CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's the final week of October and the Cleveland Browns have not won a game in the 2017 season.
Hue Jackson has handled this quarterback situation as poorly as he possibly could have, but he's desperate for a win, so don't be surprised if he brings out the hook again if DeShone Kizer struggles again.
The rookie is back in the startling lineup...again...after being benched...again.
Jackson doesn't care if his the changes are impacting Kizer's confidence, but he should care about how these moves impact consistency and development.
The Browns should, barring injury, ride the rookie QB the rest of the way.
Kizer needs to hold up his end of the bargain by playing better. Is either scenario possible?
We're getting the Tailgate crew's takes on this.
Speaking of Kizer, he's facing one test after another this season, and that includes off the field.
His decision to burn the midnight oil with some teammates last Friday night/Saturday morning didn't go over well with some fans, and while others did rush to Kizer's defense, it was an awful look for a rookie quarterback still struggling, winless, and in the weeds when it comes to learning the toughest position in sports.
Anyway, we tackled that issue last week on Tailgate.
This week we'll break down what he has to do against a Top-10 defense like the Vikings.
Purple People Eaters
These aren't the Alan Page-Carl Eller Vikings of the 1970s, but it's a group that is excellent against the run, which sets up third-and-long situations that, well, aren't exactly in the Browns' comfort zone.
Throw in the fact that from here on out the Browns are playing without future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas, and the situation looks dire.
Kizer is going to have to get rid of the football...fast.
Keep the Vikings defense off-balance with screens to Duke Johnson.
Of course, we've been saying that for two months.
Beanie Wells will offer his insight into how the running backs should be utilized.
Making His Case
The Vikings' season could have gone off a cliff once Sam Bradford went down, especially with Teddy Bridgewater still not quite ready to return, but Case Keenum has stepped in and kept them going in the right direction, winning three of his five starts.
They don't ask him to do too much. Keenum has only thrown for five touchdowns, with only two interceptions.
The Browns are going to have to be stellar up front against one of the top rushing teams in the NFL, and do it without their top defensive player, as Myles Garrett nurses a concussion at home.
Bob Golic and Pierre Woods, who know a thing or two about playing defense, will weigh in on that.
Across the Pond
The location of this game is the wild card.
Changes in players' routines, different time zone, and a stadium name that Americans usually mispronounce (Twickenham is pronounced "Twicken-um", as Keenum pointed out this week. He played there a year ago with the Rams).
Maybe being across the pond will throw the Vikings off and level the playing field a bit.
Maybe when they learn that Yorkshire pudding really doesn't look like pudding at all, they'll be off their game. Whatever it takes.
The Browns would seem to be wildly overmatched in this one, but maybe it'll take a "home" game 3,700 miles from home for them to find their bearings.
Nothing else has worked.
Bob Golic, Beanie Wells and Pierre Woods join me Sunday in studio for a 7:30 a.m. "Tailgate", taking you right up to game time on Cleveland 19!