BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson admitted for the first time Monday that the talent – or lack of – impacts the way he handles in-game situations and the way he calls a game as a coach.
Case in point came with 20 seconds left in the first half after Duke Johnson just converted a third-and-1 with a 2-yard carry to the 11 and the Browns had just called their final timeout of the half.
Instead of trying to take multiple shots into the endzone like every other competent NFL offense does, Jackson decided to play it safe.
Kizer hit receiver Corey Coleman for an 8-yard gain to the Bengals’ 3 forcing the offense to scramble to get set so Kizer could kill the clock by spiking the ball with 5 ticks left allowing kicker Zane Gonzalez to hit a 21-yard field goal as time expired to pull within 16-6 at half.
“I was not taking that chance no more,” Jackson said. “No, I have already been down that road. We were not. We threw one toward the end zone. I think the play earlier the ball went over Rashard [Higgins]’s head. We came back and we thought maybe we would get a catch-and-run situation but knew we had time to spike the ball and kick. That is what is was.”
A few weeks earlier in Detroit Kizer called his own number on a second-and-goal with 19 seconds left. After being stopped for no gain, Kizer was unable to get the offense lined up in time to stop the clock and time expired, so Jackson didn’t want to risk repeating that mistake and ensure his team came away with points this time.
“We got into the red zone multiple times and we weren’t able to put up touchdowns so the defense kind of had the upper hand on us,” Kizer said Monday. “They were able to play back and force us to keep the ball underneath. In our situation, I think at the time, a field goal was the best thing for us.”
Jackson was asked why not take multiple shots at the endzone with a fresh set of downs after the Johnson run.
“We are not equipped that way,” Jackson responded.
Those 6 words speak volumes.
They also explain 0-11 and 1-26 perfectly.
Won’t Back Down – Jackson did not back down from his defense of Jabrill Peppers after the rookie safety was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver inside the 5-yard line with 3:57 to play in the fourth quarter with the Bengals leading 23-16.
“I’m not going to change. I stand on what I said [Sunday],” Jackson said. “I will not change from that. I think it was a good play by our player.”
Despite Peppers initially hitting Bengals receiver Josh Malone in the chest with his forearm and shoulder, the crown of his helmet hit Malone’s helmet where the lower part of his facemask is attached to the helmet.
“I am not going to tell Jabrill Peppers to play that play any differently,” Jackson said. “If he can lower his strike point a little bit, then great, OK? But I am not jumping him or going to be upset with him because of that play yesterday and how it happened. I am not going to do that.”
Although by the letter of the law Peppers’ hit appeared to be a foul, Jackson remains frustrated by the call, which came at such a critical juncture in the game.
“I think that is hard for a player to control when a guy hits him below the chin in the chest, the other player then should have something to do with that,” Jackson said. “Like I said [Sunday], I think the torque of the hit, that guy’s head goes down and it ends up on top of his helmet. That is why I said yesterday our player is not targeting this young man’s head, his facemask or any of that.
“There has to be some give, in my opinion, in the rule a little bit, but the rule is what it is and that is why they made the call. At the same time, that is hard to officiate.”
Jackson would like to see those type of hits become reviewable.
“Those plays, I do get it – it is about the safety of the player first and foremost. I don’t disagree with that, but I just think there is some room in there where you have to really see it because we are talking about an inadvertent hit on a bottom of a helmet on a facemask,” Jackson said. “OK, so what is that? Did the player or did Jabrill’s head go up into his helmet? Or did the player’s head go down just because the torque of the hit? I think there is some gray area in there that you have to look at and think through.”
Kicking It – The Browns will likely stick with rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez despite him missing his fifth field goal attempt of the season Sunday.
“We are going to keep working him,” Jackson said. “He bounced back. Obviously, he missed the first one. I did, I had a conversation with him. He made the next one so that is improvement. Is it unsettling to have that happen? Yes, it is, but at the same time, he did respond.
“We are going to look at all of it here this week, and if we make a decision as an organization we need to look someplace else, then we will, but I thought after that, he settled down and made the kicks that he needed to make.”
Gonzalez made 3 other field goals and a PAT against the Bengals.
Injury Report – The Browns came out of Sunday’s game in Cincinnati without any new injuries.
“There is nothing to report and nothing new so we came out of the game fairly healthy,” Jackson said.