Dec 13, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson reacts against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bengals defeated the Eagles 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
So who should replace Callahan as the new OC?
I thought long and hard about going back to the past and saying Jason Garrett. At first, it would make all the sense in the world. After all, under Garrett as the offensive coordinator, Dallas finished in the top 10 in total yards four times, passing touchdown’s five times and passing yards all six seasons. Sounds like a no brainer right? The only issue is that I do not trust Garrett to avoid the urge to abandon the run as too many times, for some inexplicable reason this tends to occur under his watch.
There is only one guy I truly will advocate for. I’ve done so in the past and it still makes sense now. The 2014 offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys should be Hue Jackson.
Jackson brings every intangible you would want to the table. He’s young (48), experienced (13 years of NFL coaching experience) and talented. He’s been a quarterback’s coach, running backs coach, wide receiver’s coach, coordinator and a head coach. I am a huge proponent of having staff members who have that type of versatility, if for no other reason than to serve as a possible option for replacing Garrett if this team fails to achieve again next year. The numbers also back up the need for Jackson.
As a running backs coach in 2001 for the Redskins, his unit finished 8th in the league in rushing yards. When he was given the keys as their offensive coordinator in 2003, he improved the offense, despite the fact that the team progressively had got worse and worse, going from 8-8 in 2011 to 5-11 in 2013. From there, he moved on to coach the receivers in Cincinnati from 2004-2006. With the Bengals, he developed rookies T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry, helping take their passing offense from 12th before he arrived to fifth and sixth in the league in his last two years.
His second stint as an offensive coordinator came in 2007 with the Atlanta Falcons. Much like the Redskins job, he inherited a bad team getting worse but was able to take their passing game from dead last to 18th. He then moved to Baltimore, where in 2008 & 2009, he tutored Joe Flacco as the quarterbacks coach in Flacco’s first two years with the Ravens. Baltimore improved their passing game from 28th in 2008 to 9th in 2009.
Jackson’s third chance at coordinator came in 2010 for the Oakland Raiders. In Jackson’s one year there as coordinator, he improved their entire offense, taking the Raiders from dead last in passing touchdowns and second to last in total yards and points scored to 25th in passing touchdowns, 10th in total yards and sixth in total points. He also improved their rushing attack, taking it from 21st in yards and 28th in touchdowns to 2nd in both categories. One year later, he was given the job as head coach for the Raiders and got them to an 8-8 finish. The previous seven years, Oakland never had more than five wins in any season. Jackson was fired as head coach, because that’s what the Raiders do and it clearly has backfired on them. In the two years since his 8-8 finish, Oakland has totaled eight wins and have never eclipsed his offense’s production.
Will Dallas stay with Callahan and Kiffin one more year? There is little hope these days for Cowboys fans so I surely hope not. A staff featuring Hue Jackson and Ray Horton would give this team something fresh while providing options for replacing Garrett if 2014 produces another mediocre dud.