Despite a reported leader in the clubhouse, the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing their due diligence when it comes to finding their new offensive coordinator. The team met with longtime NFL coach Hue Jackson to discuss their vacant coordinator position earlier this week, according to ESPN's Dianna Russini. The news comes several days after it was reported that Matt Canada is expected to be named the Steelers' next offensive coordinator after the team did not renew Randy Fichtner's contract earlier this month.
Jackson, 55, has spent 12 of his 18 seasons in the NFL in the AFC North division. After breaking into the league with Washington, Jackson served as the Cincinnati Bengals' receivers coach from 2004-06. He served as Joe Flacco's quarterbacks coach in Baltimore for the 2008-09 seasons.
Following a two-year stint with the Raiders, Jackson joined the Bengals' coaching staff in 2012. After one season as Cincinnati's secondary coach, Jackson served as the team's running backs coach in 2013 before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2014. Jackson spent two seasons in that position before becoming the Browns head coach in 2016. Jackson went 3-36-1 as Cleveland's head coach before he was relieved of his duties midway through the 2018 season.
While his time in Cleveland was forgettable, Jackson's coaching highlights includes his time working with former Bengals receivers Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry. The trio, one of the NFL's best during that time, helped the Bengals win the AFC North division title in 2005. Cincinnati's offense enjoyed success with Jackson as its coordinator, as the Bengals went 21-10-1 during that span that included another division title in 2015.
In Baltimore, Jackson helped Flacco go 11-5 as a starter during his rookie season. Baltimore then won two road playoff games that season before losing to Pittsburgh in the AFC title game. In 2011, Jackson led the Raiders to an 8-8 record during his only season as the franchise's head coach.
After a disappointing finish to the 2020 season, the Steelers decided not to renew the contracts of Fichtner, offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley. After an 11-0 start, injuries, dropped passes, and a 32nd ranked rushing attack contributed to Pittsburgh's 1-4 finish to the regular season. The Steelers then fell behind 28-0 to the Browns in the wild-card round en route to a 48-37 defeat.
The Steelers have several pending free agents that include linebacker Bud Dupree, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, running back James Conner, offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, and defensive backs Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton. Given their salary cap restrictions, the Steelers are expected to address most of their personnel losses via the draft.