Al Davis

Raiders Sports Guy: The king is dead, long live the king

The real king is Al Davis, you see.

And Hue was a fool of the court to believe he could execute an emotionally hostile takeover of the team during a very vulnerable time without producing results.

This firing isn’t the same as previous knee-jerk firings of head coaches over the last decade.

No, this firing makes more sense than any of the others.

Hue invoked Al’s name many times in a way to imply that he was an heir; a golden child Mr. Davis anointed with his dying breaths to lead the Raiders to the promised land.

The personnel was there. The chances were there. Hue simply couldn’t finish the job.

There are so many moments in the season that we could point out as justification for his firing that it would be exhausting to list them all, so I’ll speak in platitudes.

The team broke the league record for penalties and he did nothing to discourage it. Sure, he made some token benchings to put fear into the team, namely knocking down Quentin Groves in favor of Aaron Curry, a first round bust in Seattle.

If he wanted to send a genuine statement — and Hue struggled with behaving in a genuine manner and totally confirmed it by throwing his players under the bus after losing the last game of the season and missing a playoff birth after “taking responsibility” all season — he would’ve benched the overrated and completely undisciplined Richard Seymour (I don’t care if he made the Pro Bowl — Tommy Kelly quietly had a better season and committed a fraction of the penalties) and he would’ve sat Rolando McClain’s silly ass after he distracted the team and made himself look like an ass while on leave for his grandfather’s funeral the week before the Raiders got pounded by the Dolphins and made Reggie Bush look like an All-Pro.

But he didn’t.

No, he just talked a mediocre game.

He emotionally invoked “that Man”, “Mr. Davis”, or “Coach Davis” whenever it served to back his ridiculous decision making.

That alone is unforgivable.

He also made a suspicious trade for Carson Palmer … a guy who put up some gaudy yardage statistics a few times, but also 13 touchdown passes against 16 interceptions in 10 games. We can KIND OF excuse the game he got thrown into against Kansas City, but he showed right away that he lacks the leadership skills that a team with a bevy of talented young wide receivers needs.

I dreamed at first that Palmer could be the second coming of Jim Plunkett, but I was wrong. He never showed the guts or decision making skills that defined Plunkett’s time as a Raider.

The best thing Hue did for the Raiders was continue coaching poorly so that we didn’t make the playoffs with Palmer, and thus his price tag got a little cheaper.

He also seems to have underestimated the strength of the team’s executive leadership after Mr. Davis’ passing.

Maybe we all sold Mark Davis short.

In the end, he consulted people who cared about the Raiders, including John Madden, and hired a very smart football guy with a great reputation for finding diamonds in the rough away from a defending Super Bowl champion.

Reggie McKenzie seems ready to clean house, and Jackson allegedly told ESPN with bitterness that “this guy is cleaning house, and no one is safe.”

Jeez, what did you expect???

This is further proof that Jackson was a destructive megalomaniac with a slim grip on reality.

Nothing changed during his tenure.

The team went 8-8, committed more penalties than ever while setting a record in the process. They failed to make the playoffs despite having numerous chances. They lost games they should’ve won. The entire coaching staff showed a shocking amount of ignorance of their own personnel.

They continued running the same complicated zone defenses with a team that wasn’t built to do so.

Even if Darren McFadden was healthy all season (and I have my doubts that he ever will be that kind of running back), I feel like they still would’ve missed the playoffs.

The man has no one to blame but himself, and he refused to do it, and even worse, he was smug about it.

Only when someone above him, presumably Amy Trask or Mark Davis himself had a heart to heart with him, did he ease back and admit that “it’s his (Mark Davis’) team, and he can do what he wants with it,” after he’d previously ran his mouth about being in on the process of hiring a new GM.

Can you imagine ANYONE saying that about Mr. Davis?? HELL. NO.

I think he really believed he was going to become the Exulted Czar of the Raider Nation.

What Coach Harbaugh has been able to accomplish in San Francisco shows how important coaching is in the NFL.

Personnel-wise, the Raiders were not a terrible team. They had the talent to be better than 8-8.

Darrius Heyward-Bey made great strides this season, Denarius Moore had a few games that showed us he’s a star in the making, and with exception to the 49ers, there was no better special teams unit in the league.

The offensive line isn’t going to earn a nickname like “The Hogs” any time soon, but they weren’t terrible.

And on defense, there were some real playmakers. I’ve been ringing the dinner bell on Kelly and I’ll continue to do so. Stanford Routt may not be Nnamdi Asomghua, but hey, Nnamdi’s had some problems adapting to Philly’s zone defensive scheme himself. He was better in Oakland’s man coverage scheme.

The defense also showed that they like to hit. But the coaching was not there to lead them to make those hits behind the line of scrimmage.

I don’t think there’s a professional sport that requires more of it’s coaching staffs than the NFL, and Hue Jackson proved it this season.

Maybe they weren’t going to win the Super Bowl, but crazier things have happened. But they surely had the talent to win the AFC West, and they literally had the chances. 7-4 … to 8-8.

He couldn’t make the adjustments. Even worse, he couldn’t admit it. Humility would’ve gone a long way, and something tells me that the conversation between Jackson and McKenzie was a short one.

I’m very excited about the change that is coming to Oakland, and I’m eager to hear who the new hires will be. McKenzie is wielding his broom, and maybe more … this might not be a housecleaning as much as it’s an exorcism.

Congrats, Mr. McKenzie. You have my respect after being on the job about 48 hours. He’s got to believe in the prospects of this team to walk away from a squad that’s got a good chance of repeating as Super Bowl champions.

Welcome home, Reggie.

The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer in Bakersfield, as a former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB and now producing a local morning news show. He and BASG played on the same Babe Ruth baseball team as 13-year-olds, and Francis still talks about that time he struck out the side in his only pitching appearance of the season. He’s also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Twins, a strange pairing of teams that’s never been fully explained.

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