Getcha Field Goals Ready: Cleveland Browns Week 7 Winners and Losers

Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas
David Richard, The Associated Press

I want to care about the Browns so badly, I really do. There was even a point during the fourth quarter where I stood up to watch. These are typically actions reserved for playoff baseball or the NBA Finals, but here I was, on my feet, hoping Cody Kessler (what?) could lead the Browns down the field with guys like Ricardo Louis and Bryce Treggs (who?) in order to score a touchdown in a game where there had been nothing but field goals.

I stood wondering why the Tennessee Titans continued to run the ball despite it garnering them nothing, but then appreciated it when it would result in the Browns getting endless chances to tie the game, if not take the all-out lead — crazy talk, I know.

I quickly realized how ridiculous this endeavor would be. The Browns, through 2017, have had the lead for all of five minutes and six seconds this season. That’s a hair over one percent of all minutes played. There’s losing, and there’s this.

LOSER: DeShone Kizer

I found myself rooting for DeShone Kizer this season, much more so than some of his predecessors. Sure, I wanted Johnny Manziel to be good — the kid was electric and he had so many doubters that it became a badge of honor to a point — but with Kizer, there was a mix of that whole doubt aspect coupled with the fact that the kid is protypical size, came from a prestigious program, fell to the team in the second round, and his success — if it were to happen — would make everyone look good. Hue. Sashi. The team. Everyone. But then he does this…

I have no idea where things go from here. I do know two things, however: That him allegedly being out downtown on a Friday night has absolutely nothing to do with any of his struggles, and that it’s tough to come back from multiple benchings in a three-week stretch.

LOSER: Hue Jackson

It wasn’t all that long ago when then Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott started implementing a zone defense. His team was getting destroyed on a nightly basis, and it was sort of par for the course when the talent gap was so wide. I thought Scott could hang on as the team looked to rebuild, but once the nightly attempts at the 2-3 zone were implemented, it was officially the look of a desperate man who knew he was on borrowed time and had nothing left to loose — even if it meant rolling with Manny Harris against guys like Paul Pierce.

This is the exact same feeling I get with Hue Jackson, a man who was supposed to be a part of a rebuilding process — developing, setting a foundation of discipline and positive culture — who is now left flailing to his own demise, making bone-headed decisions (like declining a personal foul penalty that would effectively take the Tennessee Titans out of field goal range) while treating quarterbacks like punt returners. Once again not helping Hue’s case is his indignant responses when questioned — “I’m not worried about the quarterback; I know you guys are,” he said to the media postgame — and fact that while it’s not always the same thing, it’s always something.

It’s not the hot seat; it’s an ejector seat. Good news is: His parachute’s made of gold.

WINNER: Cody Kessler

As it turns out, all you need to become the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns is patience. Starting the season as the third quarterback on the depth chart, wearing street clothes for much of this season, Kessler not only got promoted to No. 2 — he got to suit up midway through. While Jackson says he once again has to “watch the tape”, it’d be shocking if he went back to Kizer at this point, meaning the job is Kessler’s despite him throwing an interception and being completely unable to move the ball when the team needed it the most. Have fun watching this one, London.

LOSER: Gregg Williams

Four offsides penalties in the first half; five throughout the entire game. Not only is this the sign of an undisciplined team, it’s a direct reflection of preparation and focus. This Cleveland Browns team can ill afford to give free yardage. That some of these penalties came at crucial, third-down junctures is simply inexcusable.1

WINNER: Joe Thomas

I’ve become pretty desensitized to all things Cleveland Browns, but this one stings.

To put this whole snap streak in perspective, here’s Peter King:

And if you need some levity, here’s PFT Commenter:

A kid can dream.

WINNER: Zane Gonzalez

Just a few weeks after Gonzalez looked like he had never kicked a football before, the kid delivers throughout this one, burying a 54-yarder to send the game into overtime. A perfect 3-for-3 on a day when points were hard to come by. Tough to ask more of the rookie.

WINNER: Duke Johnson

We’ve been clamoring for this kid to get more touches, and while he still lost out on snap count to Isaiah Crowell, it’s Johnson who continues to make the most out of his limited opportunities. The checkdown offense of both Kizer and Kessler led to Johnson being targeted a team-high seven times and hauled in six of them for 45 yards through the air (in addition to seven rushes for 26 yards). Given that the entire Cleveland Browns offense needs a change of pace, here’s hoping this is a sign of things to come.

WINNER: Brien Boddy-Calhoun

Thrust into the starting lineup with the absence of Jason McCourty, BBC had himself a hell of an afternoon. Boddy-Calhoun was largely avoided by Tennessee in the passing game, but he allowed just one completion, broke up another pass, and tallied two stops in the run game.

