Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson spoke with the media after Wednesday's OTA practice, the second of a three-day practice period in Phase 3 of the team's offseason program. You can watch the press conference here; I have organized the transcript by topic below.
(Opening statement): "It was a good day today, fresh off of coming off of yesterday where we did something a little different for the first time of my career. We kind of split the teams [yesterday] and made sure we got more reps and today brought them back together as one group. I think it was really a good way to practice on Tuesday so guys could get more reps and today to bring them back together. I think it was kind of a shock to the system on Tuesday. Today, we wound them back down, and the guys have responded. They’ve done a tremendous job. It’s just so exciting to get the players all out there on the field and practicing and practicing together and getting a feel for what your team looks like and what your team potentially could be in certain spots and places. I think we’ve had two good days. We have another day to finish off as the start of Phase 3. I think the guys are working hard, and that’s what you want. The guys have done everything I’ve asked. We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we don’t need to be right now. We need to work at it and pay attention to detail and be accountable to each other and make sure guys are doing the right things and coach them the way we know we have to in order to get them to where we need to get them to be. I think our guys understand there’s a tall challenge ahead. We’re starting at the bottom, and we’re going to climb our way to the top. We’re just going to keep putting our head down and keep grinding through."
All About Robert Griffin III
(On if QB
Robert GriffinIII has accuracy issues): "No, RGIII doesn’t have any accuracy issues. He doesn’t. The defense sometimes is in the right spot. As we play in a no-huddle offense, sometimes we say things and the team knows exactly where the ball is going. You hear it enough. No, I don’t get that feeling. Can we do some things better? Yes, he can. I think we all can. Every quarterback can, but I don’t think he has accuracy problems."
(On some of the things that he was trying to instruct Griffin on out at practice): "All that is just communication. That’s learning. A lot these guys haven’t played in this offense that we as a staff has put together. We’re learning. This is Day 2 of the OTA program. We have a long way to go. There are still a lot of new and foreign words to our guys. They will pick them up as they go. It’s how you communicate things. All of the quarterbacks today, and I think our whole offensive unit, it’s different for them. We’ll get them to where they need to be, but again, for Day 2 of putting in as much stuff as we’ve put in on these guys, I think they’ve done a really good job."
Instructing The Quarterback Room
(On what he is specifically looking for to instruct the quarterbacks on moving forward): "I’ll go back and watch the tape. We do a lot of situational things. Then, we’ll see if from a footwork, progression, getting the protection right, if those things are done correctly. If they’re not, we’ll make the adjustments; I want to understand why they’re not. Then, we kind of go from there. It’s all-encompassing. There are a lot of things – I think we all know – that go into playing quarterback. There is a lot of pressure on those guys. Those guys are making sure everybody is lined up correctly. Those guys are making sure of the snap count. Then, there’s a play they have to deal with. Then, there’s a rush that’s coming at them. Then, they have to deliver the ball accurately. There are a lot of things that we have to look at. It’s not just one thing. This is not just roll the ball out there, just throw it to that guy over there. There’s more to it than that. We have a ways to go, but I see a lot of progress that has been made from the quarterback position, not just Robert but (QBs) Josh (McCown) and Austin (Davis) and Connor (Shaw) and Cody (Kessler), when he practiced the other day. Everybody is at different levels. My job is get them all up to speed to give them the best opportunity to compete as hard as they can, as well as they can. That’s what (associate head coach – offense) Pep (Hamilton) and I will do. Those guys, they take the challenge each and every day and they go out there to lead the unit when they get their opportunities and they’ve got to make the most of it."
