Oakland Raiders Hire Hue Jackson, Al Davis Steals the Show
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Today should have been a day when the Raider Nation exhaled and looked to the future.
This day was supposed to be about the announcement of Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson being named the 17th head coach in franchise history.
Jackson looked the part in his black suit, white dress shirt and silver and black tie. He sounded the part talking schemes and team philosophy. Jackson carefully walked the line between cocky and confident.
He did his best to not only talk about the future of the organization, but to also reference the storied past as well.
On a day that took a lifetime to achieve, Hue Jackson went from top story to a mere afterthought. The Raiders organization might as well have former head coach Tom Cable up on the podium with Jackson and Mr. Raider himself Al Davis.
Why can’t the Raiders ever seem to get it right?
Here is a career assistant that has spent the better part of 20 years learning and developing his craft. His coaching career has taken him from his alma mater, the University of Pacific; to London, with the Monarchs of NFL Europe; back to the college ranks; which ultimately got him into the NFL.
From there, he never looked back.
Hue Jackson has paid his “coaching dues” and should relish in the moment of being named head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Jackson took a pitiful Raider offense littered with talented but underachieving players and in one season made an organization matter again.
Let’s get one thing straight: Hue Jackson is and was the right man for the job.
He has proved to be a motivator and has been tagged as a "players' coach," and went on to tell the media in attendance, “Today alone I got 20 text messages from our players, who are very excited about me being here, being the head coach, and they can't wait to get back here."
Jackson made it a point to reiterate that he accepted this position as Oakland Raiders head coach with every intention of winning the Super Bowl. Under Jackson, the Raiders ranked sixth overall in team scoring, compared to last year when they were 31st and next to dead last.
The offense had an identity and at times dominated any defense that lined up in front of it.
The most upsetting part of the press conference to announce Hue Jackson as Oakland Raider head coach was that his moment was so short.
Instead, the press conference turned into the media circus that is "The Al Davis Show."
And for some reason, whether it is his obviously ailing health or the fact that Al just cannot seem to let others have and enjoy the spotlight, he took over the show and never seemed to give it back the Hue Jackson.
In his defense, Davis was only doing his part in answering the volley of questions that were lobbed at him from every direction in regards to former head coach Tom Cable. But at some point, one would think that he would encourage the attending media to focus their questions on the future of the organization that is now under the guidance of the very capable Jackson.
No, Davis does what he does best, and that is give his thoughts and opinions on every topic that is asked of him. At times, he seemed to be the only person up on the podium.
What would have been wrong with Al Davis telling the media that there will be another press conference scheduled to cover all of the topics not pertaining to Hue Jackson and will focus on the current situation between the Raider organization and former coach Tom Cable?
Davis had every opportunity to loosen his grip on his inept franchise and prove to the sports media that he and his ego are in fact able to take a step back and let others relish in the well deserved spotlight.
Yes, his mind still seems sharp and his knowledge of the game is arguably second to none.
But time and the game have sadly passed him by and he still cannot accept that his philosophy and organizational vision has not adapted in ways that equal success on the field or in the draft.
The organization may belong to Al Davis, but for the time being, Hue Jackson is the man of the hour and the team belongs to him. If the past is any indication, Jackson will be on a short leash and will be expected to win right away.
If he does, then Al Davis looks like the genius and will surely take all of the credit.
But do not be fooled: Jackson has the pedigree and all the makings of an NFL superstar.
When this team marches into the playoffs next season, the lone man leading the charge will be none other than Hue Jackson.
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