Browns

Hue the Hypocrite

Cleveland Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown is gone. In comes John Dorsey to replace him. The power struggle between Brown and head coach Hue Jackson was decided. It appears, for the time being, that Jackson won the battle in the eyes of owner Jimmy Haslam. But, does he deserve the benefit of the doubt by Haslam? The evidence says no.

Beyond the horrible coaching Jackson has done on the field, that I and many others have illustrated, Jackson has made a mess of it with what he has said in the press. For Jimmy Haslam to believe in the man who has stated numerous things that are either unequivocally wrong, straight out lies or just head scratching leaves me puzzled. Sashi Brown had his warts, especially the inability to find a quarterback, but Jackson has just as many if not more. So Jimmy, if you have forgotten what Hue Jackson has said over the course of two years, here are just 12 of his statements that should make you question if Jackson should survive the firing process.

“The run game has got to become our backbone,” Hue Jackson stated following the team’s 2017 season opener loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. “It does. I am not running from that. We are going to run the football.”

This is one of the most frustrating ones to me. It is something he can control himself. He is the play caller for the Browns, but we have yet to see the run game be the backbone of the offense and Jackson has run away from it almost every Sunday. Currently, the Browns have called run plays on just 37.6% of the total offensive plays, which is actually a lower percentage than last season’s mark of 38.17%. So, this was a lie despite the team finding relative success on the ground when they attempted it.

“You have to trust me on this one,” Hue Jackson said about quarterback Cody Kessler in the press conference following the pick of the USC quarterback in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

For those that say Hue Jackson was an unlucky bystander to the lack of talent on the Browns roster, please answer me this. Why would he say, “You have to trust me on this one,” following the selection of quarterback Cody Kessler. Does that sound like a guy who had Kessler forced upon him? If Kessler was forced upon Jackson, then it is unlikely he makes such a definitive quote. He would have used the words “we” like his talent or such. He also has had numerous statements throughout his tenure about being heavily involved in the quarterback procurement area.

“It felt like the Earth moved beneath my feet,” Hue Jackson declared after about watching Robert Griffin III in workout drills according to former NFL.com and current ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington.

This is more evidence that Hue Jackson had a say in the personnel decisions; even his media-friend Mike Silver agrees he was in love with bringing in Griffin. Jackson was wooed by the talent of Robert Griffin III and Sashi Brown gave Jackson the quarterback he wanted. This evaluation is all on Jackson. And, the evaluation was wrong. Griffin was not the same quarterback that came out of Baylor. He was not the answer.

“Me and Sashi are in lock step trying to get this football team to be the best it is,” Hue Jackson said following the 2017 season opener loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. “We’re going to get there. That’s all I can tell you. We are together. We know what we’re doing. We have work to do. We have to get better at what we’re doing and we all understand that.”

This is a statement where He Jackson just flat out lied. It is not one of the more egregious ones because most would not admit that there were disagreements and a struggle in the relationship.

“I’m not just going to say him, but I think it is our whole room,” said Hue Jackson about how he can make Kizer better when he gets into the building following the drafting of the young quarterback. “We try to create an environment for all our guys to be the best versions of themselves. They are all going to have different strengths and weaknesses, and what we are going do is really try to really showcase their strengths and try to improve the weaknesses as much as we can. We feel like we are pretty good quarterback coaches – myself and Coach Lee. We think we can take a player from A to Z, but how soon that will be, what that will be? Until you have a chance to get out on the field with him do you really know.”

There were two things about this quote. This is a quote where he props himself up and makes himself sound like the mastermind of the quarterback position. After watching the last two seasons, that is just not true. He is not the quarterback whisperer. Second, the quotes about how he likes to showcase the strengths of players and create environments where players can be the best versions of themselves are laughable. The treatment of quarterback DeShone Kizer is evidence of these statements being totally untrue. Jackson has put so much on the back of the young quarterback. He has put him in an offense that does little to make it easier for him and an overall play calling scheme that is so heavily orientated to the passing game. He does little to showcase Kizer’s strengths and has put him in an environment to fail.

