When the Cleveland Browns fired Mike Pettine following the end of the regular season, we hoped they would hire someone with experience and someone who would hold the players accountable.
When Hue Jackson was hired yesterday, the first part of that combination was fulfilled.
He was the head coach of the Raiders in 2011, the last season Oakland went 8-8. He was the offensive coordinator of the silver and black the year prior, when the Raiders had the same record.
As for the accountability part, we won’t know that for sure for awhile, although the 50-year-old Jackson comes highly respected throughout the league.
Which, of course, is another feather in Jimmy Haslam’s cap.
Jackson was also interviewed by San Francisco, and the Giants were to talk to him tomorrow regarding their head coaching position, but the Browns never let him get to the Big Apple.
This wasn’t hiring Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, or Mike Pettine, assistant coaches on no one’s radar to be promoted. They were the equivalent of coaching leftovers, with the brown and orange left to pick up table scraps.
He’s also an offensive coach, which we prefer to head coaches with a defensive background, because those guys tend to play not to lose. Offensive coaches are aggressive and play to win football games. We would be surprised if the Browns “manage” games when they have the lead with Jackson at the helm.
As a coordinator, Jackson’s offenses ranked in the top half of the league in yardage while at Oakland and Cincinnati, and also were in the upper tier in scoring.
And he likes to run the football, which is something the Browns have been inconsistent doing since 1999. His Raider attacks and last season in Cincinnati all produced top ten rushing offenses, before the Bengals dropped to 13th this past season.
In reading about the new coach, it has been reported that he likes physical play from his offense which is supported with these running numbers. The Browns absolutely need to have a mindset to run the ball down opponent’s throats, and we hope that whoever the defensive coordinator is, he has the same mindset. You have to win the line of scrimmage to be successful in the NFL.
Although we wouldn’t do this, we are resigned to Jackson and however the personnel man the Browns hire using the second pick in the draft to get the franchise quarterback, and our guess is that it will be Jared Goff from California.
One reason for our begrudged change of mind is that the Browns have a guy who can develop a quarterback. Between the head coach and Josh McCown, the rookie will have two mentors developing him as quickly as possible to play in the NFL.
Although Jackson wasn’t there at the time, remember that the Bengals started Andy Dalton right away, and Jackson was the Ravens’ QB coach in Joe Flacco’s rookie season.
The new coach didn’t come out and say it yesterday, but Johnny Manziel’s days with the Browns are numbered.
We also believe wide receiver will be a focal point in the draft. The days of the small, quick wide outs will be dwindling.
We don’t know what Jackson will be as a head coach until he actually starts the regular season, but we like the hire because of the reasons stated above. Cleveland still needs a personnel guru, which Jackson will have a hand in.
It will be interesting to see how much of a roster turnover and who the assistant coaches will be. However, the Browns have an experienced NFL head coach. That’s a great place to start.