INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan) – Considering the Browns are in the midst of a developmental year, it seems weird to declare any game on the schedule a, “must win.”
But here we sit in Week 3 and Sunday’s game against the Colts for some reason feels like just that – a must win.
The mood in Berea following a 24-10 loss in Baltimore that saw rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer depart for 4 offensive series due to a migraine and the offense turn it over 5 times – Kizer was responsible for 4 of them with 3 interceptions and a strip-sack – was odd to say the least.
Head coach Hue Jackson seemed a bit defensive as he answered questions during the week. It was as if he was talking to someone else, through the media. At least that’s the way it felt sitting in the room while he spoke.
Let’s look back at what happened since last Sunday’s 24-10 loss in Baltimore:
– Receiver Corey Coleman was placed on injured reserve with a broken bone in his right hand and will miss 8 weeks at minimum after suffering the injury against the Ravens.
– Kizer was cleared of any lingering problems related to the migraine and the team seems satisfied to just deal with the situation when and if it pops up again. Kizer said he gets them once or twice a year and also didn’t express any concern about a chronic problem.
– On Wednesday, Jackson emphatically defended his rookie quarterback as well as strategy with the run game. Jackson stressed that this is a developmental year for a player they expect to become the franchise QB for years to come. Jackson felt the need to remind everyone that even Hall of Fame QBs have bad games similar to the one that Kizer is coming off of. As for the run game, yes, he’d like to run it more but
– Running back Isaiah Crowell, who has 70 yards on 24 carries through 2 games, admitted that his contract situation is on his mind all the time – including during games – and that he wants the ball in his hands more than it has been the first 2 games. That too happened on Wednesday.
– Thursday, Myles Garrett teased reporters when he ran by us on the way to the exercise bikes. The No. 1 pick in the draft is out of the walking boot and listed as ‘doubtful’ Sunday despite not participating in practice this week. It feels like Garrett is rushing back and it’s incumbent upon the Browns to not do that. They’d be wise to sit him this week and re-assess his right ankle next week.
– Friday it was defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ turn to play defense as he brushed off any questions or criticism regarding his decision to play rookie safety Jabrill Peppers deep, or as he calls it – at the angel position. He was well prepared for the questions, and even admitted that someone within the building confronted him about Peppers and how he was being used this week to which he responded to them, “Because I told him to.” He was in no mood for any second-guessing, from anyone.
That was only 5 days.
In a year that isn’t supposed to be judged on wins and losses, it feels like the Browns surely could use a win at Lucas Oil Stadium if for no other reason than to calm the waters which began stirring this week.
Owner Jimmy Haslam pledged his unyielding support and willingness to accept growing pains from his young team during training camp and the first 2 weeks of the season are a reminder of just what that entails.
The inability for front offices and the coaching staff to work together in harmony has undone every regime that Haslam has presided over and there are minor signs that there could be small cracks forming in the foundation once again, but there’s one way to stabilize and validate the current plan, and that is to win a few games.
Cincinnati awaits at home next week followed by the rebuilding New York Jets, so winning 2 of the next 3 is feasible. But it also feels like it might be critical to prevent the appearance of a second straight season going off of the rails and trying everyone’s patience again.
So yes, Sunday’s game against the Colts, who are without their franchise QB in Andrew Luck, definitely has that “must win” feel to it.