Just ten days after firing Mike Pettine as head coach, the Cleveland Browns have his replacement and didn’t have to leave the buckeye state to find him. Wednesday afternoon, the team hired Hue Jackson away from the Cincinnati Bengals to become the 16th head coach in Browns franchise history. Jackson will become the eighth head coach of the franchise since it returned to the NFL in 1999. Jackson was supposed to have an interview with the New York Giants about their head coaching job, but an aggressive Jimmy Haslam prevented that from happening.
The Browns will be the second head coaching job for the 50 year old Jackson. He coached the Oakland Raiders for one season back in 2011. Jackson lead the Raiders to an 8-8 season while dealing with the passing of its longtime owner Al Davis. The Raiders beat the Browns 24-17 on October 16 in Oakland that season. Oakland finished in a three way tie for first place in the AFC West that year but missed the playoffs on tiebreakers.
Jackson gets a second chance as an NFL head coach with the Browns after spending the last four years with Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson was very high on the Browns radar because he’s served as an assistant coach on offense, defense and special teams during his 13 years as a coach in the NFL.
Jackson was Lewis’ offensive coordinator the last two seasons. Jackson was big in the development of Andy Dalton as the team’s starting quarterback and built up a strong running game with Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill. The passing game become one of the best in the NFL last season lead by wide receiver A.J. Green and the breakout season by tight end Tyler Eifert. Jackson was also the Bengals running backs, secondary and assistant special teams coach during his time in Cincinnati.
Jackson is very familiar with the AFC North which was another reason Jackson was high on the Browns list of coaching candidates. Jackson also spent two years as the quarterbacks coach with the Baltimore Ravens from 2008-2009, the first two years of the Joe Flacco era in Baltimore.
The Browns will introduce Jackson at the teams headquarters in Berea at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.
The Browns committee of owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and Korn/Ferry International consultant Jed Hughes interviewed seven candidates for the head coach job. The NFL is down to five open head coaching jobs.