After talks with Todd Haley appear to have stalled, the Arizona Cardinals may be lined up to swoop another former head coach for their vacant quarterback coaching position.
Jackson, who was fired by the Oakland Raiders after just one season in charge, is one of a growing number of ex-head coaches chasing an ever-decreasing number of positions. The idea of a head coach interviewing for anything less than a coordinator position may seem unlikely, but Jackson is clearly aware that there simply aren't enough coordinator jobs to go around, and taking a job, any job, is better than sitting around and hoping for the best.
Jackson was hired by the Raiders in 2010 and served for one season as offensive coordinator before being made head coach in 2011. He had previously served as offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, Washington Redskins in 2003, and numerous college teams during the late '90s.
In the intervening years, Jackson has held the positions of quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach and running backs coach.
Jackson is known for being a journeyman coach, having not held a job for more than two seasons since his tenure as receivers coach in Cincinnati from 2004-2006. Clearly, Jackson views the Cardinals QB coaching job as more of a stepping stone, rather than a long-term position.
Jackson Brings Mixed Blessings
Bringing in an experienced coach like Hue Jackson clearly has it's benefits. Jackson did a good enough job as OC in Oakland to earn the head coaching job, and many felt he was very unfortunate to be dumped after just one season.
Jackson finished the season at 8-8, just narrowly missing out on a playoff position. The Raiders' passing game was solid enough, considering the injuries sustained by some key players along the way.
As QB coach, Jackson feels like a good fit for the Cardinals. He did wonders for the career of Joe Flacco while acting as QB coach in Baltimore, and he brings a wealth of offensive experience to a position where the Cardinals have definitely struggled since the retirement of Kurt Warner.
The Cardinals currently have two big, tall quarterbacks, in a similar mould to Flacco. John Skelton is 6'5" and 240 lbs, and he had a lot of comparisons to Flacco before the draft. At 6'3" and nearly 220 lbs Kevin Kolb is not exactly the same build as Skelton or Flacco, but is still known for being a physical, strong-armed QB, which Jackson has succeeded with in the past.
And with the Cardinals reportedly seriously considering signing still another big QB, Peyton Manning, Jackson would have all of the tools he needs in Arizona to improve their QB play significantly in 2012.
However, Jackson is not without his drawbacks. He is unlikely to be happy with a QB coach's gig as a long-term career goal, and as an African-American coach with coordinator and head coaching experience, the Rooney Rule will ensure that he gets plenty of shots at higher-up positions.
As a position coach, the Cardinals could not expect to keep hold of Jackson for more than a season. However, the Cardinals do not seem to have any plans to offer him anything more than that, given their unwillingness to to demote current offensive coordinator Mike Miller even for a close friend, and former Cardinals coach, Todd Haley.
As tempting as hiring a coach of Jackson's experience may be for the Cardinals, the team and their fans must temper their expectations, knowing that Jackson is, at most, a short-term solution. While the thoughts of what he could do in even a year is an exciting prospect, it's hard to think of Jackson as the answer to the Cardinals' long term QB concerns.
Jackson would be a nice addition to the staff for as long as the Cardinals can keep him, but anyone expecting a quick decision is probably going to be disappointed—the team will likely interview other younger coaches and try to sign them to longer-term deals before settling on someone like Jackson.
Hue Jackson is, of course, not the only candidate to have been named as a potential target.
Bruce Arians, the recently retired Steelers OC, has reportedly had talks with several teams, including the Cardinals, about vacant positions, according to Jason LaConfora. The Cardinals are a team heavily stacked with former Steelers coaches, so Arians would feel right at home, and Phoenix is a hot-spot retirement hot-spot, with dozens of former NFL coaches keeping homes in the area, so it would not be impossible to imagine in Arians choosing to wind down his career in Arizona, in spite of indications that he still intends to retire.