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Hue Jackson bristles at Brian Billick’s suggestion the Browns could go 0-16

Hue Jackson, Robert Griffin III

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, right, talks with quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) on the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla. Jackson waited five years for a second NFL head coaching job, and his new one is a tough challenge - the Cleveland Browns. Jackson spent the past 2 seasons as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator and he’s taking over a Browns team being rebuilt by a new front office. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)


There are plenty of people who think the Browns are going to be bad at football this year, as they have most every year since returning to Cleveland.

But the criticism of a former Super Bowl-winning coach made Browns coach Hue Jackson a little defensive.

Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jackson was informed of Billick’s suggestion that the Browns could go winless on Twitter today, and was taken aback.

Who said what?'' Jackson asked. “Wow. Good for him. I didn’t know he worked here. I’m just being honest. Nothing to Brian. I think it’s really interesting that everybody can comment on other people’s teams and don’t even understand their inner workings. I have great respect for Brian, he’s a great coach in this league, but we’ll see if that’s true. We’ll see if what he says is true. We’ll look back in 16 games and see if it’s right. But I’m not going to get caught up in that.’'

Jackson’s a competitive guy, and you have to be if you want to fix the mess the Browns have been. But he insisted his team was capable of surprising people.

“Obviously, I think you guys know my competitiveness,’' Jackson said. “I don’t want anybody to say we can’t win anything, I just don’t think that’s right, I don’t think it’s fair. But at the same time I know how hard these guys work, I know what the expectation is and we’ve got to go prove it. Me talking about it is not going to change it. Only thing that’s going to change it is what we do on the field. . . .

“We are a group of men who are hungry, that we do understand and realize there is something to prove. But we hope to have this chip on the shoulder as long as I’m here. I truly believe that. I don’t know any other way to do this. There’s 31 other teams that are trying to knock us off. And we’re trying to knock them off. that’s just part of this deal, that’s the way it is in this league. It’s competitive. And when you’re down people try to step on you. And when you’re up people try to pull you down. That’s the way it works.’'

Billick’s not the only one doubting their chances, but he gave Jackson an easy no-respect card to play with his team, which shouldn’t be lacking for motivation.