Check out the Saints preseason action from the second half against the Browns.
Head Coach Hue Jackson:
"First of all, I want to commend our fans for being here and supporting our football team and coming out tonight and helping encourage these guys to rally and finish this game and win it, and t our football team for all of the work they have put in to go win a game. They keep score. As I have said before, no matter how you do it, I just think it is good for the confidence of our players. They needed to go win this game. We found a way to do that. Obviously, there was some sloppy play early. Way too many penalties for my liking. We had 12. Way too many. There were penalties that you have to really look at and work through. We had some fundamental penalties, and we had some illegal alignment penalties. Those are things that we will definitely work through and get straightened out. Like I told the group in the locker room, now you will listen very carefully to (defensive coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams, myself, and (special teams coordinator) Coach (Chris) Tabor and the rest of the staff when we tell you things because these are the things that stop you from winning. The penalties and those type of things don't help you win games. It stops drives, and obviously, we had to deal with a lot of that tonight. There was some spotty play, but there was some good play at times, too. We have to grow from these things. This is early in the preseason. It is one game. Obviously, we had an opportunity to win that game so there is going to be some growth next week before we get ready to play New York."
On how DL Myles Garrett played:
"I will obviously watch more of the tape, but I thought he held his own. When he had an opportunity to rush, he rushed well and that there was a little pressure here and there. He made one play in the backfield. I did see that. I will watch more once I get an opportunity to see the tape."
On if he kept QB DeShone Kizer in the game for the entire second half in hopes of something good to happen:
"No, my plan was to play him the second half. It was. Once I thought about it, as I said, the young guys need to play and that is what I did. I didn't think the way it happened with the ones – it was right before the second quarter happened and there was another drive that they had that bled over into us – I wouldn't have taken those guys out. (QB) Cody (Kessler) got an opportunity, and I would have liked to get him a few more snaps, but I wanted to see DeShone play. I thought I needed to put him out there in the fire. I think it was a great experience for him. There is a lot for him to learn from, but there was a lot of good things that he did, and he stood in there and made some plays with his arm. He will be the first to tell you there are so many things that he has to grow from. Just calling the play right, he will be the first to tell you that so he will grow that way, but there were some positives there, too."
On Kizer's two long completions:
"I like when we are scoring, and we catch them and we score, no doubt. There were some other opportunities, too. We had one with (WR) Kenny Britt that all of the sudden we didn't get our feet in. It is just those things, but there were so many good situations for us to have happened in a game. Towards the end of the half we got to practice 'foul ball,' which you don't get to practice that. We decided not to punt the ball to the other team to give them a chance to return it. There were some two-minute situations in this game. We went for it on fourth down. We went for a two-point play. There are a lot of good things for these young guys to grow from. A lot of these things don't happen in preseason games so I am glad they did because these things will make a difference as we move forward."
On if Kizer's two long completions into the wind are good for his confidence:
"I am sure he is in the locker room excited, but he will be the first to tell you, there are so many other things to clean up. He probably would tell you it should have been two more long balls for big plays. He has a lot of work to do. He has to keep growing, and he has to keep working, but a night like tonight, for a young player as you mentioned, will give him confidence. The ears really get open now – keep listening to the coaches and great things happen. Hopefully, he will keep working. I am sure he will, just like the rest of our quarterbacks and the rest of our football team. We just have to continue to grow and get better."
On if Kizer did enough to warrant starting the second preseason game:
"I think it is way too early to talk about that. I need to go watch the tape and all that. Let's see it for what it was. The guy made some plays at the end that gave us a chance to win, but there is still so much growth that needs to happen for this young player. We all know he is talented, as I said before, but there are still some things he needs to do better."
On if Kizer's winning TD to WR Jordan Payton was the play called:
"I gave him two plays. I gave him two plays, and I thought in that moment, he handled that extremely well. He had an opportunity to do a couple of things and he did the right thing based on our conversation. Payton converted the route, which he should have, and DeShone found him for the win."
On if he was impressed with Kizer's movement in the pocket:
"Yes, but there were a couple of times where he held the ball way too long. That is the knock of a rookie quarterback and playing with different players and all of that. There is a lot to clean up for our football team, and we are going to grow from this. I am excited about the win for the guys, for all of the hard work and for everything we have done and for our organization, everybody because there was a winner and a loser tonight. We won so that is good stuff, but there is a lot for us to clean up and grow from."
