Hue Jackson to Browns: Key Takeaways from Coach's Introductory Press Conference

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2016

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson answers questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Berea, Ohio. Jackson, who waited four years for his second crack at leading an NFL team, has been hired as Cleveland's next coach. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

An executive without a personnel background with final say on the roster, an out-of-the-box hire from Major League Baseball, a reportedly unattractive general manager vacancy—and Hue Jackson.

The Cleveland Browns' latest regime change signals a drastic paradigm shift in the football operations department. Even with an unconventional power structure and a reputedly unstable organization, Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam nailed down Jackson as his head coach Wednesday, per Andrew Gribble of the Browns' official website.

Cleveland fans have to hope the team's eighth head coach since 1999 is the charm, the start of a stable era and, most importantly, the beginning of a winning trend.

At the top of his introductory press conference, Jackson thanked those he was associated with in Cincinnati—and thereafter applauded the way Cleveland has assembled its front office.

CBS Cleveland's Daryl Ruiter logged what Jackson had to say about Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta:

In discussing analytics further and how the philosophy might impact the team, Jackson said, per's Mary Kay Cabot: "I like being cutting edge. I try to be cutting edge on offense. Eventually everybody's going to be doing what we're doing."

As for the concerns about how long it would take to rebuild one of the league's most futile teams—one that has lost at least 11 games in seven of the past eight seasonssuch history didn't seem to concern Jackson, per's Hayden Grove:

Another factor that has to intrigue the Browns faithful is the savvy staff that Jackson figures to lure to Cleveland. There is no shortage of interest, according to the man himself.

"I have 142 text messages and most of them are coaches," said Jackson, per Grove. "I'm going to attract good coaches and great coaches."

As to whether he'd call plays in addition to taking on head coaching duties, Jackson said, per Cox Media Group's Jay Morrison: "I love calling plays. I do. But I'm going to do whatever I think is right for this organization. If need to slide over, I will."

In addition to the noticeably lackluster leadership on the team's sidelines since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, the franchise has yet to find a long-term quarterback. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Jackson was expected to move on from Johnny Manziel as the potential QB of the future.

Jackson didn't shy away from Manziel as a topic and didn't rule him out—at least in public.

"I don't know Johnny personally. I have to give everyone on this team an opportunity to prove who they are," said Jackson, per Grove.

But the writing may be on the wall for Manziel and an even grander first-round bust in cornerback Justin Gilbert based on what Jackson said toward the end, per the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich:

Armed with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Jackson and the front office may want to take a flier on a signal-caller such as California's Jared Goff. Analytics figure to play a role in the Browns' decision-making. Whether a QB is worth the second pick will likely boil down to how Jackson feels.

Following his successful development of Andy Dalton with the Bengals, Jackson ought to have considerable influence in deciding who leads Cleveland under center in 2016 and beyond.

Culture is important in the NFL, and it appears Jackson has the Browns at long last headed down the proper track in that respect.

Jackson was about the best hire the Browns could have hoped for. Rapoport reported Jackson was Cleveland's No. 1 choice. The 50-year-old has prior head coaching experience in the NFL and weakens AFC North rival Cincinnati by departing his post as offensive coordinator.

With the coach's years of experience in the division and as accomplished a resume as anyone the Browns have hired of late, there's reason for optimism as the Jackson era in Cleveland begins.