Opinion: The dumpster fire at First Energy Stadium

Jack Kopanski

I’ve searched and searched for positives about this season, and like many Cleveland Browns fans, have had my patience worn paper-thin with this team.

Last season, expectations were simple: The team was going to suck.

That made 1-15 all the more palatable last year.

Now, though? Maybe I was looking at it with orange and brown lenses, but I expected more out of this team.

Coach Hue Jackson had one year under his belt with this organization, and the team walked out of the draft with three first-round picks, including the first overall selection and a quarterback that some looked at as a potential cornerstone for this team.

In the second year of a lengthy rebuild, hopes were high for just some improvement.

Seven games into the year, it’s safe to say this team is considerably worse than last year’s team, something I didn’t think was possible.

Now the question becomes what ­— or more so who — has become the biggest source of problems in Cleveland: Jackson or rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer?

On the one hand you can point and say that Kizer is the one making the poor decisions and throwing the interceptions that is putting the team in poor situations.

He has been nothing more than a liability in the red zone, ending any drive right when it was starting to get good. While the other options aren’t any more appealing, this year should have been dedicated to having Kizer sit and learn before throwing him into the flame.

On the other hand, you could just as easily point to Jackson’s mishandling of just about everything on this team.

Jackon’s play calling is abhorrent. While the o-line hasn’t been what it was anticipated to be, and even after an preseason of saying he wanted to make a point of running the ball more, Isaiah Crowell went missing for the first four weeks of the season.

The very first mistake he made, as mentioned earlier, was when he named Kizer the starter.

Now, Hue can’t seem to commit to anybody, as all three quarterbacks on the roster have seen playing time in the last two games, with none of the moves due to injury. This fluctuation at such an important position is going to destroy a rookie’s confidence before he’s even able to develop any.

Jackson needs to go, and it needs to happen soon. To put it in economic terms, Jackson is a sunk cost.

For a long time, I said what this team needs is a sense of consistency. The example I always pointed to was the Cincinnati Bengals and Marvin Lewis. They stuck with him through some of the worst seasons, and now, while they are not Super Bowl contenders, Bengals fans can expect to win games.

I’ve been in favor of rebuilds, but at this rate, Van Wilder’s college career will be shorter than the amount of time it will take to turn the Browns around.

I don’t know the answer(s) to this team’s perennial struggles, but as loyal a fan as I’ve been, I’ve reached a point where I don’t know how much more mediocrity I can take.

Jack Kopanski is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].