Ex-Raiders coach Hue Jackson hasn't been told what he did or didn't do to get fired by the Raiders, but he really doesn't want an explanation. He's collateral damage as part of the regime change going on in Oakland. Mark Davis inherited ownership when his father Al died in October, then this week Reggie McKenzie was hired as the second GM since Al Davis held that role -- amid every other position of power, including owner -- since taking over in the 1960s.
Jackson is the latest in a long line of ex-Raiders coaches. He's feeling the same thing so many others have: After hoping he'd become part of the legacy, he was kicked out of the club for failing to do things quite the right way -- namely, by not winning enough. The Raiders finished 8-8 but tanked after getting out to a 7-4 start. Jackson coached one season and was done after being promoted from the offensive coordinator position.
Jackson didn't help his cause by looking like an opportunist after Davis died. Those aren't just my perceptions: They come from GMs and other executives around the NFL. Granted, Jackson was thrust into the role of decision-maker and franchise front man when Davis died because no one else in the building was poised to take over. However, Jackson came off as a guy trying to seize power before he'd earned it.
That alone could hurt him when it comes to getting another head coaching job anytime soon. It might even prevent him from landing an offensive coordinator gig, even though his larger body of work proves he can X-and-O with just about anyone in the game.
"Sometimes people can take things and run with them," Jackson said Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed, when he visited the NFL Network and NFL.com. "I've seen so many things said about me being power hungry, that I want to be the GM. I've never said that. I don't know many coaches in the National Football League that don't want input on his team, his coaching staff or how to go about conducting practice."
In the postgame news conference following the Raiders' season-ending loss to San Diego, a game in which a win would have secured a trip to the playoffs, Jackson ranted about wanting more juice and how "pissed" he was at his players for coming up short. Jackson said he doesn't regret how he felt and that he told his players the same thing he said to the media. However, he did something coaches don't do, and that's sell his players out, then claim to want authority to change things.
It was a major no-no that will outlive people's memories of him as a solid offensive coach in the NFL.
"When I said I wanted to have stronger input on offense, defense and special teams, I said that because the team was already set," Jackson said. "The coaching staff, for the most part, is what Al wanted; when I said that, that's not throwing coaches under the bus.
"I just wanted to know that I was going to have the opportunity to make some changes based on going through the year and seeing what I knew needed to be fixed. That's where I said I wanted to have some input. I knew what needed to be done to take the next jump. Not because I wanted to take over."
On Tuesday, he learned from McKenzie that he wouldn't be blowing another whistle with the organization. Jackson reiterated what he told Yahoo! Sports columnist Michael Silver, that he believes the decision to fire him came from Mark Davis. Jackson said he didn't want to make it seem he was undermining McKenzie's authority to make organizational decisions, but he believes that edict came from the top, contrary to McKenzie's claims that the decision was his.
"At the end of the day, it's his football team," Jackson said of Mark Davis.
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It doesn't matter where the decision came from, though. The result is the same, and Jackson is out of work. He hardly left the Raiders in shambles. If not for injuries to running back Darren McFadden and others, Oakland very well could have made the playoffs instead of Denver. Quarterback Carson Palmer, who Jackson and other members of the organization acquired from Cincinnati in a midseason trade for a first- and a second-round draft pick, will be back, in better shape. He'll also likely be more dialed in, especially after McKenzie said other quarterbacks will be brought in to challenge Palmer for the starting job.
A new coach will be hired -- Green Bay assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach Winston Moss apparently is the leading candidate -- and a lot of the current staff will be replaced. People who've been employed in part because of the Raiders' legendary cronyism could be out, just like Jackson. That might be the only way McKenzie has a chance to succeed.
"It's a good football team; it's a team that's been 8-8 two years in a row now, challenged for the AFC West," Jackson said. "Things are in place for Reggie. Mark, he won't be what Al is, but he'll be what he needs to be. They're going to do what they need to do to get to where they want to go. There are a lot of good players there. They need to find ways to finish games. They get that done, they'll be where they want to be."