LOSER: Mike Mularky

Pro Tip: When you’re facing a team with one of the best run-stopping units in the league who is also missing one-half of its starting defensive backfield, why are you running the ball? Mind blowing.

WINNER: David Njoku

He only had two catches, but Njoku tallied a team-high 58 yards. More importantly: He looks like the kind of play-making weapon that could be a ton of fun to watch in the coming years if the Browns find a way to consistently get him the football.

And briefly, the fans:

  1. Some may choose to blame Hue for this as well, and that’s fair. I’d counter with plenty of blame being there for the sharing. []

  • MartyDaVille

    When exactly did a rookie QB coming off a 4-8 season who nobody wanted in the first round (drafted THIRTY slots below the dreaded #22) and who got the starter’s job by default become so sacred that he can’t be removed? Hue’s trying to win a game. Back in the day, coaches didn’t worry about their QB’s fragile psyche. If they were having a bad game, the back-up went in, and nobody had a nervous breakdown over it. That being said . . .


    In, oh let’s say 99% of cases, there are no bad play calls, only bad execution. But this team throwing long on third and short — and worse, on fourth and short — is stupid and shows a lack of awareness of the situation. Moreover, declining that penalty suggests that he’s too distracted to be both HC and OC. Two inexcusable decisions.


    The “optics” of this are irrelevant. This is just busybody gossip.


    The field has narrowed now that Sam Darnold is showing that he’s got a ways to go yet.

    That would be the WR corps(e). Nice going, Sash. But at least we have . . .

    Cleve. 62.6m, Tenn. 30.1m. Another beat-down.

  • RGB

    WINNER: My sleep. I’m not getting up at 9:00 on Sunday to watch this crap.

  • BenRM

    WINNER: A watchable (comparatively) Browns game.

    LOSER: Hue. Yo-yo QBs. The most penalties (I believe) in the NFL. Confusing (a polite word for incorrect) coaching decisions. I am increasingly convinced that he will be fired but the front office will stick around.

    WINNER: Defense. Played really well. Even though Myles had a tough day with Lewan, I think he played well. BBC also played well, as noted above. Campbell had a handful of dumb penalties but I thought he played fine as well. Jabrill Peppers who?

    LOSER: Kizer. Dude. Those first few drives looked so nice. Then you went back to doing Kizer things. I’m not sure what it is at this point. All I know is that the Browns are drafting your replacement next year.

    As with Johnny, I don’t really care about people who “go out.” There are examples of players who do it and succeed, and there are examples of those who don’t and succeed. There are examples of players who don’t and fail, and examples of players who don’t and succeed.

    People generally like things to be easily explainable. “DUR KISER WUZ PARTYIN” is an easy way to explain his lack of success. There was some dude on Twitter railing on Kizer for tweeting during the ND game on saturday night, which ended before 11PM.

    Kizer might suck, but I’m 99% sure it’s not because he was out at 1AM on Saturday morning.

    WINNER: DUUUUUKE! Crow needs about 50% fewer touches. Duke is the Truth.

    LOSER: Offensive line depth. Sure would have been nice to have Grecco around, right? Right?

  • BenRM

    I like WR corps(e)! I haven’t seen that before now!

  • Eric G

    Loser: The Cleveland Browns organization without Joe Thomas. I have this weird feeling that this is the beginning of the end of our beloved LT. I could see, and would not for one second bemoan, him having to take this year off for surgery, and seeing the impact of all of the recent science around NFL players, not returning to the field.

  • Harv

    Winner: so few comments here after this crap show. Fanbase temporary lapsing into lucidity?

    Loser: The “noticeably quick pace of training camp sessions.” Remember that? Showed Hue knew what he’s doing, and the players looooved it? Training camp bloviating contains roughly the the same credibility as an annual North Korean agricultural report. This is the worst-coached squad since the ’99 return. The penalties aren’t roster issues, not the Buster-Skrine-Must-Pants-Bigger-Receiver variety. It’s Ivy League DeValve killing a drive every game, it’s inability to watch the snap, it’s clock management.

    Winner: Death Watch for Huey (and Sashi): It’s on, and should be. Hue’s in-game employment panic is so overt you half expect him to pull a striped shirt an whistle from a bag and try to penalize the opponent. On a short week/road game, the Titans did everything possible to hand the Browns the game. Mariota was awful, their coaching as well, their minds were elsewhere. That’s how even heinous teams get their win. Sorry.

