CLEVELAND -- Following their 24-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium, members of the Cleveland Browns called into question the front office’s willingness to accept responsibility for building a team that is 0-11 and the need to better protect quarterbacks.
Receiver Terrelle Pryor said it was “bull crap” that the Browns allowed the Steelers to sack quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Josh McCown eight times in the loss, and his postgame comments did not sit well with head coach Hue Jackson.
“That is not Terrelle’s job,” Jackson said in a conference call with the Cleveland media. “I know he is frustrated and we all are. No doubt, we need to protect our quarterback, but that is not for him to say. Let’s focus on ourselves and support each other. That is what good teams do, and that is what we are going to work to become.
“Sometimes, like most people, after the game and after the heat of the moment, you are a little frustrated, and maybe, you say some things that you wish you hadn’t. I understand it is coming from a good place. I know that no one wants to see our quarterback getting hit, but I think everybody has to let me be the judge of that.”
Following the loss, nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas was asked about making a mandate to the front office to infuse talent onto a roster that boasts more than two dozen players with three or less years of NFL experience.
And rather than holding the company line, Thomas expressed frustration over the fact that center Alex Mack and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz were allowed to walk away in free agency without a viable replacement on the roster.
“I understand those questions that are going to be asked, and I understand some of the answers that will come from our players, but at the same time, I think what we have to do is just stay positive through it all,” Jackson said. “It is not easy to do. It is hard to do, but that is how I want our team to handle it, and we are just going to continue to move forward.”
The Browns dropped to 0-11 on the 2016 season with their loss to the Steelers, and as such, they remain the only winless team in the National Football League.
Also, the loss to the Steelers extended the Browns’ organizational marks for futility to start a season, 11 straight setbacks, and consecutive defeats, 14, dating back to last December. The Browns’ 0-11 mark has dropped the franchise’s overall record below .500 for the first time in their 70-year history.
Although Jackson had to address both Pryor and Thomas for their postgame remarks, the head coach feels good about the mindset of the team heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We are going to continue to have each other’s backs,” Jackson said. “I have to do that better, too. It is an everyday and every situation deal for me and this football team. We are going to work our way through it. We are going to stay together. We are going to stay committed. We are going to get better.
“I am going to be the calming voice and the calming leader that is going to get us through all of this, and we are going to understand that there is one way and it is kind of my way. We will all work together and we will figure it out from there.”