Pouncey: Hue Jackson was a ‘Really Great Coach’

Steelers players talk about firing of Browns coach

Josh Rowntree
October 29, 2018 - 3:08 pm
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson yells out to the referee during a timeout in the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Mere minutes after the Cleveland Browns parted ways with head coach Hue Jackson, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey had strong words for Cleveland’s ownership.

“It’s not a good thing at all, honestly,” Pouncey said. “I think Hue Jackson is a great dude and I thought he was a really great coach. They were in four overtime games that could’ve went their way. 

“I guess that’s just, sometimes, how the stick falls. But that sucks for him, honestly.”

‘Really great’ may be looked at as a strange descriptive of Jackson. In two-plus seasons, Cleveland went 3-36-1 with Jackson as head coach. But there was some life this year. A tie with the Steelers in the opener and then wins over the Jets and Ravens. 

The Browns, however, have lost their last three games, including Sunday’s 33-18 defeat at Heinz Field. 

On the way out, as well, is offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Since a public disagreement on HBO’s Hard Knocks in training camp, there was a sense that Jackson and Haley were not on the same page. 

“I hope the best for them,” Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt said. “I hope everything goes well. They are good coaches, so I bet they get a chance to get an opportunity very quickly.”

The Steelers are on their third coach since 1969. In that time, the Browns have had 18 head coaches.

“I look at it different because I’ve been just a part of this organization,” Pouncey said. “I just feel like, when you stick with someone for a while, eventually things will turn around and great things will happen. 

“But, in the NFL, I think you guys all know how it works. You can’t just come in there and get rid of 53 players and think you’re going to be successful. It takes time to build a great organization.”

Cleveland’s ownership and management — no matter who has been making the calls — has always had a quick trigger on firing coaches. This is the sixth Cleveland coach in a row, in fact, that has been fired after losing a game to Pittsburgh. 

“Over time, the Steelers have been great,” Pouncey added. “There’s been years, very far away, where the Steelers weren’t good, but they stuck with the guys and you see how things can turn around. That’s just my opinion on it. Some other places, they get a head coach and he comes right in and wins, but most of the time, it takes time.”

Pittsburgh has given their coaches the luxury of time and its players seem to appreciate that.

“Just, in general, I’m blessed to be here,” Tuitt said. “And I’ll always be blessed to be here.”