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Historically bad record makes it impossible for Hue Jackson to enjoy trip home to Los Angeles

 

Hue Jackson loves L.A.

He hates the timing of his first trip home as a head coach.

Not only are the Browns 0-11 as they prepare to face the Los Angeles Chargers, Jackson is 1-26 in his two years. A loss Sunday would give Jackson the worst start with a team in NFL coaching history.

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John McKay began 0-26 with the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers before winning two in a row.

The schedule-makers ruined Jackson’s homecoming.

“I am being very honest, I have been asked that quite a bit, even by our players, and I am not going to kid any of you, not right now it is not (nice),” he said of returning to Los Angeles. “To be the leader of a 1-26 team, that is not what I want to take to L.A., but that is what we are going to take to L.A.

“We are going to go there and play our tails off and play as well as we have all year. That is the goal.”

Jackson was born Oct. 22, 1965, in Los Angles. He attended Dorsey High School — he might attend its championship game Saturday night — was a minority intern for the Los Angeles Rams in 1990 and offensive coordinator for USC in 1997-2000. The Browns will practice Saturday at USC.

He still has “a ton” of family there but said he’s trying not to see them this weekend.

“There will be some people that come to the game, I’m sure, but this is really about the team,” Jackson said. “We have a game to play. Like I told our guys, this is a business trip. We will come back to L.A. another time during the summer and have some fun, but right now, we have to go try to find a way to win a football game.”

His players would like nothing more than to assure they don’t go 0-16 by getting Jackson a win in his hometown.

“It would be very special,” running back Isaiah Crowell said. “That’s what we’re working hard this week for, preparing our butts off and it can happen. It’s possible.

“I want to win for Hue. Since he’s been here, it hasn’t been the best, but I know Hue is a great coach.”

Jackson’s record clearly puts his job security in jeopardy, yet he’s been talking and acting lately like he’s confident he’ll return. He hasn’t tried to hide the toll all the losing has taken.

“My equilibrium is upside-down,” he said. “Let me be very honest with you about that. I just get myself tilted as the week starts, and hopefully by Friday I am upright. Sunday, gosh dang, it is rough.”

He said he leans on family and the players.

“My family, first and foremost,” he said. “That is the most important thing to me and then these players. These players keep me going. The fact that they come in here every day with their energy and their passion about, ‘Coach, what do we need to do to go out there to win?’ And going out there on the practice field and watching these guys compete the way they do to looking in their eyes and knowing how much it means to them that they want to do everything they can to win.”

The Browns opened 0-14 last year before beating the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve. They are five losses from joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history, but analytics site numberFire.com said the odds are still in the Browns’ favor to pick up a win.

The site has the Browns with only a 25.44 percent chance to go winless, with their best opportunities for victory at home against Green Bay next week (32.2 percent), at home against Baltimore the following week (31.3 percent) and at Chicago on Christmas Eve (29.1 percent).

The players want to avoid the wrong side of history for themselves, and Jackson.

“Man, that’s my guy,” receiver Corey Coleman said. “When you talk about Coach Hue, it’s close to my heart. He’s a great guy, great leader for this football team. He’s handling it so good, he’s making sure everybody’s staying up, he’s always positive, it’s what you want in a head coach.

“He’s not giving up on us, we’re not giving up on him, so that’s why we come to work every day and we practice as hard as we can and do what we need to do week in and week out.”

“He is awesome. He is resilient,” rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said.

Jackson remains determined to lead the organization’s turnaround.

“I’m not running from this. It doesn’t feel good or look good,” he said. “We are going to win here. I truly believe that. That is what I came here for.

“Hopefully, I am going to be a huge part of that and for a long time. That is what I believe and that is what I feel.”

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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