CLEVELAND — Hue Jackson somehow survived a 0-16 season. Not everyone who worked for him with the Browns was as lucky.
Cleveland’s coach overhauled his staff on Friday, adding two assistants he knows from previous NFL stops.
Jackson hired former New York Giants wide receivers coach Adam Henry for the same role with the Browns and former Cincinnati offensive coordinator Ken Zampese will coach the quarterbacks. Henry previously coached tight ends under Jackson with the Oakland Raiders, and Zampese took over as the Bengals coordinator when Jackson was hired by the Browns in 2016.
The team also announced it has parted ways with run game coordinator/running backs coach Kirby Wilson, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, quarterbacks coach David Lee, special teams assistant Shawn Mennenga and special teams quality control coach Stan Watson.
Tabor had worked under four coaches with the Browns since 2011. He’s taking over as special teams coordinator with the Chicago Bears.
This is the second year Jackson has made significant changes to his staff. He revamped his defense after going 1-15 in 2016, only to follow that with the second winless 16-game season in NFL history. Still, he has the support of Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who have revamped their front office once again this offseason.
Jackson is still weighing whether to add an offensive coordinator after also having that role past two seasons. He interviewed Houston quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for the job this week.
Also, Jackson has a new consultant in former wide receivers coach Al Saunders, whose new title will be senior assistant/special projects.
“At the end of each season, you have to evaluate everything,” said Jackson. “The coaching staff is obviously a big part of that process and it starts with me. The truth of the matter is, we need to improve in every area. These are difficult decisions and for the coaches we’ve decided to part with, we thank them. They are good men, that have worked extremely hard and I appreciate their efforts.”
With the Browns expected to use either the No. 1 or No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft on a quarterback — maybe USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen — Zampese’s role will be vital to the team’s future. The 50-year-old has been a pro assistant since 1998 and spent the past 15 seasons with the Bengals.
In Cincinnati, Zampese worked with quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron. Zampese was fired as Cincinnati’s coordinator two games into last season after the Bengals scored just nine points.
“Adam Henry and Ken Zampese are two really good coaches that I was fortunate to work with earlier in my career,” Jackson said. “They have successful track records, having coached and helped develop some really good football players. They will demand a lot of our players and challenge them to become their best.”