    Everyone here will scream about talk of another reboot. That the issue is “fan impatience,” or “itchy trigger finger.” Ha, as if Shurmur and Lombardi and Farmer needed more time. Time will not make middle-aged Hue a HC. His act is worse than last year. Maybe you want to give cap guy another few to learn football, but not me. You and I could have torn this down and traded for future assets; that takes no great expertise. What makes a competitive team is the competent selection of very good players. Not multiple ok players, not roster filler. Players that good teams would covet as their starters. Count the last two years’ number and placement selections, and count those players, then convince yourself that Sashi oversee the ’18 selections.


  • The_Matt_of_Akron

    I think Isaiah Thomas rushing for 37 yards with his bum hip is pretty good…

  • MartyDaVille

    Death Watch for Huey. . . . Death Cab for Cutie. ISWYDT.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … it won’t even take self-convincing for me , Sashi should oversee the next draft … I want to see 1 more draft & FA period … they have spent the last 2 years building-up to this point … one more.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and i know they can draft talent … even Ray Farmer drafted some talent (except for Manziel , Gilbert & Mayle) … you can see it when guys leave here & flourish elsewhere … it’s amazing … even Care Bear is doing well in KC … Gabriel , Snead & a few others are doing just fine … even Johnson Bademosi started for the Patriots last night & had a great game. so , it’s the coaching ??

  • MartyDaVille

    tb, please listen to the scarred realists who are trying to talk you up to the ledge. Gabriel, Snead, Bademosi, et al are JAGs — just another guy. They’re nothing special. We’ve already got a dumpster full of nothing special.

    Sashi cannot under any circumstance be allowed free rein to make any more roster decisions. He is incompetent. At most, he should consult.

    This isn’t statistics class.

  • mgbode

    Care Bear is doing well in KC

    PFF has him rated as the 73rd OG out of 78 in the NFL.

  • Chris

    See!!! He *has* improved!!!

  • jpftribe

    I’m with you on this whole rookie QB psyche thing. 11 INT’s, 5 in scoring opportunities in 5.5 games. Kizer has received a lot more rope than he deserves. There has really been very little to nothing encouraging about his play to date. Yesterday was a bunch of dink and dunk, two NFL quality throws, missed reads, missed scoring opportunity and more critical turnovers.

    Not saying the guy is always going to be bad, but right now, he is very, very bad and should not be playing. If you want to blame Hue for something, listing him and Hogan 1 & 2 on the depth chart would be a credible beef.

  • jpftribe

    Oh great, ANOTHER year of tanking to get this guy.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MARTY … okay , let’s see if Sashi if calling the shots next off-season … and while some of you you say get rid of Hue , get rid of Sashi … and just who are you going to suggest to put in there that you can guarantee that will make all the right moves ??

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MG …

    1) do you really use PFF as your ranking gospel ?
    2) Care Bear isn’t #78

  • Saggy

    you say that like 9 is early. no kids? Shoot, I’m up at 6:30 on weekends to watch cartoons.

  • mgbode

    1) No, but it’s the best publicly available thumb in the air.
    2) Valid point.

    Also, I do value the Arrowhead Pride guys and they did a breakdown of Erving’s start that matches the above:

  • tigersbrowns2

    thanks for sharing that … pretty interesting. i didn’t see him have any stupid penalties , trip over his own feet & hurt himself or even get blown off the line of scrimmage & pushed 10 yards back into Kareem Hunt.

    we deemed him 2nd string material long ago … and he was a 1st round pick for us … wonderful.

  • Chris

    OK Sashi… now you can tell Hue to win a couple games this year.

  • BenRM

    I mean, we all saw how AWFUL Kessler looked. I don’t fault Hue for not playing him initially.

    The terrible QB situation this season is on Sashi.

  • BenRM

    I mean, he’s unlikely to leave this year because his draft stock is pretty garbage at the moment.

  • jpftribe

    Totally agree it’s on the front office. But Hue put his career on the line for a rookie 2nd round pick and pre-draft consensus was he needed to sit for at least a year. That is going to come back on him.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i know i’m probably wrong , so go ahead & let me have it … in my mind , the single most stupidest thing Jimmy Haslam could do would be to fire everyone in the front office or let go of Hue … just plain stupid. he granted them to time , whatever that is , to do a complete blow-up & rebuild this thing from the ground up … i’m pretty sure they expected it to be ugly & take some time , while still putting-up a good front & say we’re still trying to win games.

    what exactly do you accomplish by ditching the plan now ?? and i haven’t heard anyone come up with who will magically come in & make all the right picks & moves & turn it around the very first season ?

    if Hue & HBT were promised the time for their plan , then they should get it … i posted that Browns fans are impatient & was reminded that they HAVE been patient … YES , they have been patiently awaiting a winner in Cleveland , but NO , they do not have the patience to stick with a plan … any plan.


