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Cleveland Browns Conference Call Transcripts 10/5

Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson and Quarterback Cody Kessler address the New England media during their conference calls on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.



On Patriots QB Tom Brady returning:
"He is as good as there has ever been to play the game. Obviously, he is a tremendous challenge. He is very passionate about football. He loves the game. We know that. He has been away from it for a while so I'm sure he will be very excited about going out and playing with his teammates."

On the Browns' mindset after being competitive but not yet claiming a win:
"Absolutely. Our team is fighting extremely hard. There are some times we have played pretty well. There are times where we don't play as well as I think we can, but the guys are working hard. They are working at it. I'd feel different if they weren't. They are giving me everything that they have. We just have to continue to get better."

On QB Cody Kessler's performance, given he wasn't expected to play this early in his career:
"Absolutely. He is competing. He is doing the best that he can do within the structure of our offense. He has done some really good things. He has given us a chance the last couple of ball games to have an opportunity to win. He just has to continue to get better."

On the production in the run game with RBs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.:
"Oh yeah, we have two guys that have done a good job thus far, the offensive line, as well as receivers downfield blocking, tight ends. It is not just them. Everybody has a hand in that. At the same time, it is still early in the year. We will find out truly what kind of run team we are as we continue to move forward."

On what impresses him about OL Joe Thomas on and off the field:
"He has been outstanding. He is one of the cornerstones of our organization, one of the best players that this organization has had at his position at left tackle. He is into it each and every day. He is into it each and every game. Hopefully, someday, we can reward him back for all the hard work he has put in, all the blood, sweat and tears he has put in here because he is one of the best at what he does. He has been outstanding. Through it all, through this rough start, he has been one of the guys that's kind of kept it altogether."

On talks of Thomas being traded last season and if he has spoken with Thomas about his role in what he is building in Cleveland:
"Yeah, we have had talks that we want him to be here as long as he wants to play football because he is Mr. Cleveland Brown. All the other things, we have let kind of go. The most important thing, obviously for us, is playing the Patriots this week."

On working with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown:
"He has been outstanding. He is part of our team. He is the leader of our team, I should say. He has been very collaborative as we go through this process with myself and (Vice President of Player Personnel) Andrew Berry and (Chief Strategy Officer) Paul DePodesta and Dee and Jimmy Haslam. He has taught me a lot about how to really make this thing work. He is very bright. He is very detailed and he understands exactly what we are trying to accomplish."

On what Brown has taught him:
"I think it is just really how to help manage the team and exactly what the vision is for our organization and what we are trying to accomplish because we all have to see it through his eyes, along with Dee and Jimmy. He kind of lays it out and we talk about it, and we make decisions based on the things that we all want to accomplish."

On the trademarks of the Patriots defense:
"They are very tough and they take away your strengths. They make you work for everything you get. It has never been about where they rank or are they good at this or good at that because they are such good coaches at making sure that they minimize what you do well. It is a tremendous challenge but it is part of football."

On Patriots TE Martellus Bennett:
"He is tough. He is strong. He can run routes. To me, he is a ferocious blocker. He is one of the best players in my opinion that is kind of unknown at his position in the National Football League because the guy can run routes with anybody. He can catch the ball. He is one of the tight ends in the National Football League that can block, whether it is outside linebackers or defensive ends - it does not matter - he has that makeup, he has that body strength and structure, and he is as good as there is."

On challenges altering gameplans when incorporating new QBs, which both teams have done this year:
"It is tough. I think we all recognize and understand that, but that is part of the reason why you have flexibility within your system. I'm sure the Patriots go about it that way, too, because you have to be able to adapt. You don't want the injuries to ever come up, but we know they do happen. I think we all recognize they are not going to cancel the games, and I think the Patriots have done an outstanding job being 3-1 before Tom got back. Obviously, we have to get on the other side of the ledger ourselves. I do get it and understand it, but at the same time, that is just part of life in the National Football League."

On what factors led to the Browns trading LB Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots:
"Mingo is a tremendous young man, and I think to talk about the past really does not do anything for anybody. He is there and doing well, and we wish him well other than this weekend. He is a good young man."

On working with DePodesta, who came from MLB:
"He has been great. Obviously, he is a football guy now because he has spent a lot of time working at it. He is one of us. He has been part of our process of teaching us new processes and how to do things and look at things differently. He is very up to speed on the traditional methods of the National Football League, and we really respect his knowledge and how he goes about us seeing things and doing things. It has been outstanding. I think it is something that we have all grown from, and he is just part of our team and he has done a great job."

On what he is expecting from Brady and if he anticipates Brady will have an element of adjustment in his first regular season game this year:
"Let me say this much - I hope there is an adjustment period (laughter). I would not think there would be for him. He is well prepared. He understands how to play this game and he will come back. This is Tom Brady we are talking about, and he is chomping at the bit to play. He does not like sitting out games so he will come back and he will play as well as he has played. We just have to do everything we can to make sure that he does not play as well."



On accepting the starting QB role early in his career and his performance through two starts:
"Obviously, getting thrown in there, but for me, having to be prepared a lot sooner than expected, but like I said, just tried to control what I control, stay in the comfort of my game and go in each week and just stick to the process. Work hard and study the offense and study who we play each week defensively and stay on top of everything. That way it eliminates confusion and have that type of patience so I can go in and play fast."

