Hogan’s Zeros: Cleveland Browns Week 6 Winners and Losers

Wil Fuller Jabrill Peppers Browns Texans
Associated Press

You just knew how this one was going to unfold. Sure, you could hope the Browns — winless and on the road — could march into Houston, starting a quarterback who has little in the way of film, and completely take advantage of another rookie quarterback on a team with several injured defenders. You could hope that it would be different, that the Browns would bottle up all of the potential they’ve seen from Kevin Hogan — you know, a play here…  a play there — and turn it in to a complete performance.

Or it would simply be Hue Jackson’s bumbling of the Browns’ quarterback situation. being outdone only by his bumbling of the postgame press conference following the team’s Week 6 loss.

LOSER: Kevin Hogan

Jussssst a bit outside.

A lot of the talk coming into the week was how the Browns would be better positioned to win a game with Hogan, whose stats at Stanford weren’t all that bad, and whose legs could bail him out of situations as needed. What the Browns got instead was a quarterback who had a passer rating in the 40s when *not* under pressure. Things got much, much worse when pressure was added, including a spike in his own end zone. Seriously.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

It was Hue Jackson who benched his rookie quarterback in favor of Kevin Hogan. It was Hue Jackson who had multiple third-down plays where Duke Johnson Jr. wasn’t even on the field.

Now, let’s unpack this story of Hue Jackson reportedly texting Deshaun Watson on Draft night. Hue, as has been the case all season, doesn’t come out smelling like roses.

Jackson builds a relationship with Watson. Watson tells the CBS crew in their weekly pregame production meeting that Jackson texted him to “be ready”, potentially signaling the Browns as a team to select him. Jackson was asked about it postgame and delivered a verbal version of a guy who gets pushed from behind and does his best to stay on his feet as his torso slowly creeps ahead of his legs with each additional lunge, only to fall flat on the side of his face.

“Ohmigod, I don’t know anything about that,” said Jackson. This is only the beginning.

“That’s so long ago,” he said. It, however, was not. Unless five months has suddenly become too long for NFL coaches who can otherwise remember the intricacies of plays they called three jobs ago.

“I met with that (TV) crew. Nobody asked me that. I met with the same crew, that question never came up,” he continued. This, of course, doesn’t matter.

“I knew who we were taking with the first pick and we took the guy that we wanted (Myles Garrett), so I don’t remember making that text,” said Jackson. This, of course, ignores the Browns also owning the 12th pick. No one said anything about the one used on Garrett.

“I know I did not send a text on draft day… I don’t remember making a text to him on draft day, other than later on telling him congratulations of him being drafted to where he went to Houston,” he said, thus suddenly remembering mid-sentence that a text was in fact sent. This, mind you, is all being done on Jackson’s own accord, in response to one question. What could have been quickly shot down — given that this was the angle Jackson tried to take — turned into a head coach who couldn’t stop himself from looking like a fool.

Meanwhile, with Watson just down the hallway, reporters had the chance to clarify what took place. Watson, the 22-year-old, responded with poise exponential to that of the head coach who um, well, uh…couldn’t remember.

“Correct,” Watson said. “Me and Hue during the draft process communicated, they were a team that was big on me, brought me in, worked me out, met with me, phone calls throughout the weeks and building a relationship, building a friendship.

“I didn’t know where I was going to go, but at the end of the day, God put me here with Houston and Hue texted me that morning and just said, ‘Be ready, anything can happen.’ They took the picks they wanted to take and I belong with this situation and this organization, but the relationship and friendship will always continue.”

WINNER: Myles Garrett

A group of studs just walked by in awe of how studly Myles Garrett looks. Thirty-three snaps this week after 19 against the Jets. Seven total pressures, two stops in the run game, and another sack—all in a day’s work.

LOSER: Sashi Brown

If I’m Jimmy Haslam, here’s what I’m doing. I call both men into my office, with neither of them knowing the other will be there. They will be asked to sit down for one question and one question only: What is the main reason you are 0-6?

