BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson prides himself in his consistency and his unflappability.
Despite his team turning into the ‘Bad News Browns’ just 2 1/2 weeks into the season, nothing seems to faze him, which has not gone unnoticed within the Browns locker room. But the report he got following Wednesday’s practice about rookie receiver Corey Coleman, who will now miss 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, was a stunner – even for him.
“I probably was the most surprised when our medical staff came up to tell me,” Jackson said. “I almost fell out of my chair. I told him, ‘You have to be kidding me’ because the guy practiced the whole practice. These things happen, but we are not going to all of a sudden slow down or they are not going to cancel games or postpone games or anything like that. Miami is saying, ‘Come on down.’ We have to go play.”
Making the situation all the more frustrating is the fact that Jackson and the Browns aren’t sure what happened to Coleman or when.
“Nobody really knows exactly when it happened,” Jackson said. “I think it was a ball that was caught, and then obviously, I think people thought it was a jammed finger because that’s probably what it looks like at the beginning. Then all of a sudden it progresses to more. Corey practiced the whole day, and then at end, I think he went to meetings and then after meetings I think all of a sudden he felt like maybe something is not right here.
“Corey is a tough guy. I don’t think it is anybody’s fault. It is not all of a sudden a defender did something or he did something. It is just unfortunate.”
Coleman joined quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown as well as center Cameron Irving and defensive end Carl Nassib among the walking wounded.
Jackson refuses to allow the streak of bad luck to deter him or his team.
“I keep telling you guys, I’m not blinking,” Jackson said. “I’m never going to do that. This football team and this organization depends on me to have a positive outlook about it all, and I do because I have seen this before. We all have. When you are changing things and you are trying to come from where we’ve been, these are the things that you have to go through.
“That saying, ‘Without struggle, there would be no progress.’ We are struggling, but we are going to get some progress here pretty soon. I promise you that.”
Jackson admitted that his extensive coaching experience – including his first stint as a head coach with the Raiders in 2011 – has taught him how to handle what has quickly become a grim situation.
“These things happen, maybe not to the rate we have,” Jackson said. “I will be the first to tell you, I have never lost two quarterbacks in two weeks and turnaround and lose a young defensive player and here comes your receiver. No, that is a bit much, but I do know that these things happen.
“Our guys, they will be the first to tell you, honestly, I haven’t really made any mention of it other than ‘Here we go,’ because that is all you can do. They are not going to change the schedule. They are not going to tell us, ‘You guys get a couple weeks off and see if they can heal up.’ They say, ‘You have a game to play’ so we have a game to play and we are looking forward to playing.”
Next Men Up – So what do the Browns do to replace Coleman? Andrew Hawkins, who started all 8 games he played last season, will slide into the starting lineup and even he can’t believe what’s happened.
“I have not gone through something like this,” Hawkins said. “Seen other teams go though things like this and, it sucks. It’s just bad luck is what it boils down to. I have full confidence in all the guys who have to step up. This is the NFL. It’s how it works.”
Hawkins caught 3 passes for 28 yards in the loss to the Ravens after not catching a pass in 3 targets Week 1 at Philadelphia. The 6-year veteran will see his role expand along with a pair of rookies: Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis.
“This is kind of how you mature. You go through situations like this,” Hawkins said. “All of the rookies, and Corey included, I think the Browns are in really good hands going forward, this receiving corps. The only thing a rookie doesn’t have is experience. This kind of opens the door for those guys and other guys to get reps and show what they have and kind of trial by fire.”
Higgins, selected in the fifth round – No. 172 overall – out of Colorado State, has been targeted just once in limited snaps the first 2 games.
“They brought me in here for a reason, that was to showcase what I can do on the field and obviously if somebody goes down then it’s my time to come in so I’m [going] to do what I can do and showcase [my talent] to the best of my ability,” Higgins said.
“I been waiting for it for a long time and unfortunately it had to be my boy getting hurt but I gotta step in and do the job so that’s what I’m gonna to do.”
Louis, picked in the fourth round – No. 114 overall – out of Auburn, has gotten the bulk of his work on special teams against the Eagles and Ravens but that is expected to change Sunday in Miami. He’s gotten extra work in practice and been doing more homework this week.
“You never know what can happen,” Louis said. “It is unfortunate Corey got hurt, but sometimes, things like that happen. Stepping up is what we all have to do as a receiving corps now.”
Injury Report – DNP: DE Carl Nassib (hand/ruled OUT), QB Josh McCown (shoulder/ruled OUT), C Cameron Erving (chest, lung/ruled OUT), WR Corey Coleman (hand/ruled out), S Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring); LIMITED: DL Stephen Paea (elbow), TE Randall Telfer (neck), NT Danny Shelton (knee)