By HCR Staff | Aug. 27, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson.
Hue Jackson is a fine coach, but can he be a fine head coach?
His overall head coaching record is 9-39. His head coaching record with the Browns is 1-31. The numbers certainly are not in his favor. There are, however, extenuating circumstances.
In his first head coaching gig, he took over a Raiders team that was in organizational turmoil. Owner Al Davis simply would not let his head coach coach the team without piping in on every decision, big and small. Tom Cable and Hue Jackson performed as well as they could, and the Raiders were competitive.
When Jackson was named the head coach of the Browns, the Browns also were in organizational turmoil. The roster also was depleted, and the organization made a decision to suffer through with younger players until they developed and matured.
So Jackson has been dealt a couple of very difficult hands as a head coach. Can he be a successful head coach once the environment around him becomes more stable?
Possibly, but in our humble view, the evidence doesn’t tend to support such an outcome.
One issue we see is that Jackson himself seems to cause drama, which sucks energy. In Oakland, after owner Al Davis’ death, Jackson seemed too eager to rush in and fill the power vacuum. In Cleveland, he makes a lot of proclamations about this and that — usually centered on him (e.g., his “jump in the lake” bet). One could argue that he does these things in order to take the pressure off his players, but frankly, this is the NFL where grown men play and aren’t motivated by these kinds of stunts.
As an in-game decision-maker, Jackson also is questionable. Last season, there were a handful of games that could have been won by the Browns with better in-game decision-making. The 0-16 record was avoidable, and it was a clear case of a head coach costing himself and his players victories.
Jackson also has tried to do too much — it appears he tries to be a macro- and micro-manager at the same time. Last season, Jackson also served as offensive coordinator and play-caller. The hiring of offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be beneficial, and along with veteran defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, we expect the Browns to win games.
The 2018 Cleveland Browns are a much more talented squad. They have a proven veteran quarterback who was in the playoffs last year and some exciting young defensive players such as Myles Garrett. Winning six to seven games is not out of the question. The bigger question for Browns fans will be whether Hue Jackson can simply coach football and keep the focus on the players and on the field.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmr, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens