The Cleveland Browns are just three weeks removed from firing Hue Jackson and now have an opportunity to go head-to-head against him and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Yes, Hue Jackson signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as the “Assistant to the Head Coach” and is working exclusively with their defense for the remainder of the season. Of course, the Browns play their in-state rival two more times in the final weeks of the 2018 NFL season.
Jackson’s stint as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns is well-documented and is among the worst in NFL history. In fact, the only coach with a lower winning percentage was Bert Bell, though Bell was not fired considering he was also the Owner of the team. Regardless, the breakup between Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns was messy and nationally debated. It didn’t help that Jackson had a media-tour days after his firing, appearing on several high-profile shows to discuss his perspective of his time in Cleveland.
Blame was thrown. Half-hearted accountability was absorbed. And as the more Jackson talked about it the more it became glaringly obvious the Cleveland Browns had no right in bringing him back to begin with at the end of 2017.
Jackson simply was not a good fit with the Browns.
Here we are a few weeks later and Cleveland comes out of their Bye Week with a little extra motivation as they travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals and Hue Jackson. The Bengals currently are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for second in the AFC North with a 5-5 record and are desperate for a win amid losing the last two weeks without star WR A.J. Green.
However, the Browns are now 3-6-1 after handily beating a solid Atlanta Falcons team and are ready to keep that momentum going. Regardless of Hue Jackson – these division games, particular with the Bengals and Browns residing in the same state – carry much more than a win or loss. General manager John Dorsey echoed this sentiment several weeks ago.
#Browns GM John Dorsey on @BullandFox if added juice next week now with Hue joining #Bengals: "No. It's the Cincinnati Bengals. It's a divisional game. It's always important to play very well in your division. I think these guys will be in a good place."
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) November 14, 2018
The Bengals deploy a veteran group offensively with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green leading the way. Although, young players such as Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and John Ross have all had flashes proving they are ready to contribute on a regular basis. Their offense isn’t elite and it likely won’t reach that level as the roster currently sits, but it’s certainly far from bad. A.J. Green is also expected to return to the team just in time for Sunday’s rivalry game.
Cleveland statistically still has a shot at the playoffs although the likelihood of this actually happening is a reach. Usually at this time in the season, Browns fans have given their undivided attention to April’s NFL Draft but this year is different. Sure, the team only has three wins and is virtually out of playoff contention.
And it’s refreshing.
The Browns are not in the business for tanking, despite the fact they are just several games out of the top pick. They don’t need another number one overall choice in the upcoming NFL Draft.
They need to win. And learn how to do it consistently. That doesn’t happen by continuously finding yourself in the top-ten of the draft year-in and year-out.
Mayfield has proved he can play at an elite level even as a rookie. Nick Chubb, Genard Avery, and Denzel Ward have proved the same as well. And we don’t even need to get started on Myles Garrett and company.
This team is ready to take the next step and as John Dorsey talked about earlier in the season that starts with winning divisional games.
They tied the Pittsburgh Steelers once and lost to them more recently while already beating the Ravens (they have one more left with them in Week 17). The have yet to play the Cincinnati Bengals but if they can find a way to beat them in both of those games, this Browns team will walk away with big smiles on their face at the season’s end.
Not only do they get to play their in-state, division rival coming out of the Bye Week, they also get a shot to shove it to their former head coach who threw numerous players, coaches and front office staff under-the-bus for several years. Whether or not the team wants to admit it, this matchup against Hue Jackson is personal even if he isn’t the head coach.
Baker Mayfield likely wants to win more than anybody in the Browns organization and has a track-record of performing at an elite-level when under significant pressure. No, this game is not and is far from the significant games in Baker Mayfield’s career. However, the added enjoyment this Cleveland Browns team would get if they hang up over 30 points on a Bengals defense, led by Hue Jackson, is simply indescribable.
The team is eager for the opportunity. Not only to defeat Jackson, but to jump a significant hurdle of beating several division rivals in the same series.
As to whether they’re worried about Hue helping the Bengals game plan against he Browns…well that doesn’t seem to worry them.
Cornerback T.J. Carrie on whether Hue Jackson's knowledge of the Browns and their play calls will help the Bengals Sunday in Cincinnati: "I doubt it." https://t.co/OjNPvR4hVh pic.twitter.com/IludpcPbRi
— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) November 20, 2018
See you at 1:00 pm eastern time at Paul Brown Stadium when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals featuring Hue Jackson.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.