“This is not just for the moment,” Hue Jackson said after naming DeShone Kizer the starting quarterback for the regular season. “We are going to get with DeShone, ride with him through it all and work with him through all of this. Those things are going to happen, and I think we get that. He gets that. We are not going to blink about it. We are just going to correct it and keep moving forward.”

This statement turned to pumpkin after only a couple games. Hue Jackson has benched the young quarterback multiple times and shown the inability to live up to this quote. He did not ride with Kizer through it all. After the first stint of frustration, Jackson was quick to pull the trigger and replace the young quarterback with players who are actually worst than the Notre Dame quarterback.

“I totally believe in DeShone,” said Hue Jackson following the failed trade for QB AJ McCarron. “I don’t want anybody to think that I don’t. … What’s important is that he’s here, he’s playing and he has to continue to get better. That’s what he’s in charge of. My job is to keep creating the environment for him to be the best he can be.”

First of all, Hue Jackson does not totally believe in DeShone Kizer as he has shown with his multiple benchings, the desire for Jimmy Garropolo, and the failed pursuit of A.J. McCarron. Also, some environment he has made. The environment where he was benched, criticized in the press, and almost replaced by a player the coach tried his hardest to acquire.

“I think he respects my decision,” Hue Jackson said about DeShone Kizer after he was benched against the New York Jets. “You guys are more worried about his confidence than I am that way.”

This quote kind of puts a dent in the statement he has said on numerous occasions that he is all about the players in the locker room and having their back. He stated in public that he did not worry about the confidence of a young player who he has dragged through the dirt over the course of the season. Not a great statement to hear from your coach.

“My performance, if you measure it by wins and losses, is not very good,” said Hue Jackson following the firing of Sashi Brown. “At the same time, I am in charge with coaching this team and trying to do the best I can with what I have. That is where we are.”

A common refrain over the course of the season has been Jackson placing blame elsewhere. He tries to illustrate the picture where he has nothing to do with the personnel decisions and he is just a bystander who has to coach the roster that is put in front of him. And, that the roster is just incapable without being perfect, et cetera. Also, some of the quotes above and many reports in the press have him very much involved in the player personnel decisions as well.

“I didn’t win a power [struggle],” Hue Jackson said after the firing of Sashi Brown and the reported power struggle with him. “I’m sorry that you feel that way. I respect that you feel that it was a power struggle. I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as I was coaching a football team and trying to do the best that I can.”

He won the power struggle that he was fully invested in, using leaks to the press. The last line is another example of an instance where he tries to make himself look innocent in all of this mess.

“I will say this, I thought it was unfair for me when I first came here – I got the job because of what I did on offense – I didn’t think it was fair to give anybody that title and not have a football team that was worthy of that guy to be the leader of it when I didn’t think it was where it needed to be,” Hue Jackson said about hiring an offensive coordinator when he was first hired.

Not only is he bashing the outgoing Sashi Brown, but also his players. He states he didn’t want to hire an offensive coordinator because he didn’t want to force someone into such a hard position. The real reason he didn’t hire an offensive coordinator is because of his ego where he believes he is the best play caller for the team. He has even stated as much in the past. He also makes this statement as if offensive coordinators are not hired in January before the free agency period and draft where he would know the final roster. Plus, if it is so hard, then wouldn’t extra help be useful? He tries to ceremoniously fall on the sword that already pierced Brown.

“I like the way you are saying this, me, my agent – I don’t deal in leaks,” responded Hue Jackson about leaks in the media. “I have been doing this for quite a while. I don’t know what you are referring to when you say ‘leaks out of here’. This has been a leaky place for years. This is not the first time you have ever heard leaks out of the Cleveland Browns.”

