The Cleveland Browns may be on the verge of hiring Hue Jackson as their head coach, unless the New York Giants hire him first.
The Cleveland Browns have entered the quiet phase of their search for the 16th full-time head coach in franchise history.
After a busy five days of interviewing candidates last week, things have been quiet ever since the Browns’ search committee finished up its interviews on Sunday with Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
The Browns broke the silence late today, though, as they confirmed that they had a second interview today with Jackson.
The lull could quickly be coming to a close, however, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Rapoport has been pushing the story hard that the Browns are on the verge of hiring Jackson, but Jackson’s actions make it appear that he is still working through his options.
In addition to the Browns, Jackson interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers, but interest may be waning on the part of the 49ers:
Jackson is scheduled to interview on Thursday with the New York Giants, who are eager to get Jackson in the building, according to Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News:
"That will happen on Thursday morning in New York, when the 50-year-old Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator interviews for the Giants’ head coaching job. He is a “serious” candidate to replace Tom Coughlin, according to a team source — so serious that the Giants were trying at one point to push up the interview a few days so they could talk to him before somebody else hired him."
"It isn’t clear if Jackson, the former Oakland Raiders head coach, has any other actual offers, but a source close to him said he wants to hear what the Giants have to say before he makes a choice."
So it sounds as if Jackson is just keeping his options open and doing his due diligence before accepting another head coaching job, meaning that his arrival in Cleveland may not be as imminent as some would believe.
The Giants can also offer one thing that the Browns can’t, which is stability. The Giants have only had three head coaches since 1993, while the Browns have employed eight in the same time span.
There is also this somewhat puzzling follow-up tweet from Rapoport about Jackson’s interest in the Browns:
We’re not sure what “significant personnel control” means, but owner Jimmy Haslam has specifically said that Sashi Brown, the executive vice president of football operations, will have final say both on draft day and on the final 53-man roster.
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Brown, presumably, will include Jackson and general manager to be named later in those decisions, but if Jackson wants to be the one making the final call on the roster, that seems like it would be a deal breaker on the part of the Browns.
Jackson would be an interesting choice for the Browns as he is credited with helping to turn Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton into a decent quarterback. Jackson also brings with him knowledge of the AFC North Division after spending the past four years with the Bengals.
Cincinnati was just middle of the road in overall offense under Jackson – finishing 15th in the NFL both years – but the Bengals did improve in points per game from 15th in Jackson’s first season to seventh this year.
Prior to joining the Bengals he spent one years as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, finishing 8-8. While that may not sound like much, that season is tied for the best finish by an Oakland team since 2002.
The only thing anyone is certain of in this latest coaching search is that no one knows what will happen until it happens.