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Browns: Hue Jackson firing, Baker Mayfield’s reaction | SI.com

Gregg Williams, promoted from his defensive coordinator post to interim head coach, has been deliberately pushing a forward-looking message, both in public and private, declining to answer questions about Jackson or Haley. Jackson, meanwhile, has done two interviews—one with Cleveland.com and another with ESPN’s First Take—parceling out blame for his failed run in Cleveland among current and former Browns employees, and expressing regret that he ever gave up his offensive responsibilities.

He’s been met with silence from former colleagues, but here’s what Browns leadership won’t publicly acknowledge as they push on through what appears to be another lost season:

• Jackson, who had a leaguewide reputation as a relentless self-promoter when he took the Browns’ head coaching job in 2016, removed himself entirely from offensive install sessions last spring and summer. Then, in the weeks leading up to his firing, he inserted himself back into offensive meetings. The disconnect created by Jackson’s inferior knowledge of Haley’s offense, and the players’ unfamiliarity with Jackson’s scheme, frustrated players and coaches alike, according to five sources within the organization. Jackson was unreachable by phone and did not respond to a request for comment made through his agent. The Browns, likewise, declined to comment on the sourced material in this story.

• Jackson, wary of his own slipping stature, paid close attention to Haley’s press conferences in the final weeks of his two-and-a-half year run, sequestering himself in his office to watch the Q&As live, then verbally needling the coach if the message was not in lockstep with his own. Haley believed Jackson was in search of a greater degree of credit for his contributions to the team’s (relative) success throughout a 2-4-1 start to this season, according to four team sources.

• Jackson’s performance on the HBO/NFL Films documentary series Hard Knocks was seen by some in the building as just that—performance—with Jackson’s internal critics among coaches and players noting his abrasive, hard-charging behavior in press conferences and team settings when cameras were present, in contrast with his delicate handling of players in private. “Sometimes it was like Jekyll and Hyde,” says one player.

More: Browns: Hue Jackson firing, Baker Mayfield’s reaction | SI.com