After blaming others, recently fired Hue Jackson takes responsibility for Browns futility
Recently fired Browns coach Hue Jackson continued his media tour on Friday, appearing on ESPN’s “First Take,” where he expounded on comments he made the day before to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot in which he pinned some of the responsibility on the Browns’ failures on others.
But Jackson sounded a more conciliatory tone on “First Take,” conceding that he didn’t do enough to keep his job.
“You’ve got the first pick in the draft, who I think is going to be a franchise quarterback, who’s gonna be a sensational player, and he’s not playing as well,” Jackson said of rookie Baker Mayfield. “Here is a perfect storm to move forward and move on and I have to respect the decision that [the team] made.”
In addition to firing Jackson, that decision also included replacing offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who Jackson insists wasn’t forced upon him after he went 1-31 in his first two seasons.
“I hired Todd. I brought Todd into the organization,” Jackson explained. … “My relationship with Todd is still my relationship with him and what I mean by that is we haven’t talked since we both departed but I think we respect each other’s football career.”
But if he had to do it all over again, would Jackson, who was an offensive coordinator before he became a head coach, bring in Haley?
“I got this job because I was an offensive coach,” he said. “But when you go 1-15, 0-16, I think people forget that you still do know how to coach and so at the time, we made a decision to move in a different direction and kind of let me be the CEO of the organization. … When you look back at it now, I wish I had kept doing what I was doing — what got me the job in the first place.”
Clearly, the front office disagreed, presumably because the Browns were 1-31 in Jackson’s first two seasons.
So why is Jackson even talking to reporters and appearing on television so soon after losing his job? He can explain that too.
“I want people to understand,” he began, “I’m human just like anybody else. At the end of the day, I didn’t do enough — we didn’t do enough — to get the job done in Cleveland. What am I supposed to do? I’m not gonna go crawl into a hole. …
“The ultimate (reason) was to come here today and answer any questions anybody had to really kind of set the record straight. I think the part about ‘internal discord’ was a little much over the top. I think there’s more to it, in my mind, than that. I want people to know that I’m still the same football coach I was three years ago.”
Jackson’s referring to comments by owner Jimmy Haslam, who said after dismissing Jackson and Haley, “The message today is we’re not going to put up with internal discord.”
Jackson disagreed with the characterization.
“I was there every day and saw it, “he said. “I gave Todd totally autonomy of the offensive football team — I didn’t call a play. At the end I made a statement, after we played Tampa, that I wanted to get more involved in the offense because I could see that it wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted it to. I think that was only fair.”
And it was only fair that the Browns decided that 3-36-1 wasn’t reason enough to keep him around.
Finally, Jackson was asked if there anything he would’ve done differently during his time in Cleveland.
“I would not have ever given away the offense,” he said.
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