The two things that has eluded the Cleveland Browns in the Jimmy Haslam era are wins and stability. Those two things could very well coincide with each other. But Haslam deciding that Hue Jackson is the coach that he wants to stick with to create stability at the head coaching position shows his deficiencies as an owner.
Since Haslam has bought the Browns seven games into the 2012 season, the team has a combined record of 19-70, including an 0-16 record in 2017. In that time, Haslam has fired three head coaches, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, and Mike Pettine. Of those three coaches, the worst season in that time was a 3-13 season in 2015, coached by Pettine. That season was reason enough for Haslam to decide that Pettine should no longer be coach of the Browns.
But Haslam decided to keep Jackson after an 0-16 season and a 1-31 combined record with the team. For a fanbase that is dying for a winner, this decision is insulting to the fans.
Jackson has shown nothing as the Browns head coach that he is fit to run this team. The so-called “QB-guru” single-handedly destroyed the confidence of rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer with the on and off benching’s and putting the entire offense on his back.
For a quarterback that many knew was a developmental player with high potential coming out of college, Jackson thought it would be smart to have him throw an average 31 passes a game. Instead of using a run game to open the field for Kizer, Jackson would abandon the run game and put Kizer in terrible situations. Kizer was not ready to be the focal point of a young offense.
Speaking of the run game, Jackson completely mishandled that part of the offense. The mishandling of Isaiah Crowell this season is likely going to see Crowell decide to take his talents elsewhere when he hits free agency this offseason. Crowell finished the season with 853 yards and two touchdowns on 206 carries. That was good for 4.1 yards per carry.
But Jackson decided to abandon the run game in almost every game, even when it had success. Crowell finished the season averaging only 12 carries a game. And he even made it known among the media that he was upset with Jackson. And Jackson ridiculing Crowell’s 59-yard run, the longest rush for the Browns this season, after the teams Week 15 loss to the Ravens did not help the situation.
For a coach that felt he gave the team a better chance at winning by calling plays, he managed to destroy an offensive unit. And the fact that Haslam saw anything from Jackson this season to warrant his return is astounding.
In the NFL, a team will see a win fall into their lap during a 16-game season. They may have not deserved the win, but they did just enough things right to win the game. Jackson has only been able to do that once in two seasons. In fact, the Browns are a made field goal away from having two straight 0-16 seasons.
Stability is the key to having a successful organization. But putting faith in a coach that has won two games to boast stability shows the obliviousness of Haslam. Hoping that a coach “hasn’t lost his magic” should not be the reason that he is retained. Winning games, or even being competitive in games, should be the reason that a coach is retained.