AFC North speak

Posted Mar 26, 2016

Hue Jackson knows the score in Cleveland.

A brief look at some of what the head coaches in the AFC North Division were talking about at the NFL Annual Meeting:

CLEVELAND BROWNS: The Browns haven’t had the same head coach for more than two seasons since Romeo Crennel (2005-08), and there have been four since Crennel (Eric Mangini, 2009-10; Pat Shurmur, 2011-12; Rob Chudzinski, 2013; and Mike Pettine, 2014-15).

But none of that is news to the new man, Hue Jackson.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard,” Jackson confirmed.

Jackson, the former offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, maintained he has the backing within the organization with which to do so.

“I feel very comfortable that (owner) Jimmy (Haslam) and (owner) Dee (Haslam) understand and recognize what we’re trying to accomplish,” Jackson said. “They’re as big of supporters of what we’re doing as anybody and they’re very realistic about what we’re doing. They’re very realistic about what their team is today.”

Jackson doesn’t expect to test their patience.

“I’m not built like everybody,” he said. “I’m as competitive as anybody in the National Football League and so are they and so is (executive vice president of football operations) Sashi (Brown)  and (vice president of player personnel) Andrew (Brown) and (chief strategy officer) Paul (DePodesta). We want to get this right but we also want to get it right as fast as we can. It has nothing to do with Jimmy and Dee, per se, it’s just our competitiveness.

“I like to win. I just came from a place where we won. I’m not going to ever go backwards on that. I understand the demands of the job and what the job entitles but I feel very comfortable that I have tremendous support, starting with Jimmy and Dee down, about what we’re trying to do.”

Head coach John Harbaugh isn’t worried about a continued emphasis on player safety softening the game.

“It’s not a problem at all,” he said. “Good, clean, tough football has been around since the beginning of football. The rules have been amended and changed as the players have gotten bigger and better.

“Our division is a rough, tough division. Every team in our division plays physical football but the league is like that. These athletes are phenomenal athletes and the ability to protect them is paramount and I think the league is doing a great job of that."

CINCINNATI BENGALS: Head coach Marvin Lewis is still looking for his first career postseason victory, but he’s guided the Bengals into the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, a run Lewis appreciates in terms of the degree of difficulty.

“I think the hardest part of that is the players having an understanding that you don’t just get to the postseason,” Lewis said. “That each and every time you have to work your tail off, to start right from scratch, Day One, all the way through the offseason, all the way through training camp and throughout the season.

“You’re not promised anything. It’s important that everybody understands their role. We want them to grow and expand upon it but don’t think you’ve arrived and remember how we got here each and every time.”