Browns Mailbag

Browns Mailbag: Why Hue Jackson feels comfortable with Kevin Hogan running offense

Four questions on this gorgeous Friday leading into a weekend trip to Texas.

Why don't we use Kevin Hogan as starter? He moves the team down the field into scoring position approximately 80 percent of the time. -- Doug S., Huber Heights

This question came one day before Hogan was named the starter for Sunday's game against the Texans, but I thought it was worth addressing as a means to explain why Hogan did enough to make Hue Jackson comfortable with the decision to replace rookie DeShone Kizer with him.

In limited action this season, Hogan has led the Browns to four of their 10 touchdowns. Three came with the game still in balance. Those drives went 83, 63, 75 and 86 yards and included six plays of more than 20 yards. This past week against the Jets, in particular, saw Hogan get the ball out with quickness and featured a nice mix of run and pass, including a few effective runs on his own.

"What he does is he manages the offense, the consistency of where the ball goes, the timing and rhythm," Jackson said. "There is a rhythm to him when he plays. He understands the rhythms that I am looking for. He has been around me long enough to understand what that looks like. That is what he demonstrated in the game. I think that is what you all saw this past weekend. He has that."

Hogan's played a lot of football. He started all four of his seasons at Stanford, running an offense that is one of the best at preparing players for the NFL. He's been with Jackson for more than a year.

"Kevin is just steady-Eddy," Jackson said. "Kevin doesn't get too high or get too low. He is really steady."

Hogan's completion percentage of 68.4 would put him fifth among NFL starting quarterbacks if he had enough attempts. That, alone, has been one of the biggest reasons why Cleveland is comfortable with him as its starter.

"If you just do something as simple as complete passes, even if they are 5 yards or 7 yards, you are just going to keep moving the sticks down the field," offensive lineman Joe Thomas said. "

"When you get into a situation where like I mentioned, incompletions, tackles for loss, sacks, penalties, that is the biggest drive-killer that is out there."

Do you think Coach Jackson's play calls inside the 5-yard line on the two turnovers vs. the Jets are questionable? You have Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. and a rookie QB. Let those two take some pressure off the rookie. -- William H., Cambridge

I thought the play-calling was fine in that situation. Both of the turnovers on those possessions came on third down, a time when it's typically on the quarterback's shoulders to move the chains or get into the end zone. The Browns had attempted at least one run on the downs before the turnovers. The option play that resulted in a fumble was an audible called by Kizer at the line. On the interception, Kizer didn't see the safety in time and "put the ball in harm's way."

Why was Jordan Leslie not put on IR? He appeared to be an impact player with true promise. After being waived, does he have the opportunity to come back after the hamstring heals? -- Doug G., St. Augustine, Florida

The Browns waived Leslie (hamstring) with an injury designation. Leslie reverted back to the Browns' injured reserve after going unclaimed. Earlier this week, Leslie was waived from injured reserve, allowing him to play elsewhere this season. He can't re-sign with the Browns this season. Had the Browns kept him, he would not have been able to play unless the team used one of its two designated-to-return tags on him.

If Josh McCown retires after this season, do you think he will come to Cleveland to be a QB coach? Kizer could really benefit from having someone like that to help him along. -- Dave B., Enon

Jackson has said he'd welcome McCown whenever he was ready to trade his helmet for a headset. So, too, would many other coaches around the NFL. That being said, the version of McCown I saw last week is still plenty good enough to play in the league. As long as the league will have him as a player, McCown will fill that role before embarking on what I expect to be a long, successful coaching career.

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