Good news, Cleveland Browns fans. Head Coach Hue Jackson actually plans on winning now.
I jest of course, but the team is coming off just the second 0-16 season in NFL history, and the worst two-year record of all time of 1-31. Any talk of winning is going to be somewhat comical until actual results are delivered.
With the beginning of Phase One of the offseason program for all teams (who were not already in said phase because they had a new head coach), we have gotten to hear from just about everybody around the league at this point, and it’s understandable that a lot of people are interested in what Jackson has to say after his team’s substantial offseason moves.
Addressing the media recently as work gets underway, Jackson began his press conference with the seemingly optimistic approach of declaring that “winning starts today. Starts right now”. They literally did not even win at all in the year of 2017.
The Browns have had arguably the most adventurous offseason in the league, highlighted by their removing all three of their quarterbacks from last season. DeShone Kizer was dealt to the Packers for Damarious Randall while Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan also received the trade treatment (the latter at least by request, though perhaps both) in exchange for minor draft considerations.
Cleveland traded a third-round draft pick for Tyrod Taylor and also signed veteran reserve Drew Stanton, the two of which will be tasked with helping to bring along whatever quarterback they presumably select with the first-overall pick next week.
Back during the Annual League Meeting, Jackson referred to “a cleaning of this organization”, saying that it will come from the players that they’ve added and from a new mindset among the players that are returning. “These guys are working extremely hard”, he said at the time.
“This morning at 8:02 a.m., that’s when the work started”, Jackson told reporters at the start of this week. “That’s when the journey now starts. What will the 2018 Browns team legacy be?”. It’s almost impossible for that legacy to be worse than the previous season’s.
One of the reasons that owner Jimmy Haslam has been so behind Jackson is because he understands that he hasn’t had much to work with at the quarterback position. He tried to get him one last year with AJ McCarron (and Jimmy Garoppolo before that), but now they are in position to draft one.
“I’ll keep saying this, it starts with the quarterback. He’s got to do the most”, Jackson said, adding that “that’s what Tyrod’s doing each and every day. He’s the one that’s spearheading that. As you see, those guys are having a great time together, they’re getting to know one another. That’s important. And I’m watching Tyrod reach out to so many different people on this football team”.