Hue Jackson may not have cost the Browns the game on Sunday against the Steelers, but he is going to in the future. Repeatedly, Jackson has shown that he has too much on his plate while calling offensive plays and trying to handle the head coaching responsibilities. The Browns don’t even have an offensive coordinator on the coaching staff. Jackson is fairly new to being a head coach and he is setting himself up to fail by trying to do too much.
Jackson isn’t the only head coach in the NFL to call their own plays, but there is distinct feature that all the successful ones possess, a veteran quarterback. The successful coaches are Sean Payton (Drew Brees), Bruce Arians (Carson Palmer) and Andy Reid (Alex Smith), who all have their QB to lean heavily on while taking care of the head coaching duties. On the flip side, two coaches that were calling their own plays ended up losing there jobs in Chip Kelly and Rex Ryan, both dealing with young inexperienced quarterbacks. Currently, Bill O’Brien is trying to call his own plays with Texans, which is apparently not working since his quarterback was sacked 10 times this past week. Where does coaching a rookie quarterback put Jackson on that list?
The struggles that Jackson has had reach back to last season, but they were glaring again this past Sunday against the Steelers. The most questionable decision was to go for it on fourth & two from the three-yard line with 3:36 to go in game and trailing by 11. Yes, I understand the Browns converted it on a touch pass from Kizer to Corey Coleman, but it was still a terrible decision. Down 11, the correct and should be automatic decision is to kick the field goal, trim the lead to a one possession game and prolong the outcome of the game.
A field goal attempt of 20 yards or less is converted over 99% of the time, so basically, it’s guaranteed. A two-point conversation attempt, which they basically faced with a fourth & two, is only converted 47% of the time in NFL. So with that math, the Browns took a chance of the game virtually ending 53% of the time by going for it instead of the less than 1% chance if they kicked the field goal. If they failed on fourth, the Steelers just run down the clock and punt with no worry. If they would have just kicked it, the Steelers would have been trying to run down the clock but would have been forced to make a first down to end the game.
I know, I just threw out a lot of numbers at you, but at the end of the day, the head coach’s job is to give his team the greatest chance to win and Jackson definitely didn’t do that. Does Jackson make the same decision to take the risk and go for it if he had more time to think about it? I would hope not. If he just had the duties of the head coach and someone else was calling the plays, he would have had plenty of time to think about this throughout the offensive drive.
I believe Jackson should give up the play calling responsibilities to Al Saunders. Jackson and Saunders are around each other enough that they should be on the same page for play calling and Jackson can always give his input throughout the game. As the head coach, Jackson has the responsibility to check in throughout the game with the entire team but with his offensive play calling duties taking up most of his time, I don’t see that happening. Is the blocked punt for a touchdown against the Steelers on Jackson’s shoulders, no. But he definitely didn’t do anything to help to prevent it. Give up the play calling duties, Coach Jackson, and make sure you have a complete handle on the head coaching responsibilities first.
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