April 16, 2014

Brandon Jackson Ready to Prove His Worth

He wasn’t exactly the most high profile free agent, but new Browns running back Brandon Jackson was a great pick up for Cleveland. He is exactly what this team needed.

Peyton Hillis will still be the meat and potatoes back for the Browns, as long as he stays healthy. But in Jackson the Browns have a change of pace back, and an insurance policy for Monterio Hardesty. Jackson quickly showed a surprising burst of speed when thrown into the mix at camp last night. He bumped a run designed for the inside and eluded defenders on his way around left end. And then he did it on the right side.Not known as a speedy back, Jackson certainly has enough of it to make some plays.

What Jackson does best, is often seen on third downs. He is a good pass protection blocker and has good hands coming out of the backfield. That was his specialty role for the Packers until injuries forced him to the spotlight last year. He had his best year as a pro, gaining 703 yards rushing and 342 yards receiving. He had 43 receptions and gained 3.7 yards rushing per carry.

Last year the Browns relied on Peyton Hillis too much. He was injured a few times and had to push through those in order to stay on the field. Had the Browns been able to spell Hillis effectively, it could have saved some wear and tear on his body and made him more effective when on the field.

Monterio Hardesty is the leading candidate to spell Hillis, even though he still hasn’t participated in full go practices in pads. The Browns say they are being cautious with him as he continues to recover from the ACL injury from last season. That may be true, but eventually Hardesty will have to see live action, and Jackson provides some depth at running back in case Hardesty’s injury troubles continue.

A crowded backfield in Green Bay made Jackson expendable. After mulling his offers, Brandon said he thought this gave him the best opportunity to contribute. “It was the best offer and best opportunity for me and my family.”

Jackson went to college at Nebraska, where he averaged 5 yards per carry. His last season there in 2006, Jackson gained 989 yards rushing.

Last year the Browns caught lightning in a bottle with the Peyton Hillis trade. Certainly we shouldn’t have the same expectation for Brandon Jackson. But I think we can feel better about the RB position as a whole knowing that he is there with Hillis and Hardesty.

  • bobby

    Anything is better then Mike Bell. I like our depth at rb where hey all seem to be very similar and we can just plug and go.

    Side note- Anyone else interested in Taylor Mays?

  • C-Bus Kevin

    If he can catch short passes and pass block, that’s enough for me. The browns just need someone to give Hillis a rest, and until Hardesty makes an appearance in a game, Jackson is it.

    I still don’t understand the hardesty pick. There are so many serviceable backs at the college level. Why take a guy who’s got two surgically repaired legs?

  • mgbode

    @bobby – if it only costs a 4th or 5th rounder and we trade for him with only the intention of transitioning him to WOLB, then sure I have some interest in Taylor Mays.

    as far as Brandon Jackson, the worth of having a veteran RB who can pickup blitz assignments and catch passes out of the backfield is often undervalued. i’m not expecting a ton from him, but I am very glad he is on our team.

    I expect that he will spell Hillis on likely passing downs while Hardesty spells him on likely running downs. If/when Hardesty gets hurt, who is our 4th RB?

  • 216Diehard

    I love Jackson and Hardesty for backups. I hope, however, that Jackson understands if Hardesty stays healthy he will not be getting a lot of carries.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Quality, veteran depth at RB is always a good thing. Add the fact that he has a ring, and I think this was a very underrated signing.

  • theherd10

    “Why take a guy who’s got two surgically repaired legs?”

    “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. [Montario Hardesty] will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” Sorry, had to throw that in.

  • http://serandez.blogspot.com Ezzie

    I really feel like Jackson will just be the 3rd-4+ back, just to give Hillis some more breathers and keep him fresh. Hardesty is going to sit and learn from both meanwhile, just going in from time to time or in a blowout.

    When is Hillis’ contract up? I’m curious.

  • Spencer

    @216Diehard

    Yeah, I agree. I’m not looking for another Orlando Cabrera situation with the Browns.

  • Brad in ATL

    bobby – Remember when this place was going bonkers because we picked Ward over Mays? It gives me a good chuckle.

  • smugknowitall

    @Spencer – Orlando Cabrera played for the Indians, not the Browns.

  • Right Side

    @7. Unless something changed with the new Labor Agreement this is this last year of his contract I believe.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott
  • Mike E

    Orlando Cabrera played for the Indians? Wait, what!?!

  • Spencer

    @smugknowitall

    I knew that, I guess I just didn’t say what I meant to say clearly. I’m don’t want to have to deal with a similar situation with the Browns as the Indians had with Orlando

  • Brad in ATL

    Scott – I was only talking about the comments section after the draft. The piece you are referring to is spot on.

  • Oh Really?

    all I read in the second paragraph is:

    Jackson is not very fast, but still faster than our defense.

    on a side note, can people comment without Scott having a snarky comeback? For as much as the rest of the WFNY guys let commenters, you know, comment, Scott always has some smart remark.

    and for what? watch everyone bash me now for criticizing one of the writers here. all that loyalty for someone who will jump down your throats if he doesn’t like something you typed… hmmm.

  • bobby

    I do agree, many commentors were going bonkers over it. Writers not so much. Im not advocating getting rid of Ward, but I think getting Mays with a low draft pick is better then what we would get with said draft pick.