When Hue Jackson became the coach of the Oakland Raiders after the firing of Tom Cable, many fans were ecstatic. There would be consistency, a fiery leader, a man who really knew football and commanded the locker room.
Hue promised to build a bully. He brought promises of being a mean, tough football team. And sure enough, the team jumped out to 4-2 and looked every bit the part. They were hard hitting, never gave up, they ran it down teams' throats, and they imposed their will.
However, recent developments have this team sitting at 4-4 and lucky to be tied for the AFC West lead. Hue Jax City's promises of the bully has instead turned into bullying the fans. Read on after the jump.
Raider Nation was beginning to feel genuine playoff aspirations. Division title dreams danced in the heads of all. But then it happened, Jason Campbell went down. Campbell had become a true leader who fit the team like a glove. He wasn't flashy, and he wasn't perfect, but he rarely turned it over and kept the offense balanced enough. From there, it all went downhill.
Some looked to the injury of Darren McFadden, others to the horrid play of Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer, still others called out the defense, I personally can look no further than Hue Jackson, who's proving to me that the tragic death of Al Davis will hurt the team more than I initially thought.
Hue Jackson has become simply infuriating since gaining control of the team. Trading two high-end picks for a past-his-prime QB who isn't mobile enough to survive in the scheme. It sounds bad doesn't it? It only gets worse.
From Carson Palmer, it seems Hue Jackson suddenly believed he had inherited the 09 Colts with Peyton Manning and all. In the Chiefs game, whether it was Boller or Palmer, there was a near complete abandonment of running the ball. I look at the first series of the third quarter as prime evidence.
Boller has just come off throwing three interceptions, a task not even JaMarcus Russell ever accomplished, and Michael Bush, meanwhile, was averaging around 6 YPC. So what does Hue Jackson, in all of his infinite football wisdom, decide to do? Pass the ball on all three downs, two passes nearly being intercepted. Such playcalling continued with Palmer, coming off only three practices, which led to three more INT's in a half of football.
This play calling would continue against the most recent loss to Denver. Michael Bush would only receive 19 carries, which he would gain 96 yards on, while Palmer would attempt an ungodly 35 passes. Really? Incredibly rusty QB against a great pass rush and Champ Bailey, you attempt 35 passes? This is just simply unacceptable.
Hue Jackson has seemingly gone from power, smashmouth football, to finesse pass heavy overnight. Oh wait, you mean there's more? Why of course there is.
Hue Jackson would now appear to be playing the game I hate most in football, the game of Favorites. Darrius Heyward-Bey was quickly going from scapegoat to savior. A legit #1 receiver on pace for nearly 1,000 yards. He was catching just about everything and being utilized to perfection. But then came along another one of Hue Jackson's old pals from Cincinnati. TJ Houshmanzadeh!
Housh brings about a striking resemblance to one Javon Walker. A washed-up vet once renowned for his physicality and sure-hands. His best days behind him and his play quickly fading. With no one taking a chance on him, he was signed up by the Raiders and thrust into an almost starter role.
Housh was put on the field for a great deal of Oakland's passing plays and the ball was forced his way multiple times. This resulted in only one grab for 22 yards. Meanwhile, DHB was left to the bench, seemingly put into Hue Jackson's doghouse, only seeing about 10 or 13 snaps of passing plays.
I know it's only one game, but I bet this will become a regular thing. After all, DHB was a controversial Davis pick. Housh is Hue's old buddy. It feels as though Hue may soon attempt to distance himself from the former Davis pick while trying to make his own move of Housh seem brilliant.
The same is also going on with Brandon Myers seeing far more snaps than the far better TE, Kevin Boss. Why Boss isn't seeing the field of Myers is beyond me.
Meanwhile, amidst all of the terrible playcalling, the game of favorites, the poor personnel moves, the quitting of a team that understandably feels slighted and without a real, dependable leader, the real victim has been the fans. Whether it be crushed dreams, frustrations, sense of wasted dollars on tickets, or nightmares of a team who's future may have been sunk by the Palmer trade, the fans have been the real victims of Hue's bully these past couple weeks.
Maybe things will change, maybe Palmer gets his groove on, maybe DHB actually gets to see the field, maybe Hue will call more run plays for once, but somehow I just can't shake the feeling that this team is reverting quickly. Sinking the future on the washed-up, haphazard gunslinger while throwing the man the team considered its true leader under the bus might come back to haunt the team for many years.
Jason Campbell was a QB who really cared, really gave it his all, and could light a fire under the team. He was beloved and fit perfectly on the team and in the scheme. Big bully Hue is muscling his way in and appears to be quickly sinking the team's playoff hopes, maybe for many years. Hue Jackson needs to start winning and fast, or else lose all credibility. Both from the fans, and from the players in the locker room.
After all, Tom Cable was the one who led Oakland to 8-8.