Report: Browns execs wanted Sean McDermott, Haslam hired Hue Jackson

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The Browns are the subject of Seth Wickersham of ESPN’s latest dive behind the scenes of an NFL franchise and one of the topics covered was the decision to hire Hue Jackson as the team’s head coach in 2016.

The move came shortly after Browns owner put Sashi Brown in charge of football operations along with an executive team that wanted to completely overhaul the franchise with a multi-year rebuild that borrowed from similar projects in other sports. That would mean a lot of losing and Wickersham reports that the group stressed that everyone in the organization “had to stick together” in order for it to work.

Per the report, the first big decision failed to meet that standard. The Browns met to discuss head coaching candidates and four of the five people in the room said their choice was Sean McDermott, who was then the Panthers defensive coordinator and is now the Bills head coach.

The lone holdout was Haslam, who reportedly preferred Jackson because he thought he “could relate better to players” and held firm despite pleas from Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta to reconsider. Haslam hired Jackson, who reported directly to the owners and butted heads with Brown’s department before Brown was let go late in 2017.

Jackson is now gone as well, but DePodesta remains in place with General Manager John Dorsey now running the football operations in Cleveland. Things are looking brighter than they have in some time on that front after a 7-8-1 2018 with Baker Mayfield starring in the second half, but Wickersham’s article is full of stories about why things were so dark for so long.

29 responses to “Report: Browns execs wanted Sean McDermott, Haslam hired Hue Jackson

  1. I can’t wait to read this article by Seth Wickersham. I have to say, it does make a lot of sense why they hired Jackson, who ALWAYS seemed out-of-step with Sashi Brown in decisions, and why he held onto Jackson for so long.

    By the way, Mr. Haslam, now that we have an ACTUAL football guy making football decisions (and seemingly doing a very good job at it, i.e., John Dorsey), it’s time to get rid of Paul DePodesta, who was the voice whispering Kevin Stefanski in your ear during the coaching search. Let FOOTBALL people make FOOTBALL decisions. Let DePodesta work for Cisco or Microsoft or Google or Amazon or somebody else who could really use him and his calculator.

  2. To be fair, Sean McDermott hardly seems to be the answer either

    You’re kidding. He’s done more with less here in buffalo if Allen turns out to be a real nfl an… and they build the talent watch out. He’s a legit nfl coach but when you have the hoodie for 20 years you forget that other guys do a good job too

  3. Was that supposed to make it better. Roster still would have been terrible. Defense still would have been the strength of the team. They still wouldn’t have won many games because they played two years basically with no QB. So the point of this is?

  4. Rebuilding is an ugly science. If anyone has been rebuilding with less ugliness, and solid picks, it’s McDermott.

  5. >>That would mean a lot of losing and Wickersham reports that the group stressed that everyone in the organization “had to stick together” in order for it to work.

    A lot of losing you say? Sounds like they picked the RIGHT man in Hue Jackson.

  6. It was clear that Sashi Brown was replicating “The Process” that has proven to work in other major leagues like the NBA, MLB and NHL. You tank for 3-4 years to build up tons of draft capital and hopefully score on the right QB after that.

    Haslam chickened out and bailed on the process maybe a year too early. Of course John Dorsey looks great – he still had a treasure trove of draft picks built up by Sashi Brown and a well-planned salary cap (ie no dead money or burdening contracts).

  7. Is this the same guy who swung and missed on the Patriots “gossip”? How does his reports still get any credibility? Fake News.

  8. arclight1972 says: “A lot of losing you say? Sounds like they picked the RIGHT man in Hue Jackson.”
    ============================

    Different goals – Sashi Brown wanted a coach like McDermott to DEVELOP the younger draft picks into good quality starters. Jackson is more of a strategist than a teacher and only cared about winning instead of building for the future.

  9. Haslam clearly liked Hue as a person, which is why you have to question Baker Mayfield’s decision to continue to jab his former coach months after his firing.

    I like Mayfield’s passion, but his “people skills” could use some work.

  10. manderson4150 says:
    January 24, 2019 at 8:50 am
    Haslam = Jerry Jones?
    —————–
    I’m no fan of JJ & personally I think he sucks as an owner. That said, Haslem is miles below from JJ.

  11. “To be fair, Sean McDermott hardly seems to be the answer either.”
    _______________

    To be more fair, hiring Hue was the equivalent of taking a multiple choice test and leaving the question blank on the highly unlikely hope it was a trick question and none of the choices were meant to be selected.

  12. The thing is, Haslam was a part owner of the Steelers for years. He supposedly “learned how it’s done” from being involved in that organization. The Steelers (as much as I hate them) are a highly successful organization, and part of that success has been due to organizational stability.

    Haslam – and, frankly, the Lerner family before him were terrible owners also – has been an awful owner by creating constant turnover and instability. Nothing can grow if it’s demolished every two years.

    The Browns had a great year, better than anyone was expecting. Hopefully they can build on that success and Haslam will stay out of the way.

  13. Found something from 2016 that explained what was really going on at the time. Hue Jackson was a hot property. A lot of rewriting history now.

    The news is interesting because the Niner Faithful may remember that Jackson was a final candidate for the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach job in 2016. It got to a point in the process where a marriage between Jackson and the team was considered a “done deal.” He was certainly a front-runner for the vacancy before being hired by Cleveland. In January of 2016, Jackson interviewed with 49ers CEO Jed York for five hours in Cincinnati.

    The 49ers ultimately hired Chip Kelly to be their head coach. He was fired after one season, and the 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan in 2017.

  14. Jimmy Haslam’s decision to hire Hue Jackson rather than Sean McDermott runs in complete parallel with Son-of-Al’s decision with the Raiders to jettison Jack Del Rio in favor of Jon Gruden.

    Haslam was stubborn about keeping Jackson on despite the fact that Jackson was an abject failure and it looks like Son-of-Al is the same way with Gruden.

    But aside from the above parallel I’d say the Raiders situation is worse because at least Jackson didn’t have control over personnel and the draft the way that Son-of-Al granted it to Gruden.

  15. I know it is fun to run with all the stuff about the Browns, but based on prior stories, Believe nothing that comes from ESPN and less that comes from Seth Wickersham.

  16. i like how these articles like to say the browns have a bright future been hearing this year after year, but same old terrible browns

  17. “The lone holdout was Haslam, who reportedly preferred Jackson because he thought he “could relate better to players” and held firm despite pleas from Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta to reconsider. Haslam hired Jackson, who reported directly to the owners and butted heads with Brown’s department before Brown was let go late in 2017.”

    I do not and will not sympathize for anybody, regardless of how they made their money (which is not always merit-based but sometimes a right place/right time deal), who does this sort of crap. It directly-undermines the purpose of his inner circle, damages his credibility within the organization and beyond, even past its own fanbase into the greater football world.

  18. Since Haslett came from the Steelers, I’m guessing that a little bit of Rooney rubbed off on him.

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