Hue Jackson went on Sirius NFL Radio from the NFL Senior Bowl this week and attempted to dispel any notions about owner Al Davis.
“Everybody always said that everything is done by coach (Davis),” Jackson said. “That’s not true. I mean, I’m hiring the staff. He made me the head coach of this football team and said, `Hue, let’s go. Obviously, I bounce everything off him. Why wouldn’t I? This is his team. But he doesn’t sit there and rule everything with an iron-clad fist.”
There more, a transcription of which will run below.
Jackson is enjoying what Lane Kiffin referred to as the “honeymoon” period between Davis and the head coach.
Kiffin was the golden child once, bringing in a handful of assistant coaches he selected, making change, and attempting to affect change. He called Davis “Al,” and talked about how he basically could do anything he wanted at the NFL owner’s meetings.
A year later, he wasn’t wearing Raiders gear at the NFL scouting combine and was rejected in his attempts to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and defensive line coach Keith Millard.
Once Kiffin was gone, Tom Cable told us we had it all wrong with Davis. Cable said he was the coach of the team, he hired his entire staff, and that his working relationship with Davis couldn’t be better.
We know how that turned out.
Norv Turner said he thought working for the Raiders was his dream job because he had a boss who truly understood football, a guy who went out and landed players such as Warren Sapp and Randy Moss.
Turner ended up having to do a tortured backtrack on a decision to start Marques Tuiasosopo ahead of Kerry Collins after one game, and was gone the next year.
There is little doubt that all these coaches were initially telling the truth. There’s a period of time, before anything happens in the loss column, where you’re actually running a team owned by someone who actually knows and understands football.
He’ll give the coach his thoughts and ideas, maybe produce a list of coaches who might make good coordinators based on philosophy and track record along with how much they can be paid. Then he’ll let the coach make the call.
Win and the honeymoon can be extended. Experience has taught us what happens when the losing begins.
JACKSON ON SIRIUS NFL RADIO
Q: What is the stamp want to put on the Raiders?
Jackson: We kind of started that process a year ago. We want to be a very physical team on offense. We want to be able to stop you on defense, and we want to be explosive on special teams. Obviously, I thought last year, we started that process and we need to take it to another level this year, and there’s no question that we’re going to be able to do that.
Q: How advantageous having a year under your belt, knowing how Raiders operate, knowing the roster?
Jackson: Obviously; it helps you tremendously, because you know the environment, you know the players, you know the coaches. You know exactly how Mr. Davis wants things to be. I think it’s a great opportunity to hit the ground running right now.
Q: It all starts at QB, what has impressed you about Jason Campbell?
Jackson: He’s a pro. I mean the guy comes in, he comes early, he stays late, he wants to be the best at what he does. He’s young, he’s talented. Our job is just to make sure we create the right environment around him so he can be the best he can be.
Q: There was great improvement with Darren McFadden last year, is he just scratching surface?
Jackson: There’s no question he is. I’m so excited about what he brings to the organization. Him and Michael Bush, those two guys are a 1-2 punch for us, obviously, he was the No. 4 pick three years ago, and what he did for us last year is what we all envisioned he could be. So I’m excited about what the future holds for him.
Q: With uncertainty with regard to a labor agreement and a number of free agents, including Nnamdi Asomugha, how would you describe your approach to the offseason?
Jackson: I think everybody is kind of in that same boat. Nobody knows what the CBA is at this time. But I promise you this. Coach Davis has a plan, and we have a plan, and we feel very confident as we move forward that we’re going to be able to put great football players out on our football field.
Q: On the defensive side of the ball, where do things stand with coordinator?
Jackson: We’re still in that process. We’re going to go hire the best fit for our Raiders staff. Obviously we’re working through that, we’re getting closer, we’re excited about all the candidates and the people who have applied that want to be a part of what we’re building. Again, I know you hear all the different stories about the Raiders, but none of those things are true. Coach Davis had done a great job just creating an environment for the players and coaches to come in and be successful, and that’s we’re looking to do.
Q: Could you expand on that? What are the biggest misconceptions which were dispelled since you joined the Raiders?
Jackson: Everybody always said that everything is always done by coach. That’s not true. I mean, I’m hiring the staff. He made me the head coach of this football team and said, Hue, let’s go. Obviously, I bounce everything off of him. Why wouldn’t I? This is his team. But he doesn’t sit there and rule everything with an iron-clad fist. The guy runs the draft as well as anybody I’ve ever seen run a draft. I mean, this guy knows football, and to me, for me not to use him as a resource would not be very smart on my part. So I’m very excited about the relationship I have built with him over time. The relationship that I think our coaches and our players have built with him over time. The one thing coach wants to do is win. That’s what we all want to do. We all want to play in that game a week from now that Pittsburgh and Green Bay is going to be in, that’s the ultimate goal.
Q: Could you describe your coaching philosophy?
Jackson: I have a very very simple philosophy. If you have good players, put ‘em in situations to have success. Just try to create an environment to let them showcase their talents and abilities, and we have some very explosive players who can run, and if you create space for them, they have an opportunity to make plays. It sounds simple, and it is hard, don’t get me wrong, but that’s what it’s really all about. Create an environment for your players to showcase their talents and abilities and have players that will allow them to do that, the Jason Campbells, the offensive line, the tight ends, the receivers, the Darren McFaddens, give those guys opportunities and normally good things will happen.
Q: How did you grow as a coach last year?
Jackson: You’re in all those pressure situations, week in and week out. I know what it’s like to call a great game. I know what it’s like to wish you had some plays back. I know what it’s like to call a bad game. I know what it’s like when practice is not going as good or when you don’t feel as well and you’ve got to go get this done. So I’ve been through all these situations throughout my career, and that’s what’s prepared me for today. There’s not much that I haven’t seen. Nothing truly prepares you to go out and do it, day in and day out, but I’ve been through a lot, and I’m so excited about this opportunity to lead this organization.