CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – A veteran St. Louis sportscaster told me a story about Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols in 2006. Pujols hit a fly ball he thought was a homerun and stared at it, showing up the pitcher like he knew it was gone. When the ball was caught at the warning track, a typically irate LaRussa told Pujols at the steps of the dugout, “thought you hit that one out too.”
There are different rules set forth for players that offer the franchise hope like Deshone Kizer than for players like receiver Kenny Britt. Hue Jackson in directing blame towards Britt on Monday was really setting forth the beginning protection of Kizer as he embarks on his NFL career.
Britt’s dropped pass on second-and-19 with the team down 11 didn’t seal the win for the Steelers, but it was emphasized as such. Where this becomes important is Hue Jackson’s unique and uncharacteristic approach toward the drop after the game.
Hue went in on the veteran receiver “We can’t do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can. I think Kenny gets that. He knows that is inexcusable. He has to make that play for the quarterback.“
Was this more about Britt’s lack of catching a pass or simply Hue Jackson shielding his young quarterback from any impending criticism? The throw truthfully wasn’t the problem, but it’s important for Hue Jackson to constantly remind the Notre Dame product where he excelled even if it casts blame on others.
The timing of this is what makes the reminder imperative for the Browns head coach here. After a slew of bad week one performances by other teams, this has become a crucial time for the young QB to have his confidence high and everyone firing on all cylinders.
In the next five weeks I now see four games the Browns have a realistic shot of winning:
Colts – Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett? Either way, it’s likely not Andrew Luck and the defense was bad enough to allow the Rams to hang forty-six in week one regardless.
Bengals – they lost week one by twenty and were shutout while Andy Dalton had hats hurled at him postgame.
Jets – If you got this far, you understand why that’s a game the Browns should take serious.
Texans – they might have their QB situation figured out by then, they might not. Week one couldn’t have gone worse for a team that had playoff hopes entering the year as they went through two quarterbacks and put up just seven points against Jacksonville.
A simple reminder that we live by different rules based on how much we bring to the table. Hue Jackson is living by the same code. Kizer can do no wrong and must be assured constantly of how great he is even if it bends the truth a little bit.