BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson didn’t mince words Monday when it came to receiver Kenny Britt’s dropped pass early in the fourth quarter Sunday.
Britt was wide open over the middle on a second-and-19 from their own 22 when rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw the ball right off of his hands. Two plays later, the Browns punted after the drop cost them a big gain, fresh set of downs and opportunity to position themselves to cut into the 21-10 deficit at the time.
“Obviously Kenny dropped the ball in the open field,” Jackson said. “We’ve seen players do that before. Some of the great ones have dropped balls, but you can’t do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can in that situation. I think Kenny gets that. He knows that’s inexcusable. He has to make that play.”
The Browns signed Britt to a 4-year, $32.5 million contract this offseason and they are counting on him to help a young receiving corps as well as quarterback in Kizer but he’s done very little to show he was deserving of such a deal.
Britt was targeted just 3 times Sunday and he finished with 1 catch for 13 yards. He caught just 3 passes in the preseason for 25 yards while receiving premium treatment during training camp as a veteran where he was given a lot of time off.
Jackson indicated that he might consider taking Britt out of the starting lineup next Sunday at Baltimore.
“Let’s see where we go this week. Let’s see what we’re doing this week. Let’s find out,” Jackson responded when asked if he’s considering pulling Britt. “You’re saying he’s starting this week. We don’t know that. So let’s see where we are this week and go from there.”
Tough D – Jackson praised the defensive effort he saw Sunday against a prolific Steelers offense.
Cleveland’s defense held Pittsburgh to 35 yards rushing while forcing 6 punts, 3 3-and-out series, 5-13 on third down and an interception. Unfortunately they came so close to making a few plays – including linebacker Joe Schobert tipping a Ben Roethlisberger pass that landed in the lap of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown and went for 50 yards and eventually led to a TD.
“I think our defense held their own throughout this game,” Jackson said. “Pittsburgh is going to make one or two plays, and they did. Obviously, Antonio Brown made a sensational play to put them in position to win the game, but I think our defense did an outstanding job all day. There was a tipped ball where the guy catches it and runs for 50 yards. There was a tipped ball almost in the end zone even on a touchdown.
“We are right there. We just have to finish those plays.”
Costly Miscommunication – The Browns were able to recover following the blocked punt Sunday early in the first quarter but it cost them the game.
However Jackson doesn’t anticipate shaking up the punt protection unit in the aftermath.
“Obviously, it was disappointing what happened,” Jackson said. “I don’t think we need to make any changes. I think the communication and doing things right, the details of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s is what it is. We can’t make those kind of mistakes. The guy who did it, I am sure he will get that corrected. That is not what he has done thus far in his career.”
Had Steelers linebacker Tyler Matakevich not blown through a gap on the left side of the line to block Colquitt’s kick, which was promptly recovered by fellow linebacker Anthoy Chickillo in the endzone as the ball spun on the ground for a 7-0 lead, the Browns would’ve won the game 18 or 17-14. Instead they lost 21-18.
“It was just a miscommunication by me and the long snapper,” running back Matthew Dayes, who lined up as a protector on the play, said. “We looked over it and we fixed it and we know what to do from there on.”
Dayes declined to get into specifics regarding the miscommunication between him and Charlie Hughlett that led to the blocked kick.
“It was rough but I was ready to move on to the next play,” Dayes said. “I didn;t think about it at all until after the game.”
Injury Report – Right guard Kevin Zeitler suffered a thumb injury Sunday. Jackson doesn’t think it is serious and they’ll “work through it this week.”