Hue Jackson is not interested in another quarterback competition. The head coach owns a 1-31 record over his first two seasons as Cleveland Browns head coach and has used five different starting quarterbacks during that time. Of the five different starters, three of the five made their first career start for the Browns. The inexperience at quarterback, as well as the team as a whole, was a major contributor to the 31 losses.
Hue Jackson Not Interested in Quarterback Competition
Jackson, now in year three, has more pressure to win now than ever. Some questioned why he was not fired along with former de facto general manager Sashi Brown after such a dreadful start to his time in charge. The questions, along with the recent roster overhaul, have led to the conclusion that it’s put up or shut up for Jackson in 2018. The increased pressure to win is exactly why he appears to have his mind made up about who the starting quarterback will be.
Jackson made a point of establishing that Tyrod Taylor is the starter. The head coach told the media back on March 15th that “he’s going to be the starting quarterback; there is no competition.” The statement was taken at face value by many who assumed the Browns were drafting a quarterback number one overall. The incoming top pick would obviously change the quarterback discussion in Cleveland, right?
Wrong. At least as far as Hue Jackson is concerned. The franchise did select a quarterback, former Oklahoma Sooner Baker Mayfield, first overall. The selection did little to change the head coach’s mind regarding his starter for 2018. Jackson held firm to his initial decision after Mayfield’s first practice on Friday, reiterating his choice of Taylor for the starting quarterback job and insisting that he “is not backing off of this.”
It makes sense that Jackson is attempting to establish the proven veteran as the unquestioned starter for 2018. The Browns are 0-23 starting rookie quarterbacks under Jackson. Almost 75 percent of the games Jackson has coached in Cleveland have come with rookies under center. 2018 is essentially Jackson’s last chance in Cleveland. It should come as no surprise that he’s strongly favoring the quarterback with the most starting experience.
It is worth noting that the decision may not be entirely up to the coaching staff. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has intervened in quarterback decisions before. Haslam was a strong advocate for polarizing Cleveland bust Johnny Manziel. The owner’s support for Manziel led to the benching of starter Brian Hoyer. The Manziel-Hoyer situation was a key factor in the collapse of a 7-4 team that went on to lose the final five games of the regular season to finish 7-9.
The head coach at the time was current Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Pettine was ultimately fired after the continuation of the Manziel debacle saw the team go 3-13 in Pettine’s second and final season. The Browns, after the 7-4 start to year one, went on to lose 18 of its final 21 games under Pettine. The owner’s involvement in the 2014 meltdown could be what is prompting Jackson’s public comments on Taylor. While Jackson was not in Cleveland in 2014, he was hired to replace Pettine and was more than likely aware of the situation.