If they answer it the same way, they both get to keep their jobs. If their answers differ, they’re both fired. The only options are “talent” and “coaching.” I’m Jimmy Haslam—there’s no time for nuance. Those are the only choices.

It will only be here where Brown, knowing full well what Jackson will answer, can be forced to admit how bereft of talent this team is. They have no quarterback. Their receivers are all guys who weren’t on this roster just five weeks ago. They don’t have a free safety. They cut Joe Haden (who gave up just five yards in 39 snaps of coverage on Sunday afternoon) while Jamar Taylor (45 yards and a touchdown) continues to get torched.

For all of Hue’s faults, he’s playing Call of Duty as a character with a pocket knife as Sashi has traded away or released the rest of the arsenal.

WINNER: Jason McCourty

The kid just continues to perform. McCourty saw 31 snaps, but allowed just two receptions for 19 yards, adding six points for a team that has suddenly become unable to produce them when on offense.

LOSER: Gregg Williams

Cover. The. Tight. End.

WINNER: Kevin Zeitler

Zero pressures on 48 pass-blocking snaps. The kid has been a stud guard on a team that has nothing to show for it.

LOSER: Jabrill Peppers

Did he even play? Oh wait, he’s the guy following Will Fuller into the end zone in that picture above.

WINNER: Browns Social Media

For a channel that was primarily used to urge fans to wish players they don’t know a “Happy Birthday!”, the Browns have found a way to add a little entertainment and levity on Sundays. It’s like a poor man’s version of the Indians channel without all the smarm and condescension.


This could get ugly. All it takes is one email or text to hit a FOIA request and this thing is on like Donky Kong.

And now, the fans:

  • RGB

    LOSER. The Process. So, if tearing down to the bottom is part and parcel, that means last year’s 1-15 technically was not the bottom…
    WINNER: Last year’s disappointed parade planners.

  • BenRM

    I did not watch much of the game. But I’ll give this a less snark-filled attempt.

    WINNER: Myles – he is a good football player.

    LOSER: Hue – on consecutive 3&2, he dials up a pass play for a passer who isn’t playing well, ignoring the run game that was ACTUALLY going really well.

    LOSER: Hue again – The run game was WORKING. He abandoned it immediately. Down 10 points at the beginning of the second quarter is not the end of the world. Hue’s play calling is killing this team. I’m not sure how the players stick with him if this continues. (EDIT: I should say “when this continues.” We know it’s going to continue.

    LOSER: Hogan Fans – he is who I thought he was. Stop buying tickets to the movie we’ve all seen before. We know what good QBs look like (by watching other teams). Hogan does not look like a good QB. He looks like an okay QB for the Browns, which is to say, a bad QB.

    WINNER: Kizer – It’s not you, it’s Hue. Okay, it’s also you, but you have the built in excuse of being one of the youngest rookies to ever start at QB in the history of the NFL.

    LOSER: Sashi – Dude. You’re living all of our dreams. Fantasy Football GM, but in REAL LIFE!?! Awesome. Way to go and ruin it for all of us. Suck it up, get a football consultant, and do your job a lot better.

    LOSER: Greg – You invented a defense that obviously doesn’t work. Un-invent it please.

    LOSER: Peppers – I get it, you’re being asked to do things you shouldn’t be asked to do. However, you are doing them awfully. Please, do them better.

  • MartyDaVille

    LOSER: PLAN B. So now it’s back to plan A? Or on to Plan C? Or Who needs a plan anyway?

    WINNER: CAP SPACE. Cleve. $62.9m, Hous. $5.9m. A rout!

    LOSER: HUE. I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt all along, but now I’m done. He insists on passing the ball when he has no passers and no receivers. He’s going to run his stupid system regardless of whether or not he has any players capable of carrying it out. I thought he was supposed to be smarter than this.

    LOSER: SASHI. Epic failure of Biblical proportions. Enough with the patience and process, this ain’t working. It isn’t supposed to be this bad. I can’t imagine that he’ll be making the roster decisions next year because he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. We don’t need “value,” we need talent.

    LOSER: PEPPERS. What ever happened to The Next Polamalu?

