Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson on Sunday said he would jump in "head first, all hands, feet and everything" to help the team’s offense.
His words were interpreted as a shot at offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and as a sign that a struggling 2-4-1 team was showing signs of fraying as it tries to erase the sting of a winless 2017.
On Monday, Jackson did his best to defuse a debate in Cleveland, saying he only wants to help and he did not mean anything negatively toward the coaches.
"It was not the harshness of the staff," Jackson said Monday. "It was the harshness of 'I want to win.'"
Jackson said his effort is about finding ways to get the team off to better starts. The Browns have scored just eight points in the first quarter this season, two from a safety on Sunday.
"We just have to get the offense moving to where (Haley) wants it and where I want it as we continue to move forward so that we are playing all four quarters and maybe not two and a half," he said. "That is all that we are saying."
Jackson said he understood the furor caused by his remarks.
"Oh yeah, I can," he said. "But I can’t worry about where everybody comes from and how they want to write it. I can only go by what I said. I know what I meant and I know what I said, and I still feel the same way today. I am not changing off of that.
"At the same time, people say, ‘He is not winning. He has to move (blame) someplace else.’ That is not what I am trying to do. All of this falls squarely on me. If it is going to fall squarely on me, if I feel like I can help -- I do not care if it is offense, defense or special teams."
Earlier this season Jackson stepped in to help the special teams.
"Nobody said anything," Jackson said.
Jackson praised Haley, saying he would continue to call plays. He also said he reviews the game-opining script of plays and has had no problem with Haley’s. He also did not question Haley’s playcalls on two fourth downs that did not work in Tampa Bay. Baker Mayfield fumbled on one call, and the Browns could not convert a fourth down quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.
"When I decided to bring Todd here, I made a commitment that he would have total autonomy of the offense," Jackson said. "I do not think that you hire a coordinator and put him in that position when you are an offensive head coach to dabble in what that person is doing. That is that decision that I made.
"Obviously, the guy has been extremely good at what he has done. His reputation precedes him. I think he is doing some things extremely well here right now."
Jackson’s words will quell some of the turmoil, but it might not eliminate all perception that the coach and coordinator do not get along.
"I think that when you are a 1-31 coach from a year ago, everybody is going to take it as I am passing the buck," Jackson said. "People are going to feel the way that they feel. I am human just like anybody else, and I want to win. All I said -- people can go back and look -- is that I want to help. I want to be more involved in the offense.
"It is something that I know how to do. It is something that I have done in my career. I want to assist. If there is an issue that I can help as a head coach, I would think that is something that you do. I did not feel like I said anything wrong."