Hue Jackson spoke on his departure from Cleveland, rumors of issues with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and much more.
In an interview with Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, former Browns coach Hue Jackson spoke on his departure from the team, the rumors of conflict between himself and ex-offensive coordinator Todd Haley and how he thinks he could have finished out his tenure in Cleveland a bit differently again.
Jackson said he was "surprised" when owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager John Dorsey both came into his office to fire him after the Browns' 33-18 loss to the Steelers. But he said he was not "totally blindsided" by the decision "because there was just so much noise out there about what was going on with our football team that I thought was not true."
"That's a hard pill to swallow when you've given it your all, and you've worked extremely hard and you do everything you can to try to put the place in the best position to move forward," Jackson told Cabot. "But again, it's their decision. I have to respect it and move on.''
He also commented on his relationships with Dorsey and Haley and how both of them came to the organization. Jackson said he recommended bringing in Dorsey specifically because he thought Dorsey could immediately upgrade the talent on Cleveland's roster. He added that Dorsey is the one who suggested bringing in Haley as the offensive coordinator, because he was a veteran play-caller, and the front office wanted Jackson to worry more about the team as a whole and not have to focus as much on the offense. Additionally, Jackson said there were disagreements between Haley and him, but he would not use the phrase "internal discord" to describe the issues.
Jackson stressed that this year's roster is better than the groups he had his first two seasons in Cleveland, and underachieving on the offensive end was something he wish he had more time to fix. He noted how the offense in the previous years was not what a unit coached by Jackson would look like in most cases, but they didn't have the players needed until this season.
"I gave it time to correct itself, and after that didn't happen I brought things up that needed to be corrected," Jackson told Cabot. "After those things continued to go uncorrected, as a head coach, it was time to do something different. The problem again was there's this perception that all of a sudden, I somehow forget how to run an offense, develop QB's, or coach a football team."
Jackson mentioned how he thought he would have been given a shot to turn around the unit and resume play-calling potentially, but that opportunity was not afforded to him.
"If you're going to go out, you always go out betting on yourself," Jackson told Cabot. "I knew that I would've taken our same system and turned the offense around. It was not what I wanted to do, it's what I had to do. If I couldn't turn it around—then so be it and we move on. So I was surprised that I was not given the opportunity to display what I could do as a play-caller with a much more talented offensive roster."
Along with all the talk about his departure, Jackson also commented on how the team missed out on quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson in the draft.
He added that the Cleveland job is one he hopes other coaches look at as a challenge they want to conquer and he hopes he can show he is still a good coach in his next opportunity after this.
In two-plus seasons with the Browns, Jackson went 3-36-1.
Cleveland is 2-5-1 this season and will face the Chiefs on Sunday with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams filling in as the interim head coach.