10 January 2012

Raiders Fire Hue Jackson

For the second consecutive season, the Oakland Raiders, who had not had a .500 season since going to the Super Bowl in 2002, have fired a head coach after going 8-8. Tom Cable was fired after going 8-8 last season and Hue Jackson, the offensive coordinator from a season ago, has been fired today after going a similar 8-8. No coach since Jon Gruden has lasted three years and two, both African American ironically, have lasted just one season (Art Shell and Jackson).
While Jackson did a solid job this season, this hiring is not all this surprising if you think about it.
Jackson was not fired because of the job he did this season. He came very close to winning the AFC West and was ultimately done in by losing starting quarterback Jason Campbell in week six and their best player, back Darren McFadden, in week seven and the acquired Carson Palmer was up and down while carrying the offense and still a little rusty. But had Jackson made the playoffs, he wouldn't have lost his job. So why did he then?
Because new general manager Reggie McKenzie, a widely respected personnel guy from the Packers organization, wanted to hire his own coach. Even sharing an agent with Jackson did not sway his decision that he wanted his own guy to run the show. Which is not that unreasonable even as it appeared that Jackson was the coach that was leading the Raiders, who had been mediocre for too long, in the right direction. So you can't really blame McKenzie for firing Jackson although at first glance you could.
It seems that the odds-on favorite now to get the job is Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss, who has been considered a head coaching candidate for a few years now by some teams.
Jackson, after putting together a couple quality offenses in Oakland, will be in hot demand as an offensive coordinator by many teams.
UPDATE: McKenzie did want to hire his own guy of course and Moss does look like the early favorite.

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