BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Following his 25th loss in 26 games as head coach, Hue Jackson had no desire to get into whether or not the Browns’ plan is actually working Monday afternoon.
Like winning a coin toss, he deferred.
“I really don’t want to get into that. I think you guys are the best judges on that,” Jackson said Monday afternoon.
Cleveland continues to suffer Sunday after Sunday, year after year and things have gone from 4-12, 5-11 bad to they’ll be lucky to just win 1 game a season unwatchable awfulness.
“What is this record?” Jackson asked. “1-25? Lord, have mercy.”
At this point, maybe seeking help from a divine power wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
“Guys, things are not great – let’s be honest – when it is one [win] like it is,” Jackson said. “I am not going to run from that. I am not judging the plan. I have to coach.”
Browns records of note:
88-210 since the team returned in 1999.
20-70 since the start of the 2012 season.
19-65 since NFL owners approved the sale to the Haslams on Oct. 16, 2012.
19-64 since the sale of the team officially closed on Oct. 25, 2012.
15-59 since the start of the 2013 season.
4-43 since Nov. 30, 2014.
1-25 since Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson were hired.
“It is part of my arrival and it pisses me off,” Jackson said. “I will be the first to tell you that. I never envisioned this in my life being 1-25 as a head football coach. I don’t wish this on anybody. It is not what I want it to be. It is not what the players want it to be. It is not what Dee and Jimmy want it to be. It is not what anybody wants it to be. We have earned this.”
As losses have mounted, Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown have tried to present publicly a unified front while reports circulate nationally of discord and internal strife between them. Jackson is trying to win a single game now to avoid talk of 0-16 for a second straight season because the front office has taken a 4-5 year approach to building the roster.
“That is who we have so we are going to walk them out there and they have to learn how to do it,” Jackson said.
The Browns chose not to re-sign quality players like right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, receiver Travis Benjamin or safety Tashaun Gipson during free agency in 2016 and they cut receiver Taylor Gabriel in September of 2016. All 4 players are thriving with their new teams.
They’ve also drafted 24 players in the last 2 years and stockpiled even more draft picks for 2018 – including 5 in the first 2 rounds of next April’s draft.
Top draft picks Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku qualify as top-level blue-chip talent while Larry Ogunjobi, Shon Coleman, Joe Schobert, Ricardo Louis, Seth DeValve and Spencer Drango – also from the last 2 draft classes – show promise as starters or significant role players.
The acquisitions of Jamie Collins and Jamar Taylor via trade, the waiver claim of Briean Boddy-Calhoun plus the free agent signings of James Burgess, Jason McCourty Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter have also been positive.
Collectively the additions still are not enough to win.
“The plan that is in place, let me say this, my job is not to say whether it is [working] or is not,” Jackson said. “My job is to coach this football team. That is what I was hired here to do. I was not hired with a plan. I was hired to coach this team and get them the best I can get them to be. That is what I want to concentrate on. I am going to coach this football team and get this football team to be the best they can be. I am not interested in talking about a plan. I do not want to talk about a plan. I want to talk about our football team and coaching this team and getting them better.”
As for why the Browns can’t win, Jackson pointed to the youth on the roster, which boasts 40 players with 2 or fewer years of experience under team control and 33 on the active-53.
The Browns boast the youngest roster in the NFL and are 0-10 while the second-youngest team in the league – the Los Angeles Rams – are 7-3 with the youngest head coach in the league in Sean McVay, who is 30, and second-year quarterback Jared Goff.
Jackson was asked point-blank if it is a talent issue.
“I think we have some guys that are good enough,” Jackson said. “I just think when you haven’t won – I’m just being very honest and putting it out there – when you haven’t won I the National Football League and you get thrust into that situation, until you do it, you don’t do it. We have been in those situations, and I can be very candid with you guys, we haven’t done it. I have to find a way, along with our players, and that is what I told them today, to where we can do it.”
Prior to the season Jimmy Haslam promised to stay the course and stick with the plan going forward, which now might be more difficult to do than anyone anticipated but Jackson still believes that to be the case.
“I think they do until they tell you otherwise,” Jackson said. “This is where we are. It is painful. I am sure it is painful for them. I am not trying to answer for them. I think it is painful for all involved. At the same time, this is where we are. We are in it. Like I said, there are no new players coming in. There are no new people coming in. This is where we are and we have to fight our way out. That is what it is.”