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.
As solid & well-coached as any 0-16 team in NFL history.
— Scott Raab (@ScottRaab64) October 15, 2017
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.”
I did not have textual relations with that quarterback. #Browns
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) October 15, 2017
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.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 15, 2017
LOSER: NFL Owners
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.
I have obtained a copy of Colin Kaepernick’s grievance pic.twitter.com/3VaE8I7HDa
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 16, 2017
And now, the fans:
Winner: Zane Gonzalez. He didn't look like Erik Gonzalez trying to kick this week.
— Ryan (@Isley23) October 15, 2017
Losers: a. My eyes and b. My Liver
— Pat in Shaker (@PatNShaker) October 15, 2017
Winners: Hue and Sashi. One less week they have to work for the Browns
Losers: Texans fans for being forced to pay for that
— Joey Stuhldreher (@stuhly92) October 15, 2017
Winner: The 2018 New Browns regime who will work 2 years and be paid for 2 more without having to work anymore. Loser: Jimmy's investment
— Ben Marley (@BenMarleyTweets) October 15, 2017
Can we just change it to "Rank your Losers"
— nightman (@cozz_tello) October 16, 2017