Puskas: Browns offer little to Dorsey
The audition isn’t going well for DeShone Kizer. It appears to be going even worse for Hue Jackson.
Make no mistake about it. When Sashi Brown was fired as the head of the Browns’ front office and replaced by general manager John Dorsey, the final four games this season became the last chance for a lot of employees to prove their worth to the new guy.
It’s sort of like when Initech employees were summoned to a meeting with “The Bobs” in the movie “Office Space.”
You can almost imagine one of the Bobs staring across the table at Kizer and asking: “So what would you say you do here, DeShone?”
Kizer is big and athletic. He can move out of the pocket on those rare occasions when he actually feels the pressure coming and has the arm strength to get the ball downfield, albeit not always accurately.
And then there is Kizer’s decision-making.
A week ago in overtime against Green Bay, he threw the worst interception anyone has seen in Cleveland since Brandon Weeden last played for the Browns. On Sunday, Kizer threw two more awful interceptions, including one off his back foot with the Browns in the red zone.
He has thrown a league-leading 19 interceptions.
Kizer also lost a fumble in his own end zone for a Ravens TD during the Browns’ 27-10 loss.
Kizer, of course, wasn’t ready to play in the NFL coming out of Notre Dame, but when has the small issue of a guy being unable to drive ever stopped the Browns from giving him the keys?
Still, Kizer can’t be blamed for everything that has gone wrong, much like Brown was not solely to blame for the Browns going 1-15 last season and 0-14 to this point in 2017.
The role of Jackson, the Browns’ head coach and de facto offensive coordinator, in all this losing cannot be overlooked or minimized.
Jackson keeps saying the Browns have work to do to fix what is wrong. He keeps saying the Browns need their quarterback to protect the ball.
But things keep going wrong and Kizer keeps turning it over, in part because Jackson isn’t doing him any favors.
Kizer struggles with accuracy, progressions and pocket awareness, but the Browns insist on too many pass plays that take too long to develop and – until Josh Gordon returned – Browns receivers couldn’t get separation if their lives depended on it.
But instead of calling quick-hitting plays off two- or three-step drops and short routes – the way Green Bay has done with Brett Hundley – Jackson has Kizer going with deep drops and medium-range or deeper throws. Also problematic with those are that Kizer’s blind-side protector, Joe Thomas, is out with an injury.
Who got beat on the strip-sack which led to a Ravens TD on Sunday? Thomas’ replacement, Spencer Drango. Kizer had no feel for the pressure and – worse – Jackson called that pass play from the Browns’ 3 with no running backs in for additional protection.
The audition isn’t going well for the QB or the coach.
Kizer is 21 and has untapped potential. He’ll be back, even if the Browns draft a QB in 2018. But despite Browns owner Jimmy Haslam saying Jackson also will return, I’m not so sure.
There just may not be a path back to Cleveland for him if the Browns finish 0-16 and are 1-31 on Jackson’s watch.
What would Hue say he’s done here?
Write Vindicator Sports Editor Ed Puskas at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter, @EdPuskas_Vindy.