CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - How hot is Hue Jackson’s seat right now? I’m thinking somewhere between a rolling boil and smoldering. Their loss in Tampa over the weekend was the latest time they found a way to lose. “Yeah, but it took a 59 yard field goal!” Set up by a fumbled punt by Jabrill Peppers, because this team always seems to play the stupid card at the worst time possible.
Jackson has now lost 35 games in Cleveland. People are wondering if he lives to see the bye week, which is three weeks away. I think the only way he does is if they beat Pittsburgh this week. If they lose Sunday it’s three losses in a row with KC on deck. They’re not beating KC. After losing to the Chiefs they’d be sporting a 3-6-1 record and everybody is wondering if gets canned before the Atlanta game. That’s if he doesn’t get canned after a loss in Pittsburgh.
A win Sunday changes everything. First, it’s a win against a hated rival, which the fans will love even if Jackson authored it. Second, it softens the blow of a loss to KC. “They weren’t supposed to beat the Chiefs, but they did beat Pittsburgh!”, and suddenly we’re talking about the Falcons game which right now seems winnable. That’s the next game that would be the crossroads for the Browns and Jackson, but he has to clear Pittsburgh first. The Atlanta game seems more winnable than the Steeler game, at least right now, so in theory a win in Pittsburgh could have the Browns at 4-5-1 heading into their bye week.
After the bye the have Cincinnati twice, Houston, Carolina, Denver and Baltimore. That’s not a brutal stretch, there are winnable games there, which means Jackson has a path to finishing the year as the Browns head coach. Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh though is the first domino, and it’s a huge one. They never beat the Steelers.
So what should they do? Well I think they lose Sunday and I’m fine with them firing Jackson whenever they want. I don’t know if it fixes the problem this year, it probably does not, but if they are at all curious about Todd Haley as a head coach, this would give them a long look at him. Some coaches get fired after winning three games in one season, Jackson has needed nearly 2.5 seasons to accrue that many. But a fourth win, against the hated Steelers, could end up buying him a lot more time.