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.