Wednesday, August 15, 2018

News & views

News: Browns coordinators at odds the other day when a defender made contact with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield during a drill in practice.

Views: First of all, touching a quarterback during practice, any practice, is a no-no, an unwritten rule that applies to all quarterbacks, who wear a red garment to signify hands off.

Do not touch the quarterback. You do and what happened the other day will erupt.

“Don’t touch the effing quarterback in practice,” screamed offensive coordinator
Todd Haley, although he didn’t say effing. “Good teams don’t do it.”

Replied defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, loudly enough to be heard, “Somebody’s gotta effing block ‘em,” although he didn’t say effing.

After swapping a few more eff bombs, head coach Hue Jackson stepped in and called a halt to the proceedings before it reached another stage.

“I like testy,” said Jackson afterward. “Testy is good. I’m surprised we’re just now getting testy. . . . I mean those things happen. . . . That’s part of football.”

Coaches screaming at each other in public is part of football? Really?

Players getting into fights during training camp, yes. That is part of football. Skirmishes erupt all the time when players fighting for jobs lose their tempers on occasion. After all, football is not a contact sport. It is a collision sport.

Not coaches, though.

Haley and Williams are your textbook Type A personality right out of the laboratory. Both men are strong-willed, not afraid to share a thought or opinion and drive their men to be the best they can be. Both have achieved success as coordinators for that very reason.

Each man has been a head coach in the National Football League. They know what it’s like to be in Jackson’s current position. They also know it is Jackson’s responsibility to control them.

“I balance (them),” is the way Jackson put it. “I’ve got (a strong personality) myself, so I get to have the supreme power. That’s going to happen every now and then. That’s football.”

No it’s not. In private meetings, maybe, but not in public. Coaches can bicker all they want privately, but what goes on behind closed doors stays there. What happens in public goes viral in today’s social media.

One can only imagine what is going through the players’ minds when they see such behavior on the coaching plane.

Jackson can make light all he wants about the incident, but he’s got to know his job is on the line and the performance of his two main units will determine his ultimate fate.

He has been granted an unbelievable second chance by his naïve owner after coming thisclose to being the only head coach in NFL history to record consecutive winless seasons.

No, coach, that’s not just football.

News: Antonio Callaway plays nearly the entire game in the opening exhibition against the New York Giants as punishment for being stopped and charged with possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license at 3 in the morning.

Views: Jackson vacillated between sitting the rookie wide receiver and playing him the entire game.

“I thought it was better to make him play,” said the coach, who disagrees with his assistant coaches with regard to giving players days off during camp.. “Make him play as long as he could.”

Callaway, who ultimately caught a touchdown pass from Mayfield in the Giants victory, did not play college football last season at Florida after being suspended for off-the-field incidents.

It was risky at best for Jackson to punish the rookie and risk injury to someone who had not played competitive football for more that a year.

It was not so much whether the punishment fit the crime as it was a head coach making a dumb, thoughtless decision and fortunate the player emerged injury free.

It’s dumb decisions like that that will eventually come back and bite Jackson in the hind flanks as he ponders the reasons why his owner finally had seen enough and cashiered him.

News: Joel Bitonio moves back to left guard in practice days after starting at left tackle in the opening exhibition.

Views: Make up your mind, coach. Is Bitonio your starting tackle or starting left guard? You have only two more exhibitions to make up your mind.

If it’s tackle, a position he has never played in the NFL, put him there now. Don’t screw around with him. He needs to play as much there as he can to be ready for the regular season. The transition to a new position is not easy. He needs all the reps he can get.

This is not the time to experiment. Not when you are replacing a future Hall of Famer in Joe Thomas. You need to make the correct decision now.

Stick with your initial plan of Bitonio at left tackle and rookie Austin Corbett at left guard. Let the latter grow into the role.

You are gambling – and making a mistake – if you think Greg Robinson, who played reasonably well at tackle in the Giants game but has been a bust since being the second overall selection in the 2014 college draft, is your man at the position.

There is a reason he has carried that label for the last four seasons.

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