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Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

The shoe finally dropped in Cleveland today as the Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson after yesterday's 33-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland's record of 2-5-1 was 1.5 more wins than Jackson managed in his first two seasons with the Browns, but owner Jimmy Haslam had finally finally finally finally finally seen enough. Jackson's list of accomplishments in Cleveland includes a record of 1-35-1 in games played on Sundays, likely a record that will stand for a long time. No immediate word on whether offensive coordinator Todd Haley or defensive coordinator Gregg Williams or other will be the interim head coach.

UPDATE: It turns out that assistant head coach Al Saunders will be the interim head coach. He was last a head coach in the NFL with the 1988 San Diego Chargers.

UPDATE II: Surprise! Haley has been fired too, according to reporting by Ian Rapoport.

UPDATE III: Surprise again! It's going to be Gregg Williams, not Saunders, who will be the interim coach, per Adam Schefter. Williams, of course, is most famous for overseeing the Bountygate scandal in New Orleans.

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50 comments, Last at 31 Oct 2018, 4:10pm

2 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

Gosh, Al Saunders there's a blast from the past. Funny how someone like Jackson can be tolerated for so long and yet Saunders went 3-5, 8-7, 6-10 for a career 17-22 and never got another chance.

3 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

It would have been understandable to fire him after 2017, when his record was 1-31-0, but Mid-Season? I mean, it was bound to happen eventually, but damn.

4 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

Is there more to the sentence "Browns Fire Hue Jackson"? You know, like "into the sun, for the good of all mankind."?

5 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

Better late than never.
I never caught Hue do anything remotely original or smart. His team talks and press conferences were full of empty coachspeak.
The head coach job was clearly over his head. He should have been fired around this time last season. Well... At least they got Baker out of this all.
Al Saunders is a good replacement.
Slowly but surely, the Browns are taking good steps.

10 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

"Al Saunders is a good replacement."

I can agree to that in the sense that Al Saunders is not Hue Jackson, so therefore likely not worse, but I think it's safe to say Al Saunders as a head coach is a bit of an unknown since he hasn't done it for, you know, 30 years. I'm thinking if your last relevant experience was when Ronald Reagan was president, maybe that experience isn't notably helpful anymore.

12 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

... for now.
In cleveland Gregg Williams runs the defense and whoever it is (it was Haley at the time I wrote it) runs the offense.
The HC ia more a chairman and a gameplanner/team manager there.
Saunders fits that role better than Hue.

15 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

With all the word about the two of them squabbling, I figured it had to be one or the other. I'm shocked that they're both out. It's probably a smart move though. The Haslam era has been marked more than anything else by internal power struggles, and maybe this is a signal that this kind of behavior isn't going to fly anymore. That's the best way to handle the power struggles--set an example that nobody wins in these power struggles. Maybe Haslam will actually give everyone defined roles and force them to stick to them next time.

Saunders' title prior to the promotion was "Senior Offensive Assistant." Which could mean anything from an integral role in designing the offense to a minor role in film study or practice. Hopefully he was heavily involved in the offense, because designing a new offense from scratch at midseason is a great way to screw up your promising young quarterback.

17 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

"Hopefully he was heavily involved in the offense," or hopefully not since the passing offense was pretty awful. If you get involved in a power struggle with an incompetent boss doesn't that prove you at least recognize incompetence? But I agree that these things tend to make dysfunction worse.

20 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

This should be an improvement, if he can emulate things he did with the Chiefs when he was their OC back when Vermeil was HC. Those were some outstanding offenses. Granted, it won't happen in a day, but he can certainly coach a successful offense. Whether he will be a good HC remains to be seen.

26 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson

Even if the Haley-Jackson offense is awful, I think Saunders should focus on small improvements around the edges rather than totally rebuild the offense. Changing schemes mid-season is always hard, and that would be doubly so with a rookie QB. Better to just tweak things IMO.

19 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Thirty years between head coaching jobs (even if it's only on an interim basis) has got to be the biggest gap ever. Maybe not just in the NFL but in any of the major American sports. In Al Saunders' case it's not even a matter of him going to the college ranks or leaving football entirely or something like that. He's been continuously employed in the NFL since 1988 without ever being given a second shot as a head coach. In fact there's no mention of him ever even interviewing for another one on his Wikipedia page.

25 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Man, the browns keep trying to outdo themselves. Firing Hue Jackson is the right thing to do, but completely at odds with all of the previous decisions. If you were going to keep him after 1-31, why fire him after 2-5-1? And then Hayley gets the axe too?

