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Tag Archives: Jimmy Haslam
Former Cincinnati offensive coordinator becomes team’s 16th full-time head coach
By Andrew Gribble, ClevelandBrowns.com Senior Staff Writer
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam on Wednesday named Hue Jackson, a 29-year coaching veteran with 15 years of NFL experience, as the team’s 16th head coach.
Jackson, 50, comes to Cleveland after four seasons as an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, the final two of which as offensive coordinator of one of the league’s most productive, balanced units.
“It’s very exciting for us to name Hue Jackson as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” Jimmy 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. He possesses that unique ability to reach the entire locker room in a way that demands accountability while getting the buy-in and team-first mentality that leads to positive results. I think our players will love playing for him. Dee and I warmly welcome Hue and his family to Cleveland.”
Jackson is set to land in Cleveland later this afternoon and will meet with reporters at 6:30 p.m. inside the media center at the team’s facility in Berea.
“What a tremendous honor and privilege to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and a part of the Dawg Pound,” Jackson said. “I’m so looking forward to it and have so many people to thank. Obviously Jimmy and Dee Haslam for this opportunity, going through the process of meeting Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta. What an exciting time to have an opportunity to work with people like that.”
Jackson interviewed with the Browns’ search committee Sunday after the Bengals’ AFC Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh and again Tuesday in Cincinnati. He was the seventh of seven candidates to interview for the position over a five-day stretch.
“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.”
Jackson’s had his hands on many aspects of the Bengals’ last four seasons, which all ended with at least 10 wins and trips to the playoffs. He started on the defensive side of the ball as a secondary/assistant special teams coach — his first such assignment since he began his coaching career in 1987. He switched to the area where he’s coached most — running backs — in 2013 before taking over in 2014 for Jay Gruden, who left to become head coach of the Washington Redskins.
The Bengals went from 15th in scoring offense in 2014 to seventh this season thanks largely to the improved quarterback play of Andy Dalton, who set a career high and franchise record with a 106.3 rating, which led the AFC and was second in the NFL. After losing Dalton to injury in Week 14, Jackson guided quarterback AJ McCarron to a 2-1 record in the final three games of the season, as the Bengals clinched the AFC North title, their second of the past four seasons. The Cincinnati running game produced two 700-yard rushers in Jeremy Hill (794) and Giovani Bernard (730) for the first time since 1988. Tight end Tyler Eifert experienced a breakout season after hauling in 13 touchdown receptions, the most by a Bengals tight end in franchise history and the most by a Cincinnati player since 2001. Wide receiver A.J. Green added 10 receiving touchdowns on 86 receptions for 1,297 yards. Eifert, Green and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth were selected to the Pro Bowl.
In Jackson’s first year as offensive coordinator for Cincinnati, the run game posted its highest yards per game average (134.1) since 2000. Dalton passed for 3,398 yards, Green totaled 1,041 receiving yards and Hill rushed for 1,124 yards as a rookie.
“Hue Jackson will be a tremendous leader for our football team,” said Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations. “He has vast knowledge and expertise, invaluable head coaching experience, and his players have thrived under his tutelage. His track record of relating to players as people off the field while also getting the most out of them on the field will help us establish a culture of accountability and the expectation of winning. Hue understands and embraces the collaborative work that needs to be done to positively impact our results on the field. He will be a terrific partner in our efforts to build a winning football team.”
In his one season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011, Jackson went 8-8 and finished in a tie for first in the AFC West. The Raiders missed out on the postseason because they were on the wrong side of a tiebreaker with the Denver Broncos but notched their best record since 2002. The Raiders ranked ninth in the NFL in total offense and seventh in rushing offense despite a midseason injury to quarterback Jason Campbell.
Jackson has been an offensive coordinator at six different spots, four in the NFL — Cincinnati (2014-15), Atlanta (2007), Washington (2003), Oakland (2010), USC (1997-2000) and Cal-Berkeley (1996). A quarterback in his playing days who served as a dual-threat option for Pacific University in 1985 and 1986, Jackson has worked mostly with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers during his 29 years of coaching.
Jackson spent 14 years at the college level, going from a graduate assistant at Pacific all the way to offensive coordinator at USC, before receiving his first shot at the NFL. Jackson survived a coaching change between 2001 and 2002, working under Marty Schottenheimer for the first season and Steve Spurrier for the second. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati’s longtime head coach, was the defensive coordinator on the 2002 squad. Lewis left to become Cincinnati’s head coach in 2003, the same year Jackson was promoted to offensive coordinator.
