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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
New OC Jackson a good hire for Oakland

By Bill Williamson

I’m not saying the addition of former Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson is the missing link in Oakland. Hiring Jackson as offensive coordinator doesn’t make Oakland a favorite to reach the playoffs after a seven-year drought.

But it was a smart football decision that will improve the coaching staff and should improve the play on the field. Give Oakland credit for being able to secure a solid coach like Jackson.

Also give Oakland credit for recognizing it needed a solid coach like Jackson. Jackson should end up calling the plays. Tom Cable will likely lose his play-calling duties, assuming the Raiders bring him back as head coach in 2010. That’s a decent trade off for keeping your job.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Cable will be kept. The Raiders maintain that no decision has been made on his future. The Jackson hiring is another strong sign Cable will be back. The two have coached together in the past and why would Jackson bypass other opportunities if he was not assured he was going to a stable situation? Jackson had a chance to interview for the coordinator job in Chicago.

Jackson’s top task will be to make an NFL quarterback out of former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell. Entering his fourth NFL season, Russell has regressed steadily and he ended the 2009 season on the bench.

Jackson succeeded with Joe Flacco in Baltimore, so this is Russell’s chance to get it together.

There’s no reason not to like this hire. Russell has a chance to get better, Cable -- again assuming he’ll be back -- has a chance to concentrate on his overall duties with Jackson as the coordinator. This is a hire that should make Oakland better.