Jan. 17, 2011
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Never oneto miss the opportunity to make a statement or take advantage ofsymbolism, Al Davis chose Martin Luther King Jr. Day to announce HueJackson as the second African-American head coach in franchise history.Art Shell had two tours of duty with the Raiders, from 1989 through 1994 and again in 2006.Davis, though, was careful not to mention race in pronouncing Jacksonas the Raiders ninth coach since they returned to Oakland from LosAngeles in 1995. Davis verbiage, though, was indeed flowery in astatement released by the team.RELATED: Raiders' statement on Hue Jackson
The fire in Hue will set a flame that will burn for a long time in thehearts and minds of the Raider football team and the Raider Nation,Davis said.Jackson, 45, had been the leading and logical candidate to replace TomCable ever since the Raiders announced on Jan. 4 they would not pick upCables two-year, 5-million option.In fact, Jackson was seen in many corners as the HCIW (Head Coach InWaiting) from the moment he was hired by Davis to be the play-callerand offensive coordinator last January.Jackson, who could not be reached for comment and will be officiallypresented Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Alameda, acknowledged on Dec. 16 hewanted to one day be a head coach.Let me say this: I have the best job in football right here, coachingwith the Oakland Raiders as their offensive coordinator, Jackson saidat the time. I like what I do.I like our players. I like the people that Im around every day. Ivegotten to know some of you (in the media) and Ive enjoyed my timehere. I would be wrong to say that everybody whos in my positiondoesnt want to go have that opportunity some day to be the best thatthey can be. Thats what I want to do. Thats what we all want to do.In his first season as the Raiders O.C., he improved the offense fromNo. 31 overall in 2009 to No. 10 overall this past season and boastedthe No. 2 rushing attack in the NFL. The Raiders also more than doubledtheir scoring output and, thanks in part to a breakout season byrunning back Darren McFadden, first-year quarterback Jason Campbellgetting comfortable in his skin, and rookie receiver Jacoby Ford arevelation, their 410 points scored were the sixth most in the league.It was the sixth-highest scoring output in franchise history.Guys have said all season how much improved we are on offense, tightend Zach Miller said the week before the season finale. We were prettybad last year on offense. To have a turnaround like that is a greatcredit to our players and coach Jackson.McFadden agreed, somewhat.We got a lot better, McFadden said, but at the same time, we left alot of plays out there. Some games we were saying we should have had 20more points out there. Its something you have to deal with infootball. We got a lot better out there.Still, while 8-8 was the Raiders best record since 2002 and ended astreak of seven straight seasons with at least 11 defeats, Oaklandmissed the postseason, despite going 6-0 in the AFC West.We expect to be challenging for the playoffs, challenging for ourdivision year in and year out and were not getting that done, so, tome, thats a disappointment, Jackson said on Dec. 30. Theres eitherfirst place or theres last place and theres no in between.This will be Jacksons first head job on any level and no financialterms or length of contract for him have been disclosed. As such, thereare questions as to if he will continue his role as the play-caller.Longtime NFL coach Al Saunders, who has long been a favorite of Davisand was Baltimores senior offensive assistant this past season, isbeing rumored as an offensive coordinator candidate.Plus, with John Marshall reportedly on his way out, Jackson would needa new defensive coordinator. Rob Ryan, rumored for the job, is on hisway to Dallas, though, according to numerous reports.Defensive line coach Mike Waufle is still under contract, though his interest level is not known.Jackson has coached in Washington, Cincinnati and Atlanta and came tothe Raiders from Baltimore, where he was the Ravens quarterbackscoach. His relationship with Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco, who ispurportedly soured on Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, is sure to gettongues wagging.At 13 days, the time between Cables dismissal and Jacksons hiring isthe shortest amount of time Davis has taken to hire a successor. Ittook Davis 18 days to hire Lane Kiffin after Shell was shown the doorfour years ago.And that was definitely not on MLK Day.