It’s not nearly time to write off Hue Jackson or his coaching staff. But it is time to seriously question some of the in-game decisions they are making.
Jackson has gotten pretty good at finding some sort of spark early on in games to get the offense moving. Unfortunately though, this soon fizzles, and the offense is back to what it was.
Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like they know what they’re doing, a direct reflection on the coaching staff. Other times, the offensive line implodes, struggling with their technique and being physically dominated. Once again, this reflects on the coaches.
To be fair, the balance in the offensive game plan was better. They ran the ball 26 times to 35 passing plays, a much smoother balance than last week. Also, penalties weren’t an issue as they have been. Some credit is due to the coaching staff for cleaning this element of the game up to a degree.
What really made it difficult though to consider Jackson’s performance “average” was how he managed the end of the first half. When it appeared that Marvin Lewis was content with running out the clock, Jackson thought it would be a good idea to call a timeout. He was over-aggressive, and showed a false confidence in his defense. This cost the Browns a touchdown, a momentum-shifting one at that.
Maybe NFL coaches shouldn’t be judged on one mistake. In a game of inches though, they are. And fair or not, Cleveland coaches will be evaluated the same way, and must adapt.
Whether or not Jackson is the coach of the future is not what is being debated here. His coaching performance in this game only is why he earned this grade. But the Browns are 0-7, and are now on their sixth quarterback. It is somewhat impressive that Jackson has held everything together to a certain degree. But at the end of the day, coaches are judged by wins, and Jackson doesn’t have any.