  • RGB

    The Plan produced 1 win last year, and so far looks like it might do the same.
    I guess that means The Plan is working.

  • Skulb

    Well I think you may be underestimating the importance of sports psychology a tad here. It’s not just the QB’s psyche we’re concerned with here, but that of the entire team. Let me explain: Kizer is incompetent? Fine. Let’s say he is. Who exactly was it that proclaimed him as the starter at the start of the season, and again when he returned to the starting 11 after Hogan took one too many harpoons? Why Hue Jackson of course! So Hue Jackson, the man who proclaimed Kizer his starting QB in camp and who made the conscious (One hopes…) choice to start him in the this game, has ZERO ability to evaluate QB potential and apparently performance. You might as well make one of us HC for all the good he’s doing right now. And the entire team sees this outrageous incompetence. Why should they buy in, or even have any confidence in Hue Jackson at all, when he keeps second guessing himself twice a week when it comes to the most important spot on the team? Hell have a team vote on who gets to play QB for all I care. Just make a choice and stick with it.
    And who’s the saviour now? Kody Kessler, the guy I thought was an obvious choice for the starting job just based on experience? Sure. And how long before he throws an interception under Kim Il Hue’s reign of interception terror? Why he’ll have to be benched now too then! And then Hogan is probably the next guy up in this insane endeavor. And then we’ll be back to Kizer the week after that. And we might even swap out QBs a couple of times pr game in addition to this, just to keep everyone nice and jumpy. You wanna know what dysfunction looks like, look at Hue Jackson torturing QBs for a living. It’s pathetic.

    This is not some derring-do propeller hat conference, where we just toss people into the minefield until we find someone who accidentally manages to dance his way between them, as well as the mangled remains of those less fortunate who preceded him. Or is it? Becuse this seems to basically be the selection process for QBs with the Cleveland Browns. It is a funny farm on stilts, nothing less.
    And all the while it is not secret how you cultivate QBs in the NFL, even in cases where their talent might be quastionable. It’s like gardening. You can’t just stick a sapling in the ground and expect it not to grow in random directions or die. And you can’t compare a sapling like Kizer to a two year old tree like Wentz and pretend that the same fertilizer, growth support and light requirements apply. Because they don’t. Until the stem hardens plants need support. And you have to weed a lot so they don’t get choked by other plants. And you must water them and make sure there’s not too much wind or too little sunlight etc. It’s a science that people have written books about. And people are no different. And to that you may say that you’re not running a daycare center and that the Browns don’t have time for silly things like QB development. To which I would respond, well what the flaming F did you draft him for then? Was he supposed to be some magical unicorn creature come from on high to save the 2017 Cleveland Browns, ill prepared though he seemed? Becuase he wasn’t, as anyone could plainly see.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and not only that , if Haslam was to fire everyone , what superstar is going to come to Cleveland & think he will be afforded the time he needs ??

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi RGB … as far as wins & losses , no , the plan is not working … as far as showing marked improvement , no , the plan is not yet bearing fruit … does that mean we should ditch it halfway through ??

  • RGB

    We’ve seen this exact plan before. It’s called the Sam Hinkie Plan.
    How’s that working out.

  • tigersbrowns2

    fair enough … but , I haven’t seen a GM around here for more than 2 years since 1999 … the exact plan I’ve seen before is starting over every 2 years … and how has that worked out for us ? i’m for Hue & the HBT having 4-5 years minimum … and i don’t care if they fail miserably , i won’t consider them getting a fair shake unless they get their time.

  • RGB

    Sure, hit all 5 of your fingers with a hammer.
    Gotta make sure it hurts.

  • Chris

    As are the Browns.

  • tigersbrowns2

    okay , you win … i just think we look more stupid starting over every 2 years.

  • tigersbrowns2

    you hit on some great points , but is Hue is supposed to poo-poo their fragile little egos ?? I’m not comparing Hue to these guys … but what do you think Lombardi , Walsh , Ditka & others did when their QB’s continually made mistakes ?

    you’re over-blowing it a tad … my guess is that Kizer is back in there next game continuing his development. Hue is also trying to win games for the other 52 guys on the roster as well , not just trying to nurture Kizer or any other QB..

