Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mid-week thoughts

Hue Jackson, who can talk his way out of just about any situation, is at a loss for words. He is flummoxed.

Asked Monday at his day-after newser about the Browns’ rebuilding plan and where it stands, he demurred. “I really don’t want to get into that,” the second-year coach said. “I think you guys are the best judges of that right now.”

Sounds like a coach searching for the right answers and coming up empty. He is probably so frustrated at this point, he might be inclined to take advice from just about anyone. Anyone, that is, not named Sashi Brown.

All Jackson wants to do is coach his guys and win some games. That seems to be asking too much. This constant losing is new to him and he is having a difficult time understanding it, let alone handling it.

He believes the club’s so-called grand rebuilding plan is not his concern. He can’t be held responsible for the mistakes of others in this dysfunctional organization. He is the head coach. His only job is to coach his coaches and players and hold them together.

The latter aspect of his job is also the most difficult. It’s not easy getting players ready physically and emotionally on a weekly basis when you lose all the time. It’s to his credit the team is not mailing it in at this point.

Even though the Browns are winless, you’d never know it by their effort. That trickles down from Jackson and his coaching staff.

He has unfortunately been saddled with a very young team that has a problem avoiding mistakes. Every now and then, though, the team executes a play or series of plays so well, you wonder why they can’t do it all the time.

The consistency factor is what most coaches preach. Sort of muscle memory on a football field. Jackson said players “ask me about what do we have to do to win? I do everything for those guys.” And it still is not working.

As for the plan, that’s better handled upstairs by the dysfunctional front office (that adjective never grows old with this crew). “I think that group feels better about where they’re headed and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Jackson said.

When it all spills out of the wash, though, the Browns are still 0-10 this season and 1-25 since the Sashi Brown group took over from the previous dysfunctional regime.

The Browns also haven’t won a Sunday game since Dec. 13, 2015 against San Francisco at home That’s an NFL record 27 straight Sundays without a victory and 32 of the last 33 on that day of the week. If there has been any progress this season, it’s barely palpable.

Right now, the immediate future of this franchise lies in the wealthy hands of owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who have invested a billion dollars into this enterprise. So far they appear to be putting a stamp of approval on the current group.

One thought with regard to Brown’s future job status in Cleveland: If he had been screwing up as much working with Haslam’s truck stop business as he has in Berea on a daily basis, do you think he would have lasted this long?

I didn’t think so. The bar on accountability at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea dips to a new low on a daily basis.
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Josh Gordon began practicing with the Browns Wednesday for the first time in several years after being freed from his long suspension by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Word is he is in good shape physically, but most likely needs a couple of weeks to get into football shape. The X factor when he returns to the field for the Dec. 5 game in Los Angeles against the Chargers is whether he can be the same dynamic wide receiver who wowed the pro football world in 2014.

Many fans expect Gordon to come in and immediately be that guy. Light it up as though he had been away for only three months, not three years. That’s not going to happen. Yes, he will automatically be the best receiver on the team, but that will not translate into instant improvement for a number of reasons.

First of all, offense is all about rhythm. Without it, success on that side of the football is nothing more than a goal, a hope, a dream.

Running pass routes demands exquisite timing between the quarterback and receivers. Run the route incorrectly and an incompletion or interception is likely. Run it precisely and a completion has a greater chance of occurring.

Gordon’s success will depend largely on how well he and DeShone Kizer can become compatible from a timing standpoint. Based on what we’ve seen from Kizer thus far, that could be a problem. Timing and accuracy are not the rookie’s strong points.

Unless Kizer somehow miraculously becomes the quarterback the Browns believed they drafted six months ago, it is entirely possible Gordon will be one extremely frustrated wide receiver by the time the season concludes.


  1. First of all let's not hype Jackson as a coach. How many playoff wins with the Bengals? Zero, zip, nada! When faced with a playoff team, the offensive "guru" came up short every time. Secondly, Gordon, schmordon, we could have Jerry Rice out there and it wouldn't mean squat. Bottom line is we don't have a QB who can hit any receiver on a consistent basis. Let's just call this the "Season of No Hope" and find something more rewarding to do.

  2. Your animus toward Jackson is growing. First of all he was the offensive coordinator for only two of those seasons, not all of them.

    And you're preaching to the choir with regard to Kizer. That parade will stop at the conclusion of the season.

    1. Can you think of one good thing(coaching-wise) to say about Jackson's tenure here? We've gotten rid of better coaches(at least they won some games).