In a fairly surprising move Tuesday, the Raiders fired Hue Jackson after he went 8-8 in his one season as head coach. The decision came less than a week after the Raiders announced the hiring of general manager Reggie McKenzie. The move begs the question: What does this mean for the future of the Raiders in general and specifically Jackson's highest profile acquisition, quarterback Carson Palmer?
The Raiders have been mulling changes, and incoming general manager Reggie McKenzie was being advised by several people that the situation with Hue Jackson was untenable. Players and coaches thought the power went to Jackson's head after Al Davis passed, and his words and actions created a negative reaction.
But this move is as much about what owner Mark Davis believed was right, as anything else. This move isn't made if he doesn't want it made. And if McKenzie hires anyone other than Green Bay assistant Winston Moss as the new coach, that would be a major surprise.
As for Carson Palmer, the Raiders won't have many other quarterback options, and the best free-agent fit would be Jason Campbell; Jackson's handling of Campbell after the QB got hurt was one of the things working against Jackson. They can get out of Palmer's contract easily after 2012, and Green Bay's Matt Flynn knows Moss well ... but I'm not sure that's where Flynn will want to go, or that the Raiders would dump Palmer after just over a half-season of his services. After all, they dealt two high draft picks (a first and a conditional second) for him.
Jackson changed the offensive system to make it as close as possible to what he and Palmer ran in Cincy. That certainly could change now.
The firing of Hue Jackson was not a huge surprise. When Reggie McKenzie was named general manager, he wanted people he was familiar with and people who were going to want to fall in line with the philosophy he's learned from former Packers GM Ron Wolf (particularly the methods Wolf used to scout players, hire staff and build teams). With Jackson saying he wanted more power, that probably prompted some misgivings.
Though McKenzie probably didn't survey players, he likely took the temperature of the organization and realized it would function best if he brought in people he is comfortable with. Unfortunately for Jackson, several GMs and coaches I've spoken to viewed him as being too power-hungry once owner Al Davis died and his image has taken a hit.
It is clear that new GM Reggie McKenzie wants to build his own program and does not want to waste his honeymoon year evaluating a head coach he didn't hire. There is clearly a Ron Wolf influence on McKenzie and his management style. Look for a solid group of former Packers employees to join him in the next few days. As for Carson Palmer, he will be the Raiders' quarterback in 2012 and should do well in a new offense.