Glendale Community College's Jackson moves up in Cincinnati

While the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff has made plenty of headlines this postseason for its defections, one of the lesser-talked-about moves was a job change that may be just as impactful.

Earlier this month, the Bengals announced that former Glendale Community College wide receiver Hue Jackson was named the team’s new offensive coordinator.

Jackson, 48, takes over for Jay Gruden, Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator of three years, who left the Bengals to become head coach of the Washington Redskins on Jan. 9. Gruden was one of two coordinators to leave the Bengals as defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was also hired as the head coach at Minnesota.

The Bengals wasted little time in promoting Jackson, the team’s running backs coach, making the switch 24 hours after waving goodbye to Gruden.

“Obviously we had to move very fast and were able to hire Hue Jackson to move forward as our offensive coordinator,” Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said at a press conference on Jan. 10. “The thing to know is that a couple years ago when we had the opportunity to add Hue to the staff here, we didn’t really have the fit that some people probably thought, and Hue worked with the defensive coaches in the secondary and special teams, and it was the vision that if this would happen, we would have Hue here, and he have an opportunity, as he had last year to move over when Jim (Anderson) retired, to take this spot.

“The idea was that one day this would occur and that we would be able to keep the continuity of what we were doing and move forward quickly with that. I’m excited for that.”

Jackson, who spent his entire life on the offensive side of the ball, was hired by the Bengals before the 2012 season as an assistant defensive backs coach and assistant on special teams shortly after Jackson was unceremoniously booted by the Oakland Raiders after a one-year stint as head coach in 2011 in which he produced an 8-8 season.

Last season, Jackson moved over as a running backs coach.

Despite the flip-flopping, Jackson doesn’t see a rough adjustment ahead.

“What a tremendous group of players, having been here the last two years, working on defense, getting to know the defensive players, meddling in the offense with some of our guys and then having the opportunity to come over on offense and coach the running backs and be around our quarterback, offensive line, tight ends and receivers,” Jackson said at the press conference.

“It makes it a really smooth transition for me, because they kind of know me and I kind of know them. They don’t know me from a leadership standpoint of standing in front of a room, but they kind of know my personality and kind of how I see things, because I’ve been around.”

Jackson’s return to Cincinnati marks his second stint as he was a wide receivers coach from 2004-2007.

Perhaps Jackson’s biggest and most pressing issue is developing third-year quarterback Andy Dalton, who has led the Bengals to three straight playoff appearances and a recent AFC North Championship, but who has been shaky at critical times.

Dalton completed 29 of 51 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown, but two crucial interceptions in the Bengals’ 27-10 upset loss at home in the wild-card round of the playoffs to the sixth-seeded San Diego Chargers on Jan. 5.

“I think he’s a really good football player. Andy has won a lot of football games here. He’s been in the playoffs the last three years and it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t happened for him or his teammates in the games they have played,” Jackson said at the press conference. “I think he has tremendous upside. What I have to do is not just about him, it’s about the offensive unit. Everybody’s got to play better than they’ve played around Andy, and Andy has to continue to grow and get better at what he’s doing.”

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