The Cleveland Browns are in a familiar spot: they are winless heading into December for the second straight season. Last year, Cleveland started 0-14 before beating the Chargers 20-17 in Week 16. This year, Cleveland is 0-11 with five tough games to go.
And the organization, especially the coaching staff, is feeling the heat.
“It’s really wearing on Hue (Jackson) again,” cleveland.com Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I watched it take a tremendous toll on him and everyone last year, but especially him because he feels like he’s got everything on his shoulders – the whole entire coaching staff, their futures, their families, their players. So he’s carrying the weight of his world on his shoulders once again. No one wants to go 0-16. No one wants to join that very, very exclusive club that only the Detroit Lions belong to. The Browns don’t want to do that. In fact, Hue Jackson promised – vowed – that he would jump in the lake this year if he went 1-15, so we’ve all got that hanging over our heads. The 0-16 parade is starting to rear its ugly head again. No one wants any of these things to happen, but they’re running out of time.”
The Browns play three of their final five games on the road, including this Sunday against the Chargers (5-6), who have won five of seven since their 0-4 start.
“The Chargers are definitely heating up, and they do not want to lose to the Cleveland Browns for the second year in a row when they are winless,” Cabot said. “So I really don’t see that happening.”
The Browns host the Packers (5-6) and Ravens (6-5) in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively, before closing the season at Chicago (3-8) and at Pittsburgh (9-2).
“I look at the remainder of the schedule, and I just don’t know where that victory is going to come from,” Cabot said. “Unless the Steelers in the finale have it clinched and they basically rest all of their starters, but not even that worked last year. So I don’t know where it’s going to come from.”
Either way, whether the Browns finish 0-16, 1-15, or 2-14, Jackson’s future with the organization is in jeopardy.
“I think that they still really would like to let Hue Jackson try to make a go of this,” Cabot said. “That’s the sense that I get. I don’t know if that will actually happen. If they end up at 0-16 and they look at his record and it’s 1-31, it might be hard for them to continue to look at the circumstances and the situation and say, ‘Yeah, we think we can still make this work.’ But as of right now, I know that Hue has a strong sense that the Haslams have his back and would like to support him and give him the opportunity. But 0-16 or 1-15 – that does funny things to people.”