Are you ready to laugh? Because I’m sure you will after you read what former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson had to say in his first public remarks since he was summarily dismissed on Monday after his team was embarrassed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In doing so, he became the sixth consecutive Browns head coach to be fired after losing a game to the Steelers.
But it wasn’t his fault, of course.
He was asked why he hired an offensive coordinator this season after running the offense himself his first two years on the job. “People for some reason thought that I couldn’t run an offense and that I needed to hire an OC”, he told Cleveland.com. “But I was never able to actually run my offense the first two years because we didn’t have the players”.
He said that “it was recommended” to him to bring in an offensive coordinator, adding, “in hindsight, it would’ve been in our best interest for me to continue doing what got me the job, and that was to run the offense with more talent on board”.
So, again, it was the players’ fault.
Jackson, who did have success as the offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals, said that he “gave [the offense] time to correct itself” before he attempted to insert himself into the offensive conversation. He somewhat famously suggested that he wanted to assume control of the offense after they lost prior to the Steelers game, and had to spend the week backpedaling.
Throughout the interview, his greatest concern was merely to protect his own image, even discussing how that was his priority while he was still the coach, with statements like, “the problem again was there’s this perception that all of a sudden, I somehow forget how to run and offense, develop QBs, or coach a football team”.
He also knew that he was at long last on thin ice, so he said that he if was going to go out, he wanted to go out betting on himself. “I knew that I would’ve taken our same system and turned the offense around. It was not what I wanted to do, it’s what I had to do”.
Not his fault. The players’ fault. The personnel department’s fault. Todd Haley’s fault. Not Hue Jackson’s fault that he posted the second-worst career win-loss record for a head coach in NFL history. Literally. The only coach with a worse record is Bert Bell, who from 1936 to 1941 posted a 10-46-2 record. In Jackson’s two coaching stints, he has gone 11-44-1. A .205 winning percentage. One of four coaches ever below .250.
And it’s thanks to everybody else screwing things up for him. I had a lot of respect for Jackson coming in based on his prior resume, and tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the comments and decisions he has made in leading the Browns, and finally this razed earth interview after his firing, make it awfully hard for me to believe he could ever be qualified to lead a successful team.
More than anything else, a leader’s primary task is in fostering and demonstrating accountability, and I can’t recall many coaches failing to do that more spectacularly than he has here. It would be one thing for him to make these comments if he were calling it a career, but this is somebody who wants another organization to hire him.