Throughout the Browns’ search for a new head coach, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down the candidates after their interview with the team’s search committee is complete. It continues today with a look at Hue Jackson, who led one of the league’s most productive offenses in 2015.
1. Jackson’s been an offensive coordinator at six different spots (four in the NFL) -- Cincinnati, Atlanta, Washington, Oakland, USC and Cal-Berkeley. He assumed his latest role in 2014, two years after he arrived in Cincinnati following his one-year stint as head coach of the Raiders. He replaced Jay Gruden, who left for the head coaching position with the Redskins. Two of the 12 playoff teams -- Washington and Minnesota -- are coached by former Marvin Lewis coordinators.
2. Jackson’s had his hands on many aspects of the Bengals’ last four seasons, which all ended with 10 wins and trips to the playoffs. He started on the defensive side of the ball as a secondary/assistant special teams coach -- his first such assignment since he began his coaching career in 1987. He switched to the area where he’s coached most -- running backs -- in 2013 before taking over for Gruden. The Bengals went from 15th in scoring offense in 2014 to seventh this season thanks largely to the improved quarterback play of Andy Dalton.
3. Jackson went 8-8 in 2011, his only season as a head coach. It was the best record amassed by the Raiders since 2002 and was good enough to finish tied for first in the AFC West, but Oakland missed out on the playoffs because of a tiebreaker. The Raiders boasted one of the NFL’s best offenses that season, ranking ninth in total yards despite losing quarterback Jason Campbell midway through the season and featuring minimal big names at the playmaker positions. Carson Palmer, whom Jackson worked closely with in his first stint with Cincinnati and at USC, struggled during the second half of the season, and Oakland lost four of its final five games. Jackson was fired as the Raiders completely reorganized their front office in the wake of longtime owner Al Davis’ death.
4. Jackson spent 14 years at the college level, going from a graduate assistant at Pacific all the way to offensive coordinator at USC, before receiving his first shot at the NFL. Jackson survived a coaching change between 2001 and 2002, working under Marty Schottenheimer for the first season and Steve Spurrier for the second. Lewis was the defensive coordinator on the 2002 squad. Lewis left to become Cincinnati’s head coach in 2003, the same year Jackson was promoted to offensive coordinator. One of Jackson’s young offensive assistants that season was Paul Guenther, who is now the Bengals’ defensive coordinator. Lewis first hired Jackson in 2004 following Spurrier’s resignation.
5. Jackson was a quarterback in his playing days and served as a dual-threat option for Pacific in 1985 and 1986. He threw for 2,544 yards and 19 touchdowns over two seasons while rushing for more than 900 yards. As a senior, Jackson also lettered in basketball. In the middle of his two seasons at Cal State-Fullerton, Jackson coached the running backs, special teams and wide receivers for the London Monarchs of the World League. Doug Marrone, who interviewed for the Browns job Thursday, was a center on that team.