Raider Nation, I hear you screaming in the streets. I see your Facebook statuses proclaiming your outrage. My Twitter timeline is dripping with your despair. I’m currently turning off my phone so the texts won’t interrupt this article. Wipe away your tears, and take a moment to read just why Hue Jackson ultimately HAD to go:
1) His team lost 4 of 5 games down the stretch, losing the division lead, and consequentially allowing the Raiders to fall out of the playoffs AND allow a rival (Denver) to continue a miraculous global-attention grabbing streak in the process. The Raiders had an opportunity to slam this division shut multiple times throughout this season. They should have closed the game out against Buffalo. They should never have permitted Tebow to…Tebow them. Did you see what happened at home against the Lions? And, with the season on the line, you absolutely cannot lose to a division rival (a division which you had swept the prior year) in the FINAL game of the season…and at home, no less.
2) In one of the most ridiculous moments of “How DARE you question my obviously stupid decision” ever, he brazenly boasted that his acquisition of Carson Palmer for 2 high draft picks (universally accepted as at least ‘questionable’) was “possibly the greatest trade ever…” This is the same Carson Palmer that was horrendous in his last year with the Bengals (seen what Rookie Andy Dalton did with a majority of the same players and coaches?) and threw for three more (16) interceptions than he did (13) touchdowns this year. Before “Enraged-Raiders Fan” pops a blood vessel while frantically typing about how Carson was “on the couch” when he was signed, and how he didn’t get the chance to get acclimated to the offense…Yes, and if all of that is true, that is proving my point on just how ridiculous of a trade it was in the first place. Not only that, if you take a look at his statistics over the last 3 years, this abbreviated 4-6 stretch (4-5 as a starter) with the Raiders was actually on par statistically. What does that mean? The Carson Palmer you saw this year, is the same Carson you’re going to see next year. Can get hot at times, but generally makes the key errors over the course of the game/season to give you a shot at 8-8. If you were expecting the same Carson that came out of USC, Heisman trophy in tow, slinging the ball around and having MVP-like numbers from ’05-’07, then you were sorely mistaken…and Hue was.
3) After falling out of the playoffs, losing several games by blowing double-digit 4th quarter leads with foolish penalties and questionable strategies along the way, losing a big-time (yet, admittedly, somewhat necessary) gamble on a the trade for Carson, all while watching your team OBLITERATE the NFL’s All-Time Penalty records, you can’t come out ‘GUNS-A-BLAZZIN’ talking about how you NEED more control and influence over the team, throwing your players and (essentially) your coaching staff under the bus with your rhetoric about being “pissed off” at the defense. You definitely can’t publicly throw your coordinators (Chuck Bresnahan) to the wolves without accepting some of that blame yourself. Were the players the ones out there missing tackles, throwing interceptions, and racking up penalties at a record-setting pace? Of course. Was Jackson the one directly responsible for running one of the league’s worst (statistically) defenses? Of course not. That WAS in fact Chuck Bresnahan. The key is, Jackson was ‘ultimately’ responsible for the final results on the field. Regardless of ‘how’ the Raiders ended up earning their 8-8 record, his name ultimately goes on the finished product.
Do I think the Raiders could have given him another year to prove himself, considering the death of Legendary Owner (regardless of your opinions on him) Al Davis, and all the injuries and turmoil the team had to overcome? Sure. New GM Reggie McKinzie, while well within his right to go in a new direction, definitely could have granted Coach Jackson the opportunity to have another go at it. Trouble is, this is a ‘results’ world, let alone league (NFL), and the Raiders have not had any truly positive results in 10 years. While the past 2 seasons have shown ‘promise’, all that gets you is a slightly worse drafting position in April. This is a once-proud organization that is looking to completely change the culture and image. The way the team fluttered down the stretch (with plenty of embarrassing moments along the way) and the fact that several games were definitely winnable, if only a culture of a higher level of accountability and professionalism had been generated, didn’t bode well for Coach Jackson. Jackson will get another opportunity in this league, and I (for one) hope he does sometime soon. He does possess a great deal of promise as an innovative offensive mind and an inner-confidence that can be magnetic and infectious (in a positive way). I do hope this experience with the Raiders organization teaches him a bit more about the savvy and maturity it takes to be a head coach in the National Football League. Jackson definitely has the potential, just needs a bit more polishing to ultimately be most effective as a leader and coach. In this world, we love the ‘hubris’ and ‘bravado’, but ONLY if you win. The only reason Rex Ryan is still coaching the Jets is because they were in the AFC Championship game a couple consecutive years. Watch what happens if have another catastrophic meltdown next year. The two of you may be competing for positions. Best of luck to you, Coach Jackson.
Jabari A. Davis
@NBARealTalkFB on Twitter
@NBARealTalk on Facebook