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Is Hue Jackson creating heat for himself?

1/4/2012

Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson has caught his share of heat in recent days.

Jackson raised eyebrows when he chastised his team in his postgame news conference Sunday after the Raiders lost 38-26 to the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders would have won the AFC West, which Jackson predicted they would do, with the win. In addition to hammering his players, Jackson said he’d be more involved with the team moving forward. Monday, he continued to talk, saying he hoped to be involved in the process of interviewing general manager candidates.

I have received several emails from Oakland fans who are concerned about Jackson’s actions. Here is a Fox Sports column that slams Jackson for several questionable moves.

There are some whispers around the league Jackson could potentially be in danger of losing his job if Oakland hires a general manager who wants to make a change. I think that thinking may be a little premature.

It is going to take some time for Oakland to hire a new general manager. Green Bay executive Reggie McKenzie remains a top candidate. I’m not so sure any general manager will want to fire Jackson. After hearing his comments about his desire for a bigger role, it could turn off some candidates. Most general managers want to have the final call.

Still, I’d think Oakland’s ownership would be encouraged by Jackson’s influence on the offense. It has made strides the past two years after being anemic prior to his arrival. Jackson was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator during the 2010 regular season.

The Raiders are young and they have a lot of talent. Assuming they have better health, Oakland should be able to contend for the AFC West and Jackson should be safe.

But he has to realize people are going to question him when he points the blame at his players. This is a team that lost four of its last five games and broke the NFL penalty and penalty yardage records. The Raiders also went 4-5 in Carson Palmer's nine starts after Jackson traded a bounty of draft picks for the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback. Jackson should be held accountable for many of these mistakes.

He is still a young coach who is finding his way, and while the Raiders were 8-8 under Tom Cable last year and went 8-8 under Jackson this season, I expect him to continue to learn how to handle situations as he settles into the job.