Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long

Ratto: 'Smilin' Hue' won't be smiling for long
August 21, 2011, 4:44 am
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Aug. 20, 2011

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Even when Hue Jackson is annoyed, he expresses himself with a smile. Saturday, it was an odd, forced, unconvincing smile, just like his claim that the Oakland Raiders decrepit performance against the San Francisco 49ers was on me.

How we doin? he said, trying to fake it as best he could. You guys are doing great? Im not.

Over and over again, he cited failure after failure in a 17-3 loss at Candlestick Park And UFC Octagon that made both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick look like mid-level NFL quarterbacks and his own Jason Campbell look like what he was last year.
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Injury prone, at worst. Inconsistent at best.

And over and over again, he went back to the mantra, Thats on me. Im not going to put that on the players.

Were obviously a little disappointed in the way we performed tonight, he said. Obviously the practice performance hasnt met the on-field performance, and thats what I gotta get done. Thats my job. I will get that fixed. Were not playing like I think the Raiders can play, and I told them that. That starts with me. The head coach, and then it goes all the way down. We got some work to do. And thats what we need to get done.

So its not the players fault? A sensible person would say, Well, why the hell not? What else are they there for but to be reminded in public as well as private that being run on, thrown on and bullied by a team like the 49ers is a great way to be a 5-11 team?

Thats the real problem here for the Raiders as they limp back to the wine country. They have nothing except rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore to be excited about after a uniformly turgid performance. Even Smilin Hue, when tossed the, What impressed you tonight? softball, said, Nothing.

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He elaborated, but your brain tends to stop at the word nothing. Hes right, of course, but when the optimist loses the lilt in his own voice on D-minus-23, the level of failure is considerable, and the fear of the future is palpable.

They allowed the 49ers to gain 239 yards rushing in 41 carries, including 105 by the new putative Frank Gore trainee, rookie Kendall Hunter, all on what Jackson dismissive called basic runs. The linebackers and secondary allowed both Smith and Kaepernick to throw at will to pretty much whomever they wished, except for the one time defensive end Matt Shaughnessy dropped into coverage and intercepted a pass aimed at tight end Vernon Davis. And they were stopped persistently when they needed either first down or touchdown yardage (2-for-11 on third or fourth downs, and 0-for-2 inside the red zone).

And if none of the starters looked good, and only Moore among the backups, against a team that is trying to find its own consistency, well, you can pretty much figure how downcast Smilin Hue must truly be.

And how nail-chewing angry his own head coach, Al Davis, must be.

Oh, no doubt. No doubt, he said, not about Davis but about how his own plans for the evening disintegrated. I mean, I made a statement that we wouldnt get the ball run on us like that, and we did. Thats disappointing. I guess thats my point. The things that I want to see fixed that we talked about that I think weve shored up a little bit, being able to stop the run, being a little more consistent in the scoring zone, doing some things I think our football team is starting to do, in practice, didnt show up today in the game.

But then he fell back on the old Im-not-worthy schtick that will age quickly if things dont change quickly.

Thats the disappointing part. Thats on me. Im not going to put that on them. Obviously we gotta go back and continue to do those things better than what were doing to get to where we need to be. Thank gosh today was the second preseason game. Its not the regular season.

And thank God these teams dont meet again this year.

An announced crowd of 69,732 which was actually 40,000-some-odd, distracted itself with what one security guard called, a lot of fights. It was crazy. There were some girl fights, too. A bunch of them.

In addition, three people were shot near Jamestown Avenue around 8:15, according to San Francisco police. One victim was hospitalized and two others had not yet been found at the time of this report (9:30 p.m.). No reason for the shooting could be ascertained, but the time and location of the incident suggested that it was fans leaving the game either as perpetrators, victims or both.
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Of the brawls inside, we dont believe that they were expressing their opinions of the poor level of play one particularly strident encounter about six rows into the lower deck behind what once was home plate pitted two 49er fans against each other. The best guess as to why they went at it? One probably said, You know, I think Smith looked pretty good tonight. In this town, those are genuinely fightin words.

Even the peacemaker ended up throwing hands at the end, and they all had punched themselves into exhaustion before police, who doubtless had just finished adjudicating another coin flip, could reach them.

In short, it was a bad night for almost everyone. Oh, Jim Harbaugh crowed about his team, as you knew he would, but the 49ers arent that much further along the trail than the Raiders. They still hit their traditional two-touchdown glass ceiling, and thought they handled the Raiders at home, the Raiders were every bit as responsible for that as the 49ers.

And that, apparently until further notice, is the fault of Smilin Hue Jackson. A man who isnt going to be smiling much longer if this continues.