The Cleveland Browns have a tall task ahead of them today as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns have won just twice in Pittsburgh since 1989 and have yet to win a road game under head coach Hue Jackson, a streak that is at 19 games and counting.
Amid that setting, the team is also dealing with a growing chasm between Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, according to a pair of media reports.
First up is NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who reports that change could be on the horizon is the offense continues to struggle:
For several weeks, it’s been clear that coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have not been on the same page. Several people in the organization have battled to help them work together, but it has not improved.
The spotlight is usually on the head coach, especially one with a current Browns record of 3-35-1. And clearly, if the wins don’t come, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager John Dorsey and the brain trust have a decision to make on Jackson.
But another option is to remove Haley. That would also be under consideration. Those involved have wondered when Jackson speaks, does Haley listen? Jackson has a woeful record, but is still in charge.
Cleveland’s offensive struggles have been a constant since the start of the season, especially in the first half of games. That boiled over last weekend after the Browns scored just two points in the first half of what would ultimately be an overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Following the game, Jackson said he would “infuse” himself more into the offense - a statement he backed off from on Monday - which led to “internal derision” for Jackson, according to Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports:
Jackson’s remarks flabbergasted and confounded those he works with and confused many in the locker room after rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had just rallied the team from a 16-2 halftime deficit to send the game into overtime. It was Jackson’s own inability to develop a quarterback or kickstart the offense that led to the hiring of former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley as offensive coordinator in the offseason, and the Browns are averaging a touchdown more per game than they did a year ago.
Jackson has displayed a propensity to obsess over the comments of other coaches and staff to the media, sources said, parsing out words to determine whether or not he is being given sufficient credit for the team’s progress. Sunday’s outburst won’t be quickly forgotten and deepens his fight for respect with those he works with, the sources said.
So in addition to taking on the Steelers, the Browns appear to be in a continuing battle to overcome their own head coach.
Welcome to the land of dysfunction, Cleveland Browns style.