Gary Landers/Associated Press
Cleveland announced the moves Monday, noting defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take over as the interim head coach, while running backs coach and associate head coach Freddie Kitchens will step in as the offensive coordinator.
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement:
“We greatly appreciate Hue’s commitment to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last two-and-a-half years. We understand how critical this time period is in the development of our football team, individually and collectively, and believed it was in the organization’s best interest to make the move at this time, in order to maximize our opportunities the rest of this season. We certainly only wish Hue, Michelle and his family the best moving forward.”
The moves come following the Browns’ Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that Jimmy Haslam “was conflicted” over firing Jackson and that “late last night he was leaning toward staying course.”
However, Robinson noted Haslam spoke to general manager John Dorsey, who said that the dynamic between Jackson and Haley “couldn’t continue.”
Robinson added that quarterback Baker Mayfield was also a consideration in parting with Jackson:
Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson
More on #Browns: Significant worry in org from front office was Baker Mayfield getting thrust into the middle of Hue vs. Haley. GM John Dorsey didn’t want Mayfield being pressed for an endorsement of one of the guys or being constantly asked by the media about it the rest of 2018
Rapoport (via Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan) said he heard that Mayfield “is not going to exactly miss” Jackson after his firing.
Jackson began his current stint in 2016 but only produced a 1-31 record over his first two seasons. The 2017 team become just the second in NFL history to finish the year 0-16.
Despite the lack of success, he received another chance to lead the team in 2018.
“I think we’ll see the real Hue Jackson,” Haslam told reporters in July.
The organization made several improvements to the roster this offseason in adding young players such as Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward, as well as veterans like receiver Jarvis Landry and defensive back Damarious Randall. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to translate to more success on the field.
The squad ended its 17-game losing streak with a Week 1 tie against the Steelers, but things didn’t get much better from there.
Cleveland still has a quality core on the roster, but the team hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2002. The 2010 season is the last time the squad finished above last place in the AFC North, although the team only went 5-11 that year.
The Browns need a new leader who can get the most out of the talent on the roster going forward.
Meanwhile, Jackson has proved himself as a quality offensive coordinator who has held the role for four different organizations. The 53-year-old should get another chance to continue his NFL career despite his disappointments as a head coach.