Cleveland Browns: Should Hue Jackson’s job be on the line in Week 3?

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns reacts on the sidelines during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns reacts on the sidelines during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns fans and many in the media are calling for a win Thursday, or Hue Jackson’s job. The dismal start of the season however, stems from other issues.

The Cleveland Browns‘ Thursday night game vs. the New York Jets in Week 3 is a must-win for head coach, Hue Jackson. While Jackson may be beyond reconciling with the vast majority of fans, calling for his job is a bit premature.

The hiring of offensive coordinator Todd Haley, paired with the trade for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, was supposed to be Jackson’s saving grace. Unfortunately, the shoddy playcalling and lack of aggressiveness on offense they have offered may instead be his undoing.

Jackson is first in line to suffer from the mistakes of those subordinate to him, as it should be. With that said, the games aren’t won by conservatively playing it safe, nor by missing kicks that could win games.

It is hard to defend a head coach with such a ridiculously bad record. An argument can easily be made that, if he had won in his first two years he would not be facing the fire in Week 3 of his third campaign with the Browns.

In all honesty, I have gone from full support of Jackson to a perched atop a fence. Not because of a 0-1-1 start, but rather his refusal to remove Taylor from the starting lineup and thus not allowing Baker Mayfield to play. Taylor has proven capable of throwing it down the field, yet for some reason, he doesn’t.

I must apologize to Taylor if indeed he is simply running the plays that are called. In that case, the play calling duties should be returned to Jackson and we should be calling for Haley’s job instead.

While I am on the topic of play calling, why is Carlos Hyde being sent around the end, rather than up the gut? He is a punishing in-your-face runner, not a speedster. If you have a bowling ball, roll it down the middle. If you want to run a sweep to the outside, use your speedster. Duke Johnson, by the way, has carried the ball only eight times so far this season.

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Fans are so fixated on shunning the coach that they have turned a blind eye to the real reasons the Browns winless streak continues. After all, Jackson is no longer calling the plays and he is not the one missing 40 percent of the extra points and 60 percent of the field goals on the season. A fall guy is a fall guy, is a fall guy — unless you prefer scapegoat.

Also, fans will likely attribute any victories, if they finally emerge, to Haley’s arrival. If the Browns do turn the page and begin to win, I would argue it is a direct result of the hiring of general manager John Dorsey more so than any of the coaching decisions.

It does appear that Jackson is stuck in a horrible scenario and his staff is certainly not helping his cause. Consider the following:

On Todd Haley arguing on HBO’s Hard Knocks to not allow players to rest:

  • While I agree, in part, with Haley’s observation, that decision was based on a factual determination by the analytics department after reviewing the likelihood of injuries with additional rest in comparison to the likelihood of injuries without it. Jackson saw the numbers and agreed with their assessment.
  • The Cleveland Browns have had very few soft tissue injuries as a result.

On special teams coach, Amos Jones’ statement in regards to Jabrill Peppers returning kicks ahead of Antonio Callaway, seen below via the team’s official website:

"Coach made that decision. Obviously, we are going to stick behind it as coaches. We are going to do what the hell we are told."

  • Since when is a press conference the appropriate time to vent frustrations? That discussion should not take place in the media’s spotlight.
  • If I struggle to do my job and blame my boss in front of the media, well, I would need a job. Perhaps Jones should focus on the all-around horrid special teams play rather than complaining that the coach didn’t support him on a specific issue.
  • A head coach must also consider other factors. Perhaps the Browns return game would be better with Callaway returning kicks. However, given the risk of injury for a return specialist, the solid depth at safety, and the lack of depth at wide receiver, is it that unwise of a decision to assure your top deep threat at receiver behind the now-departed Josh Gordon, remains available? Perhaps Hue thought the ball was going to be thrown down the field at some point.

On Zane Gonzalez having an injured groin during his astronomically bad outing and Jackson being unaware of the injury:

  • Are you kidding me? Did anybody know? Did Gonzalez not mention the injury in an attempt to avoid being replaced?
  • If indeed the Browns trainers knew and did not inform the coach, then heads should roll. How are good decisions to be made if crucial information is withheld?
  • Perhaps the “injury” is an afterthought in an attempt to utilize to legalities of injuries in relation to NFL contracts. Details will emerge at some point, but the whole ordeal is simply odd, and not on Coach Jackson.

It is truly understandable that fans have simply had enough. They are tired of losing, they are tired of excuses, and they are tired of Hue Jackson. The players, however, seem to still stand by him. That alone gives me pause when calling for his job. A leader of men is what they need and a leader of men is what they have.

Next. NFL Week 3: 5 teams on upset alert. dark

I could not pretend to know how owner Jimmy Haslam feels regarding the coaching situation, or how many more losses he can endure before pulling the plug on Hue Jackson.

If it were me, I would stand fast and be patient. Upsetting the balance three weeks into a season is a recipe for disaster regardless of who the coach is, or what the reasons are. In addition and quite frankly, the reasons for the struggles are not a result of Jackson’s job performance, at least not this year.