On QB Brock Osweiler's performance:
"I will watch the tape. There are some things he did well, and there are things he didn't do as well. We will watch it and make the corrections we need to make and go from there. That is what you do. I wasn't expecting perfection tonight. I was expecting our team to compete and have an opportunity to win the game. That is what we did. We all as coaches – every coach in there as we talked earlier in the week – we knew when this thing was over there was going to be a lot to correct and get better at. We are competing against each other every day. When you start playing other teams, you find out the warts you have so that you can fix those. That is what we have to do as a football staff."
On if Osweiler's overthrows were a result of unfamiliarity with WRs:
"No, he can make those plays. I didn't see much separation from our guys, too. It goes both ways. I don't want to make it all about the quarterback. I don't want to make it all about the receivers. There is some work, as I said earlier, as a football team that we need to do and we have to do in order to get better."
On Kessler's performance:
"He made some plays. Cody ran around, made some plays and threw the ball down the field. There are some things he did well, and just like the other two guys, I really want to watch the tape and make sure I study it and study it very closely so that I can help these guys and make them better."
On where he goes from here with the Browns QBs:
"I go back to work tomorrow, look at all the tape and then make a decision about where we are. As I said, this was one week. I never told you guys this is how it was going to be from here on in. I said I am going to evaluate this after a week and see where we are. This was for this game on Thursday night against New Orleans. We will see where we are for next week."
On if Saturday is when changes could be made in the QB rotation:
"I don't know. Let me see the tape. Let me see how I feel. Let me see where we are."
QB Brock Osweiler:
On his performance:
"It's hard to do a full recap until I am able to see the film. You are only able to see so much from the field point of view. The things that definitely do jump out to me, those first two series, we had some penalties. I threw some incomplete passes. We weren't able to get into a rhythm as an offense. Anytime you struggle to get into a rhythm early, you are going to have a slow start to the game. That is what you saw tonight. There are no excuses for that. Honestly, that comes onto my shoulders. I have to find a way to spark this offense early, make plays for this offense early. Going into the third series, we did some pretty good things on offense. We got some first downs. We ran the ball well. The one thing I can tell you is the offensive line did a tremendous job tonight. I don't even think a finger got laid on me. Those guys did a tremendous job up front. We made some plays on the third drive, and we were able to move the ball down the field. It was just unfortunate that we couldn't end the drive with a touchdown. Once again, that falls onto me. There is no one who is going to study the tape harder to figure out why we didn't score a touchdown on that drive and what we can do different next time to make sure that drive does end in points because ultimately early in the game, and I think you guys would agree, our defense was playing really good football. Our special teams gave us some really good field position. Now, to play great complimentary football, now it is on our shoulders as an offense. When the defense and special teams are doing well, now we have to go put points on the board and start separating ourselves from our opponent. Like I said, there is no one who is going to study the tape harder. In fact, the sooner I can get out of here, I am going to watch it tonight."
On missing long on a few throws:
"It's funny, I came to the sideline after I was done playing and after that third series, and (quarterbacks coach) Coach (David) Lee, our quarterback coach, said, 'Boy Brock, you really have some pop on your ball tonight.' I said, 'You know, I think you're right Coach.' Honestly, I think it was just a little bit of that preseason game [excitement]. I was excited to be out there again. I was having fun. It is just developing that timing with the receivers. No excuses for it whatsoever. There were a couple goal balls that landed out of bounds. That is unacceptable. I have to give my receiver a chance. I am pretty sure – I could be wrong – but I am pretty sure in the history of the game that no ball has ever been completed that was thrown out of bounds. That is unacceptable, and I will get that cleaned up this week in practice. Bottom line, I think offensively, we did some good things. Obviously, there is a lot that needs to get cleaned up. Like I said, we had a slow start. We cannot do that, especially when our defense and special teams are playing great football."
