Enter the QB Controversy: Week 5 Winners and Losers

There was a moment this past summer where folks were feeling really, really good about the Cleveland Browns. Some of them were even holding “over” tickets on the team’s 4.5 win total for the season. The hopes were to maybe steal a conference game or two, beat the Colts without Andrew Luck, and then get a win over the tanking New York Jets. Compared to past seasons, this schedule was set up for a fledgling team attempting to learn how to win. Five wins may have not exactly correlated with such a sizable jump from the one-win season a year ago, but it would be enough to buy the front office and coaching staff time — they could just point to the increased win total, regardless of the actual challenge — and the city of Cleveland would officially be on the up-and-up heading into 2018.

Au contraire, mon frère.

The Browns are a disaster of epic proportions. As has been the case for much of the last decade, it all starts at the top. They still don’t have a quarterback. They don’t have weapons on offense. They don’t have play-makers littering their defense — something that is a requirement when you don’t have the first two. The lowly Jaguars are now 3-2 due only to a world class pass defense and one of the best young running backs in football. The Bills and Jets, two teams who were tanking heading into the season, are now tied with the New England Patriots at 3-2 to lead the division. Worse: The Houston Texans, next week’s opponent, has the quarterback the Browns could have had, and are one week away from being .500.

It’s possible to be a rebuilding team without being dreadful. This isn’t the NBA. Teams rebound year after year, finding the missing pieces wherever they select in whichever draft. The Browns, meanwhile, traded down from No. 2 in a 2016 NFL Draft that saw Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, and Jalen Ramsey go in the top five. This decision could rival that of Ray Farmer’s to go with Justin Gilbert in a draft that saw Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin all go in the first round.

LOSER: DeShone Kizer

Two made field goals in the first half and Kizer likely sees the field in the second half. This said, Kizer did himself no favors in throwing an interception in the end zone and calling an audible to a play that would eventually lead to a fumble at the 5-yard line.

For the first four weeks, Kizer’s postgame press conferences were thoughtful and his responses were long and detailed. Following this past Sunday, each was one or two sentences. He says he will “learn” from getting benched, but it’s clear this wasn’t a mutual decision for the betterment of the team.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

When declaring DeShone Kizer as his Week 1 starter, Hue Jackson stated that the plan was to ride with the ups and downs of a rookie quarterback — he was their man. Roughly four weeks and one reported rift between the front office later and head coach, the Browns came out of halfime with Kizer in a baseball hat and Kevin Hogan in a helmet. When asked about the future, Jackson dropped his cliche “have to watch the tape” nonsense. When asked about his ride-or-die comments regarding Kizer, Jackson said “If I feel like when he is going through trials that I feel like there is something better, then that is my job as a head coach to make a decision and say, ‘Hey look, this is better for us and that is what I did.’ At the time, it just wasn’t working. I don’t think it goes against it.”

Truth is: It does go against it. You don’t get it both ways. The move makes sense from a get-the-win standpoint, but when you don’t get said win, all this did was open things up for more controversy.

Hue Jackson has the appearance of a head coach in over his head. This is painful from a fan standpoint for a multitude of reasons as many of these first five losses run deeper than a talent gap. The only winners here are the talk radio folks who now have an entire week’s worth of content in one decision. Not helping matters: Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz. More on this in a bit.

WINNER: Josh McCown

The last time these two teams squared off in Cleveland, McCown left with a concussion after doing everything he could to put the Browns on the board. Kudos to McCown for pulling this tanking team to three wins in a row. Bonus points for this money quote:

“That’s number one – it’s special to get to 3-2.  It took me three years and two teams, but I got my first win here at FirstEnergy Stadium.”


LOSER: Sashi Brown

I’m all for analytics, but I’m for ones that work. His aren’t working.

WINNER: Duke Johnson Jr.

Another week, another game where Duke Johnson Jr. gets entirely too many touches on a team that should be utilizing his ability to make plays in space. This isn’t to short change the yardage that Isaiah Crowell was able to churn on the day, but the Cleveland Browns have little game-changing talent at the receiver or tight end positions. Why Johnson isn’t getting his number called more often at this stretch of the season is beyond me.


