Hue Jackson’s boss sounds like he would be disappointed if his offensive coordinator didn’t have some extra emotions entering Sunday’s season opener against the Oakland Raiders, the team for which he served as head coach for one season in 2011.
“I would hope there would be,” Marvin Lewis, now entering his 13th year as Cincinnati Bengals head coach, said on a conference call Wednesday. “Anytime I go back to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, there’s extra juice.”
Lewis served as a defensive coordinator with the Ravens for six years, including their Super Bowl-winning season in 2000, and coached linebackers for the Steelers for four seasons.
Jackson’s time with the Raiders wasn’t as long. He was the offensive coordinator under Tom Cable in 2010, then succeeded him as head coach the next year. The Raiders went 8-8 both seasons, the only non-losing seasons Oakland’s had since reaching the Super Bowl in 2002.
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That wasn’t good enough for him to stick around and he was fired after the arrival of general manager Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders have gone 11-37 in the three subsequent years and this will be his first game back in Oakland since his dismissal.
Lewis first hired him in 2012 to be his secondary coach and assistant special teams coach – Jackson’s only season on defense in 29 years of coaching.
“He brings that defensive mentality to the offense,” Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green said of Jackson.
Lewis sees him as a strong mentor to the entire team.
“He has tremendous expertise,” Lewis said of Jackson. “He’s been a mentor for some of the younger players. When he first came back here he was coaching on defense. He really helped some of our young guys along. He’s continued to do a great job now with the offense and the development of our offense all the way through.”
Is Lewis surprised, considering the relative success Jackson had during his one season in Oakland, that he hasn’t landed another head coaching job?
“It’s not my call, but I’m looking forward to doing everything we can to help him get there,” Lewis said.
The long-time Bengals coach will also see a friendly face Sunday when he looks across the sideline. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was Lewis’ linebackers coach with the Ravens from 1999-2001.
“He did a great job coaching our linebackers, and every step along the way has been very, very successful,” Lewis said. “I’m extremely happy for him now. We’ve been close friends for a long time, and I’m just glad he has the opportunity to do this and to do this back home.”