4-Down Territory: Fixing Russell Wilson, Jets QBs, Jacoby Brissett’s and Aaron Rodgers’ futures

Russell Wilson, New York Jets quarterbacks, and the futures of Jacoby Brissett and Aaron Rodgers. It’s a QB-loaded “4-Down Territory.”

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke discuss:

  1. How to fix Russell Wilson, if Russell Wilson is fixable at this point;
  2. Whether the Jets need to reset their idea of a franchise quarterback;
  3. Why Jacoby Brissett should be a starter somewhere in the NFL; and
  4. Whither Aaron Rodgers in 2023 and beyond?

You can watch this week’s episode of “4-Down Territory” right here:

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Jacoby Brissett has proven that he’s starter material… somewhere in the NFL

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett is the odd man out with Deshaun Watson’s reinstatement, but he’s proven a lot this season.

Now that Deshaun Watson has been cleared from his suspension to start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, the odd man out is Jacoby Brissett — the erstwhile backup who completed 236 of 368 passes for 2608 yards, 12 touchdowns, six interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 89.1 in his 12-week stand-in role. Brissett is in his first year with the Browns after bouncing around the league from the New England Patriots, to the Indianapolis Colts, to the Miami Dolphins, and then the Browns on a one-year, $4.65 million contract.

What makes Brissett’s future especially interesting is not the body of the season; it’s what he did in the second half of his time with the Browns. From Week 7 through Week 12, he completed 112 of 162 passes for 1,282 yards, six touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 102.4 — eighth-best in the league. Brissett also rounds out his starting tenure this season ranked sixth in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted DVOA metric among quarterbacks, and sixth in DYAR. As DVOA is more of a play-to-play efficiency metric, and DYAR is more cumulative, that pretty much covers it all.

Moreover, it’s clear that Brissett has gained the trust of his coaches and teammates as everyone in Cleveland prepares for the bleepshow that Watson’s ascent will bring.

“It has been huge having him as one of our leaders,” guard Joel Bitonio said of Brissett after Sunday’s 23-17 overtime win over the Buccaneers that brought the Browns to 4-7 on the season. “He always talks about us and the team. Obviously, he never talks about himself, but I was thinking that we have to get one more because he has played better than 3-7 or whatever our record was before tonight. He deserved a few more wins in there, so I am glad we got him one more here, and you never know.

“I think he has done as good as he can be asked. If you just take Deshaun out of the picture, which he was out for a long time, it just felt like Jacoby’s team. Now with Deshaun coming back, I think he has a presence that takes a step back, but he is still going to be there for what he sees. He has played in 11 games now, and he has done everything you can ask of him. I really appreciate him, and he is one of my favorite quarterbacks I have played with.”

Safety and defensive captain John Johnson III took it further.

“It is love,” Johnson said, when asked how it felt to win Brissett’s final game. “I think he exceeded expectations, and the record doesn’t show how well he has been playing. He knew what he had to do, and everyone on the team was proud. Like I had been saying, it could be a spark for us in a change of position for us. We will see.”

Next season, Brissett has the chance to be somebody else’s favorite quarterbacks. And based on his 2022 tape — especially based on the improvements in the second half of his 12-week stretch — it’s possible that Brissett hasn’t just turned a few minor corners; he might be ready to be the full-scale starting quarterback he hasn’t been to date.

Cyber Monday NFL deals: Best sales for fans of each team

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Nick Chubb scores in OT and Browns topple Buccaneers

The Browns rallied to down the Buccaneers in overtime

The Cleveland Browns scored on their first possession of the game, their last possession of regulation, and in the final minute of overtime on Sunday to surprise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-17.

The game-winning drive covered 71 yards over 6 plays and ate up 2:26.

A deep pass to Amari Cooper set up the score.

Chubb scored from 3 yards to sink the Buccaneers to 5-6.

The Browns improve to 4-7 in what was likely Jacoby Brissett’s final start before the suspended Deshaun Watson returns next week against the Texans.

Chubb wound up with 26 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown.

David Njoku makes stunning TD catch as Browns push Bucs to overtime

David Njoku and the Browns force overtime with a last-gasp touchdown

The Cleveland Browns scored on their first drive of the game and the last one in regulation.

It was enough to forge a 17-17 tie with 32 seconds left Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The tying score came on a fourth-and-long. Jacoby Brissett found David Njoku in the back of the end zone.

The tight end made a wonderful catch and the PAT knotted the game and sent it into overtime.

Jacoby Brissett throws key block as Anthony Schwartz scores Browns touchdown

Anthony Schwartz takes a reverse 31 yards for a Browns touchdown

The Cleveland Browns have scored on their opening drive for the sixth time this season.

It hasn’t been a good omen for the AFC North team as they have lost seven straight times after scoring on their opening possession.

Still, that doesn’t take away from the block quarterback Jacoby Brissett delivered as Anthony Schwartz finished his 31-yard run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brissett took down Antoine Winfield Jr. with the block that was the finishing touch on the scoring play.