This is one of the funniest quotes he has said. Hue Jackson was on a full fledge leak-a-thon over the past several weeks. Whether its to his friend Michael Silver or sending out anonymous reports stating that he really did want Carson Wentz in the draft, even though Silver reported several days after the draft that Wentz was not the guy he wanted at No. 2, Jackson was a huge source of leaks. The coaching staff allowed Benjamin Allbright to release emails that demonstrated the schism between the coaching staff and Sashi Brown. He also throws in a point where the Browns were already full of leaks. That is true, but that does mean he did not add to it.

These are just a few of the quotes and statements Hue Jackson has made over his coaching career in Cleveland. So, Jimmy Haslam, why do you believe Jackson when he has shown so many times that he cannot be trusted and that he cannot coach on the field? And to John Dorsey, make sure you are comfortable with Jackson, because if not, you should demand to hire your own head coach. One who you can trust and work with without worrying about if that coach and his ego is trying to gain more power.

  • Garry_Owen

    Homer – Homer’s Brain

  • Harv

    I think you said it wasn’t any more extreme than typical young people. But I ain’t gonna dredge up old posts (because of a vague fear that I was the one actually taking that position).

    Not sure I’m down with your false choices about Hue. Is the HC role “not to hold back a capable roster”? Is his competence proven by the next guy sucking also? (Does that also apply to GMs, implying Dwight Clark and Ray Ray were but victims of bad ownership or coaches?)

    Whatevs, pitchfork me. If they still suck after they hired an experienced and proven guy at that position one of us is sticking me with a sharp object.

  • Harv

    That’s why God created bye-weeks, baby.

  • CBiscuit

    Yeah, totally agree. I don’t know why we expect brutal honesty from a HC. We somehow expect “brutally Honest Hue” in socially/professionally compromising situations?

    Brutally Honest Holiday Hue:
    This sweater looks cheap. It looks like it was a Kohl’s $12.99 bargain bin special. It’s so generic that I think why did you even bother? Why waste the time it took for you to wrap and me to open?…not to mention…the child labor in Bangladesh and wasted and needless transPacific shipping of this crapola.

    Here’s a present for you. I’m just buying this for you because I thought you’d get me something in return of equal thoughtlessness and value. I don’t like you though. He doesn’t like you either.

  • Harv

    hope that wasn’t realized? Prediction that didn’t pan? Hue went virtually entire halves without calling a running play, much of the time with the game within a score. This wasn’t Hue as a random sidewalk pedestrian struck by the proverbial falling piano. Given he was playing maybe the most inauspicious group of QBs in modern NFL history, he was sort of complicit.

  • CBiscuit

    Sisyphus-rock

  • Garry_Owen

    That’s fair. I did say that, in the context of the moral outrage over his partying and not studying his playbook. Turns out, it was much worse – but nobody called it for what it really was at the time (Josh Gordon, either). Let’s not dredge.
    My false choices. Nice. Of course you can’t be down with them if their automatically false. Nice play. Check, maybe, but not mate. I’ve got a stalemate here somewhere.

  • Harv

    Craig Lyndall did, on his podcasts. He said Johnny’s drinking was not mainstream and seemed like something was up. We need to listen to Craig. Except when he’s wrong.

  • Garry_Owen

    Agree. But how do we know? I think we need to presume he’s wrong and force him to carry the burden. But still listen. Definitely listen.

  • Harv

    In this sitch I tend to apply a tried and true test: if I agree with him he’s right; If I don’t, well, there’s more than one pod on Stitcher.

  • MartyDaVille

    My point is that it wasn’t a lie in the sense that he deliberately set out to deceive the media about his plans for some nefarious purpose. What would be the point?

    It was a hope or a prediction or a guess or a wild-ass delusion or coach-speak or a stupid mistake or cliched press conference pap or bullspit, but it wasn’t a lie. Why would he do that?

  • jpftribe

    Regardless of what anyone can read into his motives, the media has turned on him big time in the last few weeks and this will all come back to roost.

    The charming, gung-ho Hue is gone and the vultures are circling. Won’t end well for him.

