The Cleveland Browns fire head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley – defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take over as interim head coach.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager John Dorsey announced the decision to fire Hue Jackson at their press conference on Monday. The two added that current defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take over as the interim head coach for the remaining eight games of the 2018 season. Among other moves made, the Browns have also relieved offensive coordinator Todd Haley of his duties with the team as well.
Jackson, who was highly touted as the best coaching candidate when signing with the Browns in 2015, finished his tenure in Cleveland with a 3-36-1 record. That of course is including the infamous 0-16 season in 2017.
The Haslam’s fired Hue on Monday and had no other choice.
A frustrated fan-base, a historically bad winning percentage and the “internal discord” are the obvious reasons for the decision to move on from Jackson.
His solid reputation coming from the Cincinnati Bengals made it an easy decision to hire him and there was little concern about his transition to a head coaching gig.
However, the great working relationships Hue had with his former employer simply did not exist in Cleveland.
In Jackson’s time with Cleveland there were two glaring issues with him and other staff members. The first with then vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and most recently with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Of course, Brown was the man responsible for purging the roster in 2015 and acquiring a boatload of assets including draft capital and players on expiring contracts. The plan was to rebuild through the draft and if that meant taking on players with larger contracts (i.e. Brock Osweiler) for high picks – Sashi didn’t hesitate.
Two number one overall selections later and the Browns are comfortable with their largest building blocks in quarterback Baker Mayfield and defensive end Myles Garrett. Include cornerback Denzel Ward as another top-five pick that Sashi was responsible for nabbing as well.
However as Jackson’s record dwindled so did the harmony between himself and his running mate in Sashi Brown.
Brown was let go last season, paving the way for John Dorsey to become the Browns general manager. Fast forward to 2018 and, well, here we are again.
Hue Jackson is on record stating it was his decision to hire former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley to the same position just several months ago.
#Browns coach Hue Jackson said it was entirely his decision to hire Todd Haley to call plays this year and that it "wasn't mandated" to him. He said Haley's done a good job and he has his full support.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 22, 2018
However, the two clearly were not in sync throughout the season and their philosophical differences were evident in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” during training camp. A video here courtesy of Jeff Lowe paints the picture here:
The way Hue Jackson interacted with his coaches during this Hard Knocks clip was all you needed to know about his tenure and ability to be successful. #Browns pic.twitter.com/PlLL8maLIl
— Jeff D Lowe (@JeffDLowe) October 30, 2018
Haley, who’s had not only tremendous success as an offensive coordinator with the Steelers, has head coaching experience with the Kansas City Chiefs, even netting a division title in 2010. Despite this Jackson made it clear that Haley was not the head coach and, although his input was welcomed, it didn’t necessarily mean Jackson would agree with it.
Then the tension grew to new levels after a disappointing overtime loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Hue threatened to intervene with Haley’s play-calling.
“Trust me when I say I’m not trying to create any issue here, but I think if the offense is not playing well, and we haven’t over a period of time, being a head coach and an offensive guy who’s done this, I think I have every right as a head coach to jump in and see if I can help and assist and get this thing to where I think it needs to be, because we need to be better on offense. And if that’s my specialty, then I need to be involved more and I will be.”
To be fair, Jackson admitted the next day he would not jump into that role and blamed the media for generating that narrative.
Regardless, in a locker room full of frustrated players who know their record should be significantly better. On top of that the discord between the coaching staff is not just immature, but absolutely unacceptable at a professional level. It only took one more loss against division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for GM John Dorsey to act.
Jackson has struggled with this since the Browns hired him and Sashi Brown ultimately lost his job after Hue repeatedly hinted Brown couldn’t build a reputable roster worthy of winning football games. Hue had a 1-31 record to show for that.
The largest factor in his firing may not have even been his pitiful 3-36-1 record with the Browns or that he lost nearly the entire fan base. It was something that seems so simple, you almost don’t even look for it: respect for your co-workers.
At the end of the day nobody can publicly continue to toss blame around without holding themselves responsible. That was Hue Jackson’s problem and it became his demise with the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns, however, should have one sole focus moving forward though. Protect Baker Mayfield and do everything and anything to assure his development as Cleveland’s franchise quarterback.
Defensive coordinator and Hard Knocks legend Gregg Williams will lead the Cleveland Browns for their remaining eight games of the 2018 NFL season.
Williams has head coaching experience with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2003 and compiled a 17-31 record. Since then Williams has been a solid defensive coordinator throughout the league and will now get another crack at a head coaching opportunity with the Browns.
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