Browns coach doesn’t regret benching QB despite move backfiring in loss
The Cleveland Browns won’t lose next week — that much is guaranteed.
They’ll be on their bye week, and Coach Hue Jackson still will be answering questions after Thursday night’s loss that left the team at a franchise-worst 0-10.
The Browns actually led the Ravens 7-6 at halftime behind a TD pass by Cody Kessler. But Jackson benched the rookie in the third quarter, bringing in veteran backup Josh McCown. Kessler hadn’t thrown an interception in 119 passes. McCown threw one on his second attempt, then another. He also lost a fumble as the Browns were outscored 22-0 in the second half.
Fans went crazy on social media, accusing the coach of tanking by benching his young QB. The Browns are in danger of becoming the second team to go 0-16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions.
But Jackson, who said earlier in the week that he wouldn’t "play musical chairs" with his QBs, told reporters he made the change because he was trying to find "a spark" after Kessler struggled on several third down plays, and that he didn’t regret the move.
"What I was trying to do is give our offense a chance to function at a faster rate and do some different things and that’s the decision that I thought I needed to make and I made it. I don’t regret it at all," Jackson told reporters. "Obviously the turnovers hurt us in the second half, not able to slow them down in the second half, the same second-half issues reared their ugly head as always. I haven’t solved that yet, and that’s kind of where we are."
Jackson also said Kessler would remain the starter, and the rookie said he’d use the experience as motivation to play better.
"Obviously it’s my first time playing a Thursday night game and everything happens so fast," Kessler told reporters. "I’ve got to do a better job of preparing better on these shorter weeks and something to learn from and move forward and continue to grow."
Jackson on Friday said the Browns’ owners remain as supportive as ever, but that may mean nothing when you consider Cleveland has had five coaches since 2009, and a long list of losing QBs.