On Wednesday, it was announced via an ESPN report that the Cleveland Browns were finalizing a deal with Hue Jackson to become the team’s next head coach. Jackson heads from southern Ohio, where he was a coordinator for the Bengals, to northern Ohio and the legendary Cleveland Browns franchise.
The Browns are coming off of a dismal 3-13 season, one in which the team saw repeated drama off the field relating primarily to their young, sometimes-starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Manziel has potential, but has disappointed the team time and time again, and they have yet to decide upon their future with him on their team.
Manziel or no Manziel, the storied franchise in Cleveland will be bringing in a new head man to head the coaching reins. Jackson, for his part, has experience as a head coach in the NFL, in addition to NFL assistant coaching experience and college coaching experience. Here is everything you need to know about Jackson.
1. Jackson Was the Offensive Coordinator For the Bengals This Past Season
Hue Jackson led a Cincinnati Bengals offense that accumulated 5,728 yards, scored 50 touchdowns and had a pair of Pro Bowl players, wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifer, in 2015.
Quarterback Andy Dalton flourished under Jackson’s guidance over the past two seasons. Dalton completed 255 of his 386 attempts for 3,250 yards with 25 touchdowns against only seven interceptions in 2015, a year in which the Bengals won a division championship.
Green recorded 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Eifert accounted for a team-high 13 scores. Jackson also utilized a two-back system with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard combining to rush for 1,524 yards and 13 touchdowns.
2. He Had Interviewed With the 49ers As Well For Their Head Coaching Position
Hue Jackson interviewed this past Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers regarding their head coaching vacancy. It was thought that Jackson’s experience could have garnered an offer from the Niners, in fact, it was widely thought he might be the frontrunner for the position in San Francisco.
Once it became fairly clear cut that Jackson would likely get an offer from the 49ers, people largely figured it could be a done deal there. However, reports also indicated that Jackson himself was torn between the 49ers opportunity and the one in Cleveland. The San Fran offer apparently didn’t come quickly enough, however.
3. He Was The Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011
Jackson guided the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011, but was fired following the campaign. The Raiders, long struggling now, didn’t play awfully that season, so many wondered why the team decided to fire a young coach of a team apparently headed in the right direction.
The answer, apparently, was power structure within the Raiders organization. Legendary Raiders owner Al Davis died midway through the 2011 season, and the team hired Reggie McKenzie as their general manager, and wanted to clean house and start anew with his people. Initially, Jackson had been the de-facto general manager following Davis’ passing. Once hired, it was clear that Jackson did not fit McKenzie’s mold, and that’s allegedly why the change was made, according to Jackson himself.
4. His Hiring in Cleveland Leaves Some Big Question Marks Around the Rest of the League
In addition to interviewing with San Francisco, other teams including the New York Giants and Miami Dolphis had Jackson at the top of their list of potential head coaching candidates. Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson had even reported that the Giants had formall requested an interview with Jackson.
Now that Jackson is off the board, Miami, New York and San Francisco will have to regroup and re-evaluate who their are to pursue. There are still some great candidates out there, including Chip Kelly and old veterans Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren. What happens next for all the available coaching spots out there will be exciting to see.
5. He Was a College Coach for 14 Years Prior to Coaching in the NFL
Jackson coached at five different colleges as an assistant or offensive coordinator before he broke into the NFL. During his time in the collegiate ranks, he served as a Graduate Assistant for Pacific University from ages 22-24, before moving on to Cal State Fullerton and becoming the Running Backs/Special Teams coach at age 25. Following a brief one-year stint with the London Monarchs of the World League, Jackson went to Arizona State for four seasons, serving as the Running Backs/Quarterbacks coach. In 1996, Jackson got a big opportunity as he was named the offensive coordinator for Cal.
Immediately following his time at Cal, Jackson served as USC’s offensive coordinator from 1997-2000, helping to recruit and develop players. One of the players he worked closest with was quarterback Carson Palmer, with whom Jackson was later reunited during his time in Cincinnati and in Oakland.