Cleveland — Hue Jackson didn’t lose his nerve.
Fired this week by the Browns after winning just three of 40 games in two plus-seasons, Jackson on Friday disputed owner Jimmy Haslam’s assertion there was “internal discord” on the coaching staff that made his dismissal — along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s — necessary.
Days after being let go, Jackson appeared on ESPN to defend his record, describe regrets and essentially audition for another job.
On Monday, Haslam, who has fired four coaches in six years, intimated that in-fighting between Jackson and Haley was at the root of his decision to make a change halfway through the season.
Jackson disagreed with his former boss and said he wanted to “set the record straight.”
“I don’t really think it was truly just about internal discord,” said Jackson, who went 1-15, 0-15 and 2-5-1 with Cleveland. “I think that’s a strong word. I think you have disagreements with coaches — with Todd, with (defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams, with Amos Jones, who is also the special teams coordinator. I don’t think that’s internal discord.
“I think when you look at it, the organization made a decision to go in a different direction.”
Jackson knows he didn’t win nearly enough, and he has some misgiving about the way he handled things. Following a recent loss to Tampa Bay, a frustrated Jackson said he intended to “dive in” and help Haley. Jackson said he was only trying to help, but the comments widened a rift with Haley and sent a shockwave through the team’s front office.
Jackson feels that ultimately the decision to let him go was to protect rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, who might finally end the franchise’s search for a long-term QB.
“I think when you really stop to look at it, it’s truly really about Baker Mayfield,” Jackson said.
“I think they want to do everything they can to put him in a situation. You got the first pick of the draft, who I think is going to be a franchise quarterback who is going to be a sensational player, and he’s not playing as well.
“So again, here is a perfect storm to move forward and move on. And I have to respect the decision that they made.”
San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley will need season-ending surgery after getting injured against the Raiders on Thursday.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said that Mostert broke his arm and Moseley dislocated his shoulder in the 34-3 victory. Both players have been placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season.
Dolphins backup cornerback Cordrea Tankersley has a torn knee ligament, the ninth player on the team to sustain a season-ending injury.
... Washington ruled out wide receiver Jamison Crowder, running back Chris Thompson and left tackle Trent Williams for its game Sunday against Atlanta.