Another week, another injury. But the Browns on Wednesday said they won't let this latest setback — a mid-foot sprain that'll keep starting left guard Joel Bitonio out for an extended period of time — discourage them with a road trip to Tennessee this weekend.
"You guys want me to say I give, I quit, or what," Jackson said, laughing. "That's not going to happen. I think you guys know me. I'm built for this. I'm just telling you, I'm built for this, and I think our team is." [
Bitonio's injury marks another blow to a Browns team that's already watched a heap of starters — including three quarterbacks, two tight ends, wide receiver Corey Coleman, center Cameron Erving, cornerback Joe Haden and kicker Patrick Murray — miss time because of Jackson described as flat out "bad luck."
Jackson conceded "it's not easy" dealing with such misfortune as Cleveland searched for its first win of the season.
" I'm not going to sit up here and tell you 'Oh my gosh, this is great!' No it's not, but at the same time, what do you guys want me to do? We are going to keep working. We are going to keep coaching and keep getting these guys better. We are not going to make excuses. I don't think that is what this is all about," he said.
"This is the National Football League – we have other guys that are paid to do a job, and we as coaches have to get them ready to play and our guys have to get themselves ready to play. It's not going to always be pretty, it's not going to always be the way we want it to be, but that is just life in this business. We have had a ton of injuries – it's been unfortunate, it's been our year … I'm not going to put my head down and nobody is. That is just the way it goes. We are going to get this thing right, get it better, and that is what I'm here to do."
Kessler still starting QB**
Part of that optimism might be tied to positive news on the injury front as Browns quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Josh McCown returned to practice on Wednesday.
"It was good to see them both out there. I told you we'd have some bodies standing," Jackson said, laughing.
Kessler, who missed most of Sunday's loss to the Patriots with a chest/ribs injury, and McCown, who's missed the past three weeks with a shoulder/collarbone injury against Baltimore in Week 2, were limited, but encouraged Jackson going forward.
Jackson also made it clear that it's "too early" to discuss who Sunday's starting quarterback will be in Tennessee, though it remains Kessler's job.
"Cody right now is the starter on our football team until I feel otherwise. Again, we've got to make decisions about where they are toward the end of the week," he said, adding the team will name a starter in advance of this weekend.
"I think you guys probably know me well enough about that, I think it's important our team knows who the quarterback is.
"And I think, again, when you're coming off of injuries like that you just kind of have to see where everybody is after practice is normally when things start to on their bodies either break down or get better. We'll get a feel for where they are either after today or after tomorrow
'We know better'
Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey said the Titans aren't going to be lulled into a false sense of security when the winless Browns come to town.
"We know better. We've been in the league, especially, this staff has been in the league for a long time," he told reporters Wednesday on a conference call.
"Every Sunday, there's a fine line between winning and losing games. Like us, they've lost a couple close games. They easily could have a different record as we could. We won't fall for that. I can promise you that."
Why the Browns signed Jonathan Cooper
The Browns on Tuesday announced they'd signed offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, the seventh-overall pick in 2013, off of waivers.
Cooper, who spent the first five weeks of the season with the Patriots and the previous three seasons with the Cardinals, adds depth to an offensive line in need of it with Bitonio out for the foreseeable future and Erving still on the mend.
"We're always looking for ways to continue to improve and find players that fit our system that gives us a chance and take a good look, why not," Jackson said. "This guy is a former first-round draft pick who's had some success and some things that didn't work out either. It gives him another opportunity to try and revive his career."
Jackson said the Browns are unsure whether or not Cooper — who started 11 games in Arizona — will be able to immediately contribute this weekend.
"I need to watch the tape to see how he learns, how fast he can grasp things. It's my first exposure to him on the field," he said.
"We'll watch the tape and spend time with him meetings and spend extra time with him and see if he can get him up to speed. If he can great. If not, we'll have a contingency plan for that as well."
Hogan ready to 'seize' opportunity**
With Kessler and the Browns' quarterbacks all dealing with some form of injury, the team elevated Kevin Hogan to the active roster Tuesday.
Hogan, the former Stanford standout who was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round, said a bond with Browns associate head coach - offense Pep Hamilton helped bring him to Cleveland.
The pair — previously together at Stanford in 2011 and 2012 — were reunited when the rookie was signed to the team's practice squad last month. Now, Hogan said he's going to make the most of his status on the roster.
"It's an opportunity and whenever that opportunity comes, you have to seize it, that's what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm going to prepare my butt off and get ready to go so if I step into that huddle the guys have confidence in me and know that I can lead them down the field."
Hogan, who helped Stanford capture three Pac-12 titles in his four years, enters a quarterbacks room that's watched Kessler, Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown miss various lengths of time because of injuries.
"You always want to prepare as if you're the starter," Hogan said, "and now due to the circumstances I'm going to do that even more and watch the tape even longer and make sure I'm doing those mental gymnastics."