At some point, you have to feel a little badly for Hue Jackson.
He’s five games into his stint as coach of the Cleveland Browns and down to his fifth quarterback — wideout Terrelle Pryor actually — after rookie Cody Kessler and veteran Charlie Whitehurst were injured Sunday against the New England Patriots. Whitehurst returned to the game late in the fourth quarter, and Jackson said afterward that Kessler was day to day.
The Browns are the last winless team in the NFL, but really, that’s not on Jackson. They’ve at least hung around in several games, which is a minor miracle as they start another wholesale rebuild and endure a remarkable string of bad luck at the most important position.
Robert Griffin III was the guy all offseason and suffered a shoulder injury in the opener that landed him on injured reserve. Journeyman Josh McCown took over and suffered a shoulder injury of his own in Week 2.
That led to the Browns starting Kessler, a surprise third-round pick who managed to stay upright in his first two games and produced some positive moments — until Sunday.
Jackson, 50, waited five years for this opportunity after his one-and-done stint amid the Oakland Raiders' turmoil in 2011. When I visited training camp in July, he pushed back on the suggestion the Browns will have to lose a lot before they win a lot and the idea of tempering his expectations.
“I don’t know how. I’m being very honest, I don’t know how. I’ll cross that bridge as we go,” Jackson said then. “I expect to win. And nothing says that we can’t. I’m not going to think that we can’t. I don’t think our players are going to think that we can’t. We’re going to work as hard as anybody across the National Football League. And they have, every day. So, I think we stand as good a chance as anybody to win.”
That’s just Jackson’s mentality. He never concedes anything. But with the way the Browns are trying to overhaul their program, it was going to be really tough to even be competitive in short term, and constantly losing quarterbacks only makes thing worse.
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