is the fundamental thing of catching it, resetting and not taking a drop that you are not supposed to take. I think that is where his frustration came from. He did some things that he hadn't done for a couple of weeks. That is the young player in him. That is the guy that he has to continue to fight. That is the consistency he has to have. That is why I'm saying I think sometimes when you guys are thinking there is pressure by their front, it might be something that someone else is doing in protection by maybe a back or a quarterback being too deep or some of those things."

On if the Browns aren't talented enough to win:

"No, I wouldn't say that. I think we have some guys that are good enough. I'm going to say it again: I just think when you haven't won - I'm just being very honest and putting it out there - when you haven't won I the National Football League and you get thrust into that situation, until you do it, you don't do it. We have been in those situations, and I can be very candid with you guys, we haven't done it. I have to find a way, along with our players, and that is what I told them today, to where we can do it. That is when you have to be at your best is at the end when everything, and all of the chips are on the table now and you have to make those plays, then you have to make them. We have to make them as an offensive unit. It starts with me to them and through them. We have to do it, and we have to do it better."

On if there is something to be said for veteran leadership on the offense:

"Oh, no question. (OL) Joe Thomas is not out there. Yeah, what I have said to DeShone because obviously, the quarterback position is the guy who is the face. True? I think you guys would agree with that. Last week in Detroit, he was up and down that sideline 100 miles an hour. You can't be different from week to week. You have to be that same guy because they need you. That is what it is, but he is learning that. I'm being very honest with you because there isn't a Joe Thomas to say, 'Hey guys, let's go.' I put my finger in front of (OL) Joel Bitonio today and said, 'Joel, that is what you are going to do.' That is what somebody else is going to do that Joe Thomas might have done because it was easy to look down the left side and see Joe and go, 'OK.' Joe is not there anymore. Yeah, does it need to be our veteran players? Duke Johnson, these guys have to understand, 'Hey guys, let's go,' if the quarterback isn't doing it. It is hard to put on him. He is so young. He really is. He is trying to figure out this protection. He is trying to make sure of the coverage. He has a lot on his plate, but that is what he signed up for. That is what I told him so he is going to have to do it every week. That is his charge."

On the message from Dee and Jimmy Haslam in a players meeting last Monday:

"That is internal business. What the players said is true. I am very appreciative that Dee and Jimmy would talk to the players about what they feel, what they see and what they want. I will say this to all involved that there is a plan in place and they want to win. They expect this organization to win and for it to be better. They are going to get it that way. I truly believe that with all my being. It is hard right now for all involved. People don't get it. I get that, too. It is hard for me. Hard for our players. Hard for everybody. At the same time, when management tells you that we are going to do this and we are going to get there and here is the plan, that says a lot. It was very appreciative of the players."

On the Browns having a historical losing record over the past several years:

"Look, I am not running from this. It is part of my arrival and it pisses me off. I will be the first to tell you that. I never envisioned this in my life being 1-25 as a head football coach. I don't wish this on anybody. It is not what I want it to be. It is not what the players want it to be. It is not what Dee and Jimmy want it to be. It is not what anybody wants it to be. We have earned this. I am going to say it again: whatever record we have, we have earned in this organization. The only thing we can do is do everything in our power to change it. That is what we have to do."

On if he believes the Haslams still trust in the plan:

"Yeah. I think they do until they tell you otherwise. This is where we are. It is painful. I am sure it is painful for them. I am not trying to answer for them. I think it is painful for all involved. At the same time, this is where we are. We are in it. Like I said, there are no new players coming in. There are no new people coming in. This is where we are and we have to fight our way out. That is what it is."

On what the team learned from yesterday to take a step closer to a win:

"That you have to make those plays. Those crucial moments, there comes a time in a game, it is not early the game - hopefully, early in the game you made enough plays so later in the game comes, you are ready to finish it, right? That is how football works. If you are chasing and you are trying to come from behind, the other team has momentum and they are trying to stop you. You have to take that momentum from them. You have to make those plays in those key moments. Football is a game of situations. There are kinds of situations - first down, second down, third down. When those situations happen, that is when you have to be at your best. The real good teams in this league, they make those plays at crucial times. We have been in more football games than any of you probably think we should be in - let's just be honest. We have. That is because we ask our players to play extremely hard. They do for the most part what we ask them to do. The difference is we have not gotten over the hump to winning and those key moments where they are making those plays consistently in the fourth quarter like they are making them in the first quarter. That is what you have to do to win in this league. The fourth quarter is where you win games in this league for the most part. There are not a ton of blow outs. There are a few 50-point games every now and then. For the most part, it comes down to three, four or five plays in a game that make a difference. That is what we have to do better."

On if there is a workout for WR Josh Gordon today:

"There are things that I think he did with the quarterbacks today. Yes."

On how eager he is to see Gordon play:

"Very. Very. It is like Christmas. I get to open a new toy. I know what is in that box, but I just want to see how good it is. It is exciting that he will be back out there."

On if the Browns organization's plan is working:

"I really don't want to get into that. I think you guys are the best judges on that. Everybody speculates on that. This is what I want to do. I want to coach our football team to get better. It is my job to do everything I can to help these players and these coaches be the best they can be. Obviously, with a 1-25 record or whatever it is, it has not been pretty good. That is where I am going to continue to put my focus and continue to coach this team and try to get this team as good as we can get it because we are just not there yet."

On not answering whether he believes the Browns organization's plan is working:

"The plan that is in place, let me say this, my job is not to say whether it is or is not. My job is to coach this football team. That is what I was hired here to do. I was not hired with a plan. I was hired to coach this team and get them the best I can get them to be. That is what I want to concentrate on. I am going to coach this football team and get this football team to be the best they can be. I am not interested in talking about a plan. I do not want to talk about a plan. I want to talk about our football team and coaching this team and getting them better. That is my attitude. I am not going to change. I am going to tell you the same things. I am not mad at you. I am not mad at anyone in the room. I am just not talking about a plan. I am talking about coaching our team. That is all I want to do."

On what he tells players when they ask about the plan:

"They do not ask me that. They ask me 'What do we have to do to win, Coach?' That is it. I do everything for those guys. That is what I am here to do - coach this football team, coach these coaches to be the best we can be."

On if a player ever asked about the plan:

"There has never been one player who asked about a plan other than what the game plan is for the week. No. No. No. Whatever they felt, that was answered by ownership the other day. You guys mentioned the meeting so whatever that is that they were feeling. I think that group feels better about where they are headed and what they are trying to accomplish."

On if the Browns have external resources to have someone with Gordon at all times or if he has his own support system outside of the building:

"This is what Josh knows is that we are always available to him. He is entitled to be a man and make his decisions and do the right thing. We truly believe and support that he will. He has done everything we have asked him to do thus far. He is working extremely hard. He is excited about being back and having the opportunity. I know that every chance I get to be with him - he was on our sideline yesterday, and it was a treat. Just dialoging with him and the things he saw. The ways he thinks he can help. To me, that was exciting. He is doing well, and hopefully, that will continue."

On being the first coach to say that the media can judge the plan:

"You guys can. I get it. Guys, things are not great - let's be honest - when it is one like it is. I am not going to run from that. I am not judging the plan. I have to coach."

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