LOSER: Zane Gonzales

What the hell, dude? Do your job.

WINNER: Myles Garrett

PFF graded Garrett out pretty low as he only impacted on a handful of snaps, but he gets the win not only for taking the field, but for recording a sack on his very first play. The kid is going to be fun to watch. We just have to hope the Browns don’t waste him in the same way they have Joe Thomas.

Bonus points for the J.R. Smith-like celebration following his second sack. He gets us.

WINNER: Bryce Treggs

This week’s winner of the practice-squad-to-Browns-starter award goes to Bryce Treggs. Treggs went from needing instructions as to how to get to the team’s locker room on Sunday morning to being on the field for 41 snaps, running routes on 27. He was targeted six times but only two of these passes were deemed catchable. He caught them both.

Nod to Kasen Williams as well for his four receptions (on five targets) for 33 yards. He almost had a chunk more if not for his left elbow coming down out of bounds before his right foot.

WINNER: Jason McCourty

Here’s PFF:

McCourty surrendered five receptions on seven throws into his coverage, but the long completion went for just six yards to Jermaine Kearse. He also intercepted an out cut thrown slightly behind Robbie Anderson on the sideline, and broke up another throw late that was intended for Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Jets QB Josh McCown had a passer rating of just 36.3 when throwing into McCourty’s coverage on the day.

McCourty is currently ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in all of football through five weeks, trailing only Arizona’s Patrick Peterson.

Here’s the INT:

WINNERS: Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Kevin Zeitler

All three men — Thomas, Bitonio and Zeitler — allowed a combined zero pressures in pass blocking through 41 snaps on Sunday. No tackle has blocked for more passing plays through five weeks than Thomas, who has allowed just six pressures (no sacks) in 231 snaps.

LOSER: Gregg Williams

Please defend the tight end. Please. At least try. At the very least, give the appearance of trying.

And Now, The Fans:


    “Au contraire, mon fraire.”


    It’s “mon frère”

    Don’t get me started on “prime rib with au jus”

  • Chris
  • MartyDaVille

    LOSERS: THE PLAYERS. You can’t blame the coach, the GM, the owner, or anybody else for yesterday’s stink bomb. No coach could have won that game with all that sloppy play. This is all on the players. Every noxious bit of it.

    WINNER: ANALYTICS. We out-statistic’ed ‘em!

    WINNER: THE JERSEY IN THE WINDOW adds another name. (It better add another name.)

    LOSER: SAM DARNOLD. Welcome to Cleveland, kid. You’re next.

    LOSER: HE’S NOT “MY GUY.” By many accounts, Parkey beat out Gonzalez in training camp. But Sashi doesn’t admit mistakes.

    WINNER (RELATIVELY): THE WHITE UNIFORMS. At least so far, the Browns have scrapped the 26 ugliest uniform combinations and have gone with the least objectionable of the whole sorry bunch. I hope this is a signal that they finally realize what a debacle the new uni thing was.

    WINNER: CAP SPACE. Still undefeated.

    WINNER: #TEAM OWEN. If you get where I’m drifting.

  • jpftribe

    “The Browns are a disaster of epic proportions. As has been the case for much of the last decade…”

    This would be a great thesis for young budding saber-geek. What the Browns have done over the last 20 years has got be be close to an algorithmic impossibility.

  • jpftribe

    I hate white uniforms. Orange jersey’s are the best, which is why they never wear them.

  • akzipper

    I can’t believe how far Kizer has regressed since week 1. After that game I thought we’d easily be in for a 5 win season and maybe even solidify the QB position. Now we’re going into week 6 starting a QB that probably shouldn’t have even made the team. Hogan is not a franchise QB. Kizer I thought showed some flashes, but I guess I was wrong again. Not only that Jackson has made some really bad playcalls. He needs a OC and he needs someone to tell him to just kick the FG on 4th down inside your own 5.

  • “LOSER: SAM DARNOLD. Welcome to Cleveland, kid. You’re next.”

    And he’ll be a backup QB a year after being drafted since we don’t have enough playmakers to show off his full potential.

