Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson challenges a play in the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

© Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Browns notes: Hue Jackson explains why it feels like the sky is falling

NFL fires official who missed false start against Chargers

October 26, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – It’s been an eventful week in Berea to say the least where whatever positive momentum that was built the first 5 weeks has vanished into thin air following the first back-to-back losses of the season.  

Head coach Hue Jackson ruffled feathers during his postgame press conference following a 26-23 loss at Tampa Bay by saying he would get more involved and help the offense. That storyline has hovered over the week while the Browns prepare to try and do something they haven’t done is 14 years: win a game at Heinz Field.

Jackson desperately needs a victory over the Steelers to keep his seat from heating up and to keep his team in contention.

“I think that [the public perception is] ‘the sky is falling’ here because we have been in so many games. You are so close. If you can win a couple of those, nobody would be feeling that way,” Jackson said. “We just have not. Does not matter what the reasons are, we just have not done it. There, they are a confident group. They have been down before where they have not started fast and all of a sudden they get on a run and away they go. We just have not done that yet.”

The Browns have lost 3 games this season by 3 points, and 2 of them in overtime. Their fourth loss was by 24 to the Chargers.

“When we become that team that starts winning games consecutively, week in and week out – regardless of where it is, on the road, at home, wherever – then I think that the narrative will change,” Jackson said. “We will change it, but it is not going to change until then.”

The math for Jackson and the Browns is simple: 3-4-1 is a lot better than 2-5-1 with the 6-1 Chiefs ready to roll into town the following week.

“This is a big game for us,” safety Damarious Randall said.

The Browns currently reside where they have for most of the last decade – dead last in the AFC North, but opportunity knocks to climb out of the cellar in the coming weeks if they can maintain their unbeaten streak within the division with a victory in Pittsburgh.

“It is a big game,” receiver Jarvis Landry said. “We understand that. We understand that. It is no secret, we have to win the game. We want to win the game. That is our mindset going into the game and going against any team, but obviously, more importantly in the division. If you can win in the division, you have a pretty good chance of making it to the playoffs. That is part of our goals and one of our goals. This is a big one for us.”

They’ve already tied with Pittsburgh in Week 1 and beat Baltimore 12-9 in OT on Oct. 7.

“All of our goals are still in front of us,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “Just to see that we tied with them the first time, we definitely want to get this win. We still have not had a division loss. For us to have the opportunity to play another division opponent and with this rivalry that we have with them, it would be good to get a win and keep our momentum going.”

Official boot – The side judge that missed a false start by Chargers left tackle Russell Okung, which resulted in a touchdown for Los Angeles, has been fired by the NFL reported Thursday.

Hugo Cruz was dismissed for performance reasons over a period of time and not just for missing that one call ESPN reported after confirming the dismissal.

Cruz did not work a game last weekend and he last worked in Week 6.

Safety move –Randall, who has missed the last 2 days of practice due to ankle and groin injuries, is expected to play corner again, like he did last week at Tampa Bay, in Pittsburgh.

“I am an athlete. I don’t think you see many free safeties going down there to play corner,” Randall said. “I am a guy that I do not think you can put a position on.”

While Jackson remains optimistic about Randall’s availability, the defensive back played it close to the vest when asked Thursday about his status for the game.

“I’m not going to say I’m playing and I’m not going to say I’m not,” Randall said.

Briean Boddy-Calhoun would likely replace Randall at free safety again.

The Browns are down 2 starting corners with Terrance Mitchell on IR with a broken wrist (his cast is expected to come off next week) and E.J. Gaines is sidelined with a concussion.

LB switch – The Browns signed Ray-Ray Armstrong and waived linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster Thursday.

Armstrong is in his sixth NFL season and he has started 12 of 69 career games with the Rams, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants combined. He has totaled 120 career tackles, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, three interceptions, two sacks and 29 special teams tackles.

This season, Armstrong started one of six games for the Giants and totaled 18 tackles on defense and two on special teams, before being waived on Oct. 23.

Injury report – Did not practice: CB E.J. Gaines (concussion), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), LB Joe Schobert (hamstring), S Damarious Randall (groin/ankle), C JC Tretter (ankle)

Limited: TE David Njoku (knee), WR Da’Mari Scott (shoulder)

Full: LB Genard Avery (elbow), TE Darren Fells (knee), LT Desmond Harrison (ankle), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (elbow), S Jabrill Peppers (ankle), Brian Price (knee), DL Chris Smith (personal/not injury related)