Hue Jackson working his way into a quarterback quagmire
By Thomas Moore
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson wants to take some time before naming a starting quarterback, a decision that he may end up regretting.
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson asked for some more time on Monday as he pondered which quarterback to start in the Browns next game.
In doing so, Jackson may have revealed his decision.
Jackson benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer — his handpicked started out of training camp — at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets. Kizer was not playing well, or at least no worse than he had played through the season’s first four games, and the Browns only trailed 3-0 at the time, so his benching was a bit of a surprise.
Second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan took over and with the assistance of tight end David Njoku and running back Duke Johnson, put 14 points on the board. More importantly, he looked more the part of an NFL quarterback than Kizer.
Hogan may not be as physically gifted as Kizer, but he makes his decisions quicker and, consequently, gets rid of the ball in a timely fashion.
If the Browns could somehow blend the best traits of Kizer and Hogan into one quarterback they would be on to something. But as it is, Jackson is now pondering his choices as he looks for an answer to what is “best for the team,” as he told clevelandbrowns.com on Monday:
"“I’ve been riding through it. That’s what we’ve been doing, but at some point in time, I have to look at it and say, ‘what’s best for the football team?’ That’s what I plan on doing. That’s where it all starts.”"
If Jackson truly wants to do what is best for the team, at least in the short term, he will likely give the starting nod to Hogan for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. It may have been a small sample size, but the difference between Hogan and Kizer on Sunday was pretty evident.
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But Jackson selected Kizer at the start of the season with the idea that Kizer was the best option. For someone who has been around the league as long as Jackson has, he certainly had to know that there would be growing pains, not only because Kizer is a rookie, but also because he only played two years in college and is working with an offense that is still finding its way.
How that changed in the course of 18 quarters of play, especially since Kizer has been consistently the same quarterback all season, is a bit of a mystery.
Whether he intended to or not, Jackson has now created a quarterback controversy in the minds of the media and fans. Stick with Kizer and Jackson will be criticized for “not wanting to win.” Put Hogan in and Jackson will be criticized for not giving Kizer “time to develop.”
It doesn’t have to be, but it has the potential to turn into just another quarterback mess and one more thing to deal with in a season that grows more frustrating with every loss.
Next: Firing Hue Jackson midseason would be foolish
So, basically, just your typical October when it comes to the Cleveland Browns.