After the retiring of running backs coach Jim Anderson, Bengals coach Hue Jackson was chosen to take over the reigns for the longest tenured coach in team history. Jackson is an invaluable asset to this team – having an assistant coach with head coaching experience always is. Hue Jackson served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders during the 2011 season, leading them to a respectable 8-8 record. After the season, new Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie fired Hue, giving him the opportunity for his second stint with the Bengals.
From 2004-2006, Hue Jackson spent his time on the sidelines for the Cincinnati Bengals as the wide receivers coach. During that time, Jackson coached a very skilled group of receivers in Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Chris Henry who experienced great success on the field. In 2006, Johnson and Houshmandzadeh became the first pair of Bengals to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a single season. Chad Johnson, who referred to Jackson as his mentor and father figure in his autobiography, went to the Pro Bowl each year while Jackson was with the Bengals.
Fast forward to today, Hue Jackson is in a very favorable position with the team. After interviewing with several teams for a head coaching job this offseason, current Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is a hot commodity in the NFL coaching community, and that is unlikely to change in the next offseason, when Gruden will likely feel ready to take on the life of an NFL head coach.
If Gruden decides to move his career forward and take a head-coaching gig next year, it would be easy to assume that Jackson would take over duties as offensive coordinator, a position he has had success in. As Raiders offensive coordinator in 2010, Jackson coached the sixth highest scoring offense while averaging 354.6 yards per game, which was tenth most in the league.
Promoting Jackson as offensive coordinator would not only bring consistency for a quarterback still trying to develop as a pro, but it would also bring a much more aggressive style of play calling that seemed to be lacking from the Bengals towards the end of the season. Jackson has experience dealing with young quarterbacks.
In 2008, while Jackson was serving as quarterbacks coach in Baltimore, he helped coach Joe Flacco to become the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games in NFL history. With Andy Dalton still developing as a player, it will be good to some who can teach the way Jackson can and put Andy in a position to lead the team to a playoff win.
Speaking of playoff wins, it is worth noting that Marvin Lewis has yet to win a playoff game in his tenure with Bengals. At some point, Marvin is going to have to produce in the postseason if he is to remain the coach of the Bengals. Look at Andy Reid. Look at Jeff Fischer, Lovie Smith, or even John Fox. All of the teams led their teams to Super Bowl appearances, but were fired because they failed to repeat their previous success.
In Marvin’s case, their is no success really to be discussed, only a .485 winning percentage with no playoff victories in 10 seasons with the team. While Marvin Lewis is owed many thanks for what he has done for the Bengals, at some point Mike Brown is going to have to make a decision for the future success of the team.