    Draft Saquon Barkley and Calvin Ridley instead. Safer bets.

  • Ouî

  • Harv

    This is so … predictable.

    – Hire cap guy to oversee football matters/player eval. Cap guy subscribes to a purist theory of football analytics, minimizing the ecosystem necessary for talent to reveal, for players to improve and thrive. Thus: a QB with x amount of talent will attain success similar to any other similarly talented, even without competent receivers, an established running game, time to learn before being thrown to this division’s defensive wolves. Cap guy believes: multiple draft chances increase odds of uncovering NFL impact players, even when he and a green 29 year old are the evaluators. Hence: big receivers with bad hands, little ones who don’t run routes, more picks in favor of fewer of the most dominant college players.

    – Hire the best available candidate willing to take this job but who, lip service aside, is desperate to NOT get canned with a couple of 1 and 2 win seasons on that resume. Thus, the in-game twitchy decisions: eschewing the running game in second halves, weird replay challenges, pulling QBs at halftimes of winnable games in favor of current and future journeymen. Look at Hue’s eyes whenever something goes awry and see the expression who looks for all the world like someone who will not go down with the analytics ship. At least not when steered by suits who wouldn’t even leave him with Josh McCown.

    I think we all overrated how Hue would be as a HC. But leaks have sprung everywhere: defense, offense, special teams (why are they worse in year 2?). When you strip everything – as if it’s a NBA roster with a third of the personnel – the remaining husk is so fragile that anything can beat it on a Sunday. Yesterday a rookie kicker with some yips signaled the coaches and players that it was over, even against a veteran turnover machine like McCown.

  • scripty

    Am I the only person that thinks b/c he benched Kizer there is no QB controversy? We had a coach trying to jumpstart an offense. That used to happen every so often in the NFL back when I grew up, I realize the Fan Anguish Economy thrives on controversy, and am not blind that there may still be a controversy later on, but I am not seeing yet. Maybe let’s get through a week of practice afterwards and learn if there is one.

  • scripty

    Au revoir, rodent.

  • scripty

    He still refuses to checkdown quickly. I am not sure if it’s regression and he didnt do that in preseason and still won’t now even though he got reamed about it after weel 1.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … good post , HARV.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SCRIPTY … and yet we have no idea who Hue will start this week … the Browns aren’t going anywhere , so do they keep trying to develop Kizer ? I think Kizer may need a mental break more than anything … and after 2 more red-zone turnovers & Hogan at least showing some competency & leading some scoring drives , they SHOULD go with Hogan this week.

    the Browns need a win badly , if only for the players & the fans.

  • tigersbrowns2

    good post MARTY … i already saw CBS’ mock for next year & it was Rosen #1 overall for the Browns.


    I can totally blame the coach when you have a rookie QB, an electric RB/slot hybrid who is literally the only game-breaking player on offense, and a gameplan that gets the ball into his hands only 10 times.

    Unless we can state with certainty that the gameplan is designed to get Johnson the ball A LOT and Kizer is deviating, then it’s a failure of coaching not to utilize what is clearly your best weapon on offense in a game in which your defense was more than keeping you afloat.

  • tigersbrowns2

    there should be NO QB controversy … Kizer has played poorly & Hogan & played well when called upon … what is there to to even think about ??

  • MartyDaVille

    I think Hue is way past giving a crap about developing anyone. He wants A WIN, and I don’t blame him one bit. He’d put Peppers in at QB if he thought that would help. And if Sashi doesn’t like it, too bad.

    If you’re going to go down with the ship, you better go down on your own ship, not on the ship of some newbie lieutenant who has already abandoned the ship and paddled away on the lifeboat.

  • Garry_Owen
  • Garry_Owen
  • tigersbrowns2
  • Eric G

    While I will admit I didn’t believe that Wentz would be very good, whether out of ignorance/arrogance/blind faith, I can pretty much rest assured that he would not be *that* good on *this* team.

  • Eric G

    Gotta go, my damn weiner kids are listening.

  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : McCourty , Hogan , Duke Johnson , Njoku & Garrett

    LOSERS : Hue , Kizer & Z.Gonzalez

  • BenRM

    My Browns goodwill is spent. I have never hated this organization more. That’s makes me and my love of Sundays in fall the real loser.

