Boy, things are sure getting interesting over in Berea, where the Cleveland Browns are figuring out basically out to run a team. While the team’s owner, Jimmy Haslam, voiced his support for 1-31 Head Coach Hue Jackson last season, they did saddle him with more ‘baggage’ this year so to speak, and I find myself wondering if he is losing some of his power.
One of the interesting struggles I’ve seen has been in the new blood’s desire to implement a culture change that Jackson has been resistant to, and we saw this on Hard Knocks when former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley talked about doing just that, which Jackson seemed to shut down.
The third-year head coach talked about that exchange just recently and wanted to explain the context behind it. Haley, coming over from a winning team, was having difficulty accepting the validity of the Browns’ philosophy of resting players, finding it hard to justify for a team that literally didn’t win a game.
According to Jackson, the Browns have collected data that shows that giving players extra days off strongly correlates to a prevention of soft-tissue injuries. But really, what does that even matter if it doesn’t even win you games?
So the dynamic becomes, how do you balance prevention of injuries with getting your players enough work on the field? Jackson obviously thinks that his players are getting enough work. Haley, and perhaps others, don’t think that they are doing enough, and that their results on the field have not justified the strategy.
I have to admit to being on board with Haley on this one, and I have a feeling that most will agree. Another person in Haley’s corner is Jarvis Landry, the Pro Bowl wide receiver that Cleveland acquired in the offseason.
“If we are going to change the culture, that is where it has to begin. We can’t be having favors or taking days off or stuff like that. We have to practice and put in the work to be great”, he told Aditi Kinkhabwala yesterday. “Nobody gets better on the sideline…if you can practice, practice”.
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is not shy about giving his veteran players a day off here and there, but the Browns seem to have some sort of organized rotational system by which, I guess, all players get scheduled days of rest and recovery with an aim toward prevention of soft tissue injuries.
It’s great and all to be a team that has a good track record on the injury front, but does it really matter when your actual record could literally not be worse? How many of Jackson’s players are really on board with the rest days that they’re presumably required to take? I’m sure Landry is not the only one who thinks everybody who can be on the field should be on the field.