Hue Jackson uses LeBron’s leadership to inspire Browns

James' praise of teammates used to make point about importance of team

Daryl Ruiter
May 30, 2018 - 8:08 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) addresses the media in a press conference during NBA Finals media day at Oracle Arena

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – After carrying the Cavs through the Eastern Conference with an epic playoff run for the ages, LeBron James didn’t pat himself on the back or lament his exhaustion from having to play 46 and then 48 minutes in the final 2 games of the series.

Instead he used the moment to credit his teammates following their Game 7 win in Boston for getting him back to his eighth straight Finals.

It was a moment that caught the attention of Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who said that he played the segment of James’ postgame press conference this week during a team meeting.

“I thought it was tremendous,” Jackson said. “I thought what he said about his other teammates and how they are a huge part of it and how people who have not played the game or wore shorts or been or been in a locker room understand what it takes to win. I thought that was sensational. I said that to our football team.”

Following a busy offseason that has seen general manager John Dorsey detonate an 0-16 roster and rebuild it through a multitude of trades, free agent signings and the draft, Jackson is tasked with flushing the losing culture from the building.

He hopes that using James’ leadership style and the success of the Cavs as an example for his team to follow, will help begin that process.

Jackson's message did not fall on deaf ears.  

“Just a true leader,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said of James. “He is never selfish about his accomplishments. He realizes that it takes a team for him to be the person that he is. He appreciates his teammates.

“How that can relate to us is that not one person is bigger than the team. We are going to need each and every person on the team healthy first and foremost but doing the right job to be able to execute and go win games week in and week out.”

Ward Wows – Denzel Ward, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, shined during Wednesday’s OTA practice.

“He is talented,” Jackson said. “He is getting better, and the more that he competes with Josh [Gordon], [Jarvis] Landry, Corey [Coleman] and the rest of our crew, the better he is going to be. Every day, I see him getting a little bit better. The speed of the game is not too big for him. The stage is not too big for him. He is out there making plays. He just has to continue to make more.”

The highlight came when Ward broke up a fade in the corner of the end zone to Josh Gordon. Not an easy feat, but Ward made it look easy catching the attention of his teammates.

“He played exceptionally well today, had a number of pass breakups, a number of great plays out there,” fellow corner T.J. Carrie said. “That is something that we as defensive backs feed off of, continuing to make plays.”

Ward flew around the field all afternoon and knocked away at least 2 other passes during the practice.

Ward has looked like a top-5 pick, which shouldn’t be all that big of a deal, but because these are the Browns, a team that historically has blown first round picks faster than they’ve found ways to lose games, the potential he’s showing consistently should be comforting to nervous fans.

Getting Closer – Linebacker Jamie Collins, who is coming off a torn MCL suffered last November, continues his recovery. Collins was limited Wednesday to mostly individual drills.

Jackson hopes he’ll be full-go soon, but they aren’t going to rush it.

“Once we get to the mandatory minicamp, we will see,” Jackson said. “We are going to take it slow as we go because we are definitely going to need him full-go at training camp, but he is definitely making the progress that we feel he needs to make.”

Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah practiced on Tuesday but was held back on Wednesday Jackson said. Ogbah is coming off a broken foot that landed him on IR to end last season.

“We have to pull him back a little bit because he is ready to go, but I anticipate him having a good season,” Jackson said.  

Injury report – Linebacker Tank Carder and cornerback Howard Wilson worked with trainers on the side Wednesday.

Rookie receiver Antonio Callaway left practice with a groin injury according to Jackson and right guard Kevin Zeitler was limited with a hamstring injury.