CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns came back from London jet lagged, filled with memories but missing a souvenir victory.
Still winless — home, away and abroad.
One day after a 33-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on a rugby pitch in England dropped Cleveland to 0-8, Browns coach Hue Jackson instructed his players to get some rest as they head into a much-needed bye week that will be dedicated to health and assessment — for everyone.
Jackson found some positives in the Browns’ latest loss, which came after they led in the third quarter. But the league’s youngest team couldn’t overcome some costly mistakes and fell to 1-23 under Jackson and a front office that might be running out of time to prove their plan works.
To his credit, Jackson has been unbowed by the losing. He’s staying calm in the swirling storm around him and has continued to say all the right things even though some of his comments are ringing hollow with Cleveland fans sickened by the team’s 4-41 record since the end of the 2014 season.
“My mindset remains the same,” he said. “There is no quit in this team. We are going to continue to work hard. We are going to continue to improve. We are improving in some areas, but it doesn’t show in the win column.
“We know we can play better at times, too, and I am going to keep asking more of our players and our coaches. We will continue to do it that way. Hopefully, we will come out with some better results here soon.”
Following Sunday’s game, Jackson said he believes he has the full support of owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
Only one coach in history has had a worse record after 24 games with one team than Jackson, and that was Tampa Bay’s John McKay, who lost his first 26 with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976-77.
McKay was once asked what he thought of his team’s execution and famously answered, “I’m in favor of it.”
Jackson knows the record is appalling, but he wouldn’t speculate whether Haslam will make changes to the coaching staff or front office.
“That is a question for Jimmy,” he said. I think he has to be able to answer that. My job is to coach this football team and this football staff and get our players to be the best they can be.
“Will there be conversations that I am sure we will have over the next several days? I am sure there are, but right now, I have not had that conversation.”
There weren’t many positives from Sunday’s loss, but rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer did make it through a complete game without committing a turnover or being benched by Jackson.
With a more conservative game plan, Kizer stayed out of trouble, made smart decisions and completed 18 of 34 passes for 179 yards.
The even performance didn’t produce a win, but the 21-year-old showed some improvement and Jackson will start him again when the Browns play in Detroit on Nov. 12.
“DeShone has earned that opportunity to walk back out there again,” Jackson said. “He did some good things. That was a better version of DeShone, and we need to grow from that and keep getting better.”
As for his decision to sit disappointing wide receiver Kenny Britt, Jackson said he was unaware of comments the player made in advance of the team’s international trip.
Britt played in London with the Rams last season and detested the visit, saying he hated everything about it.
Jackson said Britt didn’t play because he wanted to see more of Bryce Treggs, who caught one pass for 12 yards and fumbled a punt. Britt hasn’t lived up to the four-year, $32.5 million free agent contract he signed in March. He has 10 receptions for 128 yards, missed two games with injuries and was sent home from the team’s trip to Houston for missing a curfew.
Jackson disagreed with the opinion that Britt has been a bad influence to Cleveland’s young receivers.
“If I knew that Kenny Britt was a negative influence on our football team, he wouldn’t be here,” he said. “I have conversations with all of our players. Everybody is going to have some issues from time to time.
“Obviously, his are well documented. There are some games where things haven’t gone as well, but hopefully, those things are not bleeding over into our locker room because I would not allow that.”
Notes: Jackson said rookie DE Myles Garrett remains in the concussion protocol. The top overall pick did not travel with the team to England, missing his fifth game. … Jackson said he was not aware of any kicking tryouts. Rookie Zane Gonzalez missed an extra point and short field-goal attempt Sunday. … Jackson praised T Spencer Drango, who filled in for injured Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas.