Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson reacts to a roughing the passer call in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on December 31, 2017. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Cleveland Browns star offensive tackle Joe Thomas played a little defense when it came to the topic of coach Hue Jackson.
Thomas wrote in a Sports Illustrated op-ed piece that Jackson has the support of the players despite winning just one game in two seasons at the helm. In addition, the 10-time Pro Bowl selection was pleased that the Browns didn't dismiss Jackson based solely on his record.
"I'm glad that the Browns, a team I've proudly spent my entire pro career with, decided to retain Hue Jackson as head coach after two awful seasons in the standings," Thomas wrote. "It wouldn't be fair to judge Hue based on his record after just two seasons because few NFL teams have put themselves at such a disadvantage in order to save assets and focus on winning three or four years down the road.
"... As the head coach, Hue was expected to hold the team together, develop players and get them to play hard when everyone in the building knew the front office put us in the best position to lose. It's hard to split hairs on that comment."
Thomas contended that Jackson was not aware that the Browns were going to undergo a massive overhaul with the team.
"(He had) no understanding that management was going to trade all their good players and current draft picks for future picks," the 33-year-old Thomas wrote. "... In spite of playing with half a deck of cards, Hue kept the team together, kept the players focused, kept the coaches motivated and continued to develop players through two of the worst seasons ever. I don't think many coaches could do that."
Cleveland has also undergone a massive overhaul in the front office, with general manager Sashi Brown being replaced by former Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey. In turn, Green Bay Packers executives Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith were added to the roster.
The Browns hired former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley to take play-calling duties away from Jackson and former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese to come on as quarterbacks coach.