Sure, there is logic in these moves, but I'm fairly confident in saying Haslem is doing them for reasons other than logic. Call it ego or irascibility; either way, it's entirely keeping with Brownsian traditions.

34 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

There's never a bad time to fire somebody who is bad at their job.

'Tanking' was at least part of the objective of the previous two seasons. But the stakes are higher now; they cannot risk Mayfield's future being compromised by terrible coaching. Obviously Jackson/Haley should never have had the reigns this season, but better late than never.

Here's hoping they can take inspiration from the Rams and find a younger, progressive thinking HC for their next permanent appointment.

38 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Bizarrely, McVey was leading for next HC at +200 according to a traditionally reliable oddsmaker (betonline.) They later appeared to "correct" him to +750, which is still astronomically too high; he does have a significant prior relationship with Baker.

The twitter response that Rams wouldn't trade for 15 1st rounders is correct.

46 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Looking at it from the standpoint of Hue Jackson keeping his job after 1-31, there is zero justification for it. However, this may be giving the Browns' braintrust way too much credit, but I wonder if it relates to who they want to pursue as their next head coach. Maybe there is a specific guy who wasn't available in the past offseason and might be after 2018, or maybe they felt like they wanted to have a good young QB prospect like Mayfield to entice a better candidate for the job.

As fans we naturally fixate on wanting the current HC fired if he is bad, but I hope that GMs and front offices are making their plans purposefully to try to land a certain guy or type of guy, rather than just ditching the bad coach and settling for whoever happens to be available at the time. (I might be guilty of this as I have been hard on Ryan Pace for keeping John Fox in 2017, but I admit there's a possibility that he knew he wanted to move on but didn't like anyone available after 2016 and chose intentionally to wait for Matt Nagy).

48 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Yeah, I don't know how much potential coaches really consider the situation they are coming into. But if Jackson had been fired a year ago, Cleveland might have still finished 0-16, and needed to hire a coach for a team that looked hopeless. Instead, they kept Jackson and with their draft picks it now at least looks like there are a few talented players on the team. And, Cleveland looks like front office that might have patience with their head coach.

27 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

I wrote this for another web site in July while trying to project the Brown's offense under Haley.

"[Haley] He seems to be a volatile personality, engaging in notable spats with a variety of players, coaches, front office personnel, and bar patrons.
Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. What could go wrong?
Oh yeah. The Browns also hired John Dorsey as GM. He got fired in KC, apparently because he couldn't play well with others. And since Jackson wasn't his hire, has a worse than bad record, and with two former head coaches at the coordinator spots (DC Gregg Williams is known as another small ego guy), there are all the earmarks of a hot seat for the head coach. Now, all four of those guys have good reputations for football knowledge – maybe Jackson's is the weakest – so maybe they can get along for a while. Winning could be the thing that keeps them glued together. Of course, it is the Browns so how likely is winning?"

40 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

Baker Mayfield is more important to this team than Hue Jackson.

Firing Hue doesn't solve their problems at tackle though.
They need an offense orientated Head Coach, that fits the ideas and heart of Baker Mayfield.

41 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

>the team had just one choice in mind, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, for the interim head coach position and is comfortable with running backs/Associate Head Coach Freddie Kitchens handling the play-calling as offensive coordinator.

Wait what? Of course they also screwed up announcing the interim head coach as well. I'm sure they also tried to get AJ McCarron to take the job but misfiled the paperwork at the last minute.

42 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

I saw on twitter that Chuck Pagano would have to be re-hired and then go 0-16 for 10.5 seasons straight to lower himself to Hue Jackson’s winning pct.

50 Re: Browns Fire Hue Jackson and Todd Haley

I don't think Kraft is actually that patient an owner. After all he got rid of Pete Carroll for going 10-6, 9-7, 8-8. I'm sure he'd tolerate a couple of seasons of say Belichick going 3-13 but then he'd say retire or be fired.

Maybe when Brady retires, the team will struggle a bit. I think Brady worth a couple of wins per season - as in there are a couple of games that he pulls out of the fire that the Matt Cassells, Jacoby Brissetts, Brian Hoyer wouldn't be able to. But generally the team is a team - so if the offense isn't firing, the defense and special teams have to work that bit harder, take more risks.

For Belichick to have a run of consecutive losses, I think it would have to be against a run of teams like the Rams, Chiefs, Saints, Packers, Steelers, Ravens plus one or two other fluke results going against them.

BB is probably more fallible than I realise because he's had double-digit wins for the past 15 seasons. He lost four in a row twice in his first year in New England and a run of six losses in Cleveland in 1995.

I always wonder what he could do if you gave him the equivalent of the 76 Bucs roster.