What exactly will it take? It is well known that the Cleveland Browns are the epitome of a losing franchise. They have only won one game in the past two seasons and have not won a game on a Sunday since week 14 in 2015 when Johnny Manziel was their starter. Somehow Hue Jackson has kept his job as head coach throughout this time of turmoil. With the Browns desperately looking to turn the corner and be a competitive football team you have to wonder, how many more losses are acceptable before Hue Jackson is fired?
Looking ahead to their schedule, it does not start easy. In week 1 they play the reigning AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers boast three of the most talented offensive players in the NFL with Antonio Brown Le’veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger. The Browns are not expected to win here, and are already 6 point underdogs at home so Hue’s job should still be safe if they lose here.
In week two the Browns travel to New Orleans to face off against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints have a reputation for having an uptempo high-scoring offense with Drew Brees at quarterback. Last year the Saints were expected to regress but did not. They quietly built around their running game and defense, and did not rely on Drew Brees to throw as much. It worked well and they improved behind drafting both the offensive and defensive rookies of the year, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore. If the Saints win in week 1 at home against Tampa Bay, and the Browns lose the Saints will surely be favored by at least 6 points as well. Depending on how the Browns play in week one, this may be an opportunity to take the Browns as they boasted a great run defense last year. However if the Saints win, and cover a 6 point spread that would be no surprise to anybody. Which is why I believe the Browns can start 0-2 and Hue can still keep his job. (Keep in mind this would be his 19th straight loss)
Week three is where things get interesting. The Browns play the Jets at home on Thursday night. Thursday night games are always different because usually both teams are playing on a short week, and have less time to prepare however there is the added adrenaline that comes with playing at night in front of a national audience. The short week will give the advantage to the team that is better coached. Better teams prepare better and the difference shows in these situations. If the Browns come into this game 0-2 there will certainly be pressure to win this game. The Jets are expected to be mediocre. If the Browns can reach that same level of mediocrity that would be a huge improvement. The Jets however do have a good coach in Todd Bowles and were very competitive last year despite their 6-10 record. If the Jets are as mediocre as expected than this has to be the make or break week for Hue Jackson. If he wins at home he will be safe. I can even see them carrying this win to the next week in Oakland and finally winning on a Sunday. However if the Browns start 0-3, and thus lose 20 regular season games in a row that has to be what gets Hue Jackson fired.
*If the Browns beat the Steelers or Saints, how much longer does Hue get to keep his job?