Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Instant takeaways the day after Browns’ 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans …
1. Say it ain’t so, Joe: Joe Thomas will probably have surgery on Tuesday to repair a ruptured triceps tendon in his left arm. He said typical recovery time for the injury is six to nine months. Thomas’ 2017 season is over, his consecutive snaps streak stopped at 10,363. The question now is whether Thomas will play again. On a conference call Monday, Thomas answered, “Well, my plan is to rehab. Are you asking if I’m playing [next year], I don’t know. I think that’s a decision that is best to be talked about in the offseason. Right now is too soon after the injury and before the surgery. I have no idea how the surgery and rehab is going to go. For me, talking about the last few years, that decision about do I continue to play or retire is something I’ve always left up to the offseason, because I think it gives you time to get away from football and have discussions with family and just figure out what the next step would be of my career, and if it’s the right time to continue or if it’s time to hang it up. Right now, it’s too early to make any decisions. You go through a range of emotions after an injury like that. I think it’s most fair to myself and my teammates to just wait till after the season and sit down with my family and discuss it.” Thomas will be 33 on Dec. 4 and is signed through 2018. Almost every week this year, Thomas has talked about how difficult it has been for his body to recover from the preceding game.”
2. Kizer’s mea culpe: Hue Jackson seemed to play both sides on the issue of Deshone Kizer being seen out on the town at 1:30 Saturday morning. “I think our players are entitled to go out and I think our players need to understand anywhere you go, you have to be very careful,” the coach said. “Because those are the things people will Tweet, snapchat, whatever these things are. It can be seen as something maybe you shouldn’t be doing. If a guy’s done what he needed to do prior to, I don’t judge that. I don’t think anybody was doing something wrong. As long as there’s not anybody saying to me this guy committed a crime or did something wrong or the guy’s not on top of what he needs to be on top of, it’s not an issue in my mind. Again, our players, our quarterback, whoever that is, you want to make sure they understand the situations you can and can’t be in. Sometimes people make bad judgments and bad decisions until they truly understand that everybody’s watching. Especially when you’re in the midst of a season like we are having.” Jackson said the issue “probably won’t” factor into his decision on who starts the next game at quarterback. He will announce the starter on Wednesday. Meantime, Kizer was contrite in addressing the issue on Monday. Kizer said, “I know there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with [being the starting quarterback], and a big part of that is being a leader. Part of being a leader is making sure you understand that distractions in any fashion are not good for the ultimate goal. And when you become a centerpiece of a distraction for a week, it definitely is very frustrating on my part. It’s not who I am. My mother wouldn’t be proud of this. That’s pretty much the biggest takeaway, do whatever you can to make sure you’re not a distraction.”
3. Hue’s mixed message: Jackson reiterated the reason for pulling Kizer in the third quarter with the Browns down, 6-3, to the Titans was his interceptions were hurting the team’s chance to win. “If you’re not putting us in the best position to win a football game, I think you have [to come out],” Jackson said. “Just like we would at any position. If a guy’s not playing well, you’re gonna take the guy out if you have another guy to put in. That’s the way it goes. I think we feel that at any position. Some guys jumped offsides and they came out.” So I asked Jackson if there is a mixed message when he continues to play receiver Kenny Britt after several dropped passes and penalties, after a blown curfew that resulted in an early return from Houston and a fine. Britt also has been the leader of a movement among some players to be loud and, at times, obnoxious in the media-open locker room. “I don’t think we’re sending mixed message,” Jackson said. “We’ve done everything we can do and then he has to do his part. I don’t think we’re sending a mixed message. I think the locker room knows the message loud and clear, what the expectation is. If guys don’t meet that expectation, then we’ll go another way. You give guys a chance to redeem themselves. Now a guy’s got to make a decision to do it right, step up and if he can’t then we’ll move on.” Asked if Britt will get yet another chance to redeem himself, Jackson replied, “We’ll see about that.”
4. About that in-game decision: Jackson adamantly defended his decision to decline a 15-yard penalty on Tennessee and bait the Titans into attempting what would have been a 50-yard field goal in the first quarter. Instead of third-and-16 at the Browns’ 47, the Titans had fourth-and-1 at the 32. They eschewed the field goal and the Browns jumped offsides to keep the drive alive. “I still don’t feel that way,” Jackson said of second-guessing himself. Jackson disclosed that he didn’t have confidence in his defense, missing cornerback Jason McCourty and safety Jabrill Peppers, to stop Marcus Mariota from converting third-and-16. “We were playing without two other secondary players,” he said. “I wanted to force the field goal as opposed to letting him drop back and throw the ball.” As it turned out, the Titans made a 43-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. They won, 12-9, in overtime.