Hue Jackson named one of PFWA's top assistants

Hue Jackson helped lead the Bengals to an AFC North title as the offense averaged 26.2 points per game. Paul Spinelli/AP Images

CINCINNATI -- Hue Jackson is a head coach now, but he was recognized Thursday for his work this past season as the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator.

The Pro Football Writers of America named Jackson their co-assistant coach of the year along with Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

It's the first time since 2009 that a Bengals assistant coach won the award. That year, current Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer (then the Bengals' defensive coordinator) was named the PFWA assistant of the year. In 2000, when he was the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, current Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also earned top assistant's honors from the PFWA.

Named the Cleveland Browns' head coach on Jan. 13, Jackson has become a head coach for the second time. He led the Oakland Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011 before being fired at the end of his only season. In 2012, he was hired to coach the Bengals' defensive backs. After a season, he coached the Bengals' running backs before spending the past two seasons as offensive coordinator.

Jackson's offense averaged 26.2 points per game in 2015, good enough for seventh in the league. His 15th-ranked total offense helped carry the Bengals to a 12-4 record and a fourth AFC North title despite losing quarterback Andy Dalton -- who had the best year of his five-season career -- and tight end Tyler Eifert to injuries late in the season.

Although the Bengals went 2-2 (including the wild-card round loss to Pittsburgh) in games that backup quarterback AJ McCarron was forced to start, there still appeared to be very little drop-off in quarterback play.

PFWA's news release called Jackson's Bengals offense one that "used varied looks and inventive play calls."