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Davis’ selection of Jackson key to 4-4

A 4-4 record isn’t cause for celebrating as they will on Market Street Wednesday, but for most anyone who has followed the Oakland Raiders since 2002, it’s worth at least a sigh of relief and a feeling of promise that lies ahead.

No need to rehash the ugly details, other than the man who by virtue of his position at the top who gets most of the blame ought to be awarded some credit for getting the Raiders to somewhere approaching respectability.

The Al Davis dividing lines are pretty clear. He’s either the doddering old man responsible for the cliff dive of a once-proud franchise or the savant who has endured bad luck and endless conspiracies to find his franchise in the dumper.

Even Davis, if he made himself available to the media, probably wouldn’t say the Raiders are back until they’re in the postseason, and with a .500 record after eight games, it’s far from guaranteed the Raiders will get there this year.

But to get this far, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that Davis’ decision to retain Tom Cable and bring in Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator has been one of the biggest reasons his team has gone from laughingstock to trendy contender.

Rather than make another coaching change at season’s end, Davis chose to keep the embattled Cable and allow him to concentrate on the overall picture. Cable has one of those personalities who would rather add duties to his own job description rather then delegate. It was clear by the end of the 2009 season that Cable would delegate or be gone; he conceded at his season-ending press conference he thought he’d done too much.

In came Jackson, and while it’s not the Raider way to talk about how that transpired, the new offensive coordinator made it clear before being forced to take a temporary vow of silence that it all happened following a lengthy interview with Davis.

So here we go again. Davis, hiring a coordinator his head coach didn’t necessarily want and expecting it to work.

Except through eight games, it’s been a huge upgrade. Cable seems adept at handling a roster similar to the way Jimmy Johnson did with Dallas, entrusting his coordinators, taking a view of the overall picture, and occasionally getting down and dirty with his specialty on the offensive line.

Jackson had little play-calling experience, serving briefly behind Steve Spurrier in Washington and Bobby Petrino in Atlanta as a non-play-calling coordinator. But his learning curve is impressive of late, considering the 1,045 yards of total offense racked up in wins over Denver and Seattle.

Jackson has gotten dramatic improvement from a Raiders offense despite using two quarterbacks, not having a veteran wide receiver and breaking in a rookie left tackle in Jared Veldheer. He’s incorporated some power blocking schemes with Cable’s stretch-and-cut zone.

Darren McFadden has blossomed. Fullback Marcel Reece is being put in positions to utilize his unique skill set.

Most important, the Raiders are getting into the end zone. If you recall, Davis’ simplistic but accurate criticism of his last few head coaches has been, “We’ve got to score.”

How about 21 touchdowns through eight games _ that’s four more touchdowns than they scored all last seasons. That puts the Raiders on pace for 40 touchdowns or more, a figure they haven’t reached since getting 53 in 2002, and we all remember what happened that season.

Here’s a look at where the Raiders are through eight games with Jackson as opposed to their output last season and their rank in the NFL:

Total offense: 2010_8th, 366.0; 2009_31st, 266.0

Points per game: 2010_4th, 26.5; 2009_31st, 12.3

First downs per game: 2010_10th, 20.1; 2009_31st, 14.6

Rushing yards per game: 2010_2nd, 168.5; 2009_21st, 106.3

Rushing touchdowns: 2010_tie, 2nd, 9; 2009_27th, 7

Passing yards per game: 2010_20th, 197.5; 2009_29th, 159.8

Third-down pct_2010_20th, 34.7 percent; 2009_30th_29.6 percent

Time of possession:2010_8th, 32:14; 2009_27th, 28:18

Touchdowns: 2010_4th, 21; 2009_31st, 17

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    I am surprised however, that Bo Pelosi has not checked in this morning to ask if Jake Grove can longsnap!

  • Jimbo

    I just saw that Jerry Brown went from what I thought was the mayor of Oakland to the Governor of California.

    Thats bizzare!

