Cleveland Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson kicks off our annual eight-week divisional preview series with his assurances that, even as his search for a quarterback continues, he knows one thing about the most competitive division in football, the AFC North.
“We are better,’’ Jackson said of the Browns, who are coming off a 1-15 season. “I know that.’’
What he also knows is the Browns’ decision to bypass a quarterback in the first round to land the best available pass rusher in Myles Garrett, top safety prospect Jabrell Peppers and tight and David Njoku — all before taking Notre Dame quarterback prospect DeShone Kizer in Round 2 — allowed him to improve his team across the board while creating a four-man competition at the game’s most important position: quarterback.
“That’s the way it fell for us,’’ Jackson said. “We did what we felt was right. The most important job I have is making sure we become better as a team. How much better we are remains to be seen. We’re doing all we can to compete.’’
That includes creating a four-man competition at quarterback that Jackson insists will include both Kizer and former Denver Broncos’ and Houston Texans’ starter Brock Osweiler, acquired before the draft in an odd trade that was more about procuring a 2018 second-round draft choice than his services.
“Four guys are going to compete,’’ Jackson said of his quarterback situation, emphasizing Osweiler will be among them. “We’re going to put them out there and give them the opportunity to showcase their talent and ability. It’s the right way to do it. It’s the way our organization sees it.’’
The way former NFL MVP and four-time passing leader Ken Anderson sees it, the Bengals’ failure to win the Super Bowl during his tenure may have cost him the game’s ultimate individual honor, induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I guess because we didn’t win the Super Bowl, other than that I don’t know (why),’’ Anderson said of the exclusion of a player who is a former MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year who set a single season quarterback rating record that stood for 27 years. “I don’t think a lot about it.’’
Anderson recalls the short and long term ramifications of the infamous “Freezer Bowl’’ playoff win over the San Diego Chargers and gives you his look at the Bengals and the AFC North.
Also included on this week’s guest list is Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, who tells us why he believes the Baltimore Ravens aren’t finished stocking their roster and where he thinks they finish in the AFC North.
You can listen to the entire show on SB Nation Radio, on over 75 radio stations around the country Wednesday nights between 8-10 p.m. or on our free podcast by going to iTunes and searching for Talk of Fame Network. The show can also be accessed by visiting our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.