(On what he’s learned about McCown after being around him): "That’s he’s a pro. The guy has played for as many years as he’s played, the guy knows how to play the game. I get that, and he does, too. He’s done a good job, and he’s handled himself the way you expect a professional to handle himself. Every day he goes out there to work his tail off to have a chance to be on this football team. He’ll be the first to tell you nothing’s given. Everything is earned whether it’s in the classroom or whether it’s on the practice field, whether it’s in the weight room. We’re working. That’s all I’m concerned about right now. I know everybody wants us – sometimes I feel like [everyone] wants us to cut them to cut the team and make decisions of who’s on the 53 – we don’t play a game for a long time, a long time. I get to evaluate these guys in the toughest conditions because I’m going to put them in all kinds of different situations to find out about them all – what they can do and what they can’t do and what I know I can trust and what they know they can trust. It goes both ways. We’ll get there, but it is way too soon to be worried about some of the things that I think sometimes we’re concerned about – talking about you all. It’s just too soon. You have two OTA practices. There are still six more, seven more to go. We’ll get there. Maybe by the end of it ask me these great questions and I’ll have some answers for you, but I promise you I won’t any time soon."
(On McCown going on 37-years old): "He doesn’t look like he’s going on 37. Do I look like I’m going on 50 something? He doesn’t look like that. He takes care of himself, and he works extremely hard. He’s taking care of his body. For a guy to play as long as he has, he’s figured it out what it takes to be in there year in and year out. He’s a tremendous pro. You just said it. The guy is going on 37-years old and still competing with these young guys. That tells you a lot. God’s been good to him."
Previous Ties to DE Desmond Bryant
(On how DL
Desmond Bryanthas improved over the years): "I think he’s really grown. He’s more mature than what he was when I had him in Oakland. He was really starting to become a really good football player. Obviously, coming here for him was probably the height of his career where all of a sudden he started making a lot of money and having an opportunity to really be the guy. On the defensive line he played with, there was a lot of other superstars. He learned from those guys, and now, he’s kind of the elder statesman amongst that group with some other guys. He’s trying to show those other guys the way. He’s done an outstanding job. He’s headed for a big year this year. He’s doing the things that our defensive staff is asking him to do."
(On if Bryant’s maturity in Oakland was that of a typical young player): "Absolutely. Everybody, when you’re new into the National Football League, you’re coming from a really prestigious school and there’s a lot to learn. That’s on any player. Not that he handled things wrong, he did exactly what I asked him to do when I was there before. You say, ‘Where is he at from then to now?’ I see a more mature player who’s a lot calmer, who knows how to play this game, who knows the process of getting ready to play this game. He works at it every day."
The Browns' Style of Offense & Defensive Success
(On if his offense is more complicated than others around the league): "I don’t know if it is. I’m sure everybody has different phases that they play and different tempos that they play in. We just ask our guys to do the things that we think are going to take to win. We just do it each and every day, and we go at it. I don’t think our offense is any harder than any other, but I think there’s a different terminology that we use than what they’ve probably been accustomed to in the past. That takes time. That’s not going to happen overnight. I see our guys growing by leaps and bounds each and every time we walk out there because we put a little more and a little more and a little more, and we’ll keep asking for more as we go through it because we have to give it all to them so that when we get ready to pare it down to when we get ready to play, they truly understand what’s expected."
(On how much he is sharing what he sees from the defense at practice with the QBs): "A lot because they have to learn how to play. There are certain keys and things you look for, things you have to see playing that position. I think our guys are seeing the right things. If I thought they weren’t, then I would be concerned. I think all of our guys are seeing the right things. There are going to be mistakes right now. We don’t want the catastrophic mistakes because that means we’re not growing. Our guys are throwing. The last time I checked, there were a bunch of touchdown passes thrown, balls thrown deep and guys catching balls and balls getting batted down. That’s football. Defense is going to win some. Offense is going to win some. This quarterback is going to do really good in this period and he’s going to do really good in that period.
What I’m going to do is going to get the consistency throughout our football team. That’s what I’m chasing as a head coach – the competition, what we need to do each and every day going out there, how the quarterback position leads the whole team, on top of the offense, how the linebackers and our front plays on defense along with our secondary. That is a huge key to our success as we continue to move forward.
