Hue Jackson busy rebuilding Browns coaching staff
By Thomas Moore
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson continues to tinker with his coaching staff, this time hiring Ken Zampese as quarterbacks coach.
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, apparently eager to get as many allies as possible in Berea in the wake of 1-31 start to his coaching tenure, made more changes to the coaching staff on Friday.
The Browns officially announced the hiring of Adam Henry as wide receivers coach and hired Ken Zampese as quarterbacks coach on the team website.
In addition, Jackson has removed quarterbacks coach David Lee, special teams assistant coach Shawn Mennenga, special teams quality control coach Stan Watson and running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson.
That group joins Chris Tabor, who left his position as special teams coordinator earlier this week to take the same job with the Chicago Bears, and Al Saunders, who is being re-accommodated from senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach to something called senior assistant/special projects.
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Wilson may be the most surprising of the dismissals, as the Browns running game has been effective in his two years on the job. In 2016 the Browns averaged 4.9 yards per carry, the second-best mark in the league and the highest per-carry average by the franchise since 1966.
This past season the Browns slipped to an average of 4.5 yards per carry, but that was still good enough for a No. 3 ranking in the league.
As for Zampese, it’s not surprising that he would appeal to Jackson as the two worked together with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2012 through 2015. Of course, the last time the NFL saw Zampese he was being fired as the Bengals offensive coordinator two games into the 2017 season after the Bengals offensive players went into open revolt.
Zampese is experienced, however, as the spent 13 seasons as the quarterback coach with the Bengals, working most notably with Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton. He also helped Jon Kitna have a solid season in 2004, which could not have been easy.
Zampese will not be calling plays in Cleveland, which is nice, but also highlights a bigger problem as it seems more and more likely that, despite the urgings of general manager John Dorsey, Jackson will not be giving up the offensive coordinator duties.
The Browns did bring in Houston Texans quarterback coach Sean Ryan for an interview, but since wants to be an offensive coordinator he never had a realistic chance with Jackson.
The coaching moves this week means that Jackson has almost completely overhauled his coaching staff from the one that opened the 2016 NFL season. He is on his second defensive coordinator, his third quarterbacks coach, his second offensive line coach, will be on his second special teams coordinator once someone is hired, his second defensive line coach and his second secondary coach.
Yet, somehow, the man most responsible for the team’s historic two-year run, remains comfortably ensconced in his position.
Next: Browns hire Adam Henry as wide receivers coach
Which is part of the problem when the head coach reports directly to the owner rather than the general manager.