Running backs coach Kyle Caskey says Jeremy Hill is going to come out of it OK.
INDIANAPOLIS - Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens general manager who brought Hue Jackson back into the AFC North eight years ago, had no time to worry about Jackson's impact on the toughest division in football when he was named the Browns head coach last month.
But after Jackson's two stints with the Bengals that included forays into defense and special teams and one as the Ravens quarterback coach who pushed for the drafting of quarterback Joe Flacco, Newsome knows it is a formidable hire.
"I try not to worry too much about the 31 other teams. I worry about the Baltimore Ravens because that's the team that I have
some control over," Newsome said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine. "I'm just glad that Hue, who had that opportunity in Oakland, decided to work his way back up through the ranks by working on the defensive side, working on special teams, now he's better prepared to be a head coach. We have to find a way to beat him twice a year."
The Ravens were 0-4 against Jackson's Bengals offense the last two seasons and eight years after Flacco went to Baltimore in the first round, Jackson looks to be in the market again for a first-round quarterback at No. 2. Newsome knows what that looks like after Flacco took the Ravens to the AFC title game in his second season under Jackson and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
"Hue has a way of relating to players," Newsome said. "Cam was the OC but the calmness that Hue brings in his relationship with Joe or just with anybody in the building, I think that was very beneficial in Joe's ability to go out there and play in his firyear. I've got a lot of respect for Hue."
After spending seven seasons in Cincinnati in a variety of jobs for head coach Marvin Lewis, Jackson says the Browns are too different from the Bengals to replicate a model.
"It's a great organization. An organization I'm very fond of," Jackson said. "But we have to do it our way here. I obviously learned a lot there, people were for me and good to me, but at the same time we have to do what I think is best for us to have success."
HILL TO CLIMB: The last snap of Jackson's two-year tenure as Bengals offensive coordinator had an ironic, devastating twist. The Bengals set a franchise record for fewest turnovers in 2015, but their season became defined by running back Jeremy Hill's fumble at the Pittsburgh 20 with 1:23 left, turning a 16-15 win into their most devastating loss since Super Bowl XXIII, 18-16.
Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese said here Wednesday that Hill is using the play to fuel a better season in 2016. Zampese and running backs coach Kyle Caskey are pumping him up with positive vibes. Both have touched base with him more than once.
"He's doing well for himself. He's well aware what his situation is. He knows what needs to get better," said Caskey Wednesday. "You have to take the good with the bad and figure out why those bad things happened."
On the fumble, Caskey said the end-zone camera shows Hill's second arm coming up a second too late on Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier's forced fumble after a six-yard gain on first down.
"You can say he should have gone down, but he's playing football," Caskey said. "It's the heat of the moment. Unfortunately it was about two inches away from being down. He has to learn from those mistakes sometimes you do need to get down."
And on Hill's yards per average that dropped to 3.6 from his rookie year of 5.1, Caskey says they're looking for more decisiveness.
"It depends on the read he has. He just has to trust the block and what's going on in front of him," Caskey said. "Whatever his read is, sticking to that and not try to make something on his own."
But Caskey is also reminding him of how good a player he is. His 11 rushing touchdowns tied for the NFL lead last season. In the heart-breaking aftermath Caskey admitted there wasn't much to be said, but he says he told Hill, "You're a really good player and you have to remember that one play does not define you as a player."
Then a few days later in the exit interview he was told, "It's going to be a rough offseason because people are going to be constantly talking to you about this. You need to understand that it's going to happen. You just can't walk away from it."
"He's handled it well," Caskey said. "He'll come back strong. He's a very smart kid . . . he'll come back strong."
COMMITTEE WORK: Newsome, like Lewis, is a member of the league's competition committee said Wednesday the heavy lifting won't begin until it meets in Florida in a few weeks. But it sounds like the NFL is going to re-work what should be called the Giovani Bernard Adjustment when the owners convene next month for the league meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.
Bernard, the Bengals running back knocked cold by a crown-to-helmet hit by Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, suffered a concussion and a fumble in the Wild Card Game in the most malicious hit of the postseason. Despite Shazier clearly leading with his head, there was no flag or fine because the league said Shazier didn't line up Bernard after he took a couple of steps with the ball.
Look for a new rule or point of emphasis to outlaw the hit if you read between Newsome's lines. "As far as targeting, basically we have that with the launching, the hitting of a defenseless player. We have that," Newsome said. "We also have the leading with the crown. We have that rule in place. Will we do some tweaking with some of that? Yes, we potentially can."