Lewis first hired Jackson in 2004 following Spurrier’s resignation to coach wide receivers, a spot he occupied through the 2006 season. Before joining the Raiders in 2010, Jackson spent two seasons (2008-09) as quarterbacks coach for Baltimore, helping the Ravens advance to the playoffs both years. He was vital in the development of Joe Flacco, who was named NFL Rookie of the Year in 2008 and became the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games.
“I’m a very enthusiastic person. I exert a lot of energy in coaching,” Jackson said. “I love coaching all aspects of it: offense, defense and special teams. I’ve had an opportunity to be involved in all of it. At the end of the day, we’re going to do a great job of hiring a great staff.
“I think what our fans will be proud of and excited about is we’re going to be a football team that’s going to play very excited football. We’re going to be passionate about what we do and we understand there’s a lot of work involved in order to meet our goals.”
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
College: University of Pacific
NFL experience: 15 years
2016-present: Cleveland Browns (head coach)
2014-2015: Cincinnati Bengals (offensive coordinator)
2013: Cincinnati Bengals (running backs coach)
2012: Cincinnati Bengals (secondary/assistant special teams coach)
2011: Oakland Raiders (head coach)
2010: Oakland Raiders (offensive coordinator)
2008-09: Baltimore Ravens (quarterbacks coach)
2007: Atlanta Falcons (offensive coordinator)
2004-06: Cincinnati Bengals (wide receivers coach)
2003: Washington Redskins (offensive coordinator)
2001-02: Washington Redskins (running backs coach)
1997-2000: University of Southern California (offensive coordinator)
1996: University of California-Berkeley (offensive coordinator)
1995: Arizona State (quarterbacks coach)
1992-94: Arizona State (running backs coach)
1990-91: Cal-State Fullerton (running backs/special teams coach)
1989: University of Pacific (running backs/special teams coach)
1988: University of Pacific (wide receivers/special teams coach)
1987: University of Pacific (graduate assistant)
In my opinion, Hue Jackson is the right choice from the the candidates interviewed by Jimmy Haslam and the Browns to be their next head coach and here’s why I believe that:
He has previous NFL head coaching experience with the Oakland Raiders in 2011.
He has experience as an NFL and college Offense Coordinator most recently with the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the OC with the Raiders, Falcons and Redskins. In college he called plays for USC and Cal.
He has experience in many different NFL coaching roles with 5 different NFL teams (Redskins, Falcons, Ravens, Raiders and Bengals) during his 15 years in the National Football League.
He comes from the Cincinnati Bengals, a team in your division, so he already knows all three teams in the AFC North that you play twice a year and must beat to win the division.
He has experience in working with quarterbacks from being an OC and QB coach in the NFL, while also playing the quarterback position in college at Pacific.
He has experience working for a dysfunctional NFL franchise from when he was the head coach in 2011 with the Oakland Raiders. He guided them to an 8-8 record, still their best record in the last 5 years.
He has playoff coaching experience as an assistant from throughout his NFL career.
You strengthen the Cleveland Browns with an experienced head coach and also at the same time, you weaken one of your rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals who won the division in 2015.
With his 15 years in the National Football League with 5 different teams and with different coaches, he should be able to put together a solid coaching staff.
Addition by subtraction! He’s not Mike Pettine, Rob Chudzinski or Pat Shurmur. The Browns actually got a head coach they wanted instead of having to settle for their third fourth or fifth choice.
Here is the official press release from the Cleveland Browns on the firings of Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine with thoughts from team owner Jimmy Haslam.
BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns on Sunday night relieved General Manager Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine of their duties.
Farmer joined the organization in March of 2013 as the Assistant General Manager and was promoted to General Manager in February of 2014.
Pettine was named the 15th full-time head coach of the Browns on January 23, 2013. In two full seasons with the team, he compiled at 10-22 record.
Owner Jimmy Haslam released the following statement:
“We greatly appreciate Ray’s and Mike’s dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns. We’ve made this decision because we don’t believe our football team was positioned well for the future. We are all disappointed with where we are and we take full responsibility. We will approach the search for our next football coach and executives to lead our football operations with a clear vision regarding what we need to do to build a successful organization. We will be methodical in looking for strong, smart leaders with high character who are relentlessly driven to improve our football team, willing to look at every resource possible to improve, and who embrace collaboration to ultimately make the best decisions for the Cleveland Browns. We are fully committed to bringing our fans the winning organization they so clearly deserve.”