That being said, I’m not excluding our offensive line because our offensive line is a key to any of our quarterbacks playing well. I think we all recognize and understand that, but I think those guys are getting better each and every day. The communication is good. (OL) Cam (Erving) is getting more vocal. There’s a lot to this. It’s not just the quarterback. There’s a whole part of this, and we’re working on it each and every day. There’s not another group, in my opinion, that’s working as hard as this group collectively to be as good as they can be. Some days it’s going to look spectacular. Some days it’s not, and when it doesn’t I’m going to find a way to flip it and get it back to looking like it should be. I’m proud of these guys. I’m proud of the work ethic. I’m proud of what they do each and every day. I’m proud of when they walk in this building how they come in here every day ready to compete and get better."
Thoughts on Veteran WRs - Hartline & Pryor
Brian Hartlineplaying in the slot some of last year and how he sees Hartline in the Browns offense): "I just see a bunch of guys competing. It’s so early. I know sometimes everybody thinks you put a guy out here at this point or at this point this is this guy’s position. I don’t look at it that way. I just think those guys are going to earn the right to play on this football team, all of them. Hartline is a pro. He’s been through it. He’s had success. He knows how to play, and there’s something to that. At the same time, he knows each and every day he’s got to go out and compete because everybody’s trying to win a spot. To me, that’s what it’s truly all about. It’s about competing and it’s about earning a right to be a part of this football team."
(On how much of an unknown WR
Terrelle Pryoris and what he’s seen out of him): "Obviously, he’s flashed. He’s flashed the last several days. He’s taking coaching from the best there is from Al Saunders and (offensive quality control/assistant wide receivers coach) Bob Saunders. I think he kind of knows this system. He’s been around it a little bit. He knows what to expect, what to do, what not to do. The biggest thing, I think, that he’s done is he’s settled down and understands this is really what I want to do and I want to be good at it. ‘I’m athletic enough to do it. What’s my why? Why do I want to do this? Do I want to be great at this?’ My challenge to each and every one of these guys is to be great at what you do, not just be average, it’s to be great. He’s working at it. I think we all see it. I think he’s growing every day and getting better every day, and that’s all you can ask for."
Update on Joe Haden's Ankle Surgery
(On how DB
Joe Hadenhas been progressing after ankle surgery): "He’s done an outstanding job. He’s walking in a shoe now. That boot is gone. He’s not riding on that little trolley thing anymore. I’m excited for him. He’s worked extremely hard. As I said from Day 1, Joe can’t wait to get back out there with the guys. I think he’s progressing well. There’s still no timetable, but I think he’s getting there and is going to be there hopefully sooner than what we all thought because the mind is something that’s special. The guy really wants to be out there. He works extremely hard, and I think that’s where he wants to be. I think he’ll be out there sooner rather than later."
Loose Ends - Al Saunders, Alvin Bailey, and Rookies
(On if it is hard for him to part with some of the rookies who were unable to join today’s practice): "Yeah, very much so, but they had a good day before they left. They had a good day under their belt. This is an NFL time for them. It’s a rule, something that all the young men have to do. We’ve all been through this before so I think we get it and understand this is something that’s mandatory for them. They go and they’re part of the Rookie Premiere. We get it, but we’ll get them back. They’ll hit the ground running again."
(On if there is an assistant coach responsible for recharging senior offensive assistant Al Saunders every day): "No, that’s just kind of who Al is (laughter). He’s all the way. Every practice that’s who Al Saunders is, and our players, our receivers, you can see that there are some guys in that group that are really growing and getting better. I think it’s because of his tutelage and his ability to relate and get guys to play hard and understand what they need to do. I think you see some guys emerging and getting better every day in every practice. That’s good."
(On why the Browns brought in OL
Alvin Baileyand how he’s looked so far): "He’s done well. He’s another guy who’s played at a high level, was at Seattle and did a tremendous job for them. Played left tackle, played right tackle, can play guard. He has versatility. We’re giving him an opportunity because he was a guy that was out there and it was a position of need for us. He has a lot of the characteristics that we want in a tackle. He’s done a good job thus far. This is a new environment for him playing in an entirely different system. This is not just zone right, zone left where he came from and that’s what they did and they did a great job of it. He has that, but he also learned that there are a lot of other different ways of running the ball. He’s a guy that is a tough guy and wants to do well. We’re going to give him an opportunity to see if he can do it."