The Browns officially have hit rock bottom. And they’re apparently making early plans for next season’s dig.
After a lost that dropped the Browns to 0-16 for the season and 1-31 for the last two, coach Hue Jackson opted for defiance.
“I don’t think anyone else could’ve done this job for the past two years,” Jackson told reporters, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He’s probably right, but not in the way he intended it. It’s unclear what he actually meant; he’s either saying that anyone else (from Belichick to Walsh to Shula to Noll to Lombardi) would have gone 0-16 this year, or Jackson is referring to his ability to survive the internal dysfunction that existed with Sashi Brown as the executive V.P. of football operations.
Regardless, the last thing he should be doing right now is projecting anything other than humility and contrition for putting a loyal and zealous fan base through 31 losses in 32 games.
Then again, with owner Jimmy Haslam already committed to bringing Jackson back, it’s hard to blame him for feeling a little empowered and emboldened. If one win in two seasons gets a third, what would Hue have to do to get fired?
“I don’t think we’re as far away as many people think we are,” Jackson said. People think that only because of, you know, the team’s chronic inability to win games. Again, at some point in today’s NFL, a competent coach can/should/will convert a close game into a win. Jackson simply hasn’t been able to do it.
Meanwhile, if/when Jackson ever gets fired, he should produce a self-help program aimed at advising employees on how to secure the favor of their superiors, no matter how bad the job performance. The buried lede in all of this is that Jackson has managed to persuade Haslam that Jackson should continue as the team’s coach, despite all available evidence to the contrary.