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Hue Jackson: Cleveland Browns won't trade for QB

For the second year in a row, the Brownshave lost their starting quarterback to injury in the season-opener.

With Robert Griffin III floating off to injured reserve with a battered non-throwing shoulder, Cleveland -- already facing a talent crisis on offense -- will toss veteran Josh McCown back into the fray ahead of massively raw rookie Cody Kessler.

The Browns also have first-year passer Kevin Hogan on the practice squad, but Cleveland -- in a familiar theme -- is flirting with a total free-fall at the position. Coach Hue Jackson, though, isn't about to deal for a signal-caller.

"I learned not to trade," Jackson quipped Monday. "Don't do that."

Jackson is speaking from experience. During his one-year stint as coach of the Raiders in 2011, he was widely criticized for shipping a first- and second-round pick to the Bengals in exchange for Carson Palmer after veteran Jason Campbell was lost to injury.

"I learned a valuable lesson in that situation, but I was just having a little fun right there," Jackson said. "I learned that if the team has been around the guy, who has a chance to be a quarterback, you're better off keeping the guy you have ... just because there's continuity. The guys know what to expect from that player and how he's going to perform and what he's going to do. That was the biggest teacher for me."

Jackson went on to praise McCown, saying the journeyman passer gives the Browns something Oakland didn't have when Campbell went down.

"I hate to compare," Jackson said, "but we have a very capable backup here, a guy who has played in the National Football League for a lot of years and knows how to play and understands the lay of the land here and what needs to be done and I'm excited about that."

Ever the optimist, Jackson spoke enthusiastically on Monday about coaching up a roster with plenty of holes on both sides of the ball. To be fair, it's his only option.

Browns fans have been through decades of insanity and gridiron-based trauma, but here's the bottom line: With or without Griffin, this team is swirling toward a top-three draft pick.

Executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown said all along that Year 1 of the team's latest "relaunch" would be the hardest for fans to endure as the club accrues draft picks, reimagines the roster and embarks on a team-building plan for the long haul.

The worst approach would be to overspend for a low-ceiling veteran. While the list of free-agent help -- a heaping mass of no-namers like Ryan Lindley, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Pat Devlin, Josh Freeman and (an ancient) Mike Vick -- don't offer inspiration, this year's Browns were never going to pique society's imagination to begin with.

This is a rotten place to be heading into Week 2, but it doesn't feel particularly more dire than the vast majority of Browns seasons dating back to their ill-fated relaunch back in 1999.

It's time for this ever-rebooting franchise to dig in, ignore the white noise, believe in their plan and pray the storms of dark magic surrounding this organization finally dry up and let the sunshine back in.

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