New Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie - the Green Bay Packers' director of football operations since 1994 - put his stamp on the organization by making his first move the dismissal of head coach Hue Jackson in a move that reeked of Al Davis.
Jackson's Raiders went 8-8 in 2011 after a 7-4 start. Finishing 1-4 over the final five games, including blowout losses to the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers, may have been the proverbial nail in the coach's coffin.
I have a suspicion that Jackson's abrasive personality may have played a large role in his firing. Since the passing of Davis, Jackson ramped up his desire to control personnel matters. He was heavily involved in orchestrating the trade for former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer. It easily could be argued that Oakland gave up far too much for an aging, turnover-prone passer that failed to get them to the playoffs following a promising start under Jason Campbell.
The pressure is on in 2012
The freshly fired coach also went on a tirade after the team lost to the Chargers in Week 17. A win would have put Oakland into the playoffs over the Denver Broncos. Directly calling out players and coaches rarely endears you to the men you are guiding to come through for you.
McKenzie may look to bring in former Raider and current Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss with him to the Bay Area to become the next head coach. Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin also jumps out as a probable candidate to replace Jackson.
I don't see Palmer's style of play being particularly conducive to a high-precision passing game. After all, he was Jackson's guy in Cincy. Count on this playing a role in McKenzie's decision to hire a new front man for the club.
The verbose coach let his ego get the best of him. I like Jackson as a coordinator - he is creative and tends to get a lot out of his players. However, that was before he publicly called them out and exuded an arrogance that makes be believe he feels above reproach for the Raiders' collapse.
Jackson will find a job as a play-caller in 2012 if he wants to. Hopefully this will be a humbling experience that only helps him in any future head coaching opportunities. He showed enough to deserve another chance down the line.
As for the Raiders, hopefully the new front office and head coach can improve on the building blocks the franchise has set over the past few seasons. Oakland is heading in the right direction, but now the top priority for the organization is to create continuity by sticking with a head coach for more than a bat of an eye.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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