ALAMEDA –- It seems certain that Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be fired up to face his old team. The former Raiders head coach will orchestrate the Bengals attack against the team that fired him after just one season in the captain’s chair.
There will likely be some extra motivation to show well against his old team.
“I would hope so,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday in a conference call. “Anytime I go back to Pittsburgh and Baltimore there is extra juice.”
Lewis was the linebackers coach in Pittsburgh and defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Both times he left for an equal or better job during his career ascent.
Jackson led the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011 -– equal to the team’s highest win total since 2002 -– in his only season as head coach. He was offensive coordinator the year before, when the team also went 8-8. A relatively productive stint didn’t grant clemency.
General manager Reggie McKenzie fired Jackson after the 2011 season and hired Dennis Allen. Jackson admittedly took it hard.
"That was hard," Jackson said in an interview with ESPN. "We were kind of close. I thought we were. But we just didn't get it done. At the end of the day, it's still a performance business. I thought we had a chance to make the playoffs, and we didn't do it."
The Raiders were in position to make the postseason in 2011, but missed out in the playoffs are losing four of their last five games.
"They can decide to go into a different direction at any time, and that's what they did," Jackson told ESPN. "But I'm beyond that now. That's in the rearview mirror."
Jackson said it took some time to get over the firing, but he’s at peace with it three years removed. Now he considers it an education.
"I'm still my get-after-you, type-A personality person, but at the end of the day, I knew there were some things that I could have done differently and better, and I've learned from that," Jackson said. "Everybody learns from their first experience, and I did.
Jackson might get another shot to be a head coach, but the Bengals appreciate having him on their staff right now.
“He’s got tremendous expertise,” Lewis said. “He’s been a great mentor for some of the young players when he first came back here and he was coaching on defense. He helps move our young guys along and continues to have done a great job now with the offense and the development of our offense all the way through.”