Hue Jackson, Baker Mayfield

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Hue Jackson believes he did his best coaching with Browns

Former head coach says 3-36-1 record doesn’t mean “you can’t coach”

July 10, 2019
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Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson led the Cleveland Browns through the worst stretch of losing in NFL history but doesn’t feel that he should bear the brunt of the blame for it.

Jackson appeared on our Radio.com sister station, Sports Radio WFNZ 610 AM in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday with Nick Wilson – a 92.3 The Fan alum – and Josh Parcell where he was asked about his time in Cleveland.

“I learned a lot,” Jackson told Wilson and Parcell. “I think the two years of constant losing I learned how to overcome that and still get guys to follow me and trust in what I was trying to accomplish. You learn a lot about yourself that you gotta be able to stand in front of a group and keep them really going.

“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. Whether it happens or not, that’s not up to me sometimes but I think I learned a lot being in that situation.”

Jackson was fired along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley by the Browns midway through the 2018 season on Oct. 29 with the team 2-5-1.

In two and a half seasons Jackson oversaw the worst stretch of football by a franchise in NFL history that saw the team go 1-31 in his first two years and he was 3-36-1 during his tenure in Cleveland.

His work with the Browns is not held in high regard by anyone – well, except for Jackson.

“Oh yeah, you never want those kind of narratives to be brought up with your name but they are,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day [I] didn’t win enough games and it doesn’t matter why or how or any of that. But all you can do is try to fix that in the future. I hope people don’t forget all the things you’ve done in your career up to that point – that you are or have been one of the better coaches in the league and led good offenses and coached good offenses and coached some really good players so that’s all you can hope for.”

In 40 games, Jackson lost six of them in Cleveland on the final play and saw his team outscored 522-339 after halftime.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the New York Jets, led the Browns to five wins in eight games – with the same roster Jackson had in 2018.

Wilson asked Jackson what he would like the narrative about him to be?

“Just that here’s a guy that knows how to overcome,” Jackson said. “Because there’s a lot of people that would run from it all. I’m not gonna run from it. At the end of the day that was me, our staff, and the people who led Cleveland but again that doesn’t mean that those coaches can’t coach or they don’t understand what they’re doing. Maybe that just wasn’t the right fit, the right situation for that group and they just need to have the right opportunity to have success.”

Jackson, who expects to coach again in the NFL, hopes and believes that his time in Cleveland won’t be held against him.

“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.

“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. So hopefully people will think back to the times when I put myself in that position. I had to be doing something right s 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.”

Following his firing, Jackson went on a media tour before joining the Bengals as a special advisor.

The Browns clowned him in a 35-20 shellacking in late November that saw safety Damarious Randall hand him the football after an interception and Baker Mayfield blow him off during a postgame handshake and later referred to him as “fake” on social media.

Jackson told Wilson and Parcell that he wasn’t offended.  

“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.”

Jackson was also asked about the parallels between Mayfield and Panthers quarterback Cam Newtown when it comes to the two being so polarizing in the media.

“I hate to compare players because Cam’s been doing it so much longer than Baker but they’re both very talented players,” Jackson said. “They’re going to lead their teams here this year and obviously a lot of things are going to show. Now they’re both polarizing – to use your term – because of their status and their value to their organization and deservedly so but everybody does it a little bit different. I’m sure Cam and Baker go about their business a little bit different but they’re both after the same results which is winning.”