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Joe Flacco Credits Browns' Hue Jackson With 'A Lot Of Stuff I Learned'


Joe Flacco has had five different quarterbacks coaches during his nine NFL seasons.

The man that kicked it off was current Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson, who still holds a place in Flacco's heart.

As the Ravens prepare to travel to Cleveland, Flacco will get ready to duel with Jackson, the brains behind the Browns offense and the man that helped launch Flacco's career.

"Hue is great," Flacco said Wednesday. "[I have] a lot of respect for Hue; I had a lot of fun here with him, a lot of fiery battles between us and a lot of really good times our first two years. I love him.

"A lot of what he taught me is a lot of the reason I am here and the reason we still play the way we do. A lot of stuff I learned came from him."

Jackson was part of the Ravens entourage that traveled to Delaware on that rainy day in 2008 to watch Flacco throw at his pro day. Jackson said he was "banging on the table a ton" to draft Flacco and still vividly remembers what he saw that day.

"I've only been around another talented passer that way, and that was Carson Palmer," Jackson said. "Not trying to compare the two, but the way Joe throws the ball so effortlessly, it looked like a little bit of Carson to me throwing the ball. There's not a ball that he can't throw. He's so big and so strong."

Under Jackson, Flacco went to the AFC championship as a rookie, then followed it up with one of his finest seasons in 2009 when he threw for 3,613 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His quarterback rating (88.9) was the third-highest of his career.

Jackson said Flacco was open to coaching as a rookie. He listened. Flacco may have gotten some of his voice from Jackson too. Over the years, Flacco developed into a Super Bowl champion and a very confident (and outspoken) quarterback behind the scenes, and those are two words often used to describe Jackson.

"He has worked extremely hard to get to where he is," Jackson said. "I don't think people truly understand the passion that Joe has to push himself and be one of the best players in this league.

"I have always admired Joe from afar, obviously, after I left there. I will always watch him and want the best for him other than the two times we play him."

Flacco laughed remembering how Jackson used to go onto the pregame field and try to get in the heads of opposing coaches and players.

"As a head coach, I don't know if he will be coming out and trying to put any bad thoughts in my head," Flacco said. "It would be funny if he did."

Flacco will worry less about Jackson than the Ravens defense, which will have to try to decode his offensive creativity. While Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan brought exotic blitzes last week to M&T Bank Stadium, Jackson is kind of like Ryan's offensive counterpart.

"The circus is in town," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We are looking at film from three or four years ago of all these funky formations. We are expecting Hue to throw the kitchen sink at us.

"They have a receiver over there who was once a quarterback, so we are expecting everything – some Wildcat, Polecat offense. Don't be surprised if they come out there with that 'Little Giants' formation, the Flying V. They have something up their sleeve for us; we just have to be able to prepare for it and react for it."

Just like Flacco has respect for Jackson, so does Suggs. The Ravens' brash, trash-talking linebacker said Jackson was the only person that could match his verbal jabs.

The Ravens have followed Jackson's career, which has had its fair share of twists and turns.

He left Baltimore in 2010 to be Oakland's offensive coordinator, then head coach for one year. In 2012, he went to Cincinnati, where he was the secondary assistant and special teams coach, then running backs coach (2013), then offensive coordinator (2014-2015). Now Jackson is back in the saddle as a head coach trying to turn around Cleveland's franchise.

"They think they have something special, and they think he is the guy to lead them," Suggs said. "We respect him a great deal, and we know we have our hands full this week."

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