Raiders coach Hue Jackson has made it clear that he wants to be involved in the search for a new G.M. in Oakland. But Jackson doesn’t know whether he will be.
One man who will be involved in the process is former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf. And there are indications that Jackson may not be comfortable with that approach.
Wolf is strongly advocating Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie. Per a league source, Jackson believes that, if McKenzie lands in Oakland, he’ll bring along Packers assistant director of player personnel Eliot Wolf, with a promotion.
Eliot Wolf is the son of Ron Wolf.
Thus, Jackson’s desire to be involved in the G.M. search could be aimed at ensuring that the best person is hired for the job, not the person in the best position to Polianize the Raiders’ front office. Moreover, it will be important that Jackson and the new G.M. have a strong working relationship; in this regard, the Raiders need look no farther than the recent dysfunction in Kansas City between Scott Pioli and Todd Haley and the fairly recent ruckus in San Diego between A.J. Smith and Marty Schottenheimer.
We’ve previously speculated that Jackson’s contract likely gives him a straight-line reporting obligation to the owner of the team. If that’s accurate, the coach and the G.M. will have equal status in the reconfigured Raiders front office. Unless Mark Davis wants to be caught in the middle of two men who can’t get along, it’s important to ensure that Jackson is comfortable with — and can work with — whoever ends up getting the job.
In other words, any behind-the-scenes (or otherwise) maneuverings by Jackson and/or Ron Wolf aimed at getting Davis to side with either man as to the selection of a G.M. could be a precursor to the day-in, day-out squabbles that could unfold if Jackson believes he’s dealing with a front office that isn’t on the same page with him.
Of course, it’s also important that the G.M. not be a puppet for the coach. And so Jackson can’t dominate the process of hiring someone who then would be indebted to Hue and thus unlikely to stand up to him when Hue projects the kind of hardheadedness that has emerged in some of his recent comments to the media.
The broader question for Davis could be whether Jackson will be able to properly work in true partnership fashion with any G.M. If Davis thinks Jackson can’t, perhaps the right move for the franchise would be to use this occasion to hire a new coach, too.