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Advantage, Hue Jackson's Bengals? Not necessarily, Browns say

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns will see their former coach across the field on Sunday when they play the Cincinnati Bengals.

How much of an influence or effect Hue Jackson will have on the game is a matter of opinion.

"I can’t say," interim Browns coach Gregg Williams said Monday as the team returned from its bye week. "I can’t predict any of that stuff. There’s nothing private in our world anymore. Every single clip of film is out there for anybody to watch."

"It’s a divisional game," cornerback T.J. Carrie said. "These divisional games, we play each other year in and year out, twice a year. We know what they’re gonna do. They know what we’re gonna do."

One player, though, thinks Jackson might make a difference -- and he has played for both the Bengals and Browns.

"He’s a smart guy," said guard Kevin Zeitler, who spent his first five seasons with Cincinnati. "He knew what we were doing here. So you gotta assume they know everything, and we’ll find a way around it."

NFL teams are known for seeking any advantage they can get. Coaches have been known to sign players released by one team as they prepare to play that team, figuring the signed player may provide one small edge.

The Bengals hired Jackson because Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis and Jackson are close and have worked together in the past. Jackson was with Cincinnati from 2004-2006 and again from 2012-2015 before he was hired by the Browns. He was fired on Oct. 29, then hired by Lewis a week ago. A year ago, Lewis said that Jackson was like a brother to him.

Zeitler left the Bengals for the Browns the traditional way -- as a free agent after the season. It’s hard to remember a coach being fired, then hired by another team during the same season, then facing the team that fired him.

"It’s surprising," Zeitler said. "You never expect that. But I’m happy Hue has another place to be. Cincinnati has always been good to him."

For the most part, the Browns shrug it off.

"I learned a long time ago: It’s more important that we know what we’re doing than somebody else," Williams said. "That was pounded down my throat when I worked with Buddy Ryan many years ago. I brought up something just like [that] and he ripped me pretty good."