Hue Jackson has just one year of experience as a head coach in the NFL, but it made quite an impression on one former league executive.
“Let me let you in on a little secret,” Amy Trask, a former CEO of the Raiders and now an analyst for CBS Sports, told Newsday on Tuesday. “I worked with a lot of coaches in the years that I worked for . . . I put Hue at the top of the list of coaches that I believe worked to make the football team the best it could be and worked to make the organization the best it could be . . . He’s a sensational football coach.”
Now the question is: Will the Giants get to find that out for themselves?
Jackson, 50, who has been the offensive coordinator of the Bengals the past two years, is one of the most coveted candidates on the market. He interviewed with the Browns and 49ers since the Bengals’ season ended Saturday, and he is scheduled to meet with the Giants in New Jersey on Thursday. The delay is because John Mara will be at the NFL owners meetings in Houston until then. Mara, on Tuesday, told Newsday that nothing would be happening with the Giants’ search until Thursday.
After that, though, things should move quickly.
“John (Mara) and I hope to resolve it by the end of the week,” co-owner Steve Tisch said in Houston. “I think we can.”
Tisch added that he and Mara plan to have a lengthy discussion on Wednesday. Tisch has not been involved in the actual interviews, but said general manager Jerry Reese has been providing him daily updates.
“I have a couple of candidates who I think would be potentially really good head coaches,” Tisch said. “I want to reserve expressing my thoughts to you until John and I and Jerry have a chance to talk.”
By then, there is a chance Jackson already could have a job. Although there are reports that the 49ers have decided not to pursue him as aggressively as once anticipated — and pushed up their interview with former Giants coach Tom Coughlin to Tuesday night in New York — the Browns seem to be making a strong push for Jackson. They held a second interview with Jackson Tuesday.
Jackson has indicated he does not want to make any decisions until after meeting with the Giants, but that could change. The Browns may be offering Jackson more of a role in selection of the players, something the Giants believe their general manager should handle. However, Mara said last week that the coach and GM need to work together to come to decisions and downplayed the idea of an absolute division of power. General manager Jerry Reese also spoke about the need to have a strong working relationship with the new coach.
If it’s Jackson, Trask does not think that would be a problem. She worked closely with him in Oakland on the day-to-day decision-making during his season as coach in 2011. The Raiders were 8-8, the last time they didn’t have a losing record, but incoming general manager Reggie McKenzie’s first move was to fire Jackson.
“I found him to be the most collaborative head coach with whom I ever worked,” Trask said. “I think the world of Hue. If I owned a team, I would trust him to coach it. And if I had a son who played college football, I would trust him to coach my son.”