Cincinnati Bengals: Effects of Hue Jackson to Cleveland

Jan 13, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) and new head coach Hue Jackson talk during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) and new head coach Hue Jackson talk during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Hue Jackson is now the head coach of the division rival the Cleveland Browns. The former offensive coordinator for Cincinnati last year, has finally gotten his shot to become a head coach again. Before Jackson was the head coach of Oakland, he was the wide receiver coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, during the time of Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the late Chris Henry.

Although once he left for Oakland, Cincinnati had to deal with the same things that Mike Zimmer and Jay Gruden caused years later. In all three cases, the Bengals had to deal with coaching and  philosophy changes. That included impending free agents being recruited by their former coaches as well as the overall production of that unit.

This offseason is no different from years past. In all honesty, next year may be the same if Paul Guenther is hired somewhere else as a head coach. However, without looking too far into the future, lets talk about this offseason. Hue Jackson’s signing in Cleveland has already caused some major changes.

With Jackson leaving, the Bengals needed to fill the offensive coordinator spot among others. Without really looking outside the organization, the Bengals promoted former quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to OC. However in order to fill the newly QB coaching position, the Bengals signed Bill Lazor former OC of the Miami Dolphins.

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Zampese is now a first year offensive coordinator, however, he has been with the Bengals organization for a while. While we love to give credit to Hue Jackson on the development of Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron  and rightfully so, Zampese has had a major hand in coaching these two. Zampese is actually the main reason why McCarron is in Cincinnati. During the draft process, Zampese actually sold McCarron to the rest of the coaching staff and after Dalton went down, it is safe to say Zampese made the right call.

Zampese will certainly be under the spot light this season. Yet, he will have a former OC to help him. Lazor was the OC for the Dolphins, however, the way he called plays in Miami eventually led to his departure. Lazor focus on passing the ball in Miami. He threw the ball an average of 37.2 attempts per game compared to 19.8 attempts running per game. This is important when we talk about my next point; Philosophy.

With a coaching change, it is important that they are all on the same page. While it is shown that Lazor likes to throw the ball, Zampese wants Hue Jackson’s offense to be the base of his coaching scheme. Jackson employed a balance rushing and throwing attack as well as, calling timely deep balls and using his personal to the fullest.

“Coach Jackson set a great foundation for us,” Zampese said last week. “We’ll take it from here and move forward using those same principles of physicality, toughness, energy, enthusiasm, passion, playing fast.

In order for Cincinnati to have success and for Dalton to further progress, these new coaches have to be on the same page. The philosophy is going to be essential in next years success.

Yet, this is only one problem caused by Hue Jackson’s departure; the other one is about the players.

Cincinnati has a lot of key free agents that are about to hit the open market. Players like Reggie Nelson, George Iloka. Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Leon Hall, Adam Jones, the list goes on and on. All of these players are connected to Hue Jackson and now that he is the man in Cleveland, some of these players may want to jump ship. All of these players had great seasons and Cincinnati may not be able to keep all of them, especially when you have Hue Jackson recruiting them.

Recruiting former players is certainly going to happen. It happened when Jackson was in Oakland when he traded for Carson Palmer. It happened with Mike Zimmer signing Terreance Newman and Taylor Mays and it also happen for Jay Gruden with the Redskins. Cincinnati will certainly experience more pressure with their free agents than usual, which could in turn create a problem.

Although after the coaching changes, being on the same page and retaining the players, the Bengals have to make sure the overall production of the offensive unit is the same, if not better. The Bengals offense ranked 15th in the league this season under Jackson. Now Zampese and Lazor will have to be able to get the same production out of these players.

These four issues have been presented since Hue Jackson has signed with Cleveland. However, we will see how well Cincinnati goes about facing these problems. Cincinnati has already fixed one admirably with the coaching change; three more to go.