On if is able to take the QB competition 'in stride' and without too much angst:
"Absolutely, there are a lot of things that take place on the football field that sometimes are out of your control. Football is the ultimate team sport. There is no one player that can really make or break a game. Every once and a while, you will see this career game or a career outing by somebody, but for the most part, it takes all 11 guys to be in sync, on the same page, seeing and thinking the same thing and doing it in a matter of two or three seconds. I am not going to try to twist this too many different directions. I am going to go study the tape tonight hard to see what I can do better next time I am on the football field to help this football team be more successful."
On if he enjoyed watching QB DeShone Kizer leading a game-winning drive and completing a couple long passes:
"Absolutely. Anytime you can get a win, whether it is preseason or regular season, it doesn't matter – winning is a great thing. At the end of the day, football in the National Football League is about one thing: winning. Period. To see that unit go out there tonight, to see those guys go out there and make some big plays late in the game, convert third downs, make big plays on fourth down, it is super exciting. I know that the team is very excited about everything. The offense did a tremendous job of executing those plays and helping this football team get a win. Once again, it goes back to the offense does not get the opportunity to make those plays if the defense was not doing what they were doing all night. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams had a great game plan, and it was a lot of fun to watch those guys play."
On being a player that is involved in Browns Give Back by supporting the community and his interaction with a young child earlier this week through the Helmet Buddies training camp initiative:
"It is great. Anytime people give back, whether it be a young kid or helping out people in the community or whatever the case may be, that is what it is all about. We are given this incredible platform as NFL players to be role models., to do good things in the community and to make positive impacts on people's lives. To hear that he had a great experience really makes me happy. That is what this game is all about. I am just very fortunate to be a part of a great organization that it seems like every single day, there is something different like that going on at training camp. We are constantly trying to give back to the community and meet as many kids as possible. I am glad he had a great experience."
On the incomplete pass to WR Kenny Britt in the back of the end zone:
"We broke the huddle, and the Saints came out in basically a blitz Cover 1 type defense. I knew that I had to get the ball out on time because we were going to have five one-on-one blocks up front. I really liked the matchup with Kenny in the slot so I audibled to a play that we have, made a check at the line of scrimmage. We were within inches to making a great play. That is that timing that I am talking about. There is nothing, like I have told you guys before, that can replicate game reps. Now that we have gone out there tonight as a group and got those reps, we will clean up those little things and clean up those little inches to make sure that those are touchdowns next time."
On DL Myles Garrett and his play tonight:
"Unfortunately, tonight I did not get to see much because I was busy looking at the [Microsoft Surface] and the tablet and things like that. As far as practice goes, he has got an extremely high motor and plays very hard. He is a smart football player. He just has some athletic ability that is truly incredible. I have seen him kind of lower his shoulder and bend around some offensive tackles without losing any speed. That is very difficult to do. He is just a great teammate. He is a great person. He brings a positive attitude every single day to the building. He is a lot of fun to be around. He is a lot of fun to watch play."
On public opinions being swayed in the QB competition based on big plays and other happenings throughout, such as Kizer's long completions:
"I think the only opinion that I need to be concerned about is Coach Jackson's. Outside of that, it is a completely irrelevant deal. I am going to focus on my game tape from tonight, seeing what I did well, seeing what I did not do so well and what I can learn from and cleaning those things up. Like I said, the only opinion that I am concerned about is Coach Jackson and our quarterbacks coach, Coach (David) Lee."
QB DeShone Kizer:
On having the choice of two plays on the fourth-and-2 game-winning TD pass to WR Jordan Payton:
"There is a run option there on fourth-and-2. We were running the ball pretty well throughout that drive. I recommended that we check out of that run play. (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson from his film study knew they were going to come up and play (Cover) 0. He gave me another option on top of that just to make sure if they did give us an all-out pressure look that we are able to max protect it and throw the ball down the field, and that is what we were able to do."
On his two long completions:
"The Saints were straight forward with what they were going to do. They are going to play you man, they are going to blitz you and if they are going to do that you have to be able to take shots on a team like that. We dialed them up at the right time and got ourselves into some great protection, and the offensive line protected great on those two big throws. It is up to me to maybe throw a tighter spiral so that (WR Richard) Mullaney can get in the end zone, rather than coming up a half-yard short."
