Barring a total failing of reason, or business as usual with Al Davis, sometime next week Al should name Hue Jackson as his head coach for the next season, be it 2011 or 2012.
What does this mean for the Raiders? For one, business as usual, involving shakeups in coaching, free-agent signings and even the occasional press conference that comes with something of importance.
However, what in all does this mean for the Raiders, and for their coach, Hue Jackson?
For one, it could be given that instead of looking for the next head coach in Oakland, the interviews are more of the sort to see if someone wants to replace John Marshall, present defensive coordinator in Oakland. At times the Raiders defense was brilliant, shutting down Kansas City twice and making most of the AFC West look like high school players.
Other times, the defense looked like Swiss cheese, with particularly embarrassing games against the Dolphins and Jaguars causing migraines.
Would Al Davis leave Marshall in place, or would he look for another coach to continue a resurgence?
Part of the problem with the defense can be explained away—against the Dolphins late the team simply went on naptime. The last touchdown, by Ricky Williams, looked like the team simply said, "Stick a fork in us, we're done." Against Jacksonville, there were more than a few problems with play-calling, officiating and a hostile environment the Raiders were dealing with...changing a coach won't solve those problems.
Can the Raiders improve next year?
As for the rest of the coaching pockets, a question opens up on who would replace Hue as offensive coordinator, or is Hue going to try the Tom Cable stunt?
Didn't work too well for Cable, which prompted Al to bring in Jackson, but at the same time, play-calling wasn't Tom Cable's forte.
Al might look in his book of names, finding either someone in the playoff weeks that needs a new start and pulls him over. Or, he'll give Hue a year to see if he can handle the task, before making another choice.
Probably what will be the hardest part for the Raiders' new head coach is going to be keeping this talented bunch of players all in the silver and black. Some players were obviously unhappy with Al's choice to unplug Cable, which might also lead to a change of address for some players. Remember when Gruden left for Tampa Bay? It's a question of who signs the paychecks vs. team loyalty.
One assurance that Al Davis shouldn't undercut is the value Asomugha brings to the team. Via ESPN, Aso made it clear that he thinks there's a "great chance" that he comes back to the Raiders, after all those hard years. Given Al's penchant for making things happen, about the only thing that could stop it all...is a lockout.