CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Usually it takes until at least November before Browns seasons go off the rails when the losses and injuries start piling up.
Not this year.
Just 2 games in the team has already been forced to turn to a third starting quarterback – rookie Cody Kessler.
In Sunday’s 25-20 loss to the Ravens that saw the Browns blow a 20-0 advantage, quarterback Josh McCown played through a left shoulder injury, center Cameron Erving was taken to a hospital via ambulance, rookie defensive end Carl Nassib broke his hand and safety Ibraheim Campbell sustained a hamstring injury.
Despite the mountain of adversity that he is already facing in his first season as head coach in Cleveland, Hue Jackson isn’t asking himself, ‘What the hell did I get myself into by taking this job?’ Nope, he just keeps smiling as he rolls with the punches.
“Still hasn’t rocked my world yet. I’m still sitting here,” Jackson said laughing. “As long as you guys still see me sitting upright, I am going to be fine. This is pro football and these things happen, maybe not to this degree any place I have been, but I have been toughened before. I have been in the abyss – whatever they say, the bad abyss before – I’ve been there. We are not getting drug under, I promise you that.
“We are going to keep fighting and that is what I told the guys. We are not going to get caught up in this. This is so early in the season. This is Week 2. I would probably feel a little bit different and I might be hanging from the rafters up here is this was Week 14 or something and all this was going on, but it is early.”
McCown got drilled by Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who drove him hard into the turf, as he completed a 14-yard strike to tight end Gary Barnidge on a third and 8 with just over 5 minutes left in the opening quarter. He was sacked 3 times and hit another half dozen times on top of that.
“I don’t know that it is totally broken,” Jackson said. “I don’t think that, but I know that there is something that is not right. I think it is more of a deep sprain at this time than anything, but I don’t think there is anything totally broken.”
To no none’s surprise, because these are the Browns and the worst possible scenario always seems to play out, McCown has been ruled out for this week’s game in Miami and his playing status going forward will be evaluated week to week.
Robert Griffin III is already out a minimum of 7 more games after breaking a bone in his left shoulder late in the first quarter of the 29-10 loss at Philadelphia in Week 1. Griffin was placed on injured reserve last week with the hope that after he is evaluated in a few weeks he could return.
Erving, who had come under fire for his play on the field, got a major health scare when he collapsed with less than a minute left in Sunday’s game. Erving complained of cramps and discomfort in his chest and ribs and had to be taken from the stadium in an ambulance. The good news is that he was released from the hospital Monday morning after sustaining a bruised lung but he will likely miss at least a month, if not more.
The loss of Erving means that right guard John Greco shifts to center and Alvin Bailey comes off the bench to replace Greco.
“I feel good about that combination,” Jackson said. “Greco has done it in games before so I think we will manage that part pretty well.”
The there is their third round pick, Nassib, who burst onto the scene in the opener with 3 tackles and a sack. He suffered a broken hand in the third quarter and will require surgery keeping him out at least this week.
The hopelessness of 2016 is very real. If the Browns didn’t have bad luck, they’d have none at all and there is little within Jackson’s power to change it.