Hue Jackson is listed as the Bengals' Assistant Special Teams Coach and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach. It's a bit odd when you think about it, because he has five years experience as a wide receivers coach, eleven years experience as a running back coach, six years experience as a quarterbacks coach, and eight years experience as an offensive coordinator. Most recently, he was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011, who ranked 9th in team offense, but 29th in team defense.
He hasn't coached special teams since 1991, and he has never held a position on the defensive side of the ball. Until this year, when the Bengals signed him in February to help out in both those phases. A little bit of a head-scratcher, right? That's why we think that the Bengals have brought in Jackson as an insurance policy for if/when Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden possibly receives a head coaching offer from another NFL team.
For the coming season, though, Jackson is already making his presence felt on all sides of the field. When A.J. Green made a catch over the middle at Tuesday's OTAs, Jackson playfully remarked "Hey A.J. Green, if this was a game, you'd be on your way to Christ Hospital", according to Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson.
"He's always on (the offense and defense). It doesn't matter," Green says.
On the ball Green caught over the middle, Jackson's joke was really a pat on the back for cornerback Terence Newman.
"(Green) didn't see the corner coming off the receiver over there and our guy played it perfectly," Jackson says.
This time around, Jackson's guys are the cornerbacks and safeties, not Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. If you remember, Jackson was also with the Bengals from 2004 to 2006 as the wide receivers coach when Johnson made the Pro Bowl every year and Houshmanzadeh averaged 1005 reception yards a season.
Jackson's energetic style of coaching has a way of making every one around him listen. His cornerbacks are already giving him praise after just three days of practice.
"He communicates with us. He's down to earth. He gets on our level," says rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. "He's coached receivers and now we're learning the tricks. He's showing us pointers. What receivers like to do. How they like to do it."
"He's been in the league for a while. Maybe he wasn't a defensive coach, but he knows defense, that's for sure," Leon Hall says. "You can tell just by the confidence when he's telling you something. He seems very comfortable with our defense already and he has the insight of what the offense is going to do."
Jackson's unique coaching experience has helped him forge a great connection with Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer and Defensive Backs Coach Mark Carrier too. Zimmer loves the offensive brilliance that Jackson brings to the defensive side, while Carrier is adamant that Jackson is not his assistant, but rather, "We're working together".
And while Jackson is doing all of this on the defensive side of the ball, his other boss, Special Teams Coach Darin Simmons says that Jackson's energy has become "contagious" on special teams. The Bengals may have a long term plan ahead for the 46-year-old Jackson, but, for now, he's more than pulling his weight with the current team.