Browns hire Hue Jackson as head coach: Five things to know
The Browns are finalizing a deal to make Hue Jackson their next head coach.
For the fifth time in seven years, the Cleveland Browns have a new head coach. The team announced on Wednesday that former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been hired to fill the vacancy.
Jackson was expected to fly to New York on Wednesday to meet with the Giants about their opening. However, the Browns made sure that didn't happen. The team offered Jackson a contract before he could leave town.
Jackson told NFL.com that he chose the Browns because, "They made me feel comfortable."
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam definitely did his best to make the 50-year-old feel wanted. Haslam skipped out on Tuesday night's owners meeting in Houston so he could try and finalize a deal with Jackson, and the gamble worked.
"It's very exciting for us to name Hue Jackson as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns," Haslam said. "He embodies all the qualities that will provide strong leadership for our football team. He is highly experienced, deeply passionate about winning, and relentless in trying to find ways to put his players in the best position to succeed.
Haslam held a second interview with Jackson in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Now that everything's officialy, Jackson will be headed to northern Ohio for his introductory press conference on Wednesday.
"What a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and a part of the Dawg Pound," Jackson said.
Jackson had been with the Bengals since 2012.
Here are five things to know about Jackson's hiring:
1. Jackson will be the team's fifth head coach since 2010. No one churns out coaches like the Factory of Sadness. Not only will Jackson be the Browns' eighth coach since the team re-entered the league in 1999, but he'll also be the team's fifth head coach in just six years. Jackson follows in the footsteps of Mike Pettine, Rob Chudzinski, Pat Shurmur and Eric Mangini, who have all coached the Browns since 2010.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who somehow convinced Jackson not to get on a plane to New York, probably didn't talk much about patience while trying to convince Jackson to stay in Cleveland. Since Haslam bought the team in 2012, the Browns have gone through three coaches. The team fired Shurmur after the 2012 season, then followed that up by canning Rob Chudzinski in 2013. Chudzinski was only given one season in Cleveland before being fired.
LOOK: The last five AFC North coaches to get fired were all Browns coaches https://t.co/jSAbLOlJY4— Suzi Abilez Daniel (@suzi0530) January 4, 2016
The latest coach to get canned in Cleveland was Mike Pettine, who was let go on Jan. 3.
2. Why did Jackson pick the Browns? The Jackson hiring is a big one for the Browns and not just because they're getting a very highly-regarded offensive coordinator. It's big for the Browns because of who they beat out. Jackson interviewed with the 49ers and it wouldn't have been shocking at all to see the California native end up in San Francisco.
The Giants were also interested in Jackson, but as previously mentioned, Haslam convinced Jackson to skip his interview on Wednesday and sign a contract with the Browns. Jackson must have really liked what he saw on Cleveland's roster to pick the Browns.
It should also be pointed out that Jackson probably liked the Browns front office structure more than he might have liked the 49ers or even the Giants. In New York, Giants general manager Jerry Reese has final say on the Giants' roster. In San Francisco, GM Trent Baalke has a similar power.
It's possible Jackson felt "comfortable" in Cleveland because he'll have some say on the Browns' roster and that promise might have been what sealed the deal between Jackson and the Browns.
"We shared a lot of ideas between each other. We shared a vision for the organization and what we want to accomplish," Jackson said. "At the end of the day, we have some very real goals we want to attain and we understand it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do that."
3. This won't be Jackson's first head coaching gig. Jackson has been in the NFL since 2001 when the Redskins hired him as their running backs coach. Jackson then spent the next 10 years as an assistant coach before he finally earned his first head coaching job in Oakland when the Raiders promoted him for the 2011 season after 2010 as the Raiders offensive coordinator.
In his only season as Raiders coach, Jackson went 8-8, but he was fired anyway because general manager Reggie McKenzie didn't want him. McKenzie was hired by the Raiders on Jan. 6, 2011 and in his first move as general manager, McKenzie fired Jackson four days later.
Jackson's short tenure in Oakland will always be remembered for a certain trade he made. In October 2011, the Raiders sent a first- and second-round pick to Cincinnati in exchange for Carson Palmer.
4. What's going to happen to Johnny Manziel? Jackson got a first-hand look at Manziel this year back in November when Johnny Football started against Jackson's Bengals. Manziel threw for 168 yards and a touchdown in the 31-10 loss.
Even if Jackson sees some potential in Manziel, it's unlikely he's going to want to hang on to a player that the Browns haven't been able to trust. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Browns will "look hard" at taking a quarterback in the NFL Draft if they like who's available with their on the clock with the second overall pick. A name to think about is Cal's Jared Goff. In 1996, Jackson was the offensive coordinator at Cal and he's still a big fan of the school.
Back in 2012, Jackson even lobbied for the Cal job, which eventually went to current coach Sonny Dykes.
5. The Bengals almost kept Jackson. The most surprising part of this hire is that Bengals made a last-ditch effort to keep Jackson. According to NFL.com, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis approached Jackson with a succession plan that would've made Jackson the head coach in Cincinnati after Lewis retired.
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