If new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie had any doubts about whether Hue Jackson was moving the Raiders in the right direction, the former Packers director of football operations got the definitive answer last month at Lambeau Field watching Green Bay manhandle Oakland 46-16.
As the blown defensive assignments, missed tackles and embarrassing losses mounted, Jackson’s boast about building a bully rang ever more hollow. Not only did the rookie coach fail to make effective scheme or personnel adjustments when a once-promising season turned rotten, Jackson stunningly lobbied for even more say in the organization at his final news conference.
Hard to believe, but Jackson was reportedly shocked to hear of his firing Tuesday.
Certainly Darren McFadden’s lingering foot injury that prevented him from playing even a single down with Carson Palmer compromised Jackson’s offensive options, but setting franchise records for touchdown passes allowed (31), opponents’ rushing yards per carry (5.1) and total yards allowed (6,201) hardly inspired the confidence of team owner Mark Davis or his new general manager.
Throw in an all-time NFL worst 163 penalties, plus four losses in the final five games, and Jackson’s fate was sealed.
Now, after missing the playoffs for a ninth straight season, the Raiders are searching for their sixth head coach in the past seven years. Wisely, Davis has decided that McKenzie, who has two Super Bowl rings from his 18-year tenure in Green Bay, will make the call.
Interestingly, if Green Bay assistant Winston Moss gets the job as many expect, it will mark the fourth straight time the Raiders hired an assistant with no prior head coaching experience. Moss, who like McKenzie played for the Silver and Black, would also be Oakland’s first head coach with a defensive background since John Madden. Davis also gets kudos for consulting
Madden along with former Raiders and Packers executive Ron Wolf on the hiring of McKenzie.
Without a pick until the fifth round of this year’s draft, the Raiders will have to be creative and enterprising in rebuilding through free agency and waiver pickups, a talent McKenzie built his reputation on with the defending Super Bowl champs.
A self-professed old-school guy, “I go with my gut a lot,” he said in vowing to win a championships here.
It’s a fresh start yet again for the Raiders, who lead the league in neverending high hopes and broken dreams.
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.