Hue Jackson era officially begins in Oakland

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Hue Jackson era officially begins in Oakland

Jan. 18, 2011RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

ALAMEDA What had been expected since he arrived here a year ago became an official reality Tuesday afternoon.

In a wide-ranging media conference that lasted two hours and 15 minutes, Hue Jackson was formally introduced by Raiders owner Al Davis as the 17th head coach in franchise history, the ninth since the team returned to Oakland from its 13-year sojourn to Los Angeles in 1995.

Jackson, 45, becomes a head coach for the first time in his career at any level in replacing Tom Cable, whose two-year, 5-million option was not picked up by the Raiders two weeks ago to the day. And while Jacksons contract terms were not disclosed, Davis generally gives his coaches two guaranteed years with a follow-up two-year option.

RATTO: Davis goes after ex-coach Cable

Davis said there were three other candidates -- one of which was purportedly former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan -- but would not divulge their names.

Jackson said he would remain the primary play-caller on offense, though reports have surfaced that Baltimore senior offensive assistant Al Saunders was in line to jump to Oakland. Jackson did not dispute having interest in Saunders.

As expected, Davis pointed to Jacksons improvement of the offense as the main reason for his promotion. In one season as offensive coordinator, the Raiders offense jumped from No. 31 overall to No. 10 and boasted the No. 2 rushing attack in the NFL. Plus, the Raiders more than doubled their scoring output, and with 410 points, they were the sixth-highest scoring team in the league.

RELATED: NFL rushing stats NFL rushing TDs

In going 8-8, the Raiders ended a streak of seven seasons with at least 11 defeats.

And though he has only been in Oakland for one year, Jackson represents a certain continuity sorely missing in these parts.

Theres no question its an advantage that Im here, but I dont really feel that I have to overcome anything, Jackson said. Ive been here with our players. Our players have been very supportive. Today alone I got 20 text messages from our players, who are very excited about me being here, being the head coach, and they cant wait to get back here.

Because .. were going to create an environment here for our players to be as good as they can be, on offense, defense and special teams.

The Raiders have 31 player contracts expiring, meaning, depending upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they could have as many as 31 free agents to contemplate. But under the rules of the current CBA, only 14 players would be unrestricted free agents.

This group of men on the Raider team is excited about the upcoming season, Jackson said. I havent felt like I needed to re-recruit anybody. I havent felt like I needed to call anybody other than I normally do. I call guys to see how theyre doing and see how this offseason is doing so far.

I think our players are excited about what the future is here. Again, we were 6-0 in the AFC West. We know we need to play better outside the (division). Were going to build a bully here. This is the Raiders. We know exactly where were headed and what we want to do. I think our players today are very excited about where they are going.

REWIND: 2010 NFL standings

Sam Williams, a linebacker and special teams ace, spoke glowingly of Jacksons elevation to the top gig.

Man, since Cable is no longer the coach, Hue is definitely a great guy to take over, Williams said in a telephone interview. He brought a spark with his energy and his enthusiasm. He makes it a lot of fun to be out there.

He reminds me of a Rex Ryan -- you want to go out there and play for him. He brings the energy and you have to bring it, too.

Williams said Jackson being the coach might sway him towards re-signing with Oakland whenif the new CBA is approved.

Definitely, Williams said. Hes a guy that you want to play for. I wouldnt be surprised if a lot of free agents wanted to come here to play for him.

He would be out there challenging everybody, not just the offense. Thats the kind of coordinator he is.

And now a head coach.

GUTIERREZ: Deciphering Al Davis' State of the Raiders

Davis harkened a familiar name to the Raiders' fan base when asked of Jacksons attributes.

He was like, whats his name? (Jon) Gruden, Davis said. Gruden was like that -- feisty. He could lead the defense. But they are different, definitely, Hue Jackson and Jon Gruden. But on that particular thing, there are very similar. So he must have learned that sitting up there every day, hours at night on the blackboard.

As far as a staff goes, Jackson, with some input from Davis, of course, has many holes to plug.

John Marshall is no longer the defensive coordinator after two seasons and two names mentioned as possible replacements -- Ryan and Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Chuck Pagano -- have both found new jobs.

Defensive line coach Mike Waufle is still under contract, as is defensive backs coach Kevin Ross, and Waufle might be a candidate.

We are all ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work, Jackson said. So, Im glad, to be here, glad to be the head coach of this football team.

I plan on being here a long time.

McKenzie: Osemele gave Raiders OL teeth, Nelson eased Woodson's loss

McKenzie: Osemele gave Raiders OL teeth, Nelson eased Woodson's loss

Raiders general manager built a foundation of talent heading into the 2016 offseason, but needed more to get his team over the hump. Draft picks were essential, and expected. He had significant salary cap space, where he could find some immediate impact players on the open market.

McKenzie signed six unrestricted free agents, a few of them at a hefty price. Most veteran imports worked out well, though some thrived more than others.

It was a solid group that, in addition to the 2017 draft class and some key undrafted pickups, helped McKenzie win the Pro Football Writers of America’s executive of the year award.

He singled out two members of the 2016 free-agent class that helped set the tone for a 12-4 regular season and the team’s first playoff berth since 2002.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele was the first. The former Baltimore Raven signed a record contract for interior linemen but was worth the price, adding attitude to the offensive line during an All-Pro season.

“I think Kelechi solidified our offensive line, from the standpoint of what we wanted from our run game, from a physicality standpoint, what we had always talked about from Day 1,” McKenzie said Thursday in a conference call. “He added to that and he put some teeth into the whole offensive mentality. I felt like that was an impact. I was happy to see him get his first Pro Bowl. That was good to see.”

