Yes, the Raiders ended their season on a sour note by missing the playoffs in a loss to the Chargers, but that was not the reason for Hue’s departure. McKenzie wants his own guys in the fold, and only a spectacular season from Jackson and the Raiders could have saved his job.
As Jackson said after he learned of his firing:
“He’s going to gut this place,” Jackson told Henry Wofford of CSNBayArea.com. “He [McKenzie] wants to bring in his own guys. No job is safe right now.”
You could argue that the Raiders are a better team now than they were back in August. But it is clear that McKenzie is intent on giving the Raiders a new look and to flush every ounce of Al Davis’ residue from the organization. For the first time in their history, the Raiders are going to go about their business in a “normal” way; in other words, no longer will you see the Raiders make reckless trades and draft selections for the sake of being different.
Hue didn’t exactly help himself when he made proclamations at his end-of-year press conference about how he was going to take more control of the organization. McKenzie has made it clear that this is his show, and had he not fired Jackson, the two were undoubtedly going to bump heads at some point. It is very difficult to take so much power away from someone once they are used to having it.
Bottom line, Reggie had to make this move. If he didn’t, he would be delaying the inevitable and pushed prosperity ever further from the grasp of the Raiders. This is McKenzie’s only chance to make his mark as a GM, and he is not going to waste it because Hue Jackson loves the Raiders so much.
What does this mean for the future of the Raiders? First, expect to see a lot more firings in the near future. Scouts, assistants, anyone who does not fit in McKenzie’s plan is considered to be gone. McKenzie is going to draw the the Packers’ model of sucess, which is the polar opposite of what the Raiders are used to.