Cleveland Browns finally see sense with Hue Jackson, New Orleans Saints find balance

Jay Asser 22:39 29/10/2018
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Thirty six losses later, Hue Jackson’s rope has finally run out.

The Cleveland Browns fired the head coach on Monday, as well as offensive coordinator Todd Haley, following a 2-5-1 start to the season.

There were reports that the relationship between Jackson and Haley had turned into a power struggle, but the Browns decided to let go of both coaches in an attempt to get a fresh start for a team that was going nowhere under their leadership.

While Haley’s stint in Cleveland was a short one after he joined the franchise this past offseason following five years in Pittsburgh, Jackson had umpteen chances to right the ship in Cleveland.

Even after the Browns went 1-15 in Jackson’s first season at the helm, he was retained. Cleveland showed even more unfounded faith in Jackson following a winless 0-16 campaign last year.

But after drafting quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall and adding veterans like wide receiver Jarvis Landry through free agency, the Browns were done being so patient this season – especially with newly-hired general manager John Dorsey not having handpicked Jackson.

There are almost no positives to take away from Jackson’s time with the franchise – his 3-36-1 record is the worst head-coaching mark for one team in NFL history, while his .205 winning percentage is second-worst among all coaches with at least 40 games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Senior offensive assistant Al Saunders, former head coach of the Chargers, will reportedly take over as interim coach, but the appointment will likely only be until Dorsey can select a candidate he likes.

This is the hard reset the Browns desperately needed, but unfortunately they’ve lost valuable time in waiting until now to finally pull the trigger.

Here are more takeaways from this weekend.

DREW WHO?

Look out, the New Orleans Saints are now winning games in which Drew Brees is a non-factor.

Normally the head of the snake, Brees was nothing more than a game manager on Sunday, and yet the Saints still earned their sixth straight win – and that too by double digits (30-20) over fellow NFC contenders Minnesota.

At the beginning of the season, the thought of New Orleans beating anyone with Brees throwing for only 120 yards would have been unfathomable. But after being a major weakness in the early going, the Saints defence has rounded into shape and given the team the kind of balance that was expected coming into the year.

The secondary is by no means completely fixed, but they’re at least making plays now, as they did on Sunday when they forced two critical turnovers to change the complexion of the game.

With Mark Ingram back, the backfield is also doing more of the heavy-lifting now, which was essential to the Saints’ success last season.

It’s a good thing New Orleans are beginning to play their best football because a potential NFC Championship Game preview is on the way with the Los Angeles Rams coming to town this week.

Speaking of the Rams…

KING GOFFREY

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The NFC leaders have made it a habit of winning pretty this season, but Sunday’s close call against the Green Bay Packers was anything but.

It took a late fumble on a kick-off to keep Aaron Rodgers from attempting a game-winning drive, but the real reason the Rams stayed undefeated was Jared Goff, who was the best quarterback in the game.

It wasn’t Goff’s best performance of the season, but it was arguably the most impressive as he led the team back from a 10-point deficit to out-duel the future Hall of Famer on the other side.

At 24, Goff has already established himself as one of the best players at his position, and someone who won’t just be along for the ride if the Rams win the Super Bowl, but at the front steering the ship.

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