by Anthony Lima
Listen to Anthony on The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima, weekdays from 6 am-10 am
The day Hue Jackson arrived in Berea, the Cleveland Browns own website posted a video of the new coach arriving in style, with unabashed confidence that he was going to do the impossible: save the Cleveland Browns.
I don’t exactly remember a similar video of Rob Chudzinski or Pat Shurmur exiting a private jet with a designer leather Louie Vuitton handbag and a smile showing off enough bravado to make Rex Ryan look timid.
This head coach came to Cleveland peddling a much different message than his failed predecessors. So much so, that on the heels of an embarrassing debut loss to the bottom-feeding Eagles, the coach doubled down on his message that his team will win a Super Bowl under his guidance.
“I’m gonna do the best job that I can with our staff and these players. And we’re going to keep working at it. My point is, eventually, they will love me because we’re gonna win. And we’re gonna win a championship here for the Cleveland Browns.”
Love the message, love the swagger and it definitely sounds vastly different from the other since-fired head coaches. But as Jackson probably already realized after his hand-selected quarterback RG3’d himself out of action and onto the IR, this isn’t going to be easy, and is downright impossible unless he lands the right quarterback, something he’s already struggled with in the early days of his Browns tenure.
Think about the QBs he has already picked — or at the very least been connected to.
The injury prone QB who had not played a meaningful football game in two years looked no better than the last time he was literally relegated to the scout team thanks to his inability to read defenses and stay out of harms way.
There seemed to be little in the way of progress despite the promise that Jackson was going to tailor his offense around the talents of his mobile QB. Never mind the fact very few plays were run to put him in good positions to make plays – no zone read and conservative third down plays that would be more suited for a rookie rather than a guy who electrified the NFL just four years prior.
A reminder: The Browns were the only team in the league to grant him a tryout.
The head-scratching third-round pick by the Browns was met with so skepticism by many around the league that Hue Jackson felt it necessary to plant his flag and assuage the masses by asking them to trust him.
Most of that capital went out the window during the preseason where it looked like the four-year college starter was completely in over his head. He committed a pair of safeties by looking rattled deep in his own endzone.
Now he’s one play away being your starting quarterback.
In the same vein as RG3, Hue Jackson reportedly had interest in pursuing the former Pro Bowler-turned-bench warmer in San Fran. Now he sits during the games and even during the National Anthems, drawing attention to his cause and creating a national conversation, all the while holding a clipboard out west, while losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert and his lifetime 72.3 passer rating.
Hue was said to be “enamored” with the No. 1 overall pick according to Michael Silver, but apparently not enough so for the Browns to trade up to the top spot to nab the QB, who was inactive for his opening game. How not-ready-for-primetime is the young QB? There’s the talk the rams might be sit him the entire year.
If you’re scoring at home (and it wouldn’t take much to put up more points than the Browns did last weekend), Hue Jackson is 0-4 with quarterbacks in his first go-around as Browns head coach.
The guy who came to Cleveland with all that swagger and an alleged strong QB-coaching acumen to boot, has looked unable to spot a decent QB. Juxtapose that with the two QBs he could have pounced on: Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott, it’s an ugly start for the QB guru.
These potential QB misfires are also not exactly a way to warm up to the fans or an impatient owner. One can only wonder what Jimmy Haslam is thinking in his corner office in Berea while the QB his organization passed on at the behest of his shiny, new tough-talking hire is the talk of the league after disposing of his football with relative ease in his debut. Or what Jimmy is thinking when watching Prescott put his team in position to beat the most expensive defense in the league in his first start.
The Browns will in all likelihood have a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s draft.
Are you still trusting Hue Jackson to make that pick? More importantly, will Jimmy?