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Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson during their game against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, September 25, 2011. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)

His play-calling sometimes seemed to be plucked from thin air, his clock management could be poor, and he fumbled an opportunity to take a stand on a wayward player.

Hue Jackson, with many hats atop his head, made enough mistakes in 2011 to remind himself and anyone observing that he was a rookie at this head-coaching gig.

His roster, however, was considerably more flawed than his coaching.

So the mob circling Jackson, calling for the coach to oust himself after one year, should be ignored. Their emotions have been toyed with and torched. Lashing out is the natural response.

The organization's first move to fix itself, having lost architect and former owner Al Davis, has to be hiring a general manager. Jackson surely will dismiss defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, as would the next G.M., but the next D.C. won't fare much better if he's handed the same cast.

And there is no shortage of quality candidates for the job, which is made more attractive by Davis' absence, for the late former boss was notorious for badgering his coaches, particularly those responsible for defense.

It's unlikely the organization will find someone more qualified for the G.M. job than Reggie McKenzie, a former Raiders linebacker (1985-88) and currently director of football operations in Green Bay.


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McKenzie was hired there by former Packers executive Ron Wolf, who was a front-office executive for all three Raiders Super Bowl championship teams. McKenzie has been in place since 1994, having earned two promotions to reach his position, and only New England has won more games than Green Bay during that time.

With the help of his scouting staff, McKenzie consistently finds players, many of whom are overlooked by others. The Packers' mostly homegrown roster -- the most organic in the NFL -- was constructed around McKenzie's evaluations and recommendations to general manager Ted Thompson.

The Packers, defending Super Bowl champions and favored to repeat, are winning with undrafted free-agent defensive backs such as Tramon Williams and Sam Shields.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are struggling with such high draft picks as Stanford Routt and Mike Mitchell, both of whom are second-round selections.

While Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain, the No. 8 overall selection in 2010, has been a disappointment thus far -- including off-field exploits thus far undisciplined -- Packers inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, the 192nd overall pick out of Cal in 2007, is thriving.

The Packers rarely pursue big-ticket free agents, and they seldom miss.

Charles Woodson, who was the best player on the defense during most of his time in Oakland, found his way to Green Bay and rededicated himself. He is establishing Hall of Fame credentials as the leader of one of the league's most aggressive defenses.

The Packers before the 2006 season gambled on C-Wood, then an unrestricted free agent with few interested clubs, and it paid off.

Wolf, who retired a decade ago, is on record saying McKenzie is ready to become a G.M., even adding that the Raiders would seem to be an ideal opportunity. There might not be a human being on earth more familiar with Raiders history than Wolf.

Insofar as McKenzie knows how to find players as well as build teams, he would make sense on so many levels.

He also will be otherwise engaged for a few weeks, perhaps a month.

But that applies to most of the NFL's best personnel men. It applies to Tom Gamble, the 49ers' vice president of player personnel who also will be considered, as well as Atlanta's Les Snead and Baltimore's Eric DeCosta, who worked with Jackson when Hue was the quarterbacks coach for the Ravens.

Of the obvious candidates, only Seattle's Scot McCloughan -- whose father, Kent, has worked for the Raiders since 1965, as a player and a scout -- is not in the postseason.

Jackson, who worked for four other NFL teams before coming to Oakland in 2010, will be involved in the search. As odd as it might seem that a coach would help hire his "boss," the two more likely will have a symbiotic relationship, similar to that between Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and G.M. Kevin Colbert.

Though Mark Davis, who inherited the Raiders in the wake of his dad's death, has the power to make the decision, he'll wisely listen to Jackson and the team's current personnel officials, notably veterans Bruce Kebric and Jon Kingdon.

Jackson will be hip deep in the process, as he should be. As brutal as the end of the season was, the passage of time will send a breeze to clear the scent of smoldering ash, and Jackson will look better.

He'll be the coach who kept the Raiders in contention despite the death of his boss and sounding board one week, the loss of his starting quarterback the next week, and the loss of his star running back the week after that.

Above all, though, he'll be the coach who needed a better and deeper roster.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com.

possible candidates for
general manager

Reggie McKenzie

Former Raiders linebacker, director of football operations for Green Bay Packers

Tom Gamble

Vice president of player personnel for 49ers

Les Snead

Director of player personnel for Atlanta Falcons

Eric DeCosta

Director of player personnel for Baltimore Ravens

Scot McCloughan

Senior personnel executive for