One win. 23 losses. Hue Jackson has coached 24 games for the Cleveland Browns and has only managed to win one of those games. In almost every organization in the NFL, that would be a fireable offense. The name of the game in the NFL is winning and Jackson has just not done that with the Browns. However, there are more specific points in regards to the Browns plans that lead me to say that there is not point to wait; Hue Jackson should be fired this week.
The Browns organization is in the second year of the new regime’s massive rebuild. Year No. 1 was a complete overhaul of the roster with most of the roster stripped to bare bones. The team was void of talent and winning was not something the team was really worried about. Jackson’s lack of success was glossed over due to the plan of the entire organization to use last season as a tear down. But, that was last season. This season needed to show improvement and development from the young players, and that has yet to be seen.
Over the offseason, the Browns upgraded the trenches with a huge upgrade on both offensive and defensive lines. The team thought to build from within as most successful teams do. Beyond that, the team added a slew of young talent through the draft. The roster saw an influx of talent that should be a stepping point for improvement. But so far this season, it has sometimes looked even worse than last season’s throwaway season. And I believe that is on Hue Jackson as the head coach.
My WFNY colleague Jake Burns already has pointed out the reasons for Jackson to be let go. The poor personnel decisions, the poor play calling, the inability to adapt and the lack of discipline on the team all are contributed to Jackson’s putrid resume as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. I agree with all these points. He has hurt the team more than helped. Even with the upgraded roster from last season, the Browns have shown no improvement on the field with some areas even showing regression. It is time to fire Hue Jackson and the time is of the essence.
Another of my WFNY colleagues, Craig Lyndall, did not deny that Jackson deserved a large amount of criticism for this season, but he did state it is not the right time to fire Hue Jackson now. I disagree and here is why.
My major worry is that Jackson is stunting the growth of the young players on the roster. Case and point with DeShone Kizer. Benched multiple times. Put into situations that don’t fit his skill set. Offense put entirely on his shoulders. These were just some of things that Jackson did to the young quarterback. And if you watched the game on Sunday and have heard the comments from Kizer, Jackson’s abuse has stunted the growth of the young signal caller. His confidence has been decimated through all of the siege that Jackson has forced onto him. Kizer is just the most obvious example of Jackson’s actions hurting the development of a young player. There are more. The way Jackson has used some of his players, putting them in less than ideal situations are hurting their ability to fully release their talents.
Not only how he is using players, but when he is using these players is also hurting the development of the young roster. The usage of Duke Johnson, David Njoku and Larry Ogunjobi has been down right criminal. Of the 517 offensive snaps, Duke Johnson has played 293 snaps or 56.6% of the snaps; David Njoku has played 239 snaps or 46.2% of the snaps; and Larry Ogunjobi has played 114 snaps or 22.0% of the snaps1(He did miss Week 8 with an injury). Three of the brightest young players on the roster are either just playing about half the snaps or under half the snaps of the offense. That is ridiculous.
Duke Johnson is the team’s best offensive playmaker. He is a dynamic player who can be one of the few game changers on the offense. But, he continues to have to share and come behind Isaiah Crowell, who has had a horrible season this year and is most likely not part of the future. David Njoku has shown in the limited snaps and touches he gets that he can also be a big time playmaker. But, he is still sharing time with the two other tight ends on the roster, whom are less talented than he is. And Larry Ogunjobi has been the second best rookie behind Myles Garrett. But, he can barely see the field as the likes of Jamie Meder and Trevon Coley playing more than the young rookie. Meder and Coley are both good defensive linemen, but Ogunjobi has outplayed both in his limited action. Jackson has the power to play these guys more, but he has not used his power to do that. Jackson is hurting their development by limiting their playing time.
The development of the young roster is my major concern, but Jackson’s other flaws add onto to his poor resume. His play calling is horrible. His pass-happy offense does not fit the unit. His game decision-making has caused the team to miss some opportunities to possibly win a game. The lack of improvement on penalties and turnovers is on Jackson for not pushing his players to be more disciplined. The list of worries goes on and on. All of these factors lead me to the basis that he should be fired. The stunting of the young roster leads me to the basis that he should be fired now. His presence will slow down the development of the players and hurt the future of the team for years to come.
Now some are arguing that the team should wait to fire Jackson after the season. Why? What is the point of that? If you are going to fire him following the season, why wait. What is possibly going to change? Is he miraculously going to be a good play caller, play his young talented players, makes smart game decisions or fix the discipline issues? No, he will not. He has shown over the 24 games that he is who he is and that we should not expect anything to change with his coaching.
He is hurting the possible development of the young squad. But, also with giving him eight weeks to coach for his career, he will do things that will try to aid his interests and could in turn hurt the overall team’s interests, especially the team’s future’s interests. What will one or two worthless wins down the stretch do for the next season when Jackson continues to not play Njoku, Johnson and Ogunjobi and continues to shatter the confidence and future of Kizer? Yes, a win or two would be nice, but is it worth it to win those two games while stunting the growth of the young players? It is not. It’s not working and we have fully seen who Hue Jackson is as the head coach of the Browns. The time is now to fire Hue Jackson.
- Snap stats from Pro Football Focus [↩]