Oakland Raiders Make the Correct Head Coaching Move: Hue Jackson Is a Winner
Many in the media and otherwise love to credit Tom Cable for the turnaround with the Oakland Raiders. They say "he got the shaft" or "Al Davis is crazy (again) for firing a coach that led them to their best season in 7 years.
But when you look at a football team that improves, you have to look at what about that team improved to cause it. Tom Cable was the same guy that coached the team the previous too seasons with double digit losses.
Isn't he the same guy that Davis stripped of play calling duties.
Did the offensive line that Cable is known for play well?
Does Cable even have a system of Xs and Os?
How about his judgement of talent?
Was the Raider's season an accident because Cable's win-less starting quarterback got hurt?
The Raiders went defense with the first two draft picks in 2010 but the run defense was still No. 25. The Raiders have always had a top 10 pass defense with a couple of off years so no change there.
Jason Campbell came to Raider Nation and went 7-4 but he is a player.
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Defensive coordinator were the most notable changes to the Raider coaching staff in 2010. The Raiders didn't win games on defense so that rules Marshall out.
That leaves Jackson as the answer.
Turn the page to see why.
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The thing about the Oakland Raiders that improved the most the offense. They were ranked No. 31 in yardage and scoring in 2009.
In 2010, the Raiders scored twice as many points, moving them up to No. 6 in the category. They also moved up to No. 10 in yardage with almost 100 yards per game more.
What more can you ask for from an offensive coordinator?
Fire and Motivation
Cable took all of the credit for motivating his players to give it their all. I'm not hear to say that he didn't but form the start of training camp, Jackson was the one that created tempo on offense.
Reporters and players alike sang the praises Jackson shouting at players and getting things going. He even talked trash to the defensive players, tell them the next play and dared them to stop it.
Then the Raider offense goes on to reach the top 10 in scoring and people somehow forgot about that.
Swagger was the biggest thing the Oakland Raiders were missing from 2003 to 2009. The Raiders seemed to have a little of it in 2010 and it was Jackson's swagger that rubbed off on them.
Who else tells the defense the play and dares them to stop it.
About that, Jackson said, "I want to build a bully here. I want everyone in the stadium to know that we're running the ball and they still can't stop it."
Bullies have plenty of swagger.
Not only did Jackson improve the Raider offense but he did it the Al Davis way. He brought the power running game and the vertical offense back to Raider Nation.
It's not just a mentality, it's a mindset that goes back to the swagger slide. Davis' motto is, "Other teams take what the defense gives them. We take what we want.
Davis is now in the twilight of his life.
Should he pass on some time soon, he entrusted his franchise to man who shares the same philosophy. He didn't just do to please the boss because it was he that suggested the Ravens run 20-yard outs, hooks, and digs to take advantage of Joe Flacco's big arm.
Davis wants the Al Davis way to live beyond his years.
From philosophy comes identity.
Cable was a position coach turned head coach so he has no offensive system. I don't even think that the Raiders had an offensive coordinator in 2009.
They had a passing game coordinator.
What the heck is that?
It means my head coach has this zone blocking system to run the ball but really doesn't have too much for the passing game. Under Cable in 2009, the Raiders had no identity on offense therefore, had a hard time scoring points and moving the ball.
Jamarcus Russell didn't help things but the Raiders still had nothing in which they were known for. Now, the Raiders are known as a power running team that will throw the ball over the top.
Is there really an argument as to where that identity comes from.
Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, and Chuck Noll all had identities for their teams.
Use Of Talent
Darren McFadden looked as if he were ready to be labeled a bust. But Jackson came to Raider Nation and was able to get something out of his immense talent.
Jackson was to McFadden who Lou Sabin was to O.J. Simpson.
Sure McFadden was hurt last year but he only averaged only 3.9 yards per carry when he played.
So what did Jackson do differently.
The first thing he did was ask McFadden what types of plays he likes to run. When McFadden answered, Jackson put those plays in for him and McFadden flourished.
McFadden was previously held hostage by Cable's zone blocking scheme that no longer worked.
A coach has to know how to use his talent when he inherits a team he didn't build.
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There is nothing like a man with an ability to do something and hunger to go along with it. His passion and hunger are among the traits that wowed Davis and have his players.
Both traits were on full display at his press conference a few days ago. He said, "My job is to do everything in my power to help the Raiders win the Super Bowl."
That's big talk!
Rex Ryan was very similar to that when he first went to coach the Jets in New York. Jackson displayed that hunger even more when asked about his improvement of the offense.
He said, "We didn't improve enough to go to the playoffs and the Super Bowl."
All Cable could say was, we're not losers anymore.
Jackson has since hire Al Saunders as his offensive coordinator and is looking to add more coaches to his staff. This shows a trust he has in Jackson that he hasn't had in a head coach in a long time.
He has also left an impression in other places with players on both sides of the ball. Some of them are to be free agents this off season.
Does that mean that Oakland will suddenly become a place big named players want to be?
It will if the pride and tradition of the Raiders is restored.
It looks as if that just may happen because Jackson is a winner