Owner Jimmy Haslam will be available to the media in the postgame press conference room at FirstEnergy Stadium at approximately 8 p.m. tonight. Accredited media may park in the North Port Authority lot and should enter through the west service-level gate.
Without any hesitation I can say that the Cleveland Browns were the far better football team yesterday in all aspects – offense, defense, special teams and coaching. I picked the Browns to win the game because after watching the Steelers over the last 2 weeks I was able to see that they are an old team that lacks talent and should replace both of its coordinators. The Browns are a young team that has some proven talent and some potential young talent, with a head coach who actually seems to know what he’s doing and really loves his job. Kudos to Mike Pettine and his staff for making this team respectable this early in the season. Now let’s see how they handle prosperity.
The Browns should be favored in their next three games; at Jacksonville, then home against Oakland and Tampa Bay. I expect them to go no worse than (2-1) in those games and be at least (5-3) if not (6-2) after 8 games. Then the schedule gets tough with games at Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore. Plus home games with Houston, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. So you better win the games you’re supposed to win and see if you can play .500 ball the second half of the season. If the Browns can do that, they could be looking at 8, 9 or even 10 wins. If you get to 9 or 10 wins, then you could be talking playoffs.
Having said all that, the Browns were (3-2) after 5 games last year and ended up (4-12). The difference this year I believe is an easier schedule over the next 3 weeks, Brian Hoyer is your QB and not Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell, and a coach who the players actually believe in. Those 3 things should make a huge difference.
However the Browns are going to have to do it without one of their best and most respected players – Alex Mack. The Pro Bowl center reportedly broke his leg in yesterday’s 31-10 win over the Steelers and is expected to be lost for the rest of the season. John Greco filled in nicely on Sunday against Pittsburgh, but how he performs moving forward will affect the Browns offense in a big way, not to mention Paul McQuistan moving over to take Greco’s spot at left guard. The offensive line has been this team’s MVP’s so far this season. Their depth is going to be tested the rest of the way.
Nobody was harder on the Browns front office for ignoring the wide receiver position in the draft and in free agency than yours truly. Early on it looks like Ray Farmer and the Browns were right and I was wrong. We’ll see if Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin can both continue to make plays and if Miles Austin can stay healthy, but this group with some help from the O-line and Brian Hoyer have performed better than I thought they would. Plus they’ll get All Pro wide out Josh Gordon back for the 11th game of the season at Atlanta, which will have a huge, positive impact on the entire group.
Hats off to Chris Tabor and the special teams. A few weeks ago they were a laughing stock. The last 2 weeks, they have been solid and made big plays to change the momentum of the game. They were a big reason the Browns won in Tennessee and also against Pittsburgh yesterday. Good decisions, fundlemental play and no mental mistakes go a long way in helping your team win. Some of those things might not be sexy, but they help you win.
And last but not least, happy 29th birthday to local “Mr. Hero” Brian Hoyer. I used it as a trivia question yesterday at my Browns appearance at Jo Jo’s Sports Bar in Medina and someone knew right away that October 13th was the Browns starting quarterback’s birthday. A year ago I don’t think anyone would have known or cared, but after you lead the biggest road comeback in the history of the NFL and your kicking the Steelers butts all over the field, people start to notice and pay attention. It’s still a small sample size (8 starts), but it’s getting bigger and the results are the same. Hoyer is now (6-2) as the Browns starter and can be a free agent at the end of the season. Your call Jimmy Haslam and Ray Farmer. Do you believe enough in him to sign him now and maybe save some money, or do you wait until the end of the season and roll the dice? Yes you have Johnny “Jam Boogie” waiting in the wings, but he is nowhere near being ready to be a starting QB in this league. The Hoyer contract situation will be another story line to follow as this season progresses.
Dan Gilbert, Jimmy Haslam and Paul Dolan,
Gentleman, I’ve completed the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” and did so by getting 3 buckets of ice ice water dumped on me so I could challenge the 3 owners of Cleveland’s sports teams to see who would step up and meet my challenge.
The clock is ticking, you have 24 hours, give or take a few, to complete the challenge. Can’t wait to see the video proof.