  • CBiscuit

    Yeah, they have turned on him. And in this media narrative, Sashi comes off as victimized and Hue the villain, which I think is pretty unfair.

    They portray Hue as maneuvering to out Sashi. Well so what, if true? Wouldn’t you at some point (1-27 record) take the gloves off, so to speak? It’s not necessarily a malicious thing or something bad about Hue’s character. It wasn’t working, and management was miscast.

    And I agree though that while Hue is still left standing today after winning this power battle, it does not mean he’s going to win the war.

  • jpftribe

    Well so what, if true?

    Personally, I think it’s despicable, gutless and cowardly. Be a grown up and confront it privately and deal with it. Dragging a professional’s reputation through the media mud is Machiavellian bullshit and speaks to his true character He leaks what he really believes and publicly denounces it through the media. The guy is poison to an organization and they won’t be successful with him in a prominent position.

    And the Haslam’s true judge of character is about as transparent as it could be. He hired the knuckleheads that scammed those they could take advantage of, and when those tapes are released to the public, he is done in Cleveland. And Hue’s his guy.

  • CBiscuit

    I’m sure there was behind the scenes stuff between Hue and Sashi (and prob all of them). We’re not privy to that, so I can’t assume that Hue was a “coward” and plotted silently or any of that. For all we know, Hue told Sashi things to his face with Jimmy nervously sitting there. Who (or Hue) really knows?

    If Hue would have gotten rolled and Sashi remained, then Hue would have been the media narrative victim. Can you imagine the hue (Hue) and cry? Lordy. Anyway, it’s media narratives on who is to blame, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think neither of those two.

    I think it’s Jimmy. He assembled non fitting parts…and he put together a crappy infrastructure that was doomed to fail. I don’t have to think either Hue or Sashi is a bad guy. Just same old Jimmy incompetence.

  • Dave

    “So he can’t very well go back on that promise. That would be super-dysfunctional.”

    In other words, just like Jimmy and the entire Browns organization.

  • Skulb

    Well said. I would say about the run game, though, that most teams “abandon the run” then they fall behind significantly in games. Which of course the Browns do almost every week. You run when you’re in the lead to kill clock. Very difficult. and pretty unproductive because it still kills clock, to run when you are behind multiple scores. I might give him a pass on that particular “lie”. At least break down the approximately four snaps that have occurred this season with the Browns in the lead.

  • Skulb

    The difference being of course that you have the patience of Metuzalem even with an utterly futile process, while Jackson falls madly in love with one or more QBs every offseason, only to stage ugly and pointless breakups later during the regular season. Clearly, at the very least, this is not the right man to find a QB for the Cleveland Browns. We’ve tried that and these are the results. Or the right man to coach them for that matter. Everything he does crumbles their confidence further. He should have to file a request in four copies to everyone in the FO if he ever wants to bench a QB in the future. And he shouldn’t even be asked about who the Browns should draft or sign as the QB going forward. Obviously he is incompetent in this particular area, thus his opinion is of no value. It can only distract others from making sound decisions. So it should be illegal for Jackson to ever say anything about quarterbacks at all, lest he sabotage them further with his ineptitude. Fireable offense!

  • Petefranklin

    He’ll probably still be on the payroll when the Browns get good, definitely not as coach though.

  • Petefranklin

    You run to set up the pass on play action fakes for your rookie QB. Football 101. It’s how Peyton Manning got through his rookie season on an arguably worse football team.

  • Skulb

    Sure. But still, teams don’t generally run as much when they’re behind. Makes sense that the team that has been behind the most in the NFL would have a poor run-pass balance.

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  • Petefranklin

    They kind of ran vs GB. The play action was terrible though.

  • Skulb

    Right, but they were ahead against GB. That’s the point. Teams don’t run when they are trailing because they don’t have time to run. They run more when they are ahead because they want the clock to run out. You don’t need to play any more now. You’re in the lead! Blow the whistle and let’s get out of here.