Allow me for a moment to walk the Raider Nation through a timeline of Hue Jackson’s tenure with the Raiders.
Al Davis hires Hue Jackson to revamp an offense that hadn’t been good in many years. With the aide of competent quarterback play and a healthy Darren McFadden, Jackson is wildly successful in his first year.
Tom Cable is fired for an 8-8 season and Hue Jackson is promoted to Head Coach.
He is working with a roster constructed by Al Davis and defensive coaches hired by Al Davis.
October 8, 2011
Al Davis dies and Hue Jackson is forced to take a more active role in managing player personnel because-although unqualified-he is the most qualified person in the building. Mark Davis begins to gather his advisory team or John Madden, Ron Wolf and Ken Herock.
Hue Jackson loses his starting quarterback to injury for the season. Jackson knows with the passing of Al Davis that a new front office would be coming in and in all likelihood he would be fired if he didn’t make the playoffs and maybe he would even need to win a playoff game to keep his job.
Trade for Carson Palmer. Hue Jackson was looking out for himself, knowing that he had little chance of making a playoff run with Kyle Boller and knowing a losing record would mean he would be fired. Hue Jackson pressures Mark Davis to make a lopsided trade for the only decent quarterback available. Hue’s ego and power begin to grow within the organization and some question wether that is a good thing.
Hue Jackson and the Raiders lose the most explosive offensive weapon on the team for an extended period of time, Darren McFadden.
Ride Michael Bush and get the young receivers more involved in the offense.
Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore injured.
No good solution can be found as the Raiders continue to ride Michael Bush and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Meanwhile, John Madden, Ron Wolf, Ken Herock and Tom Flores are advising Mark Davis to interview Reggie McKenzie when the season ends. Mark’s advisors are telling him to be cautious about Hue Jackson’s ego and power grab within the organization.
Defensive secondary not playing well.
Hue crossed his fingers that Chuck Bresnahan, without the constant supervision of Al Davis, can turn the Raiders defense into something resembling a solid unit. Turns out to be a non-solution and one Hue Jackson can’t directly change.
Hue Jackson heads into the final week of the season 8-7 after another epic defensive failure that he has little control over. His team has an outside chance to make the playoffs.
Hue Jackson, knowing his fate was now in limbo, his defensive coordinator incompetent and his team with a slim chance to make the playoffs, walks into Mark Davis’ office and asks for input on the General Manager hire as a last ditch effort to try to save his job. One he might have saved had he never walked though Mark’s office door.
Hue Jackson was acting in self-preservation and Mark Davis wisely refuses to grant Hue’s request. It was a slightly absurd request to begin with, allowing a head coach to have input in who is hired as his boss, but Mark Davis also viewed this as another Hue Jackson power grab. Mark Davis had been warned by his advisors to be careful regarding Hue Jackson’s ego and power aspirations.
The Raiders lose in week 17 and Hue Jackson voices his frustrations with the team and his lack of input on the general manager hiring process in his final two press conferences and in-so doing seals his fate with the Raiders. Mark Davis and his advisors collectively grumble at Hue’s final act and finishing the season 1-4 does not help Hue’s case, no matter how little he had to do with the collapse.
Reggie McKenzie is interviewed and Mark Davis and John Madden give McKenzie the impression that firing Hue Jackson and starting fresh is the best course of action. That makes things easier for McKenzie, because he likely desired the ability to hire his own guy, but would have considered keeping Hue around if Mark Davis had requested it. McKenzie gets a clean start instead of delaying the inevitable firing of Hue Jackson to hire his own coach.
The decision was made to start fresh under McKenzie. It is naïve to think that either Mark Davis or Reggie McKenzie made the decision to fire Jackson on their own. It was a collective decision and ultimately it was a series of events that went against Hue Jackson. Jackson is still a good coach and will land on his feet somewhere. His defense, his ego and his act of self-preservation ended his short tenure with the Raiders. The Raiders will be better for it and Hue Jackson will be a better coach for it.