Q: Do you think Sashi Brown is the main culprit behind the team’s two losing seasons? Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer were Hue Jackson’s idea and the product on the field could be better despite the questionable talent. Do you think Jackson deserves a third year?
— Chuck Levin
A: I believe everyone’s to blame when the record is 1-27 but I put Brown at the top of the list. He failed to adequately address the quarterback position, despite having numerous prime opportunities. And the overall roster lacks the talent necessary to win consistently. His reliance on analytics wasn’t the problem, rather his failure to properly evaluate talent.
As for Jackson, it’s impossible to say he “deserves” a third year after going 1-27. With that said, his hands were tied by the roster he was given and I’m fine with owner Jimmy Haslam’s decision to give him another year working with new general manager John Dorsey. As for Kessler, I don’t think Jackson ever wanted him but tried to support the organization. Kizer is Jackson’s type of quarterback, and the jury’s still out on him.
Q: Do you think John Dorsey will go after free agent veteran quarterback, or target Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold in the draft?
— Paul, Mansfield
A: That’s the million-dollar question. My first inclination is a veteran, because he traded for Alex Smith when he became GM of the Chiefs and it’s the quickest way to a turnaround — which Hue Jackson desperately wants after two historically bad seasons.
But the Browns haven’t used a top-five pick on a quarterback since Tim Couch, so Dorsey must give Rosen or Darnold strong consideration. If he concludes either could be a franchise quarterback — and DeShone Kizer can’t be — he shouldn’t think twice about making the pick at No. 1.
A real possibility is adding a veteran and using the No. 1 pick on a quarterback.
Q: Is it a possibility new GM John Dorsey could trade Hue Jackson?
A: I wouldn’t rule out anything with this organization, but Jimmy Haslam was adamant last week he wants Jackson back for 2018 and hopefully beyond.
If the Bengals’ coaching job opens and they pursue Jackson, a trade is a possibility, but I expect Jackson to remain in Cleveland.
Q: With all the talk about John Dorsey and getting a franchise QB, what does this do to DeShone Kizer’s psyche? Is he gonna fold because he now knows the team is gonna look for a new QB?
A: If Kizer’s spirit wasn’t broken already, I don’t think this will do it.
Kizer has endured through a terrible rookie season. Not only does he lead the league with 20 turnovers, he was benched three times and the team tried to trade for his replacement in AJ McCarron. Kizer has proved his mental toughness repeatedly and shown signs of improvement on Sundays.
Kizer should surely have competition at the position next year, but it would be a mistake for Dorsey to discard him. He still has vast potential.
Q: When does Hue Jackson get fired or even start being accountable for his awful record?
A: Jimmy Haslam guaranteed Jackson’s return for 2018. So the clock won’t start ticking until October.
Q: If we turn it around next year (5-7 wins. Low bar, I know), will Sashi Brown get any credit?
A: He’ll get the credit in the area he deserves: He left his replacemet with five draft picks in the first two rounds and 13 overall. The Browns will also have about $100 million in salary cap space. That’s the only benefit of the teardown put in place by Brown.
Q: Is it only me who is fearful or do you agree the Browns seem dangerously thin at DE heading into the Green Bay game, especially given the Pack’s preference for running behind their young QB, who is quite a bit like our guy DeShone Kizer? Since Emmanuel Ogbah is already sidelined, Myles Garrett and Tyrone Holmes are injured and Carl Nassib has shown himself to be lacking as a run defender. Seems to leave only the suspect Nate Orchard, himself unproven as a DE viability. Comments?
— Mark Leonard
A: You do have cause for concern, but Garrett and Holmes will play, so that will help. However, defensive tackle Danny Shelton (chest/ribs) is inactive, so that’s a blow to the run defense.
One of the issues with the roster built by Sashi Brown was a lack of depth across the defense. That’s been obvious with the loss of Ogbah. If Holmes is slowed or can’t complete the game, coordinator Gregg Williams could shift rookie tackle Caleb Brantley outside for a spell.