The Cleveland Browns broke their losing streak on Sunday, with a tie. The performance shows the team has one fatal flaw still: Hue Jackson.
The Cleveland Browns broke their losing streak on Sunday, but not by winning. Nope, Cleveland didn’t win or lose, but instead, they tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-21.
After overcoming a 14 point fourth quarter deficit, they had a chance with 10 seconds left in overtime to win with a field goal, only to have it blocked. The Browns will get wins this season, but their performance Sunday shows that the team still has one fatal flaw— head coach Hue Jackson.
Cleveland made a ton of changes this offseason, mostly to get playmakers on this team that lacked much true NFL talent, according to first-year general manager John Dorsey. But the changes to the roster and staff was also to change the culture around the organization.
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Having only won just one game since 2016, and only having won more than seven games twice since 1999, it was imperative to bring a winning culture to Cleveland.
However, keeping a coach that is 1-31 in two seasons (and 9-39) isn’t exactly showing you truly want to change the culture. The man leading the players every day has to also exude that change in culture, and after an entire offseason with new players, coaches, and front office members, Hue Jackson is still the weakest link in the chain.
That weakness showed in this Browns team on Sunday. Penalties at the worst time and a lack of discipline and overall execution from the players all fall back on Jackson.
Sure, it’s impressive when a team forces six turnovers. It’s impressive overcoming a 14 point deficit to force overtime. These are both things that the Browns couldn’t have done in recent seasons. But the fact remains that the team didn’t win — and isn’t that the ultimate goal?
When you force six turnovers and have as many chances as they did, you have to capitalize. Jackson’s inability to let his coordinators have control in key situations has been his downfall thus far in Cleveland and will continue to be so.
As a head coach, it’s your team to lead and make the final decision. However, 1-31 doesn’t happen by mistake. 1-31-1 isn’t a much better stat either. Todd Haley was brought in as the new offensive coordinator after a very successful stint in Pittsburgh. The offense looked rather lackluster but showed some life when it mattered the most.
For that reason, as well as the aforementioned 1-31-1 record, its time to part ways with Hue Jackson. John Dorsey should have never accepted the condition that Hue would remain coach. He deserves the chance to shape the coaching staff in the same way he shaped the roster.
A complete overhaul isn’t necessary. Fire Hue Jackson. Promote Todd Haley. Haley isn’t perfect and wasn’t a great coach in Kansas City. But he has worked under a successful coach in Pittsburgh the last five years and more than deserves a second chance, especially as an interim with this Browns team — he also never had a 1-31-1 stretch in his life.
Hue Jackson has to get this team more prepared to win and has to have them execute if he wants to make it to the end of the 2018 season employed. Having this much talent and getting the same result falls on one guy, the head coach.
Cleveland doesn’t have an easy road the next few weeks, traveling to New Orleans to face a team that is hungry to show Week 1 wasn’t who they really are. The Saints and Browns really find themselves in similar territory. But the Saints have a coach that has created a winning culture and knows what it takes to win.
If Hue can’t sneak out a win in Week 2, then expect the seat to get even hotter. He needs to steal a few wins or we may see Haley get his chance — as well as first-round pick Baker Mayfield.