Hue Jackson, in his first full day as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, kicked things off Thursday morning with three consecutive appearances on local and national radio shows.
Here were the highlights from his interviews on 92.3 The Fan’s Kiley & Carman show, ESPN 850’s Really Big Show and ESPN’s Mike and Mike.
- Jackson said former Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer is the mentor most responsible for instilling in him the confidence, passion and work ethic he carries today. Schottenheimer gave Jackson his first NFL job in 2001 as the running backs coach of the Washington Redskins. Schottenheimer was fired after the season but his impact was everlasting with Jackson. “What a tremendous man and what a tremendous mentor in my life,” Jackson said.
- Looking back on his one season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Jackson said the biggest lesson he learned was, “you can’t do it by yourself.” Amy Trask, the former CEO of the Raiders, was one of Jackson’s biggest allies, but it was a difficult situation when legendary owner Al Davis died during the season. “You’ve got to make sure you surround yourself with great people,” Jackson said.
- “We got to make sure we have the right quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”
- Asked for the three positions on offense other than quarterback where you need great players, Jackson said tackles -- specifically on the left side -- wide receiver and running back. He elaborated on wide receivers. “I think the big guy is huge in this league,” he said. “You’ve got to have a dominant vertical threat in the National Football League to have a good offensive team.” On running backs, Jackson said he loves to have a “bellcow” that can do a little bit of everything. “We’ve got a couple guys I think have got a chance,” Jackson said. “We just got to create the right environment for them.”
- Jackson was asked if the Browns could position themselves to have as fierce of a rivalry as the Bengals currently have with the Steelers. “We’re going to create that,” he said. “We’ve got to walk tall and carry the big stick … We understand right now where we are but we also understand where we need to get to.”
- Jackson said he heard the usual talking points when he asked about the Browns’ job around the league. “You can’t win here, you won’t have time to get your vision in place, all the things I’m sure everyone’s talked about and said,” he said. “Those talking points were debunked in Jackson’s mind after he met with the Haslams, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta. “The one thing that was common to me was Jimmy was a good man,” Jackson said. “He has a good heart and he wants to see this organization win.”
- What sold Jackson on the Browns? As he mentioned Wednesday, it came back to Jimmy and Dee Haslam. “His and his wife’s passion for wanting to win and understanding it takes a process,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. There are some growing pains and you have to go through it in order to come out on the other side and do it right … I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I think we’re going to get on the other side of that.”
- Does Jackson have his eyes on anyone with the Browns’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. “I can’t tell you that yet,” he said, laughing.
- Jackson on holding players accountable: “They get babied way too much. That’s not what this is about,” he said. “We’re paying these guys a ton of money to do a job just as they’re paying me. You have to come in and compete every day to do what you do. My job is to make sure I’m very honest and fair with them. I’m going to be very honest with them when they’re doing great and i’m going to be very honest with them when they’re not doing great … You’ve got to compete for your job just like we all do.”
- Jackson said he hopes to have his coaching staff in place over the next two and a half weeks.
- Jackson said he embraced analytics this past season with the Bengals because “there are so many different tools you can use with this.” He stressed it would just be a piece of what the Browns utilize to build the best possible roster. “That’s where the league is going,” he said. “We’ve just embraced it a little bit sooner as an organization.”
- Jackson said his “life changed” when John Harbaugh made him the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach in 2008. Jackson worked closely with Joe Flacco during his first two NFL seasons and had a role in the Ravens selecting him.