On the game-winning TD pass to Payton and if he felt any pressure on the final drive, specifically in his first NFL preseason game:
"It is not too much different than things that we do all the time. Basically, if they give you an all-out pressure look, here is one play. Whether it be a run inside or a max-protection pass, here is the play for an all-out blitz and here is a play for if they want to get into any sort of a zone coverage. We had a run play dialed up that we knew we were going to be able to grab at least 2 yards on so it is up to me to just make sure that I get the look, identify what the defense is and make sure that we are calling the right play out there and put the ball up in the right spot so that someone else can go up and make a play."
On if his performance tonight gives him a confidence boost:
"Yeah, this whole process, the goal is to gain confidence in everything that we are doing. There is a reason that we are still in training camp after preseason game one. It is because I am still in the developmental stage in my career. We are going to be able to go back now and watch this film and learn how to watch film in the NFL against an NFL opponent. I am really looking forward to that and to be able to step into the facility tomorrow, check it out on my own, do the things that I was able to do in college in terms of film study and then be able to step in the next day and now figure out how to up that, and watch (QB) Brock (Osweiler) and see what Brock does when he is evaluating himself and then obviously spend time with (quarterbacks coach) Coach (David) Lee and Coach Jackson so I can evaluate myself the right way."
On if his ability to throw the deep ball is what got him to the NFL:
"What got me here? Hopefully, there are a lot of other things other than the long ball that got me here, but I am pretty confident in extending the ball down the field. That was one thing that I was excited about when being drafted to the Browns is that Coach Jackson likes to push the ball vertically. If you can establish a good run game, then there is going to be some good play-action pass to throw the ball deep and that is what we were able to do today."
On if there was anything New Orleans did that surprised him in his first NFL game tonight:
"Surprised me? As a quarterback, you can never be surprised. You have to be able to prepare so that you are not. Being able to sit out the whole first half, I was able to get a good idea of what they were doing on defense. Surprised? No, but definitely the speed and their ability to disguise looks and stuff are things that is hard to mimic when you are playing against the same team over and over and over. Eventually, you can start feeling what defense that your defense that you are playing against is going to show you, and when you go out there against a new opponent, it is always going to be a little bit of an adjustment from my angle to make sure that I can see the way that they are disguising things and what defenses they are running."
On if he felt much more comfortable tonight compared to the Orange & Brown Scrimmage:
"Yeah, I definitely think I made some improvements. There are definitely still some communication things. There is one or two plays in there where I am backing out of the huddle and resaying it and I have to make sure that I am crisp. That play clock goes down fast. Whether it be the helmet malfunction or simply me not getting it in as fast as I possibly can, it doesn't allow me to step up to the line, make the right check and make sure we are in the right play. I definitely have to continue to improve on that, but yes, I can definitely say from the scrimmage to now that I am still heading in the right direction."
On if it was helpful to play with and against backups is a positive or if he wants to start the next game:
"That is something for (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson. He understands the situation a lot better than I ever will. I know that I can trust in him to make sure that this developmental process goes in the right direction and continues to move forward the way we want it to. It is my job once again to just step up there when the reps are given to me and to maximize them to the best of my ability. Whether it be against the threes, against the ones or in a training camp practice or off of a card, it is my job to make sure I can go out there and play to the best of my ability whenever they call my name."
On if he was more comfortable than he thought he might be, particularly as he played the entire second half:
"Yes, the more you are out there the more comfortable you are going to become. There were disguises, some looks on me where there were blitzes where I knew where I was hot, and I was able to get the ball out fast. I wanted to make sure towards the end of the game that when you have to push the ball down the field. You can't be hot all the time. You have to make sure you are in the right protection. The more I was out there, I was able to feel that a little more, become a little more comfortable, communicate a little better with the offensive line to make sure we were protecting things the right way."
On why the spiral wasn't tight on the deep pass to Mullaney:
"If I knew the answer to that, hopefully, it would have been a tighter spiral (laughter). There is a lot of movement. You are trying to push the ball 60 yards down the field. With all of that force and all of the different biomechanics and throwing the football, it didn't come out the right way. It ended up being a duck."
On if he had butterflies tonight:
"Oh yeah, the excitement was there. The excitement was there. It had been a long time since I was able to compete. Not playing in a bowl game sets me back a whole month behind everyone else since the last time I was able to compete. To step out there and feel this game atmosphere and to compete against another team with my team and the camaraderie I have been able to create with my teammates in this last three months through our training camp and OTAs, to finally go out there and play against someone else was an awesome experience."