    I am fairly sure Hue can’t coach this team. I’m fairly sure Sashi can’t draft top end talent. I’m fairly sure our owner is a criminal. I’m fairly sure the players have quit. I’m fairly sure the team is bereft of anywhere near enough NFL talent. I’m fairly sure that the media is so tired of covering this garbage that their bitterness is palpable.

    Everyone and everything about this organization, including all of us, are losers in the deepest, truest sense of the word.

  • BenRM

    Didn’t Sashi sign Parkey?

  • BenRM

    Yup. Of all the crap that happened this game, I put most of it on Hue’s inability to treat a raw rookie like anyone other than Peyton Manning.

  • BenRM

    He also doesn’t look at his TEs. I think he was simply rushed into it too quick. The game isn’t too fast

  • MartyDaVille

    Yeah, but if you’ll recall, Sashi was desperate. He signed Parkey after the season had already started — on a Saturday no less — when Sashi’s guy Patrick Murray screwed up his knee and went on IR.

    He spent a draft pick on Gonzalez. No contest.

  • Chris

    I requested a TV to be turned to the Sawx-Astros game, then sat with my back to the Browns game for the entire second half. It was a rather pleasant afternoon.

  • Natedawg86

    You forgo the 5 TD Watson performance vs 5-0 Chiefs

  • tigersbrowns2

    i remember Parkey missing 3 FG’s in his first game as a Brown , pretty much costing us a win. I still like Parkey now , but you knew when we drafted a K he was pretty much gone.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i’m fairly sure we will be rewarded for our devotion , or stupidity … whether it’s in this lifetime or the next. hang in there , man … at least i have fantasy football to fall back on & this is more realistic than what I’m doing with the Browns.

  • MartyDaVille

    When the Browns have lost tb2, they’ve lost everyone.

  • RGB
  • jpftribe

    Imagine what he could do if he had NFL arm strength.

  • Robert Sass

    Parkey missed a 44 yard field goal, on the last play of regulation in week 2(?) in 2016, when the Browns lost in OT to the Dolphins…

  • tigersbrowns2

    thank you , sir …

  • Harv

    Et tu, Tiger? Not even a perfunctory “we need to give Sashi at least 4 full years before we judge”? Honestly, I barely care about this team. If his plan was to start with ashes and then add only 1-2 NFL caliber starters each year they won’t get within sniffing distance of mediocre any number of people convince the Haslams that this ain’t working.

  • tigersbrowns2

    LOL … you know me too well … as bad as it looks right now , we’re only in year 2 of a total rebuild … i am counting on Andrew Berry to make this next draft really count … not Sashi & not Hue. so I will still be here , maybe the only one here , if things continue to get worse. i am willing to stick-it-out at least 4 years with these guys … if everyone from Haslam to the waterboy thought this was a good plan , then they need to stick with it.

    how’s that ??

  • tigersbrowns2

    my good man , you know better than that … i’m disgusted but will always support these guys. that’s the way I’m built & I’m okay with it … I TRY not to take it too seriously.

  • tigersbrowns2

    and btw , 3 owners have already given in on their unity stance with the players … it’s starting.

  • MartyDaVille

    tb, your comment on the Browns is the equivalent of a table-pounding, door-slamming, red-faced, vein-throbbing rant by anybody else.

    Alas, it’s getting dark on TeamSunnyside.

  • Or maybe Hue didn’t want his best weapon on offense injured and out for the rest of the season?

    Or maybe Hue didn’t want NY to readjust the defense to nullify Duke’s performance?

    Who knows.

  • tigersbrowns2

    LMAO !!

  • paulbip

    Mingo got a sack on his first play and all you clowns raved about him. I called him a bust.

  • Harv

    I am comforted that your disqus account was not hacked

  • RGB

    No worries. Three more drafts by our dweebometric beholden bean-counters and we will be unbeatable!
    Viva numbers!

  • RGB

    I KNEW I should have gone with 0-16.

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    2-14 was too high. What was I thinking??