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It Doesn't Matter Who The Browns' Quarterback Is

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Let’s run it down. The Browns are 0-10 for the first time in franchise history. They’ve dropped 13 in a row, the longest losing streak in franchise history. They’ve given up at least 25 points in 11 straight games, the longest such streak in modern NFL history. So any midgame quarterback changes have the ring of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. What was Hue Jackson doing?


Just after the half, Jackson made a QB switch, bringing in Josh McCown for Cody Kessler. Kessler wasn’t hurt; Jackson said he just thought Cleveland “had to try something different.” So which was the Brownsiest part of all this: that no one else on the team was told about the switch? (LT Joe Thomas said he only realized a QB change had been made when McCown jogged out to the line of scrimmage.) Or that McCown threw picks on two of his first three series?

(Listen to Al Michael and Cris Collinsworth calling McCown’s two interceptions. Their voices drip with a brutal mixture of “here we go again” and the distinct conveyance that they wanted to be calling this game just as little as you wanted to be watching it.)


Cleveland finished the game with 144 yards of total offense, the fewest by any team in a game this season. It is safe to say going to McCown did not work. Jackson attempted to explain it:

“I made the switch at quarterback because I felt we needed a spark,” said Hue Jackson. “I didn’t think we were doing some things even in the first half I thought we could do. Nothing against Cody. It’s tough when you’re a young player and you come in, you play a week before and you’ve got to play on a Thursday.

“I thought there were some plays that we left out there on the field, so I wasn’t going to sit there and keep watching the plays be missed. You’ve got to try something different.

“And being in the situation we are, why not try something different? I think that’s the best way to go about it, and if it works, we’ll be excited about. If it doesn’t, then you guys are going to keep asking me these questions. I do get that and I respect that.”

I will admit I do not see the utility in a winless team yanking a rookie for a 37-year-old, but I will also admit it couldn’t have made much difference either way; this team’s problems are too deep. What, exactly, was McCown supposed to do with protection like this?


Here’s a fun quiz! Without giving it too much thought, who was the last Browns QB to win a game? (It was Johnny Manziel.) Who was the Browns’ starting QB to begin this season? (It was RGIII, and when I realized that, my mind was blown for a hot second.)

Jackson spoke about not wanting to play “musical chairs” with the quarterback position, and declared Kessler will be his starter next week against the Steelers. He said he wants to spend the second half of the season finding out what his rookie QB can do, yet bridled when asked if that means Kessler’s job is safe.

“I never said Cody was the starting quarterback for the rest of the year,” Jackson said. “That’s what you just said. I never made that statement. I said, ‘I’m going to see Cody for the rest of this season as much as I deem necessary.’”


God, what a mess. This isn’t even fun. At least the 2008 Lions had Dan Orlovsky running out the back of the end zone.

Deputy editor | Deadspin

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