Jacoby Brissett is the quarterback Cleveland Browns need right now
Given the job on a temporary basis until Deshaun Watson returns from suspension, stand-in Jacoby Brissett is just the kind of QB the Browns needs right now.
It’s been a divisive summer in Browns land. Whatever your position on Deshaun Watson, there’s no denying the fact his arrival in Cleveland brought a storm of public scrutiny to the Browns, much of it reaching far beyond the boundaries of football and its many fans.
People who had never seen a game in their lives now had an opinion on the franchise, and it was usually vituperative, hateful, or dismissive. Fury rained down on Berea. We were loathsome, they said. scumbags. The worst, well, you know the rest already.
Journalists, fans, and watchers of daytime T.V. Everyone had their wrathful say, and all would be watching the Browns intently from now on for any form of a misstep, just waiting to pounce and rip the organization to shreds.
Jacoby Brissett is the perfect antidote to all that.
The quarterback tasked with carrying the Browns as an on-field football entity is also tasked with carrying them as an off-the-field company. For now, at least, he’s the public face of the club, at least until Deshaun Watson returns from suspension in Week 13, against his former team, the Houston Texans.
All things considered, Cleveland couldn’t have picked a better guy for the job. Brissett has proven himself extremely likable since arriving. His teammates seem to think a lot of him and have his back. On the podium and in front of television cameras he has been erudite, unflappable, self-effacing, and wryly humorous. Charming, in short.
Just the kind of face needed to dispel the toxic air swirling around the place all summer. His press conference Tuesday was a prime example of this and encapsulates his whole approach since being given the starting job on a temporary basis. He’s accommodating, respectful, and nice.
Sure, I know, nice is the most useless adjective in the world. It carries all the weight and gravitas of wet paper. Hell, it’s practically opaque, almost disappearing off the page even as it’s typed. But it’s precisely what the Browns need right now. Someone nice. Someone smiling, someone to steady the ship. A breath of fresh air to flush out the poison. Someone to put a little distance between the madness of this past summer, and the business that is the regular season.
And this week, this short, ugly week that has had our guts churning ever since that psyche-damaging loss to the Jets, Brissett has proven the perfect tonic. His breezy demeanor washes away all memories of what might forever go down in the annals as ‘1.55’ (I doubt it will join ‘The Drive’, ‘The Fumble’ et al in terms of stature, because it will hopefully prove to be of less magnitude or significance, but it doesn’t live too far from them, either).
Plenty of times, it felt as though the journalist asking the question was trying to bait Brissett into a response. Refusing to bite, though, he simply flashed that smile, his eyes silently admonishing his addressor, before giving an unfussy answer and moving on, drawing the sting from the situation and keeping from causing a scene.
Every man and his dawg have banged the ‘on to the Steelers’ gong this past few days, but Brissett somehow did it in a way that made me believe it, made me leave the horrors of Sunday behind.
"‘I mean, a divisional game on Thursday Night Football,’ he recently told a press conference, by way of ClevelandBrowns.com, ‘if that don’t wake you up something’s wrong with you.’"
And just like that, I was cured. Back in the room. Truly ready for Pittsburgh. You can see why his teammates respond so well to him.
And what about on the field?
His day-to-day job description, after all, is as a quarterback in the National Football League. All the other noise is one thing, but he’s still expected to win games. How has he performed so far?
Well, he’s 40 for 61 with a completion percentage of 65.6. He has 376 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, giving him a QBR of 59.3, 12th in the league overall. Solid, then. Nothing flashy, but solid.
He’s doing what he was asked to do; hold the fort. In an offense boasting Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, Brissett was never going to be asked to do too much. Just hold the fort and keep things ticking over. He’s doing exactly that.
On Sunday, he threw the game-ending pick, but before that he had been fairly accurate with his passing, never missing a target, as Nick Chubb said in his own press conference, though not all those passes resulted in a catch. Brissett can’t entirely be blamed for that.
Growing confidence and increased familiarity with his teammates, as well as a promising understanding with Amari Cooper that did pay dividends against the Jets, seem to hint at a positive future going forward.
Personally, I’m happy to have him as Cleveland’s quarterback and hope that he keeps smiling because it’s a refreshing sight to see.
Let’s just hope he beats the Steelers on Thursday night.
Then we’ll all have something to smile about.