CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson has seen what the city is like when a team wins a championship, and claiming a title is exactly what he is focused on doing.
Even though the Browns suffered a 29-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the regular-season opener last Sunday and got the news that starting quarterback Robert Griffin III will miss at least the next eight games because of a broken coracoid bone in his non-throwing shoulder, Jackson believes the early challenges are part of the process of turning the organization into a winner.
“I didn’t come here to be average,” Jackson said. “I didn’t come here just to win a few games and go on about my business. I came here to help this organization win a championship. How fast that is going to happen? I don’t know.
“I don’t know if there is going to be a ton of struggle before there are a ton of great times, but I’m not worried about people not being happy right now. I am going to do the best job that I can with our staff and these players, and we are going to keep working at it. My point is eventually, they will love me because we are going to win, and we are going to win a championship here for the Cleveland Browns.”
The Browns enter this week’s home opener against the Baltimore Ravens after going 0-4 in the preseason and struggling their way through the loss to the Eagles, who started a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz, despite his being limited to just one exhibition game because of broken ribs.
“Anytime we lose, I am doing horrible,” Jackson said. “I am the leader of this whole deal. There is nothing else. I can’t judge myself any other way. It is wins and losses. If I have too many losses at the end, I’ll be the first to tell you I did not do well enough.
“If I have more wins, I’m going to tell you I am okay. I don’t know that it is ever going to be good enough until you win the Super Bowl, right? That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about anything else, and that is what I came here for.”
In joining the Browns, Jackson took over a team with just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance since returning to the NFL in 1999. But in order to turn around the fortunes of a franchise with double-digit losing records in seven of the last eight seasons, Jackson feels it is best to focus on the future.
And the Browns certainly have done that, as they have stockpiled extra picks for the NFL Draft in 2017 and 2018, and have 13 of their 14 selections from 2016 currently on the active roster.
“I am going to do the best job that I can do,” Jackson said. “That is all Hue Jackson can do. The fans might not like me for a while, but they are going to love me here pretty soon. That’s okay. Eventually, they will love me.
“I promise you that because I do plan on winning here. I do get it. I know with every loss, there is another dagger that just drags you down another few feet deeper. That is okay. I’ve been there before. I am a fighter, so we are going to get back up and we are going to keep swinging. We are going to be fine.”
And in order to get to where he wants to go, Jackson knows the Browns have to be effective in the AFC North Division, starting Sunday against the Ravens.
“If we are going to be a good football team, you have to win within your division,” Jackson said. “You have to try and win your division. First and foremost, I think that is very important. These count as two games in my opinion. It is a game, but it is also a game within the division, so it is extra special and important because we get to play these guys twice. Yeah, we do talk about it. I think it is very important.”