Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR
CLEVELAND -- The naming of Hue Jackson as head coach was a bulls-eye hire by the Cleveland Browns because ...
1. He was their first choice and it was imperative for owner Jimmy Haslam to prove he could close a deal and bring home his first choice.
Jackson is the third head coach hired by Haslam since the truck-stop magnate purchased the Browns for $1.005 billion in 2012.
His previous head coach hires, Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine, were way down his list and were hired only after several others rebuffed Haslam.
2. He is a proven offensive coordinator and has experience as an NFL head coach.
Jackson would be a qualified candidate just based on his resume as an offensive assistant coach. But we’ve seen so many NFL coordinators on either side of the ball crumble under the myriad responsibilities inherent in the office of head coach. Jackson showed the ability to handle them in a one-year stint as Oakland Raiders head coach in 2011.
It was a typically trying year for a first-year coach -- legendary owner Al Davis died during the season, throwing the Raiders’ organization into a combination of grief and chaos, and Jackson lost his starting quarterback in the sixth game with a season-ending injury. And Jackson steered the Raiders to 8-8, their best record in eight seasons prior and matching their best season in the five seasons since.
3. He has a proven record developing quarterbacks.
Jackson was Raiders offensive coordinator in 2010 and took over as head coach in 2011. Over those seasons, he had Jason Campbell performing the best of his career until a shoulder injury sidelined him. Before that, Jackson was Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach the first two seasons of Joe Flacco’s career. And as Bengals offensive coordinator the past two season, Jackson oversaw the development of Andy Dalton.
Jackson immediately becomes the authoritative voice on the quarterback position in the Browns organization at a time the franchise is in position, with the second pick in the 2016 draft, to finally forge a meaningful partnership between head coach and quarterback from the outset of each’s career with the Browns.
4. He has real knowledge of the AFC North division.
As an assistant coach with the Ravens and Bengals, Jackson has nine years experience plotting how to defeat the Browns’ rivals. In those nine years, Jackson’s teams reached the postseason seven times.
5. He subtracts a key coach from a division rival.
Jackson’s hire forces Bengals coach Marvin Lewis to replace his offensive coordinator for the second time in four years.
He promoted Jackson in 2014 after Jay Gruden left to be head coach of the Washington Redskins. Jackson took over seamlessly at that time. The transition might not be as easy for the Bengals this time around.