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Need to Know: Browns don't feel additional pressure in search for 1st win

Posted Dec 13, 2017

'We want to and we expect to, but we understand that we have to do the things that it takes'

The Browns are staring down a shrinking window to earn their first win, but coach Hue Jackson believes his team won’t succumb to any additional pressure to do so in the final three weeks of the season.

“I think it’s the environment that I’ve hopefully created with our team. We want to win,” he said Wednesday. “We understand that, but trust me, there is no, ‘we’re not worried about trying to win.’ We want to and we expect to, but we understand that we have to do the things that it takes.”

Cleveland fell to 0-13 after Sunday’s overtime loss to the Packers, which saw the Browns surrender a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and stumble late. The team will try to correct those mistakes against the Ravens this weekend.

“You have to finish games. You have to make those plays at the end in order to be victorious or to have a chance to be victorious and we haven’t,” Jackson said.

“I think the guys get that. I think what I have done with the group is be very honest and up front with them. I think that’s what you always have to do. I think you have to tell your football team where they are, what they need to do, show it to them, explain to them why and what they need to do to get over that hump. That’s just where we are.”

— The Browns last week made clear they’re still searching for a franchise quarterback, whether it’s in free agency, the 2018 NFL Draft or the rookie, DeShone Kizer, who has shown promise in rollercoaster-like season. Kizer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, didn’t flinch at that sentiment.

“This is the NFL. There’s going to be a great quarterback in front of you; there’s going to be a great quarterback behind you. The turnover in this league is all over the place, and it is very high when it comes to quarterbacks,” he said Wednesday.

“For me, it’s about making sure that every time I step out there and every rep I have that I’m proving exactly who I am because there’s going to be another good guy that comes in here. I already have two guys, two great guys in here that I am competing with every day. If there is a new young face, that is what it is. If there is an older guy, then I am going to try to learn as much as I can from him and continue to develop my game and do whatever I can to focus on myself to develop into one of the better quarterbacks in this league.”

Kizer, who has passed for 2,252 yards, nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions while rushing for another five scores, has put together more than a few bright moments this year. He’s struggled, however, with consistency and was benched twice at halftime earlier this season. Jackson maintained the youngster has a bright future despite an 0-12 record as a starter.

“This has been tough for all involved, but at the same time, boy, what an experience and what an opportunity in real time to figure it out. As I said before, the guy’s talented. I truly believe that he’s going to be a good player as you keep going through it, but it’s tough,” Jackson said.

“It’s tough going through it. There are some things that you continue to even scratch your head about, but I think he’s working through it. He gets it. He’s accountable to it. He knows there are some things he has to fix, and he’s trying.”

— Browms cornerback Jamar Taylor (foot) was a new addition to Wednesday’s injury report and did not practice. “He obviously has a foot. It’s more precaution than anything,” Jackson said. “So we will see where he is. But I feel good about that.” The Browns played without defensive backs Jabrill Peppers (knee) and Briean Boddy-Calhoun this past weekend. Peppers was limited Wednesday while Boddy-Calhoun did not practice.

— Jackson said former Browns receiver Kenny Britt did not request his release, contrary to reports that surfaced Tuesday. “That did not happen,” he said. “I can clarify that for sure.”

Britt, who caught 18 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, signed with the Patriots on Wednesday.

— In Sunday’s loss to the Packers, the Browns allowed a 65-yard punt return that set up Green Bay’s game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Jackson said Cleveland’s special teams have been “hit and miss” but lauded coordinator Chris Tabor’s ability to get the most out of a unit amid roster turnover.

“I think he’s mixing and matching as well as anybody I’ve ever been around because we’ve had some guys who’ve had to come into our organization and play. He has them ready to play. We had guys out there for the first time even this past week when a play happened,” Jackson said. “Those things are going to happen. But do we want to be better than we have been? Yes. I mean I think we all can see that and know we need to get better.”

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