Here’s my video proof –
Pick #8 – Browns – Justin Gilbert – Cornerback – Oklahoma St.
Pick #15 – Steelers – Ryan Shazier – Linebacker – Ohio St.
Pick #17 – Ravens – C.J. Mosley – Linebacker – Alabama
Pick #22 – Browns – Johnny Manziel – Quarterback – Texas A&M
Pick #24 – Bengals – Darqueze Dennard – Cornerback – Michigan St.
First year General Manager Ray Farmer was wheeling and dealing his way through the first round and filled two huge needs for this year’s team at cornerback and quarterback, while also picking up a first round pick and a fourth round pick from the Bills in 2015. Gilbert was the best cornerback in this draft, while Manziel may not be the best QB in this draft, but he’s one of the best, and is by far the most polarizing figure in the entire draft. Owner Jimmy Haslam knows “Johnny Cleveland” will sell tickets and merchandise even if he sits the entire year and will bring young fans back to the Browns, which is extremely important to a franchise that was losing some of its fan base. Can he play and can his body withstand the punishment it will take at the NFL level? Only time will tell. But for a night, and on paper, the moves and picks the Browns made look very good.
Kevin Colbert needed help at cornerback and wide receiver and instead went for a linebacker in the first round for the second year in a row (Jarvis Jones last year). Shazier racked up a lot of tackles at Ohio State, but did so for a below average defense in a weak conference. Cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Jason Varrett were staring the Steelers in the face and Colbert passed on both for the 4th best linebacker in the draft. Shazier does fit the mold of linebackers who can get after the quarterback in the Burgh, but needs work against the run. Pittsburgh fans better hope Shazier impacts the team more than previously drafted Buckeyes Cameron Heyward and Mike Adams.
It’s tough to question the birds G.M. Ozzie Newsome, so I’m not going to. The Ravens get a solid linebacker against the run, who plays from sideline to sideline and did so in the toughest conference in America, the SEC. Mosley is not a get after the quarterback linebacker like Shazier in Pittsburgh, but he’s a more complete, fundamentally sound linebacker who can quarterback the defense.
Talk about a solid player falling into your lap, that’s exactly what happened to the Bengals with Dennard. Cincy was looking for help for their aging secondary and they got it with a tough, physical defensive back from Michigan St. At pick 24 it really couldn’t have worked out any better for Cincinnati, as they got in most people’s eyes, the second best cornerback in the draft late in the first round.
So overall the AFC North did very well in day one of the NFL Draft. Now it’s back to work for all of the G.M.’s to try and continue their roll in the 2nd round. The Browns will be up first with the 3rd pick in the second round and look for Cleveland to target a wide receiver and an offensive lineman. WR’s Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson are there as well as a pair of OL guys in Xavier Su’aFilo and Cyrus Kouandjio. They could also look at Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. So plenty of options to pick from and impact the team even more. It must be fun to be Ray Farmer right now!
As the Browns begin workouts for the upcoming 2014 season, they now know who, when and where they are playing. They also think they know who their quarterback is for this year as Brian Hoyer is recovering from an ACL tear and looks to be on schedule to be the team’s starting signal caller on Sunday, September 7th in Pittsburgh.
But what if Hoyer has a setback and isn’t ready? Even if he is ready, is Hoyer the quarterback for the future? If not, who is? These are all questions that owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Ray Farmer, head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are asking themselves, and each other.
As the May 8th NFL Draft draws closer and closer, the Browns brass better have multiple plans to address their quarterback situation for the here and now, as well as for next year and beyond. With that in mind here are some options the Browns will consider as they try to find that franchise quarterback, or at least, a quarterback who they feel can lead this team for the next few years.
Option 1: Roll the dice and draft who you think the best quarterback is with the 4th overall pick in the draft. Your candidates would be Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater.
Roll the dice in a different way and pass on the QB at pick #4 and take the best player available, and then come back at #26 and take the best quarterback that is still left on your board.
Go with the best player available strategy again at pick #4 and then see how far some of these quarterbacks fall in the first round, and if the one you like continues to slide but you don’t think he’ll be there at #26, then make a trade to move up in the first round and get that guy. You have plenty of draft picks to use as trade chips.
Option 4: Really roll the dice and pass on taking a quarterback at all in round one, and then, with your 2nd round pick at #35, you finally select a QB from the guys that are left, and who is ranked highest on your board.
