The Raiders introduced Hue Jackson as their head coach Tuesday, though the process for his replacing Tom Cable began almost a year ago.
Jackson wasted little time praising "coach" Al Davis, who is the Raiders managing general partner, and saying all the things sure to endear himself to Davis and Raiders fans.
"We're going to create an environment here for our players to do great, and that's what we're chasing," Jackson said. "We're chasing greatness. "... My job is to do everything I can to take this team where we know we want to go, which is the Super Bowl."
Jackson, 45, is the 17th coach in Raiders history -- Art Shell served two stints. This marks Jackson's first shot at showing what he can do as the leading man on a football team, either in college or the NFL. He has spent most of his coaching career as an offensive coordinator.
For Davis, this is his sixth coaching change since he traded Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 -- Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Shell, Lane Kiffin, Cable and now Jackson.
Gruden is the only coach since 1994 with a winning record with the Raiders. Six others were fired after no more than two seasons. Davis declined to pick up Cable's two-year, $5 million option.
"(Tuesday) is a big day for the Raiders because we have the opportunity to bring to you someone who's made a tremendous impression on the organization and did a great deal for the organization this past year," Davis said during
Jackson transformed the Raiders offense into the league's sixth-highest-scoring unit this past season as the offensive coordinator. The Raiders offense jumped from 31st in yards per game to 10th under Jackson's guidance.
Hiring a replacement offensive coordinator is among Jackson's top priorities, he said, along with someone to replace defensive coordinator John Marshall. Longtime NFL offensive coordinator Al Saunders is someone Jackson intends to speak with about the vacancy.
However, Jackson said he intends to preside over the offense next season, for the most part.
"I'm going to be the primary play-caller," Jackson said, "but we're going to do everything we can to recruit the best staff for the Oakland Raiders."
Davis said he interviewed three other candidates before settling upon Jackson, who interviewed for the 49ers' vacancy before they hired Jim Harbaugh on Jan. 7. Davis refused to divulge the names of those interviewed, saying only that they were coaches he reached out to in the past.
"I took the resumes out for those people, I got them on the telephone or I talked to them, more or less compared (them to Jackson)," Davis said. "I felt that everything pointed to (Jackson). Everything.
"I don't see anything -- character, personality -- that would not let me raise his hand and let him be the coach of the Raiders and be the ambassador of the Raider Nation around the country and the world."
Davis' seizing upon the words character and personality likely weren't a coincidence. He spent the better part of 30 minutes outlining his reasons for severing ties with Cable.
Davis said a combination of events soured him on Cable. Chief among them were Cable's altercation with former defensive assistant Randy Hanson in 2009 in which Hanson suffered a broken jaw, Cable's admission of hitting his first wife and an allegation by Cable's former girlfriend, Marie Lutz, that Cable physically abused her, and Lutz accompanying Cable on road games.
"All of this stuff goes a long way against my wishes, against my way of living, against my life and against the Raider way," Davis said. "And I just wasn't going to take it anymore."
Hence, Davis fined Cable $20,000 on each of his final six paychecks because the cases by Hanson and Lutz, who Davis said sued Cable and the Raiders, weren't resolved and burdened team attorneys. Cable reportedly filed a grievance seeking to recoup the $120,000.
Cable did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Davis said he resisted firing Cable because the Raiders were in playoff contention with six games left. They went 3-3 during that stretch and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
"We messed it up," Davis said, before adding: "We had been in turmoil for about a year or two after the initial stuff came out, so I just didn't think we needed another uproar at this particular time."
Davis jettisoned Cable despite almost unanimous support of Cable by his players, with the notable exception of quarterback Jason Campbell.
In the end, Davis said, it became apparent as the season progressed that, "I just didn't think (Cable) could do it, not when I saw the contrast with Hue Jackson. "... (Cable) knew he was through, and he also knew how to go into the locker room and get the support."
Jackson said he received 20 text messages from players Tuesday and that he isn't worried about winning over the locker room.
"I don't really feel that I have to overcome anything," he said. "I've been here with our players. Our players have been very supportive. "... (They) are very excited about me being here, being the head coach, and they can't wait to get back here."
Davis interviewed Jackson almost one year ago, when he was in the market for someone to take over play-calling duties from Cable. During that interview, Davis gauged Jackson's potential as a head coach if things didn't pan out with Cable.
"We watched what happened," Davis said, "and what happened is (the offense) improved. The guy can get in the end zone. "... He can bring me continuity, he can bring the Raiders continuity, he can bring the Raider Nation continuity. He's got some things going that we're excited about."
Seahawks hire Tom Cable as assistant head coach. Page 4