  • Jimbo

    I thought AhhhhNuld was doing ok tanking the Golden State into misery, he had a nice PR “come visit California” campaigh, filled with moviestars.

  • Jimbo

    I met Jerry Brown once, in Jack London Square, when I was selling peaches for a local fruitstand many years ago. That man had an entourage around him. But I can tell you, that he is a jakass in real life and a cheapskate.

    He’d never get my vote.

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    JIMBO,HIS DAD WAS THE SAME.LIKE FATHER LIKE SON..

  • RaiderRockstar

    how many years of Barbara Boxer will CA tolerate?

    SAD!

  • The Judge

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 10:33 pm
    A lot of people here against marijuana legalization drink habitually. Laughable that they would mock marijuana smokers for forgetting things. Half of these drunks here are divorced because they couldn’t remember to do things they were asked when they were drinking.

    _______________________________________

    RMR

    Do you happen to have a link supporting this statement? Any proof?

    And did you state that you are correct in your predictions more than anyone on this site?

  • hwnrdr

    I asked last night, and no one really directly answered…if Moss was to come back, and we strted to win with him also…woul dyou guys accept him with open arms? And what about Shawne Merriman?

  • bcz24

    Hey Hey Hey…. its not January!!!! No politics!!!

  • Jimbo

    Hello Hwnrdr,

    Hell No, I don’t want either of those chumps!

    Moss cuz he’s a cancer, and we know that he will play when he wants to play. And Merriman isn’t the same without the roids.

    Pass Pass Pass

  • Jimbo

    bcz24 Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 7:05 am
    Hey Hey Hey…. its not January!!!! No politics!!!

    **********

    It’s the day after the election, we should be able to bend the rule for a day.

  • Pingback: #NFL News and Notes – November 3, 2010 | The Other 31

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • bcz24

    hwnrdr Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 7:02 am
    I asked last night, and no one really directly answered…if Moss was to come back, and we strted to win with him also…woul dyou guys accept him with open arms? And what about Shawne Merriman?
    ****
    I wouldnt want Al to claim Moss off waivers and be stuck with his contract, but if we were to grab him as a free agent after he cleared for vet minimum, then I would be up for it. IF he performs sweet, if not – theres the door my friend. It would be pretty nice too because if he left after the year we would get a compensatory pick

    Merriman – eh… I just dont see where he fits personally. I dont think he would unseat Groves/Howard for WLB. He DEFINITELY isnt putting Kam Wimbley on the bench. If Groves and Howard werent healthy yet I could see it, but no real use now. I see him ending up in Buffalo. They could use the help at LB

  • Plunketthead

    Morning everyone

    I get to sit on my butt this morning.
    Business is bad. I dont think things will change much in the D of C which means things wont be getting better anytime soon.

    Globalism = End of American Prosperity

  • Plunketthead

    Moss is a decrepit human being, a miserable person at the end of his playing days who “plays when he wants to”

    Al, please say no to Moss. He will cause trouble in the locker room and Cable will have to smack him around and we all know happens when Tom has to break out the pimp hand.

    BOMAYE!!!!

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Can’t ibabuzz.com afford a spellcheck app Jerry? encorporate? really?

  • 89052RAIDER

    DHB=Alvis Whited with worse hands. DHB is Alvis Whited version 2.0 and perhaps and even more unnatural receiver.

  • 89052RAIDER

    Tj,
    Get back in the Sped Trailer.Mcfadden and Miller are legit NFL stars in the making. Ford and DHB would start for no other team, including St. Louis. Alvis Whited had more upside than DHB. Ford has shown flashes, but is not an NFL caliber starting receiver…40 points a game? Get a life.

  • JayFromTheBay

    Is the team of the decades making another push for the AFC Championship game in 2011? Just like it has at the Beginning of every new decade? We have the tools, the play calling, and an emerging MVP running back. Just something to think about as the stars are beginning to align for the Oakland Raiders. The next 2 months will reveal the truth of this prophecy.

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