McKenzie also highlighted free safety Reggie Nelson’s efforts. He signed late in the offseason for relatively cheap, but was voted a team captain after his first preseason as a Raider and helped the secondary function with confidence. That was required after losing the eminent Charles Woodson to retirement.

Nelson also had five interceptions and two fumble recoveries, including three takeaways that secured victory.

I thought Reggie [Nelson] made some plays and was a true leader back there. When we lost Charles Woodson, from the leadership standpoint, communication standpoint, I felt Reggie came in and did a solid job to help ease that transition. You can never replace a Charles Woodson, but he was able to help ease that transition, especially when we had a young rookie back there (in Karl Joseph).”

Let’s take a look at the Raiders unrestricted free agent class and how they fared:

LG Kelechi Osemele
Contract: 5 years, $58.5 million ($25.4 million guaranteed)
Impact:Osemele ranks among the league’s elite left guards, and brought a nastiness to the Raiders offensive line. He helped immensely in the run game, and didn’t allow a quarterback sack all season. He was a Pro Bowler and a first-team All Pro, the results McKenzie hoped for after offering Osemele a massive contract.

LB Bruce Irvin
Contract: 4 years, $37 million ($14.5 million guaranteed)
Impact: Irvin started slow but rounded into a dominant player and an excellent compliment to star edge rusher Khalil Mack. Irvin had seven sacks and an NFL-high six forced fumbles, showing enough versatility to play well in coverage and against the run.

CB Sean Smith
Contract: 4 years, $38 million ($15 million guaranteed)
Impact: Smith was benched in his first game, and struggled against Julio Jones in his second, but played better after than and largely well the rest of the year. His quarterback rating against was 114.0 and he allowed too many big plays. More is expected from a No. 1 cornerback. Smith had shoulder surgery after the season and vowed to be better in 2017.

FS Reggie Nelson
Contract: 2 years, $8.5 million ($4 million guaranteed)
Impact:Nelson wasn’t perfect in his first year as a Raider, but made some big plays during a Pro Bowl year. He had seven takeaways, including five interceptions, and some big hits in the clutch. He was a solid leader in the back who should be better with a year’s experience in a new system to his credit.

S Bryden Trawick
Contract: 1 year,  $675,000
Impact: Trawick was brought in to be a solid special teams player, and he thrived in that role. He was strong in kick and punt coverage, with a team-high 14 special teams tackles. He showed some defensive prowess late when forced into action, and the safety made some nice plays over the last two games.

LB Daren Bates
Contract: 1 year, $850,000
Impact: Bates is a special teams player first and, along with Trawick, helped anchor the coverage units. He had seven special teams tackles over the year.

Lott-led group still working to keep Raiders in Oakland, 'playing to win'

Lott-led group still working to keep Raiders in Oakland, 'playing to win'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland civic leaders and deep-pocketed investors fighting to keep the Raiders from moving insist they are still in the game despite team owner Mark Davis formally applying to the NFL to relocate to Las Vegas.

A local investment group that includes Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott said Thursday they continue to negotiate with government officials, the team and the NFL to build a $1.25 billion, 55,000-seat stadium in Oakland.

"We are in this game and we are playing to win," Lott's group said in a statement. The statement said the Raiders' filing Thursday was expected and done to "keep its options open in Las Vegas."

The Raiders have been seeking to replace their dilapidated home for years. The Coliseum has suffered from sewage backups and other infrastructure problems. It's also the only remaining NFL stadium to also be home to a baseball team - the Athletics - and lacks many of the modern, money-making features of new stadiums.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been negotiating with Davis and investors to find a new home for the team in the city but has said public financing is not an option. She and other local boosters support the bid by Lott's group to keep the team on Oakland.

"Only Oakland brings the Raiders and the NFL a competitive stadium proposal, along with legacy and loyalty," Schaaf said in a prepared statement.

The city and Alameda County still owe a combined $100 million for upgrades made to the stadium in 1995 to lure the Raiders back to Oakland after the team spent the 14 previous years playing in Los Angeles. The city and county were left holding the bag after personal seat licenses failed to cover the cost of the $220 million renovation that added more than 10,000 seats and luxury boxes.

The city is willing to give the team 60 acres of land on the Coliseum site to build a new stadium.

The local investors are competing with a Las Vegas plan that calls for $750 million in hotel room tax revenue, $650 million from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson's company and $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL.

League owners are expected to vote on the proposed move in March.

Local boosters argue that Oakland offers a better football venue than Las Vegas, a transient tourist town with no professional football history. They say the San Francisco Bay Area's television market dwarves the Las Vegas region's and that it will cost the team $500 million to relocate.

"I think we continue to offer a far superior deal," said Scott Haggerty, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Haggerty is also on the board that manages the Coliseum.

"I think that Mark Davis has been very patient in trying to come up with a stadium plan and I don't blame him for keeping his options open," Haggerty said. "But the Raiders belong in Oakland."

Haggerty and others also say that a Raiders move out of the region threatens to alienate fans who re-embraced the team after it left Oakland after the 1981 season and played for 14 years in Los Angeles only to move back to the Bay Area.

Davis has said the team will continue to play in Oakland until the Las Vegas stadium is finished, likely by the 2020 season. The Raiders have two one-year options to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018 and are already taking season ticket renewals for next season.

"I'm incredulous this could happen again," said 57-year-old Jim Zelinski, a lifelong Oakland resident and Raiders fan. "I'm disgusted, to be quite frank."

Nonetheless, Zelinski has co-founded a fan organization that is lobbying the Raiders and the NFL to keep the team in Oakland.

"We want to combat the narrative that most Raider fans are neutral and don't care if the team moves to Las Vegas," said Zelinski, who must decide by next month if he wants to renew his season tickets. "The Raiders need to do the right thing."