As one of only four winless teams, the Browns are desperate for a win in week 5. Some have called this a must-win, but is it really? The fate of Hue Jackson has become an issue as controversial as building the wall. Who is to blame for the Browns current state? It must be someone, right?
The Cleveland Browns will square off against the fearsome New York Jets this week. In all seriousness, the Jets were thought to be tanking this season based on their roster construction or more specifically the lack there of. However, no one remembered to pass that information on to the Jets players. The team has played hard as their 2-2 record indicates. Veteran Josh McCown appears to be rejuvenated on his new team. McCown has already beaten long odds by staying healthy through four games on a less than talented team.
Let’s be honest here. When the schedule came out, we all circled this game as a win. Hue Jackson and the rest of the Browns circled it as a win. This is also the game that the Jets front office circled as the game that could mess up their tanking plans. As we know from 2016, one win can make a difference when you’re trying to get the top pick in the NFL draft. Things can change quickly in the NFL. Now, hold onto that thought.
The difficulty in winning any game in the NFL changes on a weekly basis. Teams get hot and cold. I know everyone just wants to see the Browns win and it seems like this is just another lost season. I don’t believe that’s the case. This is a developmental season. That decision was made when DeShone Kizer won the starting job. This team is loaded with young players who need playing time. Most fans don’t have any issue with Kizer or the rest of the team. Some want Hue’s head on a silver platter already and some want Sashi’s.
It’s too early for any of that. Yes, last week was a disgusting display of “football”. I was a grouch for a couple days after watching the game. It was disappointing to see all the mistakes, the lack of offense and the Browns defense making Andy Dalton look like the second coming of Otto Graham. Hue Jackson continues to make mistakes in game management. There are a lot of things that need to be fixed. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re ready to quit construction on a house that just had the foundation poured because we don’t think the kitchen is big enough.
This Browns team could use a win for the psyche of the coaches and the players, but it’s just too early for this to be a job-saving game for head coach Hue Jackson. We need to see growth and we need some wins this season, but there isn’t a single game on the schedule where an “L” should result in a firing. I believe that Jimmy Haslam is truly committed to this regime. That means he intends to give them 2018, but things do change fast in the NFL.
If the Browns continue to look as miserable as they did against the Bengals and Hue continues to make game time and clock-management mistakes, look for changes in 2018. That could mean a new head coach, a new regime or simply a mandate to hire an offensive coordinator. I made the point of the last episode of The Land Sports Podcast that a change in regimes at the end of the season would make sense if we don’t see any improvement over the remainder of the season. The Browns have young talent, cap space and they have the draft picks that any GM would drool over for the 2018 draft. I want stability, but I really think we’ll know where things stand by the end of the 2017 season and so will Jimmy Haslam.
The Browns need a solid effort this week to calm the waters and to begin to build some confidence on this team. Hue Jackson needs to call a better game and we all need to let this thing ride out for the rest of the season. It hasn’t been pretty in Cleveland so far, but then again, this is our football team. If you want pretty, we have the Indians and Cavs.