Third in a series of posts with highlights of today’s Hue Jackson-Al Davis press conference:
— Considering the way Davis parted ways with his last two coaches and has hired six of them since 2003 and nine since 1995, his ability to pick the man to lead his team is worth scrutinizing.
“I didn’t get some of them enough players to do a great job,” Davis said, before building a case that he can identify talent even if it ends up someplace else.
“Let me give you a for instance. I hired David Shaw (Davis at first called him David Harris),” Davis said. “For two years he worked for us. I hired Jim Harbaugh, who had never been a coach anywhere . . . I hired John Fox . . . after failing in Carolina, he’s the coach in Denver. I have made mistakes. There’s no question about it. And you’ve got to have great players. But also, sometimes you have the players and don’t get it done. Should I take some of the blame? I certainly do. You guys give it to me.”
— Shaw wasn’t the only name Davis had trouble with. He twice referred to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as “Kim” Newton.
— As the Jackson family watched from the front row, the new head coach was asked if he realized what he’d gotten himself into, considering the yearly drama that goes on in Oakland.
“I know that we’ve talked about the coaches before me, and I have great respect for them, but they’re not Hue Jackson, OK?,” Jackson said. “I came here for one reason, to come back and help restore the great tradition of the Oakland Raiders. I have one goal, to get that done.”
— Jackson scored the most points with Davis by scoring the most points. The Raiders had 410 points a year after scoring 197. In previous press conferences, Davis said, “We gotta score,” something he reminded people of Tuesday.
The following is a Davis dissertation on offense:
“You gotta score, I told you that. I see the Raiders getting into the end zone, using Marcel Reece for example for a 58-yard touchdown pass, using these guys the way they should be used. Jacoby isn’t going to languish out there because we’re running the ball zone by McFadden. Someone gave me credit for not giving up on him. Anybody who’s watched him in practice would say the guy’s got greatness in him, but he’s got to stay well. That’s the problem with McFadden.
“If he stays well, we got greatness there. (Michael) Bush is a different type. He brings that toughness to the secondary. By the third and fourth quarter, they don’t want to tackle Bush in the secondary. He’s 250 pounds, power, speed, so that’s a plus for us. Jacoby (Ford) gives us something now. All these teams defer when they win the toss. They say they’ll kick off to you and they’ll take the ball in the second half. They don’t want to put the ball in the air to Jacoby Ford. We didn’t find out about Jacoby and that was something that bothered me. We knew about him, but we didn’t use him for a long time until he became a factor . . . you can’t just scout speed, you gotta have it.”
— Remember the front office hire Davis promised a couple of years back following the Kiffin overhead projector conference?
Turns out the guy has been here and gone.
“One worked here about eight months and you people didn’t even know he was working here,” Davis said. “He was a name, a very prominent name in professional football. He worked in our talent department, he worked in our pro personnel department.”
The assumption is Davis is talking about Rich Snead, who worked in scouting with the Tennessee Titans, toiled anonymously for less than a season, and then was gone.
Snead, however, fell far short of the “unique” and “local” hire Davis was promising at the time.
— Asked about hiring a general manager, Davis said, “I would consider anything, but not right now. We have to find out what’s going to happen with professional football. You want me to hire someone and then we have a lockout?”
— The first indication John Marshall was in trouble came before the season even started as Mike Waufle was brought in to replace Dwaine Board, who worked with Marshall in San Francisco and Seattle.
“Two years ago the defense didn’t play well enough for me and it didn’t play well enough last year,” Davis said. “It played well enough in certain areas, but I think the year before is indictavie, if you look at it, we made a switch with the defensive line coaches that should have been a sign to you that maybe they weren’t happy with what was going on over there on defense.”
Besides Marshall, offensive line coach Jim Michalczik won’t be back as offensive line coach (he’s going back to Cal) and quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett also will not return.
— When Jackson arrived, Cable reluctantly allowed for a change in blocking schemes, going to more gap and power blocking as opposed to to the stretch-and-cut zone blocking system. Cable, before Jackson arrived, was adamant that he was an Alex Gibbs disciple, a “zone blocking purist,” as Davis called him.
“I’m not a zone blocking purist, and we switched this year already,” Davis said. “We got it started into gap, we got it into power, and we got it into zone, and that’s what Hue believes. He did it at Baltimore, and that intrigued me.”
— More of Davis’ take on Cable’s support in the locker room: “As much as you think Tom was supported in the locker room, he was to a point. He was with the people that he socialized (with), where Hue Jackson will be supported in the locker room just as much as Tom Cable if not more.”