CLEVELAND -- Despite a franchise record 0-10 start to the 2016 season, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson received a vote of confidence from Sashi Brown, the team’s executive vice president of football operations on Monday afternoon.
In the National Football League, votes of confidence usually do not mean much, but to Jackson, he feels good about his situation even with the struggles.
“I never thought I was going anywhere,” Jackson said with a laugh. “I know that has been part of the plan from Day 1, before I took the job. I feel very comfortable. I know there has been a lot of mudslinging going around, but I get it. That is part of it.
“When you have the record we do, I expect things to be said. We are comfortable and know exactly what we are trying to do. It is a tremendous plan. We all support it. It is not where we wanted to be -- I will be the first to tell you guys that -- but I know we do have a plan in place, and we feel very strongly that we are going to get things headed in the right direction as soon as we can.”
After scoring 25 straight points to claim the first meeting in Cleveland, the Baltimore Ravens scored 25 unanswered over the final 31 minutes of play and earned a 28-7 win over the Browns in last Thursday’s AFC North Division game at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed 30 of his 41 attempts for 296 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came after halftime. Running the football, the Browns were doubled up by one player, as former Cleveland rusher Terrance West totaled 65 yards on 21 carries. Conversely, the Browns rushed for just 30 yards on 13 carries as a team.
Over the weekend, reports of a rift between Jackson and the owners, but rather than panic, the second-year head coach accepted the circumstances that come with being 0-10 while preparing to play Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I feel very comfortable with what we are doing,” Jackson said. “As I said this past week, Dee and Jimmy (Haslam) have been outstanding, and I meant that. They are unflinching in what we are trying to accomplish. That being said, I am sure it is hard for everybody to go through it, but we are going through it and we will come out of the other side of it.”
And while Jackson knows questions about the reports are bound to come as the losses continue to pile up, one thing he does not have to worry about is the way the players respond to outside distractions.
“This team is really unique that way,” Jackson said. “We understand that things can be said and will be said, and like I said earlier, rightfully so. We are not here to have the record we have. We are all disappointed and probably, to a person, a little embarrassed by it. Don’t like it, but I think we all understand the only people that can change our circumstances are the guys in that room.”