CLEVELAND -- When the Cleveland Browns parted ways with former executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown last Thursday, owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam made it a point to say coach Hue Jackson would be retained for at least the 2018 season, and they doubled down on that commitment in the introductory press conference of new general manager John Dorsey last Friday.
Over the weekend, ProFootballTalk.com reported that Dorsey wants to hire his own head coach, but those reports are of little interest to Jackson, who is more concerned about this Sunday’s home finale against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I think it’s funny that you guys comment on that kind of stuff,” Jackson said with a laugh when questioned about that on his conference call with the Cleveland media Monday.
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In Jackson’s tenure as head coach, the Browns have struggled to win games at an historical level.
The Browns have not won on a Sunday afternoon since December 13, 2015. The 30 straight Sunday losses are an NFL record, and their 4-46 mark in the last 50 outings is the worst in the league in that four-year span.
Additionally, the Browns’ 1-27 mark they held heading into Sunday’s loss against the Green Bay Packers was the worst in league history over a 28-game stretch, beating the previous mark of 2-26 set by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976-1977 seasons.
“I respect that and I can understand why that would be said, but that is not the feeling that I get at all,” Jackson said. “I’m focused on the task at hand, which is doing everything I can to work to win games here. I can’t really concern myself with those things, but I can honestly tell all of you, I don’t think that is the case at all.”
Although the Browns have struggled under Jackson’s guidance, the Haslams have seen an ability to keep a team motivated despite the challenges of being the last winless team in each of the last two years.
While Jackson and Dorsey have not yet worked together to build a franchise, Haslam believes the combination will bring the Browns success because of similar personality traits.
“I just think you have to trust in what he said,” Jackson said. “I know I do. I don’t see it any other way, personally, myself. I think what he said is what he meant. That is what I believe and that is what I know.”
In addition to the reports over the weekend, the agent for former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt released inflammatory comments about Jackson, calling him “a part time HC (head coach), full time beat writer” who talks to the media more than his own players.
“I don’t know much about those things,” Jackson said. “I have heard about it, but did I see it? No. I’m not going to get caught up in those things.
“At the end of the day, we felt it was better for us to just move in another direction. People are not going to like that. People are going to say what they want to say. People are entitled in this damn world to say whatever they want. It doesn’t mean they are right. It doesn’t mean they are right at all.”