Cleveland Browns: Why Hue Jackson Needs a Win For Plan To Work

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For Cleveland Browns fans, an injured starting quarterback is nothing new, even in the first game. Luckily, so has Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson. Last year, he had to use A.J. McCarron in place of injured starter Andy Dalton while trying to stay in the playoff hunt. Previously, Jackson had to adjust to Jason Campbell’s injury in Oakland.

If Jackson wants to put Josh McCown in the best situation possible, he could benefit greatly from bootlegs, some play-action and roll-outs, really anything to move the pocket behind the suspect line. Plus, that’s when McCown was best in Tampa.

While people are wondering if Gary Barnidge will see more looks, I’m wondering about Terrelle Pryor.

In Tampa, rookie Mike Evans, no relation to our Bob, caught 68 passes for 1,051 yards, while Vincent Jackson had 70 catches for 1,002. McCown favors tall receivers in general, perhaps Barnidge and Pryor will be his twin-towers. If the Browns can formulate a game-plan around McCown’s strengths as a QB (intelligence, ability to read defenses, check downs) the offense could look much better this week.

Last week, the big criticism on Jackson was play-calling.

Many feel he was asking his rookies to do too much. Counterpoint, if the rookies only know what you teach them, it’s not too much. When the talent you have available is less than your opponents, when you’re players are losing one-on-one match-ups on a consistent basis, and when you are trying to create something positive to build off of, you take risks. When they work, you’re a genius. When they fail, you’re crazy. Success is the thin line that divides genius from crazy. Let’s hope this week Hue is a genius.

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Last week against Philadelphia was awful.

The Browns were outplayed in every facet of the game. Perhaps Jackson expected too much out of the rookies, but that is part of the plan. Developing the young players in Jackson’s scheme, and creating a nucleus to grow from. Hopefully, these ugly, awful games are just growing pains as the Browns young roster gains experience.

My only problem with this theory is the losses. Losing gets in your head. For instance, Alex Mack left, in part because of the constant coaching and front office changes and partly because of all the losing. To him, Jackson was just another in a long line of men brought in to change the environment that may not last another year. Hard to argue with his logic when you see his previous experiences.

Losing is contagious.

With all the youth on the roster, it’s up to the coaches to keep the players buying into the plan, program, or whatever you want to call the rebuild. Last year, the defense made clear by their body language, they were beaten and would rather be somewhere else.

That is most likely why Jackson and defensive coordinator Ray Horton were on board with so many overpriced veterans leaving. The point is, when the losses start to pile up, not only is it hard for the players to buy-in to a losing product, it gets harder to win. Players begin to “press” and instead of making the big play like they wanted, they get injured or lose the game(see Josh McCown vs. Jets 2015, RG3 vs. Eagles). In short, winning cures all and the Browns need a win soon, to keep the players motivated and so they see positive results from their preparation.

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David is a talented writer who has been covering the Browns for a few years now. He is a contributor to CSZ, and also writes for BrownsBeat.com and EverybodyHatesCleveland.com.

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