After losing his final game as the Raiders’ head coach, Hue Jackson said he was “pissed” at his team and that he would be making changes. As it turned out, the Raiders were the ones making changes, firing Jackson perhaps because owner Mark Davis and G.M. Reggie McKenzie were displeased about those comments.
Now that Jackson has had a chance to simmer down, he says he wishes he hadn’t lashed out at that final press conference.
“I wish I could take it back and say it differently so people could really understand what I was trying to say,” Jackson said today on NFL Network. “I wasn’t trying to say that I wanted to take total control of everything.”
Instead, Jackson says, what he was hoping to convey with his press conference after the Raiders lost to the Chargers in Week 17 was that he hoped to re-shape the team during the offseason. As the last coach hired by Al Davis, Jackson took the job under different circumstances than the franchise is faced with now, and Jackson said he would have liked the opportunity to mold the team in his own image, rather than to coach the team that Al Davis was running.
“I think when you work for the Raiders, you understand that Al Davis is first and foremost — you work for him,” Jackson said. “So I didn’t get an opportunity to put everybody that I wanted on my staff, or run the team or the situation with football operations the way I see fit. I took the job, and I knew the parameters of the job, and I accepted that, and I think at the end what was coming out of me was the emotion of a long season, being 8-8, losing to the Chargers with so much riding on the line — the opportunity to win the AFC West, host a playoff game at home, opportunity to have the first nine-win season since 2002.”
But the bottom line is that even if Jackson wishes he could take it back and say it differently, the point remains the same: Jackson wanted to implement his own vision for the Raiders, and that vision apparently doesn’t mesh with the vision of Al’s son Mark Davis, who hired Reggie McKenzie as general manager.
Still, there’s a lot to be said for making sure you get your message across the right way, even in the heat of the moment after a tough loss. In his comments on NFL Network today, Jackson sounded much more reasonable and even-keeled than he did in that post-game press conference, and he described Mark Davis as “a good man,” and said he has no hard feelings for Davis or McKenzie. If Jackson had approached his final press conference the way he approached today’s comments about getting fired, he might not have had to make today’s comments about getting fired.