Hue Jackson helped broker the Carson Palmer trade to Oakland which helped the Cincinnati Bengals rid themselves of one major headache and acquire multiple draft picks to help strengthen their young roster. Now, thanks in part to new Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie who fired Jackson as Raiders head coach, Jackson is returning to Cincinnati and will get to develop those draft picks he sent to the Bengals.
It's not often when a team has the opportunity to add a coach of Jackson's stature as an assistant. While Jackson officially has been assigned responsibilities with both the secondary and special teams, his input will most definitely be larger than that.
Jackson and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis first became acquainted while both were on staff with the Washington Redskins. Lewis brought Jackson to the Bengals as wide receivers coach in 2004 where Jackson helped develop one of the most productive receiving corps in the NFL.
Jackson took the opportunity to move up to offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 where he also worked with Mike Zimmer on the short-lived Bobby Petrino staff. While Zimmer went to the Bengals after the staff was let go, Jackson moved on to the Baltimore Ravens where he helped improve the Ravens receiving corps.
Jackson served two seasons in Oakland, one as offensive coordinator and the other as head coach. Oakland was 5-11 the season before Jackson arrived and has finished 8-8, narrowly missing the playoffs both years Jackson was part of the staff.
Jackson brings familiarity not only with Lewis and Zimmer, but also Bengals backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. Andrew Whitworth and Domata Peko are the only holdovers from the 2006 Bengals team that Jackson was a part of.
Jackson is the perfect assistant not just for his vast NFL experience, but for his skill working with young players. He will be an invaluable asset to both special teams coach Darrin Simmons and secondary coach Mark Carrier. Simmons and Jackson worked together here in Cincinnati while Carrier and Jackson were both together in Baltimore.
The timing of the move is strategically advantageous as well. The Bengals schedule features a slate of games against AFC West opponents next season. Jackson brings a knowledge of those opponents that most teams don't have with non-divisional foes.
While much is made, and rightly so, about the caliber of players on the roster, too often the quality of the coaching staff is overlooked. Not only is Marvin Lewis putting together a championship roster, but he's building one of the better coaching staffs in the NFL as well.
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