Browns rallying around Hue Jackson in search of 1st win

Hue Jackson was particularly reflective and candid two weeks ago after a loss to the Giants. The Browns coach got emotional when outlining the ups and downs of an 0-12 season, saying "it's the hardest thing ever" before quickly composing himself during his postgame news conference.

Now, the Browns say they're trying to rally around the first-year head coach in these next four weeks, especially with a game against Cincinnati — Jackson's former stomping grounds — set for this weekend.

"I think it would be pretty sweet," running backs coach and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson said.

"Anything that goes wrong or good, it's a direct reflection of your head coach, so we would love to get this win for him and win for our players and our fans, so maybe this is it. We are certainly going to go out there and give everything we have and hopefully that is enough."

But perhaps most of all, it's Jackson's approach inside the locker room that makes his players that much more motivated to notch their first win of the season.

"I feel like that's the No. 1 reason for why a lot of — especially a lot of the older guys — want to get it done," receiver Andrew Hawkins said.

Hawkins then pointed to veteran left tackle Joe Thomas, who described Jackson last week as an "exceptional" coach and praised his ability to relate to players.

"(Hue is) the guy that's sort of getting the short end of the stick because obviously an 0-12 team doesn't indicate how great of a head coach you are — no one's going to look a that record, 'Oh man he relates to the players great, guys work their tails off for him and he cares about them and players appreciate that and play hard for him,'" Hawkins said.

"It's a win loss business, it's simple as that … that's a big disappointment for a lot of the guys because we can scream to the mountaintop about how great of a coach Hue Jackson is, but we haven't been able to get the win for him.

"I don't think it's a matter of it, I think it's when. But at the same time, this last stretch, it's an important time for us."

The Browns will host Cincinnati and San Diego and travel to Buffalo and Pittsburgh before concluding what's been a tough year made more difficult by a series of injuries at key positions, including quarterback and on the offensive line.

But Hawkins said Jackson has remained something of a steady figure amid those struggles.

"He's the kind of guy that cares about you and when he tells you he means it, you understand because his actions back it up. He's transparent when he tells you something, he's telling you the truth," he said.

"You know it because his actions back it up … if he came up here he'd tell you the same thing: he wants to win for Joe Thomas, he wants to win for (Browns cornerback) Joe Haden. And he means it."

That feeling goes both ways.

"He wears it on the sleeve," running back Duke Johnson Jr. said, "because he wants to show us how much he cares and that he believes in us."

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