  • Skulb

    It isn’t development is the thing because a key part of development is confidence. What you should do is ask whoever starts for you to do exactly as much as you think he can handle, however much or little that is, and scheme accordingly. No more, no less. If Kizer throws 14 interceptions pr game it is still Jackson’s fault for letting him throw when he isn’t able to.
    What you do not do is pretend that he is Brett Favre and open up the damn playbook for his experimental and ill-informed whims. He’s 21 years old. He hasn’t earned the right to make decisions of his own yet. Put the straightjacket on, even if it means handing the ball off 50 times pr game, like the Jags are doing with their much higher drafted fourth year starter right now. I don’t care what you say DeShone, you’re not throwing the ball Mister!
    And now there may be miore three and outs, if that’s even possible, and no interceptions and probably much fewer turnovers. And the Little Hue gets his deranged wish and Kizer doesn’t have his confidence completely torpedoed on a weekly basis.

    I just don’t understand what world I’m living in when I, a random couch potato, understandthis simple, basic stuff and Hue Jackson does not. Have people all gone insane?

  • jpftribe

    I’m not going to defend the undefendable, Hue is flying by the seat of his pants now and it’s not going to end well. But look at Denver for an example of trying to not throw the ball and that’s not working well either.

    Bottom line here is for all the smoke blowing Depodesta and Brown have done about the importance of the QB position, they came into this season with Kizer, Hogan and Kessler on the roster. That’s just friggin irresponsible. The time wasted with Osweiller is on their backs too. He should have been gone well before training camp.

    Hue made a call in camp that lotsa, lotsa people supported and thought was the right move. It wasn’t, and he’s going to be gone because of it.

  • Skulb

    I’m past results at this stage of the proceedings and am a lot more interested in the man management concepts this staff is operating with. Regardless of what you have, talent-wise, there are good ways and bad ways to manage it all. And that starts with the QB. If nothing else you need someone at the position who is at the very least somewhat confident that the job is theirs for the foreseeable future, so that they have the chance to try and fail and actually learn from it without being benched.
    I am vehemently opposed to this overreaction to some interceptions from a 21 year old QB. What interests me is how they deal with it. And apparently they deal with it by starting yet another QB merry-go-round rather than viewing it as a teaching opportunity. Because that is what coaching is about; teaching. That is no different for a QB than for a linebacker or a nose. And it takes time. Time no one gets at QB for the Browns. This is easily the worst franchise in the NFL. The leash should be longer, not shorter. There are so many problems that if you can get some stability at the QB position, results be damned, that would be momentous progress for the Browns in 2017. Even if it’s below average stability. It beats chaos, which seems to be Hue’s kneejerk to all this. Create as much chaos as possible and somehow, magically, a proficient football team will emerge!

    I beg to differ. Seriously.

  • Skulb

    I agree in principle. It’s just that there is no tangible progress, at least not on the offensive side of the ball. If anyhing they looked more feisty in week 1 last year than they do now. And you could deal with this bottomless pit of ineptitude if there was some sense that anyone in the building knew the way out of the Abyss. Right now I don’t see it. Hue is now reduced to issuing ultimatums to his QBs to no avail, predictably I might add. Is that really his only remaining idea? And if it is, how long do you want to be patient with him?

  • Skulb

    I went through a phase with my grandmother’s knitting needles and power sockets when I was about four….I must have tried it in at least five different sockets before I stopped.

  • Chris

    “i hope Joe Thomases arm heal’s like in rookie of the year & he takes the browns 2 the superbowl as a gunslinger QB”

    And all of a sudden becomes left handed…

  • Chris

    If a plan is working as planned, then plan to stick to the plan.

  • jpftribe

    You don’t have to beg, differing is free and I’m wrong a lot.

    My view here is there are consequences to bad decisions, and we are seeing them. It doesn’t matter who Hue chose to start the season, they are all bad choices and the resultant dysfunction may have taken a slightly different form, but would still be dysfunction.

    Bad decisions include QB roster choices and allowing someone to be QB coach, OC, part time scout, consultant to the GM on skill player selection and Head Coach. Sure they can fire him, and the next guy will be set up for the same level of success.

  • jpftribe
  • mgbode

    The Colts let Peyton experiment his rookie year. Threw tons of INTs. Also, it helped him learn for future seasons.

    There’s more than one way to develop.

  • Skulb

    Exactly. That’s why you make a firm choice at QB and take a stoic attitude to any mistakes that occur. Instead of becoming upset with an interception, say “hooray, a learning opportunity for the QB!”
    What did you see here? Why did you throw the ball? Should you have? Was the decision wrong or the throw bad? What might have been a better thing to do in that situation? What didn’t you see? Can you see it next time, and if not what can we do to simplify it for you? What do you want to pracitse most leading up to the next game?

    See? Teaching. Silly to overreact and bench people.