Now that the Browns have completed their winless season, questions are swirling about why the team is sticking with head coach Hue Jackson. Owner Jimmy Haslam maintains that Jackson will return next year. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says no coach in NFL history has a 1-31 record in just two seasons.
Pluto says Haslam made it clear a month ago that he intended to keep Jackson as his head coach in 2018.
The new GM's coach
Haslam fired General Manager Sashi Brown with four games to go in the season and that same day hired former Kansas City General Manager John Dorsey. "Haslam told Dorsey, 'Hue Jackson is your coach.'"
And Pluto says Dorsey felt he'll try to make it work, because he has plenty of resources to build around. The Browns have four of the top 35 picks in the draft, including the No. 1 and 4 selections. Dorsey will also have around $100 million in salary cap space to play with.
Pluto says he's surprised the team is sticking with Jackson, considering Haslam has fired three coaches and three general managers since he bought the team in 2012.
"Haslam was very enamored with going to get Jackson when he was an offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals. And I think Haslam, who has been criticized nationally and locally for hiring and firing too quick, just didn't want to do it again. But at this point, I don't think anyone would blame Jimmy if he changed his mind and fired Hue Jackson and let Dorsey hire his own coach."
A post game confirmation
Pluto says Haslam even reiterated his commitment to Jackson after Sunday's season finale loss to Pittsburgh. "He told a group of us reporters, 'Just to be clear, Hue Jackson will be the coach in 2018. Questions?'"
Pluto says Haslam said he doesn't think Jackson has lost his magic.
"Jackson has done a very good job of convincing Jimmy and Dee [Haslam] that he can get this thing turned around if he gets some good players," Pluto says.
Pluto says he pressed Haslam to explain where there's been progress. "He said the progress is uneven. Basically, he didn't answer the question. Because there is no answer. There is no progress."
"Usually I'm not just, 'drop 15 football bombs and level the building and start all over.' But I would have been fine with that in this case."
Still, Pluto says, ultimately owners can do what they want -- and don't have to answer to disgruntled fans -- even those who organize an 0-16 "Perfect Season" parade Saturday around the stadium.