Why Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Was Foolish to Fire Hue Jackson

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Head coach Hue Jackson  of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California.  The Raiders won 24-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders have announced they've found someone to fill their vacant general manager position—former Green Bay Packers director of football operations (and Raider linebacker) Reggie McKenzie, and he's already made a big move: firing head coach Hue Jackson.

It's been reported for a few days that McKenzie will be evaluating the status of current head coach Hue Jackson and wasn't entirely sold on retaining him for 2012 and beyond.

While it isn't uncommon for a new GM to want to bring in his own guy to be the head coach, it would have served both McKenzie and the Raiders organization well to keep Jackson on for at least one more season.

Under Jackson in 2011, the Raiders ended the year 8-8. They started the season 7-4, but lost four of their last five games and missed the playoffs. However, the Raiders posses a serious glut of talent, that given time to work together, should be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC West next season.

Cutting Jackson out of that equation significantly harms those chances, however. What teams need most of all is consistency. A quarterback will never develop properly if his coaches and coordinators keep changing, a defense won't understand the system if it changes with every season and one coach's draft picks may have little value to his successor.

Now that McKenzie has deemed Jackson not worth retaining, the Raiders will be taking a step back, not forward. Not even if McKenzie replaces Jackson with Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss, a name that has been circling these developments for a few days.

The biggest knock against Jackson might just be his long-term decision making skills.

After taking over personnel duties upon Al Davis' death, he chose to trade the team's 2012 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 second-round pick for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer after Raiders passer Jason Campbell suffered a broken collarbone.

In addition, he locked up Palmer's services through 2014, making him the team's ostensible starter at least in 2012. The Raiders are also without their second, third and fourth-round picks in this year's draft, and though they are due a few conditional compensatory picks, they still don't make up for the value they've already traded away.

McKenzie's number one concern should be the Raiders, both in their present iteration as well as in the future. Perhaps he felt that Jackson didn't take a similar approach when dealing for Palmer, and it was enough of a knock against him to cost him his job.

Truth be told, it's hard for a standing coach and a new general manager to see eye-to-eye about the future of the franchise, and Jackson was very much angling for a great deal of control over the Raiders.

While it might have been a rocky marriage in 2012, it would have behooved McKenzie to keep the player-beloved Jackson around for one more season.

While change that leads to progress is a good thing, change for change's sake rarely accomplishes much. Jackson should have given one more season before McKenzie determined that his services were no longer needed.