Hue Jackson had options. Multiple NFL franchises were chomping at the bit just for a chance to interview him, but he passed. The New York Giants had an opening; the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers—the list goes on. Jackson had no shortage of potential suitors, which only made his decision to accept the Cleveland Browns' head-coaching job even more of a head-scratcher. Jackson picking the Browns felt like a risky and potentially disastrous move at the time, and now, after Week 1 of the NFL regular season, his decision looks even worse.
Even the most battered and beaten Browns fan had to laugh—possibly to hide their tears—after the kind of week Cleveland had.
Robert Griffin III, Jackson's latest QB project, was placed on injured reserve after taking a bad hit in the Browns' opening contest against the Eagles. After a fascinating, intriguing preseason campaign, the RGIII Redemption Tour was over before it even really got started, and once again 37-year-old Josh McCown is under center for the Browns. Not great. The Browns were also embarrassed by an Eagles team that had an over/under of 6.5 wins coming into the season, and that drafted a dual-threat franchise quarterback Jackson and the Browns could have had. Even worse.
Jackson had passed on the Eagles for a head-coaching job that came with a little bit extra power and sway within the front office. Given how the Chip Kelly Era came to a close in Philadelphia, you could understand why—Kelly won early and mostly often in Philadelphia and things still ended badly. In Cleveland, Jackson will lose often, for a while, and things could still end badly. Whereas Kelly today is seen as a bad GM but a good coach, in a few years Jackson could be seen as a bad GM and a bad coach. The Browns we saw on Sunday are more years away from seriously competing than Bruno Caboclo. Is Jackson really sure he'll be around to see this through to the end with a franchise that isn't the gold standard for stability?
That same Sunday afternoon, the Giants knocked off the Dallas Cowboys and now look like the most-complete team in the NFC East. Jackson could have been in this spot, too. Late Monday night, Kelly and the 49ers blanked the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers wanted Jackson. In New York and San Francisco, Jackson wouldn't have had the power, but he would have had more than what he has in Cleveland.
If Jackson wasn't having any doubts about his choice before Sunday, he may certainly have them now. His team is bad and will continue to be bad, but those other teams? Not so much.