The Browns started the year with a quarterback who has always struggled to protect himself.
And now that they’ve used six in seven games, Browns coach Hue Jackson doesn’t need to be convinced of any of their fortitude.
Specifically, he said rookie Cody Kessler has to take better care of himself, after an improvised backhanded flip to tight end Gary Barnidge which caused him to take a hit which led to a concussion.
“Cody has proved his toughness,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t have to do that all the time. He can do some things better to protect himself in those situations, but it was a heck of a play that he and Gary made that gave us the chance to go score a touchdown. I don’t want to take the fight out of him, but he also has to understand the situation he’s in.”
It’s uncertain whether Kessler will be cleared in time to play the Jets this week, which could leave Kevin Hogan at the helm.
Regardless, Jackson knows the situation his quarterbacks (plural) have been in, and that dubious offensive lines leave them vulnerable.
“You can’t do it,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, that’s what they’re going to learn because if not, you’re standing over there next to me or you’re in concussion protocol. You just can’t do it. That’s hard. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes. I used to have this thing where quarterbacks just had to say ‘uncle.’ You throw the ball away or you take a sack just because it’s the right thing to do for your football team. This is not about one individual. This is about your team.
“If you’re not playing, then we’re hurting the team. I don’t think Cody was trying to do anything to hurt his football team. He was trying to do everything he could to help his team score. There’s a fine line, but right now in the situation that we’ve been in losing quarterbacks, the quarterbacks all have to say to themselves, ‘Hey, look, maybe I need to throw this ball away or go down because it is the best thing for our team right now.”’
Sounds like advice that was given to Robert Griffin III. And Josh McCown. And Terrelle Pryor. And Charlie Whitehurst. And Hogan. And eventually Joe Callahan, who seems destined to get a turn this year.
OK, maybe not Whitehurst, he’s gone. But the point stands.