'We need to finish a game': Browns Coach Hue Jackson on the rest of the season

Posted at 4:18 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 16:59:54-05

As the Cleveland Browns go into week eleven versus the Steelers, Coach Hue Jackson said they are focused on finishing a game. The team had the word 'finish' painted in the Browns end zone during Wednesday's practice. He went on to say:

“The second halves are something that we really talked about. We need to finish a game. As you guys all know, we have been up at halftime on about six of these opportunities. Normally, that is where you want to be. For some reason, we have not been able to finish it. To make winning a reality, that is what you have to do. You have to finish games, and we are going to count this thing down. There are six of them left, and I told these guys that and that is what it is there for. We are going to try to finish this season the right way because we need to.”

Read more from Jackson's press conference below: 

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

“He is good. I have seen Ben so many times and I have great respect for him as a quarterback. He is a guy that is hard to bring down, and he makes a lot of uncommon plays in a lot different ways, running around with the ball and throwing the ball down the field. He has been very good at what he has done for a long time. Tremendous player.”

On if rookie QBs can improve immensely in one week to week or if it is always gradual and how QB Cody Kessler has been improving:

“It does, and I think Cody has done some good things, too. Maybe we have been a little too harsh on him that way. He has done some things that have been improvements. He has made some jumps in some areas. There are some areas that he wants to make some jumps in. Quarterbacks, they do that from time to time. He is playing with a cast of players week in and week out that he is starting to get familiar with and they are getting familiar with him. That is just work in progress. At the same time, young quarterbacks kind of grow at different rates time to time. We want them to grow up as fast as we can, but sometimes guys have to go through their process to get there.”

On specific areas Kessler can make improvements:

“I just think running our offense. Obviously, situational football, we have to be very good in order to have a chance to win. You have to be good at third down. You have to be good in the scoring zone. You have to be good in two minute and all the situations that happen in games because those things dictate and decide games. The next jump for him is in all those areas because it is something you have to do to be a good offensive football team.

On when QB Robert Griffin III will return to practice:

“I think it is soon. Obviously, he is still working. He is not totally cleared to go out there and practice yet, but I think we are very good. We are getting there. Hopefully, we will get him out there sooner rather than later.”

On if Griffin will return to practice this week:

“I don’t think so, no. I don’t think it will happen this week.”

On Griffin not returning to practice yet:

“With all of these situations, obviously, I am not the doctor, but I think it is more of making sure that everything is healed up properly so that when he goes out, obviously, we will not be able to tackle him or do those things, but when you start exerting energy and practicing at a high level, that all of the sudden there is not a setback. We are just being very cautious and making sure that everything is done correctly so when he does go out there that he can stay out there.”

On how Kessler has handled the benching last week now that he has returned to practice:

“Cody is fine. He is out there working, ready to go, bright eyed, excited about the opportunity to play. He is playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. You better be ready (laugher). I think we have really read into it a little bit more last week. I understand what everybody felt, but I don’t think he looked at it that way. I think it motivated him. He is preparing himself to go play, and he will walk out there and go play well this week. That is what he has to do.”

On QB Josh McCown and WR Andrew Hawkins visiting members of Congress this week and if it is important for them to use their voices:

“I do. It is huge. You are talking about two young men on our team that I have a lot of respect for, who have a voice in that locker room and that when they come back, there are messages that they can bring back. I think that they both really enjoyed their experience. They had asked me about this well in advance of the other day and I was totally for it because what a tremendous opportunity for them to have a voice in some serious issues that are going on and for them to learn different ways that we are trying to do things better. They will carry that message into our locker room with our younger players. They are two guys that I think our guys look up to.”

On if McCown and Hawkins will address the team about the visit:

“That is kind of up to them how they will do it because that locker room is theirs. I kind of leave that for them. I am sure they will, and I am sure guys have asked them throughout today, ‘Why weren’t you here?’ I am sure they were able to share their experiences with them.”

On how frustrating it is as a play caller and designer to see makeable plays left on the field:

“Absolutely, that is tough. That is. Like you said, you see things and you know how it should go, and when it does not go that way you go, ‘Oh my gosh.’ That is just part of it. I have been in that situation before, and I have watched teams come out of it. I have been in that situation before and you don’t come out of it, and it is for so many different reasons. It is not just one person. It is a unit issue and maybe just the pressure of doing it play in and play out just not ready for. We have to get there because at some point in time here we are going to be a really good offensive football team. We are just not there yet.”

On if a QB can drastically improve his arm strength during an offseason:

“Yeah, I have seen guys get stronger, can throw the ball further from Year 1 to Year 2, but I will say this: when we get to be where we want to be, we are not going to talk about any of those things. That is the one thing as we move forward at that position that I really don’t want to spend time with, because we are going to make sure that, whether it is Cody or someone else or whoever, he is going to be able to play the game the way we want it played and you guys will know. You won’t have to ask those questions. You are going to feel good about all those characteristics that you are mentioning.”

On rookies dealing with pressure and developing and how that shows up on the field:

“It would be different if we were playing some not very good teams. We are playing some really good teams, and the pressure of doing things, whether it is situational football, third down when everybody in the stadium knows you have to throw the ball or you have to pass protect, you have to make this first down, that is pressure. You are in the scoring zone and you need a score and you have to make that play to score. That is pressure. Two-minute drills, that is pressure. Some guys are just not ready for that. That is having to do it right on a consistent basis, play in and play out for 55-60 snaps is tough. Normally, you get to take a blow as a young player while you are learning, but you are having to do it, and that is hard.”