In what seems to be the typical fashion in Cleveland, the Browns are still winless after week four of the season and fans are upset. Browns fans have experienced this scenario all too often since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999. While the team has experienced hype over numerous high draft picks, coaching hires and even an ownership change, 2002 and 2007 have been the only winning seasons the franchise has recorded in the last 18 seasons. That’s a lot of losing seasons to endure for one fan base.
When Hue Jackson came aboard as the head coach prior to the 2016 season, he was thought to be the answer for the Browns that fans have been looking for. However, with only one win to his name as head coach of the football team in Cleveland, Jackson seems to be feeling his seat getting warm. He did decide to go with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer as his starting quarterback for the 2017 season, and while Kizer has shown that he has the makings of being the franchise quarterback the Browns have lacked since returning to the league, it has been no secret that the wide-receiving corps has been seen as one of the issues with Cleveland’s offense. The one positive point in the receiving game of Cleveland from a year ago is not with the team this year.
The Browns’ front office decided to not pay Terrelle Pryor the money he was asking for during contract negotiations over the offseason and signed veteran receiver Kenny Britt instead. Britt was brought in to not only give Cleveland quarterbacks another option to throw to, but he was also seen to be the needed veteran presence that the young receivers on the team needed to help them grow. However, Britt has proven to be a disappointment for the Browns so far, even to the point that Hue Jackson gave Britt a challenge going into week three to step up his game. Jackson even stated after week four that the reason he kept Britt in the game is due to the number of injuries the Browns’ receivers have experienced, including second-year player Corey Coleman who is sitting out with a broken hand in his second-consecutive season. Even given Jackson’s challenge, Britt has still continued to drop passes and looks like he is playing without passion.
Injuries and inconsistent production by the offense are definitely playing a factor with how Hue Jackson is managing his team. Maybe taking a play from the playbook of his former boss, Marvin Lewis, and making a change with the coaching staff could help. The Bengals saw a renewed success on offense with a change at the offensive coordinator position, but such a change in Cleveland would require Jackson to give up control of being the head coach and offensive coordinator. But maybe another change could help.
Another open secret in Cleveland has been that troubled receiver Josh Gordon wants to return to professional football now that he is out of rehab. Given that Cleveland owns the rights to Gordon’s contract, and that they seem to be lacking on the receiving front due to injuries and inconsistency, a return by Gordon could very well give the Browns’ offense a much-needed spark that they need to get firing on all cylinders. If nothing else Gordon could be enough of a worry for defensive players and coordinators to distract them and allow both Kizer and his receivers the opportunity to gel and find a rhythm.
As of this time, Josh Gordon has not officially applied for reinstatement to the NFL. However, Gordon has been vocal about how he has been spending his time since exiting rehab last month, showing off videos of him working out on a football practice field somewhere. If Gordon were reinstated by NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell, Cleveland’s final option could be to trade him to another team that may be “more willing” to deal with Gordon’s off the field issues. One would think that given the Browns’ current position that Jackson and the rest of the organization would be willing to work with the receiver best they can. Some fans will like the idea of Gordon returning to Cleveland while some fans will strongly dislike the idea. Fans are clearly on both sides of the fence about the issue. One thing that they can agree on is that something needs to be done to get the offense on track.
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