Another game, another Browns loss; so why did Hue Jackson bench DeShone Kizer?

Shutdown Corner

The 0-5 Cleveland Browns announced Wednesday that they were benching rookie DeShone Kizer and starting second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan.

When they made the announcement, it was easy to question why. Yes, the Browns came into this week’s game with Houston winless, and, yes, Hue Jackson might be in butt-saving mode since Cleveland has just one win on his watch as head coach.

But after watching Hogan against the Houston Texans, we still have to ask: Why?

Bad decision? Browns coach Hue Jackson benched rookie DeShone Kizer for Kevin Hogan; Cleveland still lost big on Sunday. (AP)
Bad decision? Browns coach Hue Jackson benched rookie DeShone Kizer for Kevin Hogan; Cleveland still lost big on Sunday. (AP)

Yes, it’s just one game, but Hogan was terrible. And 22 games into his tenure as Browns coach, you have to wonder how much longer Jackson will remain coach.

The Browns fell to 0-6 after losing 33-17 on Sunday, and Hogan led the Browns to only three points before the game got out of hand, a first-quarter field goal that tied the score 3-3. The only other points he was responsible for came on a garbage-time touchdown. Cornerback Jason McCourty’s pick-six in the fourth quarter accounted for the Browns’ other score.

Hogan finished the game 20-for-37 for 140 yards, with the one late touchdown and three interceptions. One of the interceptions, an overthrow intended for Duke Johnson, was taken back for a touchdown by Johnathan Joseph.

And that’s against a Texans defense that was playing without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, who both suffered season-ending injuries last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was little more than a month ago, after the Browns’ first regular-season game, when Jackson told reporters Kizer “gives us hope.” Cleveland had lost, 21-18, to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Kizer completed two-thirds of his passes, with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one interception.

He hasn’t come close to that performance since then. Kizer was under 50 percent passing in the next four games, with two touchdowns and eight interceptions in losses to the Ravens, Colts, Bengals and Jets. He was benched at halftime against the Jets last week.

In the days leading up to this game against Houston, Jackson, hired in 2016, was asked about the Browns’ passing on Deshaun Watson in the draft. Jackson said he understood the second-guessing, but that “it doesn’t matter” to try to rewrite history now.

But during the broadcast of the game on Sunday, CBS sideline reporter Andrew Catalon said that Watson revealed to the broadcast team that Jackson had texted him on the first night of the draft and wrote, “Be ready,” an indication the Browns would be selecting him.

Instead, Cleveland traded the No. 12 pick (it had taken Myles Garrett No. 1 overall) to Houston, and the Texans took Watson.

Jackson is an offensive coach, and earned kudos as Joe Flacco’s first offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens. Andy Dalton also had one of his best seasons in 2015 with Jackson as his coordinator in Cincinnati. But so far, Jackson has made all the wrong moves when it comes to quarterbacks in Cleveland.

 

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