On Head Coach Hue Jackson and associate head coach-offense Pep Hamilton contributing to his development:
"Coach Jackson has been great. He has helped me out tremendously with everything and Pep, Coach Hamilton, obviously, is right there with him. Coach Jackson has been around the position a long time. He has coached some great quarterbacks who have had a lot of success. I have just really just stuck to him and listen to him and whatever coaching points that he has said to me, kind of take it to heart and learn from it and improve. Just to continue each week to grow as a quarterback and also as a guy that is a rookie that has gotten thrown into this spot and wants to go out there and continue to compete. It has been really good, and I have been really fortunate to have both coaches, both Coach Jackson and Coach Hamilton."

On WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.'s emergence helping his development:
"Terrelle has been great. He has done a lot of things already this season, a lot of different positions that the coaching staff has asked of him and he has been great. He has helped me out a ton, too. He has played the position, played quarterback before. He understands what I might be going through and what different situation is going on and how to say, 'OK, this is how you see it. This is how I might see it.' We talk through things, whether it is different coverage or different routes, but he has been great. He has really been a great teammate, too. He has stayed after with me, watched film, done different things to help out and stay after and run some routes and make sure we are always on the same page. It has been very beneficial for me to have him."

On leaning on Pryor from a QB perspective, not just as a WR:
"More so obviously the receiver, but he has played quarterback before so he understands as a quarterback different reads, to get it out on time, where to put it, different things that maybe a guy who hasn't played the position before wouldn't understand. He has that little extra knowledge of the position that really helps us communicate, along with other guys. We have other receivers that have been in the league a long time with (WR) Andrew Hawkins and (TE) Gary Barnidge at tight end on that same page as us. Terrelle obviously playing the position before helps us a little bit."

On OL Joe Thomas:
"I have been very fortunate to have Joe. He is obviously one of the best to ever play left tackle. I have only been with him now two games, but he has done a great job. Obviously, as a player, everyone knows what he is capable of and how good he is, but as a teammate, too, in helping me out and just keeping me calm and different things. I have been very fortunate to have him in the huddle with me and his leadership not only for me but for the whole offense and the whole team. I have leaned on him asked him questions here and there about what he likes and what different things I need to do better and these things. He is always right there to help. He is always right there with, 'Hey, you are doing great or maybe try this or do that.' It has been really good to have him helping me out."

On comments about the Browns building for the future, especially considering the team's 0-4 record:
"I don't think about that. I don't think any of the guys do. We can control what we can control. That is how we compete every day at practice. That is how we compete in every game. We have had some tough ones the last few weeks and they have been pretty close. Our guys have played really well, and we just have to do a good job of finishing. You can't take that mindset. Our mindset is, as a team, we are going to go out and compete every game. That has been my mindset. I just control what I control, prepare as hard as I can and stay late here in the facility and just watch countless hours of film and go over the gameplan and do everything I can to stay prepared. I think that is everyone's mindset on this team. Guys get really competitive here and they are working hard. We just keeping to what we can control, and that is how we prepare."

On Patriots QB Tom Brady playing this week and if it feels as if the Browns feel slighted that they may have been overshadowed by his return:
"No (laughter). I just control what I can control and that is how I prepare. Obviously, Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, and he has played it for a long time and done a lot of great things. As a young quarterback, that is something you want to do. You want to play for a long time and be as successful as he has and continue to work hard. In this situation, you just have to control what you can control. That is how I play and how I prepare. I just kind of keep to myself and the guys in the locker room and just continue to work hard and just keep doing everything I can to better my game and to better this team."

On the importance of the running game for QBs, given the Browns' success:
"Yeah, it is definitely - when your run game is doing as positively and is as strong as ours is right now, it definitely helps you up as a quarterback. You said any quarterback, but especially me being a rookie, when we are as successful as we have been in the run game, it obviously opens up things in the pass. That is obviously everywhere you go, but I have been very fortunate, and it starts with the offensive line. Our offensive line has done a great job, especially with the injuries and guys rotating in and out at different positions - to really establish the run game. A big tribute to Crow (RB Isiah Crowell) and to (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.), both guys are just really, really hard physical runners who are capable of a lot of different things in the run game and as well in the pass game. They have helped me out there, too. I have been very fortunate to have the two running backs that we do."

On if Brady was a QB he looked up to or followed closely:
"Yeah, like I said, I told you guys I love the position. I respect the quarterback position because it is tough. It is hard to play, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of commitment. Guys like Tom that have played it for so long I used to love watching those as a kid just different quarterbacks. I never really had a team growing up, particularly had a team, but I would always watch if different quarterbacks were in or guys that were successful at the position, I loved watching them and how they played. Obviously, Tom is one of the best ever to play the position. For me as a kid, I loved watching guys that were really successful at it so I could learn from it."

On if a win on Sunday would be one of the greatest of his career, given the Patriots history and success:
"The Patriots are a great team. They are a great franchise, and they have established themselves. For me, I just control what I can control and I just keep working hard and do everything I can to put us in a position to win and just keep working as hard as I can and getting ready for Sunday. We just want to be ready to go and come out and compete. It is going to be a tough game. The Patriots are a great football team and a great organization, and we are going to have to work very hard this week and get prepared."   

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