Jackson sees Colts as match for Browns
INDIANAPOLIS — Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson sees the Indianapolis Colts as a perfect match.
They, like the Browns, will start a young quarterback who is still getting acclimated to a new system.
They, like the Browns, are still trying to work out the kinks in a revamped defense.
And they, like the Browns, need some new, young players to make an immediate impact.
By virtually any measure, from the winless records down to the injured No. 1 overall draft picks, these teams head into Sunday’s showdown looking like replicas.
“I see a lot of similarities between our teams,” Jackson said. “As we’re learning how to do things our way here in Cleveland, I’m sure they’re learning how to do things their way there in Indy.”
The biggest difference is how the teams reached this point.
Cleveland (0-2) is 2-27 since beating Baltimore in overtime on Oct. 11, 2015. The two wins during that span were 10-3 over San Francisco in December 2015 and 20-17 over San Diego last December for the only win of Jackson’s first season with the Browns.
This year’s roster has 33 players with less than two seasons of NFL experience, a list that includes rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer , who has thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions since beating out three veterans for the starting job.
Wholesale changes have become the norm in Cleveland. For Indy (0-2) this is unfamiliar territory.
While the Colts have missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons, they’ve compiled just one losing record since 2002 and have only one 0-3 start since 1999.
But quarterback Andrew Luck hasn’t even practiced since undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder in January and the Colts haven’t looked the same.
Scott Tolzien’s tenure as the starter lasted one week, and recently acquired Jacoby Brissett’s interception in overtime last week led to another loss. Brissett is expected to make his second straight start this weekend.
PREFERRED CHOICE: At least the bookies like the Browns.
For the first time since 2015, Cleveland opened as the favorite in Las Vegas. The Browns hadn’t been favored to win since their 13th game in ’15, when they beat San Francisco 24-10, and haven’t been favored on the road since covering a 1-point spread with a 20-17 win at Oakland in 2012.