Ever since he was fired from the head coaching position of the Cleveland Browns, there has been pretty much nothing that has come out of the mouth of Hue Jackson that did not in some way or another seek to absolve himself of his abysmal performance there over two and a half seasons, posting a record of 3-36-1, the worst winning percentage by a head coach at one place over such a duration in NFL history. He also owns the second-worst winning percentage of all time in the NFL when you include his one 8-8 season with the Oakland Raiders.
After Jackson was fired mid-season by the Browns (and they went 5-3 without him), he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a special assistant, which many of his former players took as a betrayal. Tight end David Njoku recently said that they felt disrespected by him. That’s largely because he’s been pretty disrespectful, even delusional.
Take his latest comments, given to WFNZ 102.5 FM in Charlotte, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. He pointed out that “a lot of great coaches…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”.
Granted, the team that Jackson originally inherited was less talented than the one that finished the 2018 season, overall, and certainly less so than the one that will begin the 2019 season. And he didn’t have complete control over everything, so not every decision was made as he would have made them. But that goes for almost every head coach.
“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”, he added about his stint in Cleveland. “Now, whether it happens or not, that’s not up to me sometimes. Again, I think I learned a lot”.
Jackson, who interviewed for the head coaching job with the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as for an offensive coordinator position with the Arizona Cardinals, is currently unemployed for the first time in his coaching career.
He hopes that changes soon, saying that he believes “it’s in my future” to once again hold a head coach or coordinator position again in the NFL. That may very well be the case—he actually was successful as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator prior to taking the head coaching job with the Browns—but not because of what he did in Cleveland.
In fact, he damaged his reputation, I think as much by how he did his job and what he said than with the actual performance itself. Being on Hard Knocks did him no favors. Can he competently coach football players in some fashion at 53? Probably. But who will give him that chance? Could he end up in the XFL?