Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson didn’t envision his first season with his new team would be a train wreck of potentially historic proportions.
Expectations were high within the organization and its fans as Cleveland hauled in the top available coach this past offseason. Now sitting at 0-10, he’s having to resort to some extreme measures to stay in the moment and forge ahead with positive feelings.
“I’m having to coach myself up,” he said, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I am not going to kid any of you about that. I never could have dreamt this ever. This is different, but at the same time, I get it. I’m in it. It’s at my feet. I am not going to run from that. I do understand what the issues are and where we are and where we are going to go, but also, it has been tough.
“I have a good staff who stands behind me. I have an owner who has been unflinching. I have executives in the front office starting with Sashi (Brown), Paul (DePodesta) and AB (Andrew Berry) who have not blinked, and they get it. Are we disappointed for where we are? Yeah, but I think we also understand what we have to do in order to get this changed.”
At this point, it seems like the franchise has accepted the truth about this season. It’s totally wasted at this point, and the best possible development going forward would be to finish with the league’s worst record and the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
A quarterback is needed, no disrespect to Cody Kessler intended. And that quarterback will need some more weapons and better protection than what Kessler, Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III and the others have gotten this year.
The defense is also a disaster area. Ranking dead last in yards allowed and second-worst in points allowed per game, the Browns are a hot mess on that side of the ball. Trading for Jamie Collins was a tremendous move to facilitate a change, as was drafting Emmanuel Ogbah in the first round this past April.
The secondary is undisciplined and the linebacking corps needs some new blood. There just isn’t enough talent on the roster to compete.
Thankfully Cleveland has a glut of draft currency that will serve the organization well next year, provided Sashi Brown and Co. make smart picks in the draft.
What’s happening this year isn’t on Jackson. In fact, you could argue he has some of the best job security of any head coach heading into 2017. On that note, he said Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam have “been outstanding in their support of me” through the rough season, per Cabot.
The Browns could very realistically finish with a winless record. This team is competitive most weeks but doesn’t have the firepower on either side of the ball to compete at the highest level.
At this point, the biggest question is: Who’s the “lucky” young man that will be drafted to quarterback this team into the future?