Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson doesn’t feel like he’s getting a fair shake when people look back at his tenure with the team.
“I’ve said this before I think during those times [it was] probably some of the best coaching I did contrary to what people think because you’re always doing anything and everything you can to find a way to win,” Jackson said. “Whether it happens or not, that’s not up to me sometimes but I think I learned a lot being in that situation.”
Under Jackson, the Browns suffered just the second 0-16 season in NFL history in 2017. Following the feat, Jackson commended himself for sticking with the team.
“I don’t think anybody else could’ve did this job,” Jackson told USA Today. “I don’t think anybody else could’ve stayed in this job for two years and been 1-31. A lot of coaches would’ve said ‘uncle’ after last year. I know that. I think you guys do, too. I think a lot of coaches during this year would’ve said, ‘Forget it.'”
Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Thrive
The Browns finally said goodbye to Jackson after a 2-6 start last season. Under interim Gregg Williams, the Browns went 5-3 and quarterback Baker Mayfield thrived.
“I think I can just because of the situation in Cleveland doesn’t mean you can’t coach,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of great coaches that have come before me that’s coached there and went on and did great things. Sometimes the situation is different.”
As the Browns reeled off a five wins in their final seven games, Mayfield ranked third in touchdown passes (17), fourth in passer rating (108.4) and first in yards per attempt (8.86) among those with 200-plus passes during the stretch.
The Browns did have a chance to rub their new-found success in Jackson’s face a little during a 35-20 victory over their AFC North rival Bengals, which Jackson joined as a special assistant following his firing. Damarious Randall handed him the ball after an interception and Mayfield showed visible disdain during a postgame interaction.
“He left Cleveland and goes in to Cincinnati,” Mayfield said in the press conference following the game. “It’s just, someone that was in our locker room asking for us to play for him, and then goes to a different team that we play twice a year. Everyone can have their spin on it, but that’s how I feel.”
Jackson apparently doesn’t hold it against his former players.
“No, at the end of the day, those guys were trying to do whatever they needed to do to rally their team to be the best that they could be,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t there anymore. Do I wish some things didn’t happen that way? Yeah, we all do but at the same time I understood where they were coming from and the point they were trying to make. Hey, if I was on another team and leading another team at that time, I would’ve been trying to kill them too so that’s just part of it.”
Hue Jackson Still Hopeful to Land Coaching Gig
Jackson seems set on an NFL return, but it’s certainly questionable if another team would give him a shot.
“I think if people dig in and really take the time to look at the overall situation there maybe they would understand it more but at the same time I understand when narratives get put out there that’s what people know,” he said. “So hopefully people will think back to the times when I put myself in that position. I had to be doing something right, so to go back and be a coordinator again or be a head coach again I do believe is in my future, so I just have to work through the process and see where it goes.”
It’s going to take a few winning seasons for Jackson’s career record of 11-44-1 as a head coach to crawl about the .500 mark.
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