Any Al Davis speaking engagement promises a mix of historic tutoring, optimistic visions and contentious words. Tuesday's show lived up to that all.
Davis did much more than simply introduce Hue Jackson as the Raiders' ninth coach since the franchise's return to Oakland in 1995.
After a 1 1/2-hour session that was mostly calm and rational, Davis turned the proceedings into the bizarre spectacle we've come to expect. He unleashed a torrent of ammunition as to why naughty Tom Cable was done after 2 3/4 seasons as coach.
Overall, quantity overshadowed quality in what Davis said, unless you wanted to sift through the dirt he shoveled on Cable's Raiders grave.
Hue Jackson Day lasted maybe 10 minutes. After that, it was a walk through the Raiders' troubled past, with Davis saving Cable's woes for the grand finale.
Jackson and Davis spewed all the trademark optimism found at these introductory press conferences. You know, the Raiders are headed toward greatness, they've got a slew of young talent, they were oh-so-close to the playoffs and a potential Super Bowl run.
But that rhetoric got steamrolled when Davis took to task yet another ex-coach. This wasn't as bizarre as when Davis fired Lane Kiffin and promoted Tom Cable on Sept. 30, 2008. That epic, two-part press conference was highlighted by Davis displaying a letter to Kiffin demanding he cease-and-desist insubordinate behavior.
These proceedings turned odd, however,
Storytime with Al drifted into the far reaches of Cable's legal turmoil that accompanied his first year as head coach. Davis brought up the incident of Cable allegedly breaking assistant coach Randy Hanson's jaw, and then came the confusing barrage of allegations regarding Cable's treatment of women.
Davis mentioned how the threat of lawsuits cast a terrible light on the Raiders, whose lawyers apparently braced for battle. Those lawsuits weren't breaking news, not compared to Davis' dismay over Cable breaching Raiders protocol by bringing a woman on team road trips.
"(One) lawsuit created work, stress and turmoil," Davis said in reference to allegations from one of Cable's ex-wives. "I told Tom earlier he could be fired without pay for the wrath he brought on the organization for the allegations of his treatment of women. "... I asked Tom Cable at least three or four different times if there was anything else we have to deal with."
Davis said he was surprised by an ESPN report about Cable's domestic issues early in the 2009 season.
"He knew I could throw him out without any money," Davis said of ending Cable's tenure. "There's no way he can come clean on this. He knows what he did."
What took Davis so long, then, to part ways with Cable? Davis waited until two days after the Raiders' finished 8-8, in their best season since 2002.
"We had a shot with five games to go to get in the playoffs," Davis said. "There's no telling how far we could have gone. "... With five games to go, we messed it up. Not necessarily on offense. We didn't play well enough on defense."
While Jackson is the 18th coach in Raiders history, Jason Campbell is their 18th starting quarterback since 1995. There is a correlation between that turnover at both spots.
So did Campbell show enough in 2010 to solidify the Raiders' unstable quarterback position? Both Davis and Jackson sung Campbell's praises, Davis holding firm to his pre-2010 season statement that Campbell reminds him of Jim Plunkett circa 1980.
"Over the last seven weeks of the season, he played as flawless as almost any good quarterback can play in this league," Jackson said. "I looked forward to another year in the same system to be great."
While Cable had vast locker-room support up to his exit, Jackson feels he does, as well.
"I don't feel I have to overcome anything," Jackson said. "Our players have been very supportive."
Said Davis: "As much as you thought Tom had support in the locker room, there was to a point with people he socialized with. Hue will have support in the locker room just as much as Tom Cable, if not more."
Davis repeatedly cited how the Raiders offense "got into the end zone" with Jackson as their first-year coordinator. More of the same is demanded by Davis.
Jackson is adamant that the offense will again emphasize the Raiders iconic virtue of down-field passing, with Cable taking aim at young receivers such as Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Campbell wouldn't be here, however, if the Raiders got what they hoped from 2007 No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who was released last spring.
"We no longer as an organization can fight the personal problems of certain players," Davis said. "We tried in the past and had been successful with some great players, and we failed with some great players.
"We had a big investment in this guy. Basically he's a good person but had personal problems. I decided we weren't going to fight it anymore. "... It hurt us a great deal, but you've got to go on and overcame these things, and we almost did this year."
Because this was Davis' first group session with reporters in 27 months, a vast array of topics were covered.
He said there is no need to hire a general manager to help him and his personnel department, especially with the league's uncertainty regarding the stalled labor talks over a new collective bargaining agreement.
As he did in 2008, Davis pleaded for a new stadium, insisting that the Coliseum site is ideal because of its transportation options for fans. He remained cool to the idea of sharing a new stadium with the 49ers, as the league has recommended.
As far as the Raiders' potential free agents, he called it "ridiculous" that there might be as many as 31 players with expiring contracts. One pending free agent, however, is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and Davis hailed his value on and off the field. But Davis also noted that the $17 million Asomugha might command in yearly salary could instead be used on three quality players "to help us win."
In a rare moment of humility, Davis accepted some of the blame for the Raiders' struggles, which have kept them out of the playoffs since the 2002 season.
"I've made mistakes, yes. No question. We also need great players," Davis said. "Should I take some of the blame? I certainly do. You guys give it to me. You want me to get it from my wife? I do. She was used to winning."
Jackson said "he's hip" to the lion's den he is stepping into as Raiders coach.
"I'm here to be great," Jackson said. "We've talked about the coaches before me, and I have great respect for them. But they're not Hue Jackson. I'm here to restore the greatness of the Raiders."
So was Cable. So was Kiffin. So were so many others.
And then they're gone, leaving a trail of evidence that Davis is willing to share when it comes time to explain their expulsion, as was the case yet again Tuesday.