Kevin Hogan and DeShone Kizer Cleveland Browns

Well, I have no idea what to write about this team and the organisation around it. Last week I was excited at the prospect of not having to watch another week of DeShone Kizer looking like a rabbit in the headlights but, yet again, this team has managed to knock any excitement and optimism right out of me.

Normally, I’d say that stats don’t give the full picture of a game or an individual player, but in Browns QB Kevin Hogan’s case, they really do. He ended up with a 38.1 rating, which is F’ing appalling! He completed 20 of 37 pass attempts for just 140-yards with 1TD (well after the game was lost), 3 interceptions and 4 sacks. At this point, I have absolutely no idea which of the QB’s on the roster is the worst. I’m starting to think, like many others, that you just throw DeShone Kizer in there for the rest of the season and see what happens. Those other people are saying that because they think it will be good for him whereas I’m saying it because, now that we’ve seen Kevin Hogan properly, the Browns have absolutely nothing to lose by going with Kizer.

I think Kevin Hogan has proven himself as a good backup in the league but he definitely didn’t look like a starter on Sunday. He’s got no “zip” on his passes which means they arc to the receiver and take that bit longer to get there and, as a result, are easier to pick-off. Compared to Kizer’s passes, Hogan’s look like they are floating. This is exactly the issue with 3rd-string QB Cody Kessler and why fans don’t want to see him as the starter either.

Watching Hogan in this game reminded me of watching Brock Osweiler during the preseason. By that, I mean that Hogan was throwing way too many high balls that the receivers had no chance of catching.

I said it before this game and I’ll say it again – it might not be Hue’s style but I want to see a lot more 2-TE sets as rookie David Njoku and second-year man Seth DeValve are by far the better receivers on this roster. I feel it’s the safer hands of these two that any starting QB for the Browns needs right now.

The wide receivers aren’t filling me with much confidence but I’d have to say that there have been the odd sparks of ability from Rashard Higgins, Kasen Williams and Richardo Louis with Kasen Williams looking like the best pass-catcher and Rashard Higgins looking like a threat at times. They might actually look good if they had a good QB throwing to them (false optimism creeping in again?).

David Njoku Cleveland Browns

The running game looked a little better again this week and seems to be slowly improving on the whole. Isaiah Crowell ran the ball 12 times for 58-yards and a 4.8-yard average, whilst Duke Johnson had just 5 touches for 40-yards (an 8.0-yard average.) It’s due to the fact, yet again, that the Browns went behind early in the game that they had to go to the ineffective passing game so much meaning the running game doesn’t get much of a look-in. Hue Jackson has to do a much better job at getting the team ready to play right from the off as they are losing the game before the first half is even over these days.

The defence looked good again against the run, although there was a huge hole created for D’Onta Foreman to run through for a 39-yard pick-up on one play. It’s against the pass that the Browns defence looks so bad. Greg Williams obviously likes to be aggressive and call lots of blitzes, which is fine and looks great when they work, but they are getting burned far too often by good and even mediocre passing games.

I imagine it’s because they don’t have a true free safety on the roster (or at least one that Williams has confidence in) that Jabrill Peppers has been employed to play so deep. Greg Williams seems to get a little annoyed when asked why he’s playing him so deep and answers that question with one of his own, “Who else is going to do it?”.

I’m, obviously, no coach or scout and it’s great as a fan to see a blitz work but, come on, all these blitzes that aren’t getting the kind of pressure they should be on far too many occasions are, in my opinion, putting too much pressure on the DB’s. Look, we suck again and will be picking first overall again, please just play Jabrill Peppers up in the box more as a strong safety and drop the CB’s a bit deeper to help whoever you have at free safety (Ibraheim Campbell?) then use a first round pick to take Derwin James from Florida State to play free safety next year. That might take a bit of wheeling-and-dealing but that’s one thing Sashi Brown is good at – just stop letting him pick the goddam players!!

I know I know, there are too many holes on the offensive side of the ball to be using first round picks on a DB, but I think they are in desperate need of another quality safety in a Greg Williams defence. The problem is that there is so much still wrong with this team that there aren’t enough picks and free agents available to fix it all in one offseason.

Who Should Start Week 7 at QB?

A good question to which I don’t really know the answer. It would be easy to say that they should go back to DeShone Kizer as he’s as good as Hogan and has a stronger arm and he should be left in there to gain experience and to better be able to assess whether he’s the guy of the future. I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do, though. Yes, Hogan was awful against the Texans but I reckon Hue will want to see him again this week against the Tennessee Titans.

I also think it will do Kizer good to sit again and see the kind of mistakes Hogan is making and learn from them whilst keeping himself out of the firing-line of criticism and negativity. If we’re subjected to the same kind of play by Hogan for the next couple of weeks (including the teams trip to Twickenham) then we’ll probably be singing Kizer’s name from the rooftops begging for him to start again.

So for me, I’d say they need to start Hogan again for at least one more week (probably two, to be honest) so they get a proper look at him and Kizer gets more time to learn from the sideline and, hopefully, develop a burning desire to get back in there and become the saviour.

I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Kizer does come back in this week as Hogan did take a hit that hurt his ribs as he was seen wincing and grabbing at them on more than one occasion. Maybe the coaching staff will use that as an excuse to bring Kizer back already.

Closing Thoughts

My closing thoughts about the Browns after their week 6 game against the Houston Texans is that they are currently going backwards. They currently have no quarterback and no wide receivers and therefore no passing attack. Which, in today’s NFL, means you’re going to be picking first in the draft until you get one. Without a passing game, there isn’t much chance of you keeping up with the opposition, as the Browns are finding out.

Not only do they not have a passing game on offence, they don’t seem to have much of a defence to stop the oppositions passing game either. The defence looks good against the run but needs work against the pass if the team is to stand a chance of getting a win. With Myles Garrett slowly getting more playing time, there should be more pressure on opposing QB’s but he can’t solve the issue by himself.

Will Hue Jackson still be the head coach by the end of the season and going into 2018? I hope so, but I would like to see him relinquish the OC role and concentrate more on his role as head coach. I’d also like to see him given full control over who they go after during the offseason as, surely, he should know who best fits the ideas he has for the team and the way he wants them to play. It just doesn’t make sense to have a lawyer picking players for an NFL team when he’s not experienced enough at it. I do think there’s a place for Sashi and DePodesta and the analytics idea but I can’t help but think they could do with a football guy in there making the player decisions with Hue from a GM role – Peyton Manning anyone?