In his first comments since being fired by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the week, former head coach Hue Jackson seemed to place a lot of the blame on those within the organization rather than look in the mirror.
May Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com acquired the first exclusive interview with Jackson since his firing, and the comments from the veteran coach are rather interesting.
“I was surprised. I’m not going to say just totally blindsided because there was just so much noise out there about what was going on with our football team that I thought was not true. But any time there’s all these undercurrents going, there’s something in there,” Jackson said when asked if he was blindsided by the firing. “I was surprised when both (Owner) Jimmy (Haslam) and (GM) John (Dorsey) walked in my office and let me know that they’d be relieving me as being the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.”
Jackson posted a 3-36-1 record in 40 games as the Browns’ head coach and overlooked only the second winless 16-game season in NFL history. To many, it was a surprise that he was even brought back to start the 2018 campaign.
The former head coach also opened up about a reported rift with recently fired offensive coordinator Todd Haley, attempting to downplay it in the process.
“I didn’t perceive it as internal discord. I think you can disagree with people and not have it be discord. Discord to me is a strong word,” Jackson noted. “It means there’s always infighting. That’s a pretty hot word. I know there was disagreements and rightfully so. Who doesn’t disagree? But I think the term internal discord was a little much.
The issue here is that Jackson also noted that he was seemingly against Haley coming on in the first place.
“And the people, players, and coaches that know me – know that was the case. I had to do on offense what was necessary to be competitive each week. And we were,” the former head coach continued. “But it was recommended I bring in an OC to allow me to focus on leading the organization. In hindsight, it would’ve been in our best interest for me to continue doing what got me the job, and that was to run the offense with more talent on board.”
Jackson is right in that he was hired as the Browns’ head coach back in 2016 primarily due to his play-calling abilities. But there’s a ton of instances around the NFL that tells us teams are better off when the head coach delegates said play-calling duties.
In blaming the lack of talent for his inability as a play-caller in the past, Jackson is throwing others under the bus. That’s rather clear.
He also seemingly took a parting shot at the former Browns front office that hired him in the first place.
“But the plan was never to take a quarterback that year,” Jackson said after being asked if he wanted to take Carson Wentz back in 2016. “It was all about trading back to get picks. If you’re doing that you’ve got to pick the right players.”
While the long-embattled former head coach did attempt to remain professional here, it’s rather clear that he’s bitter about being fired. Our one recommendation is that a head coach with a 3-36-1 record should also look in the mirror some.