The firing of head coaches in the middle of a season has seemingly become increasingly common in the NFL over the course of the past decade or so, teams no longer willing the ‘ride it out’ before making a chance. But it’s still quite rare to see one of those head coaches fired accepting another position within the same season.
Evidently that is what’s in store for former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson, who was dismissed after going 3-36-1 in his two and a half years with the team, including a best of 2-5-1 this year. He was replaced by Gregg Williams, who is 1-1 so far and has improved the offense, despite being the defensive coordinator and Jackson coming from an offensive background.
He built that background primarily with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he served one year as the defensive backs coach before moving on to coach the running backs, and finally helped the Bengals to two of their best offensive seasons as offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015.
The Bengals, who have been doing so bad on defense that they just fired their defensive coordinator, with Marvin Lewis saying that he will take over those defensive duties, are now reportedly planning to bring Jackson in for some as-yet undisclosed role.
Jackson went on a series of interviews after he was fired, during which his only goal seemed to be defending himself and his recent track record as a head coach, seemingly burning bridges along the way and saying that he was never given the team that he needed to run things the way that he wanted.
Perhaps a part of him knows that he squandered his chance to ever lead a team again as a head coach, which prompted him to take on a role that is less than that so soon. Or perhaps he thinks he can salvage his reputation over the second half of the season to be in line for another opportunity as early as 2019 to be a head coach.
Perhaps it’s worth noting that, before Jackson accepted the head coaching job with the Browns, there were reportedly talks about him being named Lewis’ successor in Cincinnati. There were reports that Jackson and Lewis discussed this together and with owner Mike Brown, but when Brown wasn’t willing to put it in writing, Jackson sought other opportunities.
Is it possible that he is being brought back with the idea of him being in line for the head coaching job for whenever Lewis steps away, which could be any season? He has contemplated retirement on a number of occasions, yet keeps signing new one-year deals. Continuing to fail to make the playoffs won’t make it any likelier that he stays around.