Wait until the later rounds and draft a quarterback that you think is a sleeper because of your personal information, private workouts and interviews.
Take the best player available at #4 and then wait and see what the Buccaneers do at pick #7. I had one source tell me the Bucs might have some interest in Johnny Manziel if he would fall to them at #7. If he does, and they select him, then you could inquire about whether or not Tampa might be willing to trade last year’s 3rd round pick, quarterback Mike Glennon who started 13 games for the Buccaneers last season, going (4-9) while throwing for over 2,600 yards with 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
If you don’t really believe in any of the quarterbacks in this year’s class to be your franchise QB of the future, another trade possibility to look into would be with the Washington Redskins for Kirk Cousins. One source told me Washington realizes they’re probably going to lose him down the road to free agency and might be willing to deal him for a 2nd or 3rd round pick so they at least get something in return for him as opposed to him just walking away in free agency after 2015. Plus the Skins don’t have a first round pick this year due to the RG3 trade, so they are looking to add picks. Browns could offer a 3rd or a 4th for him, but not a 2nd.
Another potential trade target is Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots. Mallett has learned under, and has been Tom Brady’s back up for three years. However the 6’6 – 245 pound signal caller has thrown just 4 NFL passes during the regular season. Bill Belichick made the decision to draft him in the 3rd round in 2011, but with Mallett set to become a free agent after this 2014 season, Belichick has to make another decision. Is Mallett the Pats quarterback of the future, or do they trade him and at least get a draft pick for him before he leaves through free agency at the end of this year? Mike Lombardi loved him and would have been working the phones with his buddy Belichick, but Lombardi is gone and now it’s Ray Farmer’s call. How much, if at all, does Farmer like Mallet, and what would the Browns be willing to give up in the draft to trade for him?
The Browns go with Brian Hoyer as their starter for 2014. Add veteran QB Rex Grossman as his back up in free agency and then use two of their ten draft picks at some point on quarterbacks they like and see if one or the other can develop into a starting quarterback.
Wait until after the 2014 season and go after a free agent quarterback during the 2015 off season. Potential candidates are Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet, T.J. Yates and you own Brian Hoyer. Maybe Hoyer proves this year that his performance last year wasn’t “fool’s gold” and you resign him as your starter.
If I was able to come up with ten legitimate quarterback options for the Browns as they approach this draft, I’m sure JH3 and the boys have at least ten more that I haven’t even thought of as they continue to search for the one thing that has eluded this organization since their return to the NFL in 1999, a franchise quarterback.
After hearing Browns G.M. Ray Farmer’s press conference from 4-28-14 add these two names as options for the Browns at quarterback – Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen will get tryouts with the Browns during minicamp this week.
So whose quarterback model will the Cleveland Browns follow? I’ve been looking in my crystal ball that Bill Belichick loaned me to try and find out. Will it be that of the big, strong quarterbacks like Ben Rothlisberger in Pittsburgh and Joe Flacco in Baltimore, who have a total of 3 Super Bowl wins? Could it be that of the Cincinnati Bengals who have, at best, an average quarterback in Andy Dalton, but have surrounded him with a lot of offensive weapons? Or might they go with the smaller, more mobile quarterback like the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson?
New G.M. Ray Farmer must decide which way he feels is best for this Browns team. If the owner has any influence, and I believe he does because Jimmy Haslam III has taken a more hands on approach, I’ve got to believe JH3’s preference would be that of the bigger framed, more prototypical drop back type quarterback who can take a hit or two and not miss many games. This is what has been successful in the AFC North and it’s what Haslam saw when he was a minority owner with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With that in mind, it would lead one to believe that the quarterbacks the Browns would be targeting then are Blake Bortles early in the first round, or guys like Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron or Zack Mettenberger later in the draft.
However maybe I’m way off base and Farmer and Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the boys in Berea are feeling lucky and are willing to roll the dice on quarterback who prefers to roll the pocket and make plays with his feet as well as his arm. If that’s the case, then Johnny Manziel would be the guy.
Give Ray Farmer credit, in his first year on the job he’s keeping everyone guessing as to which way the Browns will go. However, while Farmer hasn’t tipped his hand as to which type, or which quarterback he likes best, the one thing I do know for sure is, the Browns with 10 picks in this draft, will use at least one, or maybe even two of those picks on a quarterback. That’s the one thing that is crystal clear about this draft for the Browns!