The Raiders hired Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson as their offensive coordinator Tuesday in a move that strips coach Tom Cable of his play-calling duties and gives the team another person experienced at developing young quarterbacks.
Cable went without an offensive coordinator last season because of his preference for calling plays. Ted Tollner was the passing game coordinator.
The Raiders confirmed Jackson's hiring in a brief news release. They didn't make Jackson available for comment or provide any feedback from Cable on the hiring.
"I'm hired as the offensive coordinator, and I'll be the primary play-caller," Jackson told Ravens.com as he packed his stuff at Ravens headquarters. "That's my role. It's a chance to go out and assist the head coach and be the best offense we can be."
Cable applauded the move.
"It's a good decision by the organization," Cable told the National Football Post, while observing practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday. "It's someone that I'm familiar with. It's someone that can help us take the next step, so we're all pretty excited about it."
Jackson, who spent the past two seasons as Baltimore's quarterbacks coach, interviewed with Raiders managing general partner Al Davis last week.
Cable didn't sit in on the interview, but he worked with Jackson at Cal State Fullerton and Cal.
"Tom and I have had some good conversations, but I spent most of my time talking with Mr. Davis," Jackson told Ravens.com. "What a man. He's one of the guys in this profession that you would like to have an opportunity to sit down and talk with, let alone work for. My conversations with him led me there. Hopefully, things will work as planned, and I think we're capable of doing it."
Jackson's hiring bodes well for Cable sticking around as the Raiders' coach next season. Raiders senior executive John Herrera said Tuesday that Davis still is evaluating Cable's status.
Also up in the air is the status of current Raiders quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett. He hasn't been spotted in Mobile, and one player said Davis ceased speaking to Hackett midway through this past season because he tired of hearing Hackett's harsh assessment of quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
Jackson will be expected to improve upon an offense that scored only 17 touchdowns in 16 games and ranked 31st (out of 32 teams) in yards and points per game this past season.
Cable placed a large part of the blame on Russell, whom he benched after nine games.
"We were at nine points a game before, and it went to 16-something in the last seven weeks," Cable said at his year-end news conference in reference to how the Raiders offense performed better without Russell as the starter.
Whereas Cable preferred Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye over Russell, Davis had other ideas. He still envisions Russell as a reliable NFL starter and is banking on Jackson providing the answers.
Jackson is credited with the development of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer when they were together at USC and Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
He said he is looking forward to working with Russell, the top selection in the 2007 NFL draft.
"This guy was the first player drafted," Jackson said in an interview on ESPN radio. "It's going to be fun to see if we can get him up and playing the way we all wish that he can perform. It's not just about JaMarcus. The quarterback takes on a whole life by itself, but it's the team. The whole offensive unit has to perform well around the quarterback."
Jackson canceled an interview with the Chicago Bears about their offensive coordinator vacancy, he said, because he is excited about the prospect of returning to his native state and helping the Raiders turn around their fortunes.
Jackson also was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins in 2003 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. The Redskins ranked 22nd in points per game and 23rd in yards per game in '03. The Falcons ranked 29th in points per game and 23rd in yards per game in '07.
He also coached the running backs for the Redskins in 2001-02 and the wide receivers for the Bengals from 2004-06.
College: Pacific, 1987-89; Cal State Fullerton, 1990; Arizona State, 1992-95; Cal, 1996; USC, 1997-2000.
Pro: Washington, 2001-03; Cincinnati, 2004-06; Atlanta, 2007, Baltimore, 2008-09.