Skip to main content

Hue Jackson liked the fight from Browns offense but saw plenty to clean up

The Browns' film review Monday served as part-motivation, part-aggravation for a team that came oh so close to its first win since 2016, but simply did too many things to prevent it from happening.

From Hue Jackson's perspective, no one on the offense was excluded. And the Browns head coach made one point abundantly clear: The problems went above and beyond quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who completed fewer than half of his passes in his Browns debut.

"We have got to play better offensively, it is not just him," Jackson said. "We have got to play better around him, he has to play better, we have to play better as an offensive unit. I think that has got to be the goal when I look at it. We did not play very well yesterday, let's just be honest. We need to play better.

"I think there are some grittiness things I saw us do really well. I see us fight back and do those things, but as a football team we can play better and we will play better."

In essence, the Browns' offense mounted two scoring drives Sunday. The other possession that ended with a touchdown began at the Steelers' 1-yard line after a Jabrill Peppers fumble return and was quickly turned into points after a Carlos Hyde touchdown run.

Cleveland took care of the ball, turning it over just once, but there was little consistency on the ground or through the air. Though the Browns dominated on the ground on their early third quarter scoring drive, rushing nine times for 76 yards, Jackson was dissatisfied by the fact Taylor was the team's leading rusher (77 yards).

The Browns finished with 177 rushing yards, picking up 101 on 29 attempts outside of the run-heavy start to the second half.

"Did not like it. Was not as good," Jackson said. "That is a stingy defensive team running the ball against. It is not going to be a whole bunch of yards, or all that. It is the attempts that matter, and I thought we did that part of it good. We need more out of it, we expect more out of it and I think we will get it. We just got to keep grinding, grinding at this thing. Keep going."

The passing game, meanwhile, left plenty to desire, and Jackson cited every aspect of the offense as contributing factors.

Taylor, who was sacked seven times and intercepted at the end of the second half, completed 15 of his 40 passes for 197 yards. Jarvis Landry was targeted 15 times and led all receivers with seven catches for 106 yards. Taylor saved his best two passes for when the Browns needed them most on a game-tying scoring drive with 2 minutes to play, connecting with Rashard Higgins for 38 yards before finding Josh Gordon for a 17-yard touchdown strike.

Otherwise, nothing came easy for the eight-year veteran, who said after the game "it was not pretty in the statistics category, for sure."

"Not good enough," Jackson said. "What I am also saying in there is that it is not all him. Sometimes guys got to be in the right spot. Protection has to hold up for him. All of those things in a passing game makes a difference. I think we all understand that. It is not just him. Does he have to do his job better? Yes. I think everyone around him has to do their job better, too."

Week 1 is never perfect, and Jackson chalked a few of the moments up to "first-game jitters" for a group that features 31 new faces from a year ago. Still, the NFL doesn't stop, and another big test awaits as Cleveland prepares for its first road trip of the season at New Orleans.

There's time to fix the mistakes, but it has to be maximized.

"There are going to be lumps. There are going to be growing pains. We are going to work through those," Browns center JC Tretter said. "There are definitely some positive things to build on, as well. Not the result that we wanted, but we see how close we are. We just have to keep building."