    LOSER: #TEAMOWEN. I’m back on #TeamApathy because I can’t even care enough about this joke of a franchise to root against it.

  • Chris

    “I call both men into my office, with neither of them knowing the other will be there. They will be asked to sit down for one question and one question only. If they answer it the same way, they both get to keep their jobs. If their answers differ, they’re both fired. The only options are “talent” and “coaching… Those are the only choices.”

    Classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. Love it. Could be a case study in ECON 101’s across this nation’s great universities. The only problem is that if they both agree, then Haslem keeps around someone with whom there is mutual agreement of ineptitude.

  • RGB

    Why not add a third option. “Management”. See if one has the stones to throw the other under the bus.

  • Chris
  • “The only problem is that if they both agree, then Haslam keeps around someone with whom there is mutual agreement of ineptitude”

    Question is does he have any other options at this point? Regarless of the outcome of Scott’s question, Jimmy should also answer the following. If I do decide to fire these guys so soon, is there anyone who I could hire for these positions knowing that they could lose them within a year or two if they don’t show immediate improvement? If no one steps up, then Jimmy probably would have no choice but to stay the course.

  • Chris

    Sell it to Bezos as part of a package to bring Amazon HQ2 to Cleveland and spark development around the stadium and shoreline.

    Think of all the crazy in-game camera angles those drones could capture!!

  • But I thought they didn’t accept McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches as payment.

  • Harv

    Winner: Jason McCourty, more than 2 years older than Joe Haden, because Scott just called him “the kid.”

    Haven’t been able to square the “winners/losers” game with this team lately, so here’s two questions that get louder each week to me:

    1) If in January 2016 Haslam hired the wrong people to run the org, how would that manifest itself in the middle of the 2017 season? Maybe the answer is that it would not yet be discernible if the agreed plan was a virtually unprecedented tear down of all established players on a roster but one. Or maybe we would see other teams, in consecutive drafts, taking our picks to grab their precious unicorns, the Franchise QB, while we used the return on the picks for some potentially decent starters, meh and roster filler.

    2) If in January 2016 Haslam’s people hired a guy without the skill set to be a head coach, how would that manifest itself in the middle of the 2017 season? Maybe the answer is that it would not yet be discernible given the roster tear down. Or maybe a competent coach would have the team playing crisply, not piling up stupid penalties in a game officiated by the crew least likely to see them. Maybe game plans would be fitted to the little certain players could do, especially the QBs in their current states of development. Maybe plays would reach the struggling QB in time to not waste time outs.

    And so the kindling starts to smolder. We sure know that smell Soon begins the same bleats: fire them all. Wait, instability is the main culprit. No wait, hire brain-addled Bernie/genius Peyton Manning/college guy. No, try this Hail Mary solution because “hey, our last stupid idea didn’t work, let’s go stupid again.” Here’s where I currently fixate: in one of his first and only public pronouncements, Paul DePodesta saw fit to say on the record that a QB he shunned was not a league top 20 QB. Aside from the incompetent judgement, ponder the stupidity, or the immaturity (or maybe the hubris?) it takes to say that on the record. That’s something a scout may sneer anonymously. I’m fixated here because this dude and his genius rep provides whatever gravitas is supposed to reside in Berea. I was sure that the combo of blowhard cap guy Carmen Policy, figurehead newbie Dwight Clark, and first time HC Chris Palmer was the most unqualified team ever to build something. Truth is, that ’99 team would kill this one.

  • CBiscuit

    Loser: Hogan. Airmailed soft passes will get you nowhere in this league, buddy. Ok, it may get you some more starts with the Browns, but we’re watching you! Ok, we’re watching maybe just a quarter or first half of your badness. I digress.

    Winner: Offensive line. Making opposing defenses feel good about themselves.

    Winner: Influx of Indians fans refugees. Browns fans could use some more bodies. Steve, welcome to the Browns excitement, buddy!

    Loser: Peppers. We are like 0-2 in Meeshigan University first round products in recent Browns memory. Yet another burn for a long TD. He’s shown zero playmaking ability thus far, and dude looks lost on defense. Perhaps he’s in need of more hydration.

