Hue Jackson: 'I am not swimming in that lake'

HOUSTON -- Hue Jackson has not gone shopping for a wetsuit.

Jackson on Sunday repeated a promise he vowed last January, when he said the Cleveland Browns in 2017 would not have another season like they had in 2016. If they did, Jackson said, people would find him in the lake, i.e. Lake Erie.

A year ago the Browns were 1-15, a team worst, and did not get their first win until game 15.

This season they have started 0-6 after Sunday’s 33-17 blowout loss in Houston. They are a team regressing as opposed to progressing.

“We’ve got 10 more games,” Jackson said. “We’re going to find a way to win. I am not swimming in that lake. So you guys can believe that. We’re going to find a way. It’s just that simple.”

There’s more.

“This team is not gonna quit, and Hue Jackson is not quitting,” he said. “I told you guys that before. I understand the narrative that’s going to be said, everything that’s going to be written. I really don’t care. I care about the men in that room, those coaches and those players.

“And we’re going to find a way to win.”

Jackson’s phrasings have taken life in Cleveland. From “trust me” on the drafting of Cody Kessler, to “by hook or by crook we’re going to get this done” before the 2016 season, to “I will be swimming in the lake” if 2017 is as bad as 2016, to saying DeShone Kizer “has a huge future” in Cleveland after he had benched him against Houston.

As for the move with Kizer, Jackson wound up benching the quarterback he picked to start the season for a backup, Kevin Hogan, making his first start (who wound up throwing three interceptions with a rating of 38.1), while the guy the Browns could have drafted (Deshaun Watson) was setting records while leading his team to a win.

By all indications, Jackson will go back to Kizer for Sunday’s game against Tennessee. Jackson said he wanted Kizer to see the game from a different lens in hopes it might help him.

But the lingering question remains: When will the Browns get a win? The way they have played, there is no evident answer on the schedule. A winless season is on the table.

When problems arise, the old saying is that a person or persons have to hit rock bottom before they start to turn things around.

“I’m not going to let it get to rock bottom,” Jackson said. “Just like I told the team, it’s not fun. It doesn't feel good. It’s horrible. But this is the hand we’re playing with. The only guys -- I’m going to say it again every week -- the only guys that can fix it are the guys in the room.

“What we got to do is stick together, hold each other up, hold each other accountable. That’s what we’re gonna do.”

Jamar Taylor echoed the strong-spine attitude.

“We know where we’re at right now,” Taylor said. “But it’s like, are guys going to step up, are we going to battle, or are we going to put our heads down and just let this kind of continue to be the same thing? We’re going to really kind of see how everybody is as a person. We just want people that are going to battle with us.”

Which sounds all well and good, except there’s no ready avenue for the Browns to turn to in order to solve their issues.

The Browns are 1-21 the last two seasons, and rather than playing like a group of young players growing together, they play like a group that is simply young and overmatched -- at numerous positions.

While teams like the Bills, Jets and Bears are competing and winning while they build, the Browns are winless in 2017 and their litany of struggles and concerns could go on and on.

“We’ve got to find a way,” Jackson said. “I’ve got to find a solution for the men in that room and our coaches to find a way to win. And that’s all we’re chasing.

“That’s all we have to do. That’s what we have to do.”