Hue Jackson fired and FitzMagic returns

The Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley after reaching the halfway point of the season with a 2-5-1 record.

Cleveland announced the moves Monday, noting defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take over as the interim head coach, while running backs coach and associate head coach Freddie Kitchens will step in as the offensive coordinator.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Jackson’s exit, while NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Haley’s departure.

Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement:

“We greatly appreciate Hue’s commitment to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last two-and-a-half years. We understand how critical this time period is in the development of our football team, individually and collectively, and believed it was in the organization’s best interest to make the move at this time, in order to maximize our opportunities the rest of this season. We certainly only wish Hue, Michelle and his family the best moving forward.”

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported that Jimmy Haslam “was conflicted” over firing Jackson and that “late last night he was leaning toward staying course.”

However, Robinson noted Haslam spoke to general manager John Dorsey, who said that the dynamic between Jackson and Haley “couldn’t continue.”


 

Fitzpatrick almost led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back from a 34-16 deficit against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. As a result, he’ll be the team’s starting quarterback heading into a Week 9 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

On Monday, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter named Fitzpatrick the starter after Jameis Winston threw four interceptions during the loss to the Bengals.

Fitzpatrick entered Sunday’s game after Jessie Bates returned Winston’s fourth interception for a touchdown. He directed three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 34 before Randy Bullock drilled a winning field goal to drop Tampa Bay to 3-4.

He also started the first four contests in the wake of Winston’s season-opening three-game suspension. The veteran impressed and threw for more than 400 yards in each of the first three games with 11 touchdown passes to four interceptions.

Fitzpatrick became the first player in league history to throw for more than 400 yards in three straight games, but a Week 4 meltdown against the Chicago Bears caused Tampa Bay to turn back to Winston.

Fitzpatrick will now have the opportunity to prove himself in a divisional contest against the 5-2 Panthers.

Carolina is a middling 17th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, so Fitzpatrick will have the chance to add to his already impressive showings before he hits the open market as a free agent this coming off-season.

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