- Hue Jackson was fired from the Cleveland Browns this week after going 3-36-1 over two-plus seasons.
- In an interview after the firing, Jackson said he never got to run a “Hue Jackson offence,” because of the lack of talent on the team and the directive to hire an offensive coordinator.
- Jackson said he hopes someone can lead the Browns to success, a challenge he compared to summiting Mt. Everest.
After going 3-36-1 over two-plus seasons, the Cleveland Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson on Monday.
Even with better talent this season, Jackson’s Browns were often inefficient and failed to significantly improve on the field. After falling to 2-5-1 this year, the team decided to let go of the coach, all while reports of infighting between Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley swirled. Haley was also fired on Monday.
In an interview with Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot following the firing, Jackson discussed his time in Cleveland, saying he didn’t feel as though he was able to do things his way because of the team’s roster.
In his first two seasons, Jackson went just 1-31, as the team cycled through mediocre and backup quarterbacks. Jackson said that this lack of talent prevented him from running his offence.
“What everybody saw the first two years was not a Hue Jackson offence,” Jackson said. “And the people, players, and coaches that know me know that was the case. I had to do on offence what was necessary to be competitive each week. And we were.”
Jackson served as offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals before taking the Browns job. Jackson told Cabot that heading into Year 3, the team asked him to bring in an offensive coordinator, a request he followed but disagreed with.
“People for some reason thought that I couldn’t run an offence and that I needed to hire an OC. But I was never able to actually run my offence the first two years because we didn’t have the players … But it was recommended I bring in an OC to allow me to focus on leading the organisation. In hindsight, it would have been in our best interest for me to continue doing what got me the job, and that was to run the offence with more talent on board.”
In recent weeks, Jackson alluded to getting more involved in the offence, though he stopped short of saying he’d take back play-calling duties. That supposedly fuelled the rift between him and Haley, leading to internal discord. Jackson denied any internal strife to Cabot.
Jackson told Cabot that he loved quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson, young stars in the league that the Browns all passed over in the draft. Jackson said the team wasn’t interested in drafting a quarterback and referred to “street free agents” that played with the Browns.
“We played with a QB room with zero wins in the league,” Jackson said. “We played with street free agents and practice squad players in [wide receivers]. Yet our offence was the same or better than what we were doing this year.”
Jackson said he wanted to respect the Browns’ decision to fire him, but expressed regret that he didn’t get to do things his way this season, with a better roster, before being fired.
Jackson also said he would take the job again and hopes someone can come in and help the Browns win, referring to the team as the NFL’s “Mt. Everest.”
“The competitor in us, who thrives off and runs toward challenges – you’re always looking for the next Mount Everest. And to me, Cleveland is currently the Mount Everest of the NFL. It’s extremely difficult. Not for everybody. But if you can conquer it, your legacy becomes cemented. “