After a 0-16 season in 2017, the Cleveland Browns and owner Jimmy Haslam decided to retain Head Coach Hue Jackson amidst the overhaul in the front office. But, changes in the coaching staff have been made. The Browns on Wednesday announced the hiring of Todd Haley to be the team’s new offensive coordinator. In the release, Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson indicated that he would hand over the offensive play calling duties to Haley. I’ll take it.
As many may know through my previous pieces, I am not a big fan of Hue Jackson. I believed he deserved to be fired following the 0-16 season he led in 2017. His play calling, in-game decision-making and overall management of his players on the field and off it were disastrous. I believed the team had enough talent to be considered the worst team in the league, but the Jackson-led roster went 0-16 with the worst record in the league. So as you can see, I did not like the decision by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to retain Jackson for the 2018 season.
Nevertheless, we are beyond the point of debating whether Jackson should still be the head coach of the Browns. I have moved on. And, one of the things that have eased my distress over the decision of keeping Jackson is the hiring of Todd Haley as offensive coordinator and the conceding of Jackson to give the offensive play calling duties to Haley.
Haley instantly improves the Browns offense as he takes over the play calling duties. He was let go by the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason after being the Steelers’ offensive coordinator for the past six years. As offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh has ranked in the top ten for points per game over the past four seasons. He is a veteran play caller with the track record of success. His resume of 21 years in the NFL also includes time as a head coach. The Browns have a reputable play caller, who has recent success in the league. But, beyond that, there is a bigger reason why I have a better feeling now than earlier in the offseason, Hue Jackson will not be calling plays for the offense anymore.
Jackson was a disaster as a play caller. He was pass-happy, too cute at times and overall just unable to adequately put his players in the right scheme and play call. The fact that he is no longer the play caller is a win and should be an improvement for the Browns offense. But, another factor is that it lessens the stress and load on Jackson as head coach. He can now be a CEO type coach where he overlooks the entire team and does not take an inexorable amount of time and energy on one aspect of the team. This could improve his in-game decision-making and his overall feel of the game. Play calling, beyond just the horrible calls he made, was just a lot of work to put on his plate as head coach.
I still believe that it was the wrong choice to retain Jackson for another year. I thought he had put enough evidence out there that showed he was not the answer as the Browns head coach. But, we are here with Jackson still leading the Browns. So, I will take what I can get at this point. And, the addition of Haley as offensive coordinator and play caller is helping lessen the blow of having Jackson another year. I will give Jackson a shot now as a CEO type head coach to see if that could be the answer of turning this team into a winner. But, this is on him and there is no one else to blame. It’s Jackson final shot to show he is a head coach in the NFL. No more excuses.