It is no secret that Hue Jackson is back in Cincinnati after the Browns fired him. It was a hope and secret the usually stone-faced Marvin Lewis could hardly hide at his Monday press conference. The thing we’ve been waiting for is some clarity on what exactly he will be doing. The title of special assistant to the head coach is pretty broad, and people have been speculating about what his role could possibly be with the team.
Lewis cleared things up a bit during his press conference on Wednesday though when he said Jackson would have “no involvement” with the offense. That may come as a surprise to some fans considering almost all of Jackson’s coaching experience (outside of being a head coach) comes from coaching on the offensive side of the ball.
However, this feeds the narrative that Lewis will be using Jackson as a resource to help with more of the duties he’d normally be focusing on as the head coach while Lewis takes over as the team’s defensive coordinator, in addition to remaining head coach. Things like time management and challenges have to be at the top of that list considering how much Lewis will need to concentrate on during games as he is trying to talk up his defenders for the next drive.
“It’s just the timing of everything and so forth as we see. We’re running a little short on time for me, but we’ll make due... With me in the morning, addressing the team. How long do I spend? And then moving on to the defense. How long do I spend,” Lewis said of how he’s going to be busier than ever.
What has been slipping under the rug the past few weeks is how bad the offense has been. Sure, they gave up huge point totals to the Chiefs and Saints, but the starting offense only managed to put up a total of 14 points against both of those defenses. Those defenses just happen to be two of the worst in the NFL, so it should be cause for concern on that side of the ball as well. But, Jackson isn’t here to help the offense.
“He’ll continue to look at things analytically, he has a lot more exposure to that than I’ve had,” Lewis said of Jackson’s new role in Cincinnati. “So that’s helpful because we have the data and just how to continue to use the data correctly. And he’s been involved in that quite a bit.”
But Lewis says Jackson’s role will be “separate from the offense.”
“The preciseness of things and helping with that as we go to the practice field and making sure things are as precise as the opponent hopes to have it,” Lewis added, also saying Jackson can help in an administrative-type way (similar to special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons) moving forward.
Also of note, Jackson will be on the sidelines — not in the booth — on game days.
This news also gives some foundation to the idea that Jackson could be the next in line as head coach. It is likely an ideal scenario for Mike Brown to not only have Lewis show Jackson the ropes with a little more detail, and also for Brown to get an impression of what kind of head coach he could potentially be. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Jackson also spoke with the Cincinnati media on Wednesday. He was very clear that his intent isn’t to steal anyone’s job. He also stated in several ways that he is in Cincinnati to do whatever the Bengals need him to do.
It is rare you can add a coach who your head coach trusts enough to essentially hand any portion of his team over to while he focuses more on an area of the team that needs help. We’ll start to see on Sunday how Jackson’s addition helps the Bengals.