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Hue Jackson calls out Kenny Britt for key drop in loss to Steelers

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Jackson's public criticism of Britt not typical (0:55)

Ryan Clark explains why it was weird for Browns coach Hue Jackson to call out Kenny Britt publicly for a dropped pass in a Week 1 loss to the Steelers. (0:55)

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns cannot afford to have Kenny Britt drop perfectly thrown passes in the open field.

That's the message from coach Hue Jackson, who was blunt in his assessment of Britt's painful drop in the fourth quarter of the season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, calling it "inexcusable."

"... We can't do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can in this situation. I think Kenny gets that. He knows that is inexcusable. He has to make that play for the quarterback."

Hue Jackson, on Kenny Britt's drop Sunday

"Obviously, Kenny dropped the ball in the middle of the field, and I know that is what we all are talking about," Jackson said the day after the Browns' 21-18 loss. "I have seen players do that before, and we all have. I have had some of the great ones in this league drop balls.

"But we can't do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can in this situation. I think Kenny gets that. He knows that is inexcusable. He has to make that play for the quarterback."

Britt's drop came on second-and-19 with the Browns trailing 21-10. Rookie DeShone Kizer had been sacked on the previous play, but he hit Britt with a perfectly thrown pass some 20 yards downfield. Britt had plenty of space to run.

Except he didn't make the catch.

Britt has been a bit of an enigma since he joined the Browns as a free agent. After the team could not retain Terrelle Pryor, it turned to Britt as his replacement, signing him to a four-year, $32.5 million deal, according to ESPN's Roster Management System. It was a lucrative deal for a guy who had one 1,000-yard season in his career, which came in his eighth season.

In the preseason, Britt had three receptions for 25 yards, with one drop on a perfect third-down throw from Kizer and a missed touchdown on a throw from Brock Osweiler, on which he could not get his feet down in the end zone.

Jackson hinted that he'd ponder making a change for Sunday's game in Baltimore.

"Let's see where we go this week," Jackson said. "Let's see what we are doing this week. Let's find out. You are saying that he is starting this week. We don't know that. Let's see where we are this week and go from there."

A change with Britt this soon into a big contract would be significant.

Against Pittsburgh, Britt had the second-most snaps among receivers, at 52 (behind Corey Coleman's 53), and he finished Sunday's game with one catch for 13 yards. Ricardo Louis was third among receivers, with 16. Duke Johnson had 50 snaps, all of them at receiver. Jackson said Johnson would remain at running back, and that plan with him was for that game.