So, Raider Nation, for the second consecutive week the Al Davis has brought in an assistant coach with ties to current head coach Tom Cable. "We continue to evaluate the staff and make changes to get better achievement," senior executive John Herrera said Tuesday. "It's still an ongoing process."
Cable talked to the media for the first time since the end of the season and had this to say with regards to the latest staff member, Raiders new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
"I think it's a good decision by the organization," Cable told National Football Post today. "It's someone that I'm familiar with. It's someone that I think can help us take the next step, so we're all pretty excited about it."
Excited about what exactly?
"Well, I think we have a chance," Cable said. "I think we've gotten to that level of competitiveness that it takes. The next step will be the hardest, and that's getting to the playoffs. But that will be the goal."
What about your status going forward as the Oakland Raiders head coach?
"We've been meeting constantly and talking about how we can get better," Cable said. "We're continuing to do that as we get ready for the draft."
Hue Jackson and Cable worked together on the staff at Cal-State Fullerton in 1990 and at the University of California in 1996.
Jackson seems to think that Cable will be the man in charge, under Al Davis of course, of the Oakland Raiders staff next year.
“I felt very comfortable at work with Tom, and we have very similar thoughts,” Jackson said. “Every job you’re working against the clock, you never know if you’re going to be there from one year to the next.’
‘Everything that I know is that Tom is [coming back]. We’ve had great conversations about what we would like to accomplish as we continue to move forward. There’s no thought in my mind that he would be [gone].”
Jackson has had the opportunity to be an offensive coordinator twice before in Washington and Atlanta respectively. There is a lot of heat on the fact that both of those offenses were far short of spectacular, and the general idea is that Jackson is better suited as a positional coach.
That is unless you ask his former Washington QB Tim Hasselbeck, “Eventually, people thought the best thing to do was let Hue call the plays and deal with our protection issues. One thing about Hue, he relates to players well and does an excellent job of keeping things fairly simple. [It was] Not simple to the point of remedial, but simple to the point that players understand their responsibilities.”
That is why I personally like this meeting of the minds, so to speak. Cable will now be able to focus more of his attention on his forte, the offensive line, while Hue Jackson has made quite a name for himself due to his contributions with skill players, like running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks.
I don’t think the Raiders could’ve made a better hire for their opening. A guy who has not only worked with Cable before, but also has shown good knowledge of the skill positions, which allows for Cable to focus on the trenches more. He is also a good character guy, and sounds as though he has a smart level head on his shoulders.
Jackson’s quarterbacks during his days as a positional coach have included Carson Palmer, and Delaware turned Baltimore sensation, Joe Flacco. However, in his two years as offensive coordinator in Atlanta and Washington, Jackson was stuck with the likes of Tim Hasselbeck, Patrick Ramsey, Joey Harrington, and Chris Redman. It's not exactly what most would consider tools to success.
The Raiders current quarterback situation is not much better. JaMarcus Russell has put himself on the outs with his fans, coaches, and fellow teammates at this point, aside from a very limited few who still believe he has what it takes and has been put bad situations with bad supporting casts.
But Jackson seems to relish the challenge of turning the young falling stars career around. “This guy was the first guy drafted and it’s going to be fun for us to see if we can get him up and playing the way we all wish that he could perform. Everybody’s got to do their part so that the QB has an opportunity to be successful,” Jackson said.
Fun? Far be it for me to say, but that word sounds like you’re going to the county fair. In contrast, the job of making JaMarcus Russell play at a level "we all wish he would play" sounds more like organizing the entire county fair…by yourself.
To quote a line from Raiders’ beat writer Jerry McDonald, “If Jackson turns Russell around, he's a miracle worker.”
"I'm hired as the offensive coordinator, and I'll be the primary play-caller," Jackson told the Baltimore Ravens' team Web site. "That's my role. It's a chance to go out and assist the head coach and be the best offense we can be."
So what kind of offense should we expect to see from Hue Jackson?
Well most coaches at all levels are a product of the different things they’ve done in their career. Jackson has a well versed and diverse background.
He coached the west coast offense with Paul Hackett at USC. He coached the downfield throwing offense with Bob Bratkowski at Cincinnati. He has worked at the NFL level with the power running game at the forefront with John Harbaugh and the Ravens, and also been influenced by Steve Spurrier’s unique passing attack as well as Bobby Petrino in Atlanta.
The Raiders have a ton of talented skill players on offense, so it will definitely be interesting to see what type of product takes the playing field for the Raiders in 2010, and hopefully it will be fun and entertaining as well.