The fired Browns head coach didn’t have to wait long and look far to find a new job in the National Football League. Jackson is serving as a special assistant for the Bengals under head coach and good friend Marvin Lewis.
“It is good to have him here,” Lewis said.
So what does this do to the Browns plans against their in-state rivals? Does it create an advantage for the Bengals or not?
“I can’t say. I can’t predict any of that stuff,” Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams said. “There is nothing private in our world anymore. Every single clip of film is out there for everybody to watch – I always smile at that – when people are looking at all of the things from red zone to everything that is out there. It is about execution. We have to go and execute. Even in practices, our guys know what the guys on the other side of the ball are going to be doing, but they get out-executed at times. Those are things that we have to do.”
“Hue is not playing any snaps, OK? We are playing the Browns,” Lewis said. “Hue was there as the coach and that is kind of the end of it.”
One advantage the Browns have is time to prepare for the matchup. The Browns are coming off their bye week. Knowing they are seeing their former head coach, the extra week provides time to change their signals and snap counts. Did that take place?
“No. I learned a long time ago that it is more important that we know what we are doing than somebody else,” Williams said. “That was pounded down my throat when I worked with (former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator) Buddy Ryan many years ago. I brought up something just like you did, and he ripped me pretty good.”
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As for the players, the gameplan is simple, focus on the Bengals and not the former head coach now on the opposite sideline.
“There is so much information passing through the hallways of NFL buildings,” Joel Bitonio said. “If they want to worry about trying to know our play calls or something like that, then there is something that they are not focusing on for the week of preparation. We are going to worry about what we run, how we call it and try to do the best job possible. They have to some good players over there that we have to really focus on.”
“I am so excited,” Baker Mayfield said. “Anytime that you get to play somebody that you are familiar with, it is always fun, whether it is former teammates, former coaches, people from college recruiting wise that you have met through different camps and stuff like that. I think that is always fun.”
“We know what they are going to do, defensive back T.J. Carrie said. “They know what we are going to do. So there is not really more scheme-wise that they can really dive into that we can surprise them with. It is all going to be about going out there and playing smash mouth football.”