BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – After a second consecutive 0-4 start Browns head coach Hue Jackson had a lot of explaining to do as fans and media question the big picture and the plan of the franchise after they got blown out by the Bengals 31-7 Sunday.
With the team 1-19 since the great rebuild and youth movement began in 2016 doubt in the process over a lack of progress on Sunday’s jumped to the forefront of questions Monday afternoon.
“I don’t like my record any more than you do or anybody does,” Jackson said. “It is horrible, and I will be the first to tell you that. That being said, I understand and I place more emphasis on improving players and trying to get them in the right spot and trying to win. I do not like losing. I will be the first to tell you that. I detest it. When you keep score, there is no place for losing. There’s a winner and a loser, and we have been on the other side of this ledger way too many times. We have to keep pushing.”
Jackson stated his belief in the future success of the organization’s plan among the many topics he was asked to touch on Monday:
– Jackson admitted that he couldn’t bench veteran receiver Kenny Britt Sunday because he had no other options due to injuries and a lack of depth at the position. “We lost a couple guys,” Jackson said. “Trust me, I think our guys know based on performance if you are not getting it done, we will stick the next guy in there, but you have to have the next guy to stick in there. It is what it is.” Britt, who signed a 4-year, $32.5 million contract with $17 million guaranteed has been a massive disappointment catching just 8 of 23 targets for 212 yards through 4 games with multiple drops – including 2 that have resulted in game-changing interceptions.
– As far as comments made by Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in telling him to not let his players quit on him, Jackson felt that was more of encouragement from his mentor rather than a reflection on the Browns’ effort Sunday considering they scored a touchdown late to avoid being shut out. “He knows that losing’s tough,” Jackson said. “He didn’t mean our team quit.” Jackson declined to address Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ remarks that he can’t win with “that group” by simply saying, “we got lot of work to do. That’s all I can say.”
– Jackson felt rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer played his best game to date and was “lights out” in the loss because he threw the ball away, made good decisions and didn’t take a bunch of sacks. Kizer was pulled with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter because Jackson didn’t want to continue to expose him to violent hits in a blowout. “I thought regardless of what the numbers were for him, I thought the guy played extremely well,” Jackson said.
– Jackson admitted his frustration at the poor starts offensively in games because they practice, walk through and talk through their scripted plays leading up to games daily. Penalties, sacks and negative plays have plagued them early and also given off the impression that they aren’t prepared to play. “The concentration things are the things that bother me,” Jackson said. “Turnovers are going to happen from time to time in games, but when you jump offside and we have our own self-inflicted wounds, then that is disappointing because that means maybe we are not ready and that our focus is not totally into where it should be when the game starts.”
– Jackson said that owner Jimmy Haslam has been very supportive despite the constant losing and he isn’t worried about changes being made. “Jimmy has been as supportive of anybody I have ever been around in this situation,” Jackson said. “I know everybody is thinking Jimmy is going to throw me over in the river. That is not the case at all. He has been extremely supportive. He has been more than supportive from what I understand what the situation has been here in the past. I couldn’t ask for a better owner in that situation.”
– Jackson does believe the process or whatever the Browns are calling this can and will work even though the results and talent to pull off a turnaround clearly aren’t there. “The only thing that solves this is what? Winning,” Jackson said. “That is the only thing that solves any of this that we are talking about. Let’s be honest, until we win, you guys are going to keep asking these questions. That is what it is. Like I told our team, the only people that can stop the narrative that is out there right now is us. We have to find a way to win football games, period.”
– History indicates constant losing breeds division within the Browns organization but Jackson contends that is not happening despite the 1-19 record and it won’t happen because he and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown “talk the same language,” “want the same thing which is winning” and “need each other” to turn the Browns around. “We are not going to let division happen. We won’t do it,” Jackson said. “It is easy to do like you said because everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to get to winning as fast as they can, but we have to do it our way, the way we see it and that is the only way you can get these things done.”