INDIANAPOLIS -- As he begins his second stint as an NFL head coach, Hue Jackson said at the NFL combine Wednesday that his mission as the Cleveland Browns' coach is in part to replicate much of what his old boss, Marvin Lewis, did when he first started coaching the Cincinnati Bengals.
Three years into the job in Cincinnati, Lewis took a franchise that hadn't had a winning season across the 12 that preceded his arrival and turned it into a playoff team.
Confronting similar circumstances in Cleveland, Jackson wants to build his organization into a consistent winner -- and to do so quicker than Lewis.
"There are some similarities there in taking over an organization that wasn't doing well, and he's put his stamp on it," Jackson said. "I'm just trying to have that kind of effect, even faster."
Seven of Lewis' 13 Bengals teams have made it to the postseason, albeit with each of them coming up short in the wild-card round. The Bengals still haven't won a playoff game since 1991, although they were remarkably close last month before a costly fumble and a pair of late penalties contributed to a wild-card loss to the Steelers.
About two weeks after the loss, Jackson ended his two-year run as the Bengals' offensive coordinator to fill Cleveland's head coach vacancy. It is the second time he's held the title of head coach following his one season leading the Oakland Raiders (2011). After being fired by the Raiders, Jackson returned to Cincinnati during the 2012-15 seasons to serve a variety of assistant coach roles.
A member of the Bengals' coaching staff between 2004 and 2006, Jackson was part of the 2005 team that Lewis led to the playoffs in only his third season.
"He did it right," Jackson said of Lewis. "Those guys are a great organization and a great football team and they have a lot of great things going. I'm envious of anybody who's doing great across the National Football League because that's what we want to be and that's what we expect to be. But that said, I'm very comfortable and confident in where we're headed."
Jackson applauded Lewis' Bengals for using the draft to build a roster instead of free agency. That's a blueprint he hopes to follow in Cleveland.
It has been nine seasons since the Browns had a winning season. Jackson's Raiders had a similar track record. Along with the 8-8 record they posted when he was offensive coordinator in 2010, the 2011 Raiders' 8-8 mark was the closest the Raiders still have come to having a winning record since 2002.