On if tonight was a glimpse of him wanting to get comfortable enough to 'let it rip':
"You see it here and there. You see it obviously with a game-winning touchdown. You see it on a big play. Early in the game, I had a couple of throws where I was very comfortable with the route that was being run and I was able to let it go, but there were also some times when I was a little indecisive. You have to make sure that I can go back and watch that film study to turn that into some of my strong points. Right now, the big thing for me is to be able to identify my weaknesses. What am I doing that I don't feel I'm doing out on the field? You can't do that until you go back and evaluate that with your coaches. Once I can identify the things I am doing wrong out there so that I can compete the passes we had or the plays where we were in the wrong spots, I have to go make those my strengths. Hopefully, that will continue to head in the direction I have been heading in and continue to get better."
On his thoughts after the game-winning touchdown:
"Honestly, it reminded me a lot of the start of my college career. That was a game-winning touchdown to Will Fuller (against Virginia) down the same left side right around the same distance where you just let it go and you know you just put it in the right spot. That was a really cool experience there, but I also have had some experiences in college. For example, against Stanford, you go and make that touchdown and get all excited, but then look at the clock and think, 'Wow, there is a lot of time left.' As much as I was excited to see that guy run into the end zone, you check out the clock and have to make sure you still have your helmet strapped up and be able to go back just in case they drive the ball back down."
DL Myles Garrett:
On the Saints saying they wanted to 'christen' him in his first game:
"Actually, my dad told me (laughter). I feel like that's every team. They want to introduce the rookies, especially the guys that got drafted high, but it's just football and we need to play our game."
On if the Saints did anything unique to oppose him:
"No, a couple of double teams, but nothing out of the ordinary."
On his performance:
"I played my game well. I got to where I wanted to go and played hard. I got to where I was supposed to."
On how the Browns defense played:
"We definitely could have played better. We'll go back and see which plays we could have improved upon in terms of long yardage run and pass plays but other than that we played pretty well."
QB Cody Kessler:
On scoring a TD on his first possession:
"It was good to start the preseason with a touchdown drive on your first series. Our offensive line did a great job up front. It's always good to start, get the ball on a turnover and get that momentum going."
On his performance:
"The second drive kind of stalled. The third drive was a two-minute drive and had a chance to stretch the field. It was good getting those three drives and getting your feet wet with live action."
On his growth from his first year to his second year:
"It slows down a lot. It's a lot easier once you start getting ahold of it and understanding what your coach wants. Each play allows you to play a little bit more comfortably."
On his opportunity to play with a different group of WR:
"Yes, it's a good thing. We have a lot of guys at receiver that play really well and really fast. I got the first completion to (WR) Corey (Coleman), we moved the ball around a little bit. That was something that has been reoccurring all training camp. Whoever is out there with you, you have got to make plays."
On the play of all three QBs tonight:
"Obviously, being the first preseason game, it's really nice to get out there and see some live action. When your team plays well and you get a win, it's exciting. It's preseason, but win is a win and it's something to build on moving forward."
On QB DeShone Kizer:
"He did good. It was cool to see. What they did on defense, trying to put pressure on him and him making plays, it was exciting. I told him to just let it loose, go out there and don't try to think too much. You always have to shake off those nerves a little bit in the beginning, but I thought he played really well in the second half and made some big plays."
On the excitement of the first preseason game:
"It was exciting, especially when you see (WR) Jordan Payton, (WR) Rich 'Make-a-Play' Mullaney, guys that you know don't get a lot of reps but work hard every single day and bust their tail, it's exciting."
DL Nate Orchard:
On how being a LB helps translate to DE:
"All the possibilities, and that's something that can help with interior defensive linemen. You learn drops, fires on blitzes and things like that."
On being around the ball often:
"Yeah, one thing in mind was to get to the quarterback as much as possible."
On the goal line stand in the second half:
"We pride ourselves in not letting the offense in and having the defense show up. The linebackers controlled the defense. K.O. (LB Kenneth Olugbode) did a phenomenal job making the calls making our calls and making us successful."
Check out the Saints preseason action from the first half against the Browns.