The block by Brissett:

Myles Garrett arrives in style, wearing dinosaur suit

Myles Garrett arrives in a throwback suit for Bucs-Browns

Move over, Joe Burrow.

Myles Garrett is giving the Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback a run for the money when it comes to a passion for fashion in the Buckeye State.

The elite defensive lineman arrived for Sunday’s Cleveland Browns game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wearing a white suit that had dinosaurs all over it.

Wonder if Garrett was trying to insinuate that the Browns are playing a quarterback whose age makes him a dinosaur … Tom Brady.

Browns’ home field at FirstEnergy Stadium damaged by vandalism

A vandal damaged the field the Cleveland Browns call home

Someone decided to go for a joyride during the overnight hours Tuesday and damaged the football field at First Energy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns.

The unknown person broke into the stadium and drove a vehicle onto the grass playing surface, causing “some superficial damage,” according to the team. Aerial TV footage showed looping tire tracks spanning half the field.

The Browns said the stadium’s grounds maintenance crew is repairing the surface.

“We take pride in the strong reviews and reputation of our stadium’s playing surface,” the Browns said in a statement. “We have been in touch with the NFL on the matter and are confident after repair our field will be ready for Sunday’s game vs. the Tampa Buccaneers.”

Per News5Cleveland.com:

The Cleveland Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible break-in. Police say it appears someone may have jumped a fence and used a golf cart to cause the damage.

Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs: A play in three acts

Stefon Diggs was frustrated by his lack of targets from Josh Allen, so he went straight to the top to rectify the matter.

The Buffalo Bills’ offense looked decidedly off to start in their game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the entire organization had to up and move to Detroit’s Ford Field for the game after massive snowfalls shut Orchard Park down… but it was ugly to start. Halfway through the second quarter, the Bills had just 12 yards passing, and top receiver Stefon Diggs didn’t have a single target.

Not that there weren’t opportunities.

At one point, Diggs and head coach Sean McDermott discussed the matter. Diggs appeared frustrated, and understandably so.

And then, with 14 seconds left in the first half, Allen finally saw fit to get the ball to his best receiver, with a five-yard touchdown pass, and a 13-10 Bills lead, as the outcome.

Sometimes, it’s best to go to the boss to get things sorted out.

It took a village to get the Bills out of Buffalo for Sunday’s game

The Buffalo Bills had to extricate themselves from massive snow just to get to their game in Detroit. Here’s how it all happened.

When the Buffalo Bills had to move their entire operation to Detroit’s Ford Field on short notice for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns due to massive snow accumulation in and around their home stadium, it took everybody on the team to get that done. More than six feet of snow hit the suburb of Orchard Park, so everyone had to get going in a hurry, and this left some of the most important Bills in need of assistance just to get out of their houses and onto the plane from Buffalo to Detroit in the first place.

“We had two plans,” Bills Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Ron Raccuia said, per the team’s official site. “They were supposed to work in conjunction with each other. We had a series of plow drivers lined up to go to players’ houses and plow them out and then the players could drive to the facility, but early Saturday morning we realized that wasn’t going to work. There was too much snow for plow trucks to move and there was a driving ban in Orchard Park. So at that point we shifted to a full-scale pickup operation.”

The Bills were assisted by the fact that the snow had drifted north, giving everybody involved some time to put the plan together.

“We broke it down into neighborhoods and determined who could get out and how close they lived in proximity to other players and staff,” Raccuia said. “Then [Football Administration and Operations Coordinator] Ryan Moore and [Coordinator of Player Services] Kelsey Harkins basically ran point on logistics. So as they were calling players, they were then calling us to update us on the status of players being able to get to the stadium. There were more numerous impassable streets than we had anticipated.”

General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott picked up players and coaches who lived near their homes. Raccuia rode with Vice President of Communications Derek Boyko, and they were picking up players along the way. Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins was in the most precarious position, because he was in the city of Hamburg, which had received 73 inches of snow.

“It took us an hour and 25 minutes to get from near the stadium to Dion’s house in Hamburg, one way,” Raccuia said. “We tried at least three different ways to get there, and we kept getting turned around.”

Running back Devin Singletary’s street hadn’t been plowed at all, so he got an extra lower-body bump: Walk a quarter-mile to his ride through five feet of snow.

“I had to walk from my house out to Southwestern so [Assistant Director of Pro Scouting] Chris Marrow could pick me up,” Singletary said. “The snow was up to my waist. Walking through that snow was like a beach workout. I got to the end of my driveway and had to take a breath. Some of my neighbors filmed me walking down the street. I saw it later on social media.”

Tight end Dawson Knox was one of several players assisted by those who lived nearby, and wanted their guys to get to the game.

“It’s the City of Good Neighbors, man,” Knox said. “It’s hard to believe, but we pulled it off. I was carrying my suitcase over my head trudging through the snow. Tommy [Sweeney] was with me. Thanks to an assembly line of neighbors shoveling, we were able to get out. They just all showed up and got to work. I have a long driveway, so there was no way we would’ve gotten out. It was amazing to see.”