CLEVELAND -- Since returning to the National Football League in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have struggled to find consistency on the field, with the coaching staff, and also, in the front office.
In trying to reconstruct the Browns alongside executive vice president Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta since the start of the 2016 offseason, coach Hue Jackson knows the only way to find sustained success is through consistency.
“It is time on task,” Jackson said. “That is all it is. I couldn’t play all of these guys for every quarter in the preseason. I knew there were going to be some rough spots. I don’t like the rough spots; I don’t like the turnovers; I don’t like the production on offense.
“I don’t like the consistency, but I knew that this was going to happen. I know that we are getting there. I know the work ethic is there. I know the time on task is starting to be there and the continuity is starting to be there. Now, you take this, and hopefully, you turn the corner, and that is where we need to get to.”
And nowhere is that consistency more important that at quarterback.
After completing 20 of his 30 attempts with one passing touchdown and another rushing score in a 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular-season opener, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer went six of 11 with an interception before being pulled from the game because of a migraine.
Following his return on the second drive of the third quarter, Kizer completed nine of his final 20 throws, but had two interceptions. He finished his second NFL start 15 of 31 for 182 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions, as well as a lost fumble.
“We have holes in games that we have to eliminate,” Kizer said. “Everyone mentions the first drive, but there are also some things coming out of halftime that we have to get going.
“It is on us to have energy and on myself to make sure that I am pushing this offense as fast as I can so that we can have the same consistent energy that we have seen at times where we are driving the ball up and down on defenses.”
In order to help Kizer get going, Jackson is hoping a third straight week of practice with the No. 1 offense being on the field together will reap benefits sooner rather than later.
The Browns take the field against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“My job as the leader of this group is try to put us in position to win games,” Jackson said. “It is not to adhere to what everybody wants, but at the same time, as I said when I started this season, we need to run the football.
“We do need to run the football, but we have to run the football smartly in the beginning, and then, at some point in time, once this group has had enough time together on task, then I think we will be able to run the ball the way I think we can.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV