Cleveland Browns: Will Baker Mayfield and Hue Jackson kiss and make up?

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with Baker Mayfield #6 after a 21-17 win over the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with Baker Mayfield #6 after a 21-17 win over the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns face the Bengals this week and all we need to know is whether or not Baker Mayfield will hug Hue Jackson

The Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield was unfairly maligned by the national media for not accepting a hug from former coach Hue “Hit the Road” Jackson at the end of the Browns’s 35-20 victory in Cincinnati last November 25. National sportswriters went off on Baker for not respecting Hue’s right to make a living, and for treating Hue like a quitter rather than acknowledging that he was fired by the team.

Some of the retired jocks from the New England Patriots shook their heads and wagged their fingers at Baker. Why, that lack of respect is not the Patriot’s way. Poor misunderstood Hue!  And darn that ungrateful Baker!

This scene is likely to be repeated this Sunday after the Browns beat the brains out of the Bengals (we hope!). Is Baker going to take to heart all the negative criticism emanating from Bristol Connecticut and the East Coast based media? Is Baker going to kiss and make up with his ex-Coach?

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This is a complete crock. First of all, forgetting for the moment about how he got there, Hue is now working for a competitor whose number one goal is to beat Cleveland.

Baker has a multimillion dollar gig with Cleveland, and is driven to succeed and bring a World Championship to Cleveland, and the job of the Bengals is to take it all away, and win it for Cincinnati instead.

Why would anyone expect the leader of the Browns offense to be friendly with a guy who is paid to beat them?

Does Baker have to hug John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin too?  When did hugging opposing coaches become a thing in the NFL?

By the way for Damien Woody and other guys that are supposedly solemn authorities on the Patriot Way and all that razamataz, we don’t see Bill Belichick and Jamie Collins hugging either.

Did Jim Brown hug Paul Brown when he got fired by Art Modell?

This is Pro Football. You’re not supposed to be friendly with your opponents and especially not your division rivals. Moreover, there are a lot of valid reasons to be angry with the former coach.  To wit,

First, Hue, aided and abetted by his offensive coordinator Todd “Comet” Haley, contributed to a slow start by the Browns. It’s tough to make the playoffs if you in a  2-5-1 hole. How could you argue that they are blameless for their record?

light. Related Story. Baker Mayfield Snubs Jackson

Maybe if the coach had done his job better, the Browns might be at the top of the division instead of fighting for their playoff lives. So it’s understandable if the players are upset, isn’t it?

Second, Hit the Road Jackson and the Comet were trying to get Baker killed. He was getting sacked at a frightening pace under Jacksonian Autocracy:  20 sacks in 5.5 games, or close to four times per game. Since Jackson was deposed, Baker has been getting sacked fewer than once a game.

One way to frame that is that Baker was taking three unnecessary sacks a game that are attributable to Jackson and Haley. How would you feel about having a bunch of 300 pound guys try to squash you flat an extra three times a week due to your coaches having a crappy offensive scheme? This is not the Madden football game, it’s real life for Mayfield, and the sacks hurt.

Third, Baker, contrary to folk legend, did not perform very well overall in the first half of the season under Hue and Haley. Though he was brilliant in his first game, executing a game plan designed for Tyrod Taylor, after that he tailed off.  His passer rating was 78.9 under Jackson. That’s actually lower than Josh McCown’s career average (79.7, including 85.7 for the Browns).

Baker’s post-Hue  passer rating over six games is a lofty 109.3, second to Patrick Mahomes during that period. You have to assume that the coach, if not totally responsible, had something to do with that lousy start. The quarterback stands to make millions of dollars in salary, endorsements and all sorts of other cool stuff. And the Coach was hindering not helping. How you would you feel about a boss that was costing you millions of dollars and getting you beat up?  Come on, man!

Ever a bastion of fair-minded journalism, Dawg Pound Daily sought to create a “Hugs for Hue” event in which fans would line up after the game to hug their neglected former coach, but to no avail. There just is not very much sympathy in the Cleveland community for the man who led the team to an 0-16 season en route to 3-36-1. Sorry, coach, it isn’t happening for us.

Still, while there is every right to blame the coach for his record, no one ought to blame ‘He Hue Must Not Be Named’ for signing up with the Bengals after being fired by the Browns. It’s natural to seek revenge versus the team that fired you. The rationale for the Bengals taking him back is more weird. When Jackson left the Bengals for a division rival, namely Cleveland, the assumption was that he was not happy with the Bengals, and was willing to burn his bridges behind him.

Hence it is very strange that the Bengals would want him back after Hue figuratively slapped them in the face. Two explanations are possible. One is that they love him so much they are hoping he may become the head coach of the Bengals, possibly as early as next year and feel they can buy back his loyalty.

The other explanation, which makes more sense, is that they are simply using him as a conduit for information to gain information about the Browns’ playbook.

If you watched him on the sideline of the last game, he doesn’t talk much to the defensive players he is supposedly helping to coach, and doesn’t seem to have much a role during the game at all. Thus, in all likelihood he will simply be let go at the end of the season, having provided whatever information he knows about the Browns, and he may very well take head coach Marvin Lewis with him.

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If Baker snubs Hue again, the national media will no doubt blast Baker for being disrespectful.  That’s their prerogative, but to tell the truth, this is about as silly as it gets! Keep in mind that the national media has an insatiable thirst for ratings points, and one way to increase the sagging ratings of their poor products is to latch on to the popularity of Baker Mayfield by bashing him.  It is completely absurd to criticize Mayfield for not hugging his attention-craving ex-Coach.