Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson taking risk by playing starters
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson is taking a risk by playing his starters in the preseason finale against the Chicago Bears.
The fourth preseason game is often one featuring players on the roster bubble trying to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster. A few starters may appear for a series or two, but the risk of injury in a meaningless game usually outweighs the benefits of a few reps.
The Cleveland Browns will take a different approach tonight against the Chicago Bears, as Hue Jackson made it clear he will play his starters in the game.
Jackson did say how long the starters will play, but this is a concerning piece of news for Browns fans.
Some believe players need to get as many live reps as possible, but this game is not meant for the starters. Those who have already avoided injury in the first three games should use the next ten days to rest up and prepare for the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Having them play tonight shortens the recovery period for the regular season, which is not good in a sport that sees many of its athletes play injured for long periods of time.
It is possible the starters will only play for a series or two, but Jackson is going to have a lot of questions if someone gets injured. Imagine Robert Griffin III, who has already been knocked on the ground throughout the first three games, going down with an injury. This is a worst-case scenario, but the Browns cannot afford to lose any key players before the real season even begins.
From Hue’s point of view, he has seen his starters struggle the past three weeks and wants to see some improvement in an exhibition before the games start to matter. It makes sense in other sports, but the game of football is one filled with great potential for injury. That cannot be avoided during the regular season, but it can avoided during the preseason.
Fans like Jackson for his old-school approach to the game of football, but it could come back to haunt him tonight is a starter goes down with an injury.
No rational person is hoping for any injuries, but the risk and worry will be there on each down until the starters are removed from the game. And after seeing Teddy Bridgewater go down with a catastrophic non-contact injury, the anxiety only builds when watching Griffin drop back with defenders coming straight at him.
Next: Browns: Game plan vs. Bears
With the added motivation of trying to make the Bears’ final roster, the risks are greater than normal for not just Griffin, but everyone on the roster.
Oh Hue, come get us out of our bunkers once the game is over.