    Winner: Myles Garrett. He looks like a player we have drafted in the 1st round who is capable of playing in the NFL.

  • CBiscuit

    PS. Still sold on your boy Hogan?

  • RGB
  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    WINNERS : i actually think the run defense & the O-line has been playing okay

  • Chris

    “Influx of Indians fans refugees”

    That’s like moving from Germany to Syria. Don’t listen to him, Steve. You’re better off staying put.

  • Chris

    I’m beginning to think the best way to develop Kizer is to start Hogan to ensure a 21-pt halftime deficit. That way Kizer can benefit from the 2nd-half Prevent-D like Hogan has done.

  • Robert Sass

    I am a winner. This weekend, I missed the first snap of a Browns game (either in person or on TV) since they were reborn. I felt “odd” during this, so I decided to check the score around 2:30 central time. Browns were down 33-3. I no longer felt odd.

    I hate being fair-weathered. So I have stuck with this losing non-sense and not having really a meaningful football game since 2002. I even sold my Bears Browns tickets on Xmas Eve, as honestly, better spend that time with my family instead of driving down the street to see Browns vs. Bears….

    Time for the fans to stop buying anything Browns until they show that they are at least the second worst franchise in the history of sports, as opposed to the worst ever… I want to see ownership put more effort into hiring some one even slightly competent for once…

    Harv is right, the expansion Browns of 1999 would put a beat down on this team, and I wish I chimed in saying the team would be 0-16 on the predictions thread, as that is where this season is going. I see zero winnable games… This will be the first team to go 1-35 in a 2 year stretch in NFL history. Modell and Paul Brown, I bet they are smiling down upon this mess… sigh…

    Why the hell is Joe Thomas not demanding a trade? Outside of Garrett, he is the only guy worth anything, and deserves to be in the HOF just for being loyal to this miserable franchise, not even counting his amazing play on the field…

  • BenRM

    Don’t worry, you are’t fair-weathered. No one goes to a bad movie and feels guilty for not liking it. No one feels bad for not going to restaurants that serve bad food.

    The Browns have been awful for a significant portion of all of our lives. They do not deserve anyone’s attention or sympathy.

  • MartyDaVille

    Modell might be smiling, but that POS isn’t smiling down.

  • Sam Gold
  • tigersbrowns2

    hi ROBERT … the 1999 team probably would beat this team , but at least they had a veteran presence on the 1999 team … this team is mostly 1st & 2nd year players & is currently the youngest team in the NFL.

    and why isn’t Joe Thomas demanding a trade ?? … because he is on #TeamSunnyside & he sees what I see … a good plan with better days ahead.

  • TimCleveland

    WINNERS: My brother who has Cleveland in our Bad Quarterback Fantasy League (think fantasy football, except you score points for bad QB play). Big points for him the last few weeks.

    Myles Garrett – 3 sacks through two games while not 100% healthy.

    LOSERS: All of us. I watch quite few games (or parts of games) via RedZone every week. There are a lot of bad teams/bad play out there. A modicum of competence can get a team to 6 wins pretty easily. I don’t see much in the way of competence here.

  • Chris

    “I watch quite few games (or parts of games) via RedZone”

    At least you’re familiar with the Browns’ defense.

  • JM85

    Winner- nobody. They’re 0-6.

    Loser- everybody. They’re 0-6.

  • TimCleveland

    The general lack thereof.

  • Dave

    The real problem with that is that the problem may be Haslem. I have to think that having a terrible team helps keep that salary bill nice and low.

  • Natedawg86

    I think Kizer can take care of building the deficit on his own.

  • Harv

    yes yes yes. Imagine if the well-funded Cleveland Orchestra was composed solely of bad high school musicians. Would we be fair-weathered music lovers or bad citizens by not attending, not donating, instead listening to world class or just mediocre classical music found elsewhere? Would we be expected to say: yeah, it hurts my ears but this is the CLEVELAND Orchestra? The whole notion that good citizenry requires holding one’s nose and wasting one’s time to support non-entertaining entertainment is bizarre.