Hue Jackson seemed like a decent fellow only 16 games ago. The Oakland Raiders elevated their current head coach from offensive coordinator after bringing over Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson was the quarterbacks coach credited with Joe Flacco’s transition to the NFL, and he instantly became favored under Al Davis in Oakland. And it seemed, halfway through 2011, that Jackson was a nice fit as the new head coach for the Raiders.
Then something crazy happened: the NFL trade deadline. In a season that was already under a cloud of sorrow from the passing of longtime Raiders owner Al Davis, Jackson lost his starting quarterback in Jason Campbell to injury. The most positive of reports maintained that Campbell could potentially come back by season’s end, but Jackson had an idea in mind — to trade for a player he was familiar with in Carson Palmer, since Jackson had been the wide receivers coach in Cincy several years before.
The cost, however, was astronomical. The Raiders traded one first round choice and another condition second round choice that could become another first for Palmer’s services. Yes, the same Palmer that had sat out the entire off-season as “retired” and half of the regular season now cost two first round choices. Amazing. Through it all, Jackson maintained that it was he who held the sway to make the trade happen.
Palmer did exactly what most people believed he would. His strong arm can definitely bring some big plays, but it also delivers a lot of turnovers. Palmer threw three interceptions in his first game against the Chiefs and ended up 4-6 down the stretch. The Raiders fell from first place in the process and are now picking up the pieces of an emotional season lost. Yet Jackson wasn’t done messing up his team just yet — even though he should have kindly walked away.
In a season-ending press conference, Jackson tore into his team, saying he was “pissed” and that he was embarrassed by their play this season. Yet in turn, it was Jackson who has been embarrassing this entire time.
“I cringed watching it live,” writes Adam Schein. "I cringed for Raider Nation, a fan base that deserves so much more. These are totally unacceptable comments. If Al Davis were alive, he would have called Jackson into his office. That’s not the Raider way. “I’m pissed at my team.” Hue, really? You should be pissed at how you handled your first year coaching the Raiders. You are majorly responsible for the Raiders not making the playoffs.
“Hopefully, Mark Davis and Amy Trask can hire a legit football man to be the general manager,” he contiues, “who won’t treat draft picks like bubble gum. And, hopefully, they pick someone who can help Jackson get a clue. The fans deserve it. The players deserve better.”
Scott Ostler agrees and writes, “Talk is cheap, and right now the speeches of Hue Jackson are in a bin at the 99-Cent Store. After the Raiders’ epic collapse, Jackson unleashed a furious flurry of verbiage.”
“Why throw everyone under the bus when you can drive the bus over ’em? Jackson lashed out at the players, at defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, and even put a little blame on himself, seemingly for his gullibility in trusting his players and assistant coaches in the first place.”
Jackson wants to blame his defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and others for what he failed to put together: a winning team. There will come a point in the near future where all of these meaningless tirades will come back to haunt the Raiders’ coach. There are already cracks in the foundation and it’s hard to believe the Raiders can build a winning tradition if this guy is in charge.