On Friday, the Denver Broncos hired John Fox as their new head coach, leaving the Oakland Raiders as the only team in the NFL with a head coaching vacancy. Three days later and nearly two weeks after parting ways with Tom Cable, the Raiders finally have their man.
The Raiders officially announced late Monday that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be promoted to head coach. Jackson becomes the 17th head coach in team history.
In an official statement on the team’s website, owner Al Davis said of the 45-year old Jackson: “The fire in Hue will set a flame that will burn for a long time in the hearts and minds of the Raider football team and the Raider Nation.”
Following the team’s decision not to retain Cable, Jackson immediately became the top candidate. Despite talk that the team was interested in candidates such as Jim Harbaugh, Jim Fassell and Mark Trestman, Jackson was rumored to be Cable’s heir-apparent since late November.
Rumors of a tenuous relationship between Cable and Davis only fueled speculation regarding Jackson’s future, and when the Raiders declined to extend Cable’s contract, it only seemed a matter of time before Jackson’s promotion was made official.
In one season as offensive coordinator, Jackson orchestrated a dramatic turnaround in Oakland’s offense. The Raiders doubled their point total from 2009 to 2010 and went from being ranked 31st in total offense to 10th.
Running back Darren McFadden, who in his first two seasons ran for a total of 857 yards and had only one game with at least 100 yards rushing, ran for 1,157 yards in 2010 and also had six games of at least 100 yards rushing.
From the very start, Jackson developed a reputation as a vocal personality. During OTA’s and on into training camp, players on both sides of the ball noted Jackson’s competitive nature and fiery personality.
Jackson’s promotion is sure to assuage some of the backlash the front office has gotten from players following Cable’s departure. Although an offseason is contingent upon a new collective bargaining agreement, the Raiders have a number of key players set to become free agents. That list includes Nnamdi Asomugha, Richard Seymour, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery and Michael Bush.
“I’m excited about Hue getting the head coaching job,” said tight end Zach Miller in an interview with the Associated Press. “Guys are familiar with him. They know what they’re getting with him. He’s not a new face coming in as a head coach. Having someone who has been here will make the transition that much easier.”
A press conference to announce Jackson as head coach is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:15 pm, said senior executive John Herrera.