Tom Cable had commitment issues. He couldn’t commit to a quarterback. In his 2 years and change in Oakland he ran through four different starting QBs. Cable did a good job all things being considered but his tenure was cut short prior to seeing a full commitment to excellence. The QB flip flopping and celebration of mediocrity were both considerable factors in his firing and Hue Jackson’s promotion.
While Jackson claims responsibility for benching Jason Campbell one half of football into his Raider career, he’s making amends by committing to JC as the team’s fulltime starter. In order to win Oakland needs consistency. While Cable did the best he could with what he had to work with the constant chaos at QB was unhealthy.
Unlike Cable’s tenure, Jackson’s begins with much more talent in the cupboard. But that only means expectations are much higher for Coach Jackson. Among the many issues that must be addressed once the lockout is lifted, the Raiders are going to have to find a better insurance policy should Campbell falter or succumb to injury.
Continuing the weekly series of Ask Coach Jackson on Raiders.com, Hue tackled that exact topic in response to a fan’s question about the QB position.
I think your starter is your starter. Obviously Jason Campbell is our starter and we have Kyle Boller as our backup right now. We need to add some more arms to that position and I think we will as we continue to move forward. I think you never worry as a starter who else is on the team. We treat all of our players here at that position as starters so they go and prepare and get themselves ready to play week in and week out. I think a backup here will tell you that he knows he’s a play away and that he’s always prepared to go in and play. I don’t think there will be any controversy here.
Prior to JC’s arrival Cable’s hand was being forced to give #2 the starting job. The problem was once #2 was gone and Campbell was acquired Cable continued to drag his security blanket – Bruce Gradkowski – around everywhere he went. Doesn’t sound like that will be an issue under Jackson. Of course with Boller as a backup that isn’t even up for consideration as of now.
That is all part of Jackson’s plan to bring back the commitment to excellence. When asked what it would take to do so Jackson gave the following answer.
It takes Commitment to Excellence. It takes commitment in excellence in all that we do, the way we prepare, the way we practice, the way we travel, the way we eat, how we sleep, how we condition our bodies and take care of our bodies as we prepare for battle every time we play. We want to chase perfection in everything we do. We set out to do that in all areas for this football team and for this organization. I truly believe if we’re committed to being the best then we will be the best.
Jackson gets credit for always giving the right answer. You can imagine how his interview must have gone with Al Davis. But talk is cheap. The real question is just how is he going to re-commit to excellence? Thankfully Raider Nation doesn’t just toss softballs at the new head coach.
The final question of the session related to whether or not Coach Jackson thinks there is some inequality out there in how the Raiders are perceived and officiated.
Yes, I do believe that there is a perception from people that think that we are being treated unfairly. I don’t subscribe to that for this reason – until we become the team we want to become, we can’t ever worry about that. Until we learn to quit beating ourselves pre-snap with concentration penalties, until we learn to quit beating ourselves turning the ball over, not getting enough turnovers, until we learn to tackle and block the way I think we need to tackle and block, I think all those things are going to be said. When we become the football team that I envision us becoming, I think we leave no doubt. I think what the perception is won’t be an issue. The issue is us being as good as we can be as fast as we can be it.
It goes without saying that the penalty problem in Oakland has gone on for far too long. How the Raiders could continuously be among football’s most penalized teams year in and year out is inexplicable. However when it comes to pre-snap penalties there is no one to blame except the Raiders themselves. This is where Coach Jackson can really separate himself from his predecessor.
Cable gets a lot of credit for getting the locker room united. However he was unable to keep his team focused. Jackson knows what the problem is. Now he needs to practice what he preaches and solve it. Without consistent play out of the quarterback and without fulltime focus the Raiders aren’t going anywhere.
Hopefully Jackson’s commitment to excellence translates to his team. As Jackson surely knows, his owner has some commitment issues of his own when it comes to coaches.