After the Raiders fell apart in Sunday’s must-win game against the Chargers, head coach Hue Jackson went on a rant.
He blamed the players and took not-so-veiled shots at his defensive coordinator, who most certainly will be fired.
But what about Jackson himself? He was head coach of a team that was 7-4 after 11 games and then lost four of five to finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Is the rookie head coach, picked by the late Al Davis, secure in his job?
All indications are yes, that Jackson will be back after a busy offseason to try to “build a bully” -- his words -- that can win the division.
Owner Mark Davis and CEO Amy Trask haven’t indicated the direction they’ll go in selecting a general manager/chief executive to preside over operations – and be Jackson’s boss – but neither has indicated that Jackson will be out.
Monday, after having time to cool down a bit after Sunday’s loss, Jackson told the media in a season-ending news conference that he’d like to play a big role in remaking the team for 2012.
He wants a defense that can hold leads. He wants a team with a more “killer instinct.” Some personnel changes are in store, too.
“I would hope the organization understands that I have a pretty good idea of where we need to go,” Jackson told reporters Monday. “If not, then I shouldn’t be sitting where I’m sitting. I think I know exactly what this team needs and how they need to do it.”
According to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, Jackson said he’d also like to be involved in the hiring of a front-office executive.
“Whoever comes here, I think it’s going to be somebody who wants to share the same vision as I do, which is getting the organization back to being better than average,” he said.
The first big change will likely be the firing of defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, whose unit gave up several late-game leads this season.
Jackson noted that a tone was set early in the season with a come-from-ahead loss to the Bills in Buffalo.
“When you’re winning 21-3 and the other team comes back to beat you, that’s who we really were,” Jackson said. “And that’s who we were all year.”
McDonald noted that several strong defensive coaches will be available, including three recently fired NFL head coaches: Steve Spagnulo, Raheem Morris and Jack Del Rio.
Some Raiders on Monday acknowledged, however, that it wasn’t the failure of the coaches; it was their failure to make plays.
“People are going to blame Hue and Chuck, but at the end of the day the players are the ones out on the field,” safety Michael Huff told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vittorio Tafur. “It’s football and you get paid to make plays.
“This whole year is on the players. Myself, I didn’t play up to an $8 million-a-year safety. I put the blame on all the players, myself included. We squandered away so many games.”