Hue Jackson cites trust in Browns execs as a reason for taking job

Polian on Jackson hiring: A little shocking (2:16)

The NFL Insiders crew reacts to the Browns agreeing on terms with Hue Jackson to become their next head coach. (2:16)

BEREA, Ohio -- Hue Jackson believes in the people who hired him and the system they set up with the Cleveland Browns.

Never mind that Jackson is the third coach that owner Jimmy Haslam has hired since he and his wife, Dee, bought the team in October 2012. Jackson reiterated multiple times in his introductory news conference that he is in Cleveland because of the people in the front office.

"Please trust me," Jackson said shortly before offering a fist pump to the Dawg Pound. "I am going to have an opportunity to work with some of the smartest men in football."

Jackson, 50, becomes the team's 16th head coach and eighth since 1999. He succeeds Mike Pettine, who was fired after a 3-13 season. Jackson canceled an interview with the New York Giants before signing with the Browns. He had been scheduled to fly to New York on Wednesday night. The San Francisco 49ers had also expressed interest in the coach.

Jackson gave four reasons he declined to interview with the Giants: Jimmy and Dee Haslam; Sashi Brown, recently hired as director of football operations; and Paul DePodesta, recently hired as their chief strategy from the New York Mets.

He also embraced the possibility that the Browns would be relying more on analytics than some teams and more than the Browns have in the past. He said he likes "being cutting-edge."

"This is about people," said Jackson, who spent the past two seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator. "You have to feel comfortable where you have the proper support to have a chance to have success. I am more than comfortable with our structure. I am more than comfortable with the people that I'm sitting up here before."

That sounds interesting, given that Jackson is the sixth Browns coach hired in the past eight years and given that the previous two Browns coaches got two years and one year, respectively, before being fired.

"That's those coaches," Jackson said. "At the end of the day, I do understand that this is a performance business. I know that this is about wins and losses. That's how I get judged, and I respect that. I know what I signed up for."

Added Jimmy Haslam: "Hopefully the third time is a charm."

Haslam rattled off several qualities that made Jackson the coach he wanted to hire.

"He is smart. He is tough. He is confident. He is competitive. He has been a head coach before. He has a great offensive mind. He has a tremendous track record developing quarterbacks," Haslam said. "I am going to say this again because you will see when you hear from him and you will see it when you are around him: He is very, very competitive. He understands the AFC North."

Jackson's hiring suggests this could be the end of quarterback Johnny Manziel's tenure in Cleveland. A source close to the situation told ESPN's Dan Graziano that the topic of Manziel was discussed at length in meetings between Jackson and Browns ownership. In those discussions, Jackson indicated he would prefer that the organization part ways with Manziel if he were to become head coach, and Jackson was told that would not be a problem.

Jackson acknowledged that Manziel was discussed during two interviews Sunday and Tuesday, but he would say only that he needed time to evaluate the quarterback as a player on the field and learn about him off the field.

He had no comment on Manziel's run of off-field incidents and made it clear that he would be careful to judge him solely on his football ability.

"I wasn't here to be a part of that, so obviously I can't speak to any of those [incidents]," Jackson said. "I think what's important is that I evaluate him as a football player and then find out more about those things moving forward."

Jackson also showed a humorous side. Told that Haslam had said this latest rebuild of the Browns would take several years, Jackson said: "Well, I'm glad he said that."

With Jackson as their offensive coordinator, the Bengals had the NFL's sixth-best rushing attack in 2014 and the seventh-best scoring offense in 2015. Formation and schematic creativity has been the hallmark of his offense. At times he had wide receiver Mohamed Sanu throwing passes, including a 14-yard touchdown throw to quarterback Andy Dalton. He regularly lined up extra offensive linemen into heavy sets to get the running game ignited and sometimes threw to linemen who were eligible receivers.

"I'm very happy for Hue," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "He is an outstanding coach and even a better friend. I wish him the very best 14 times each season."

A Los Angeles native, Jackson played quarterback at the University of the Pacific before joining the school's coaching staff in 1987. He had stops as an assistant at Arizona State, Cal and USC before arriving in the NFL in 2001 as an assistant with the Washington Redskins. He became Washington's offensive coordinator in 2003.

The next season, Jackson found himself in Cincinnati for the first time, coaching a receiving corps that included the likes of Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Under Jackson in 2006, they became the Bengals' first 1,000-yard single-season receiving tandem.

In 2010, Jackson arrived in Oakland, California, to serve as the Raiders' offensive coordinator before spending the next season as their head coach. They went 8-8, and he was fired after one season. Jackson came back to Cincinnati, where he spent the 2012 season coaching a defensive backs group that included former first-round picks Adam Jones, Leon Hall, Terence Newman and Dre Kirkpatrick. He spent the 2013 season coaching running backs before becoming the Bengals' offensive coordinator in 2014.

Jackson said he relishes the second chance to be a head coach.

"If I didn't think that we had a chance to do something special, then we wouldn't be here," he said.