Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, September 12, 2018
What stood out to you about the Saints on film from Week 1?
"Obviously we know that the quarterback (Drew Brees) is as good as anybody in the National Football League. Obviously they could score points with anybody. I did not think that was their defense, on the first game. That is not who they have been. Obviously when you play a division opponent, your division rival probably those things do happen from time to time. Again, I think they're a really talented football team, they know how to play. They played to their quarterback (strengths), they're an up-tempo team that plays fast and completes balls, throws it over your head, will run through you and run around you type of football team."
Gregg Williams was here a while ago, but can you still lean on him for help with the Saints offense?
"Like he said it's been a while since Gregg's been there and I'm sure there are some things that have changed. I think Gregg knows he has his hands full just trying to slow down that offense. We understand the challenge that's at hand. I'm sure if Gregg knows something he'll share with me, but at the same time I think we got to get our football team better and ready to play."
What stands out about the game Mike Thomas had, obviously huge numbers, but anything about his technique?
"I do not know if it was his technique, whatever he used it was pretty doggone good but it is catching 16 of 17 attempts. He is very consistent, he is very accountable. He is there for the quarterback. He makes huge plays for the offense of the football team. The guy had 180 yards. Obviously that's a huge day. Again, he's got tremendous talent."
What do you think the National Football League missed on him when he fell into the second round of the draft?
"I think people talked about speed. I know when he came out, people say maybe he was not that fast. I think he's proven that not to be the case. He's good enough to play on anybody's offense, any play across the receiver position. I think sometimes people put too much emphasis on certain things and not enough emphasis on the kind of guy playing and he really can play."
It seems like you have a guy that's willing to fight for the ball with Jarvis Landry, how helpful can a mentality like that be for a receiver?
"Well I think that's the mentality you need to have at that position. If the ball's in the air, it has got to be your ball. You have to be able to make any kind of catch, make the uncommon catch or make the uncommon play. That's what those guys have done for their team."
What have you seen in Jarvis so far and what do you really like about his game?
"Same thing, he's consistent. He's competitive. He's a play maker. He wants the ball in crucial situations and he likes to win. Again, I think we have that makeup on your football team, you stand a chance of winning because he'll do everything he can not to lose."
What about Denzel Ward from what you saw from him in training camp and in the preseason, did you expect him to have a game like he did against Pittsburgh?
"Well one thing we know is that Drew (Brees) doesn't give the ball away that way. I think what's going to be important is that he's got to keep these receivers in front of him and if he gets an opportunity to make a play on the ball he's got to do that. Obviously he had a really good first game, but it's week to week in this business. What happened last week is over with, it's going to be about what he does this week."
When you evaluated Ward, what kind of similarities or differences did you see between him and (Marshon) Lattimore?
"Well I'd say a lot of the similarities absolutely come from a good college program and coach, tremendous athleticism, fast, likes to play football, gets very disappointed when the other teams' receiver catches balls on him and very good at what they do. I'm glad we have Denzel and he has to continue to play well for us."
Was it a surprise to you to see the Saints throw the ball 45 times last week when they had so much success last year running the ball last year?
"No, you just said they have to do whatever you have to do to win the game. That's what they're able to do, a lot of teams are not able to throw the ball as much as they did with the success that they did. You look up when it's all said and done, and they have 40 points on the board. That's a credit to them, a credit to Drew (Brees) and rest of their offense."
Do you think that their low rushing total's not indicative of where their running game is right now, and did you see evidence the running game's just as good as it was last year? If so, any particular plays?
"I think it is, I just think they got behind. We've all been in those situations where sometimes the gameplan goes out the door, you do what you need to do to try to win the game. At the end of the day I think they're going to still be able to run the football, they have really good runners, they've got blockers. They don't want to be as one-dimensional, but if they are going to be, they do have the right quarterback to do that."
With Mark Ingram out everyone is kind of waiting to see what effect that has on rushing totals and the ability to control the game on the ground, what do you think?
"They're going to go play their offense and obviously as we just talked about, the score and how the game's going takes a lot of things you can do and can't do. I expect when it's all said and done the Saints will always be able to lead with the pass, but I do think they are going to also run the football because they can."
Why did you want to trade for Devaroe Lawrence?
"We think he has some characteristics that we like in our defensive line that he can help. He did not play as much last week but we're looking forward to him playing more this week, he kind of knows what we're doing now in the system. We like him."
What are those characteristics?
"He's tough, he loves football, he's strong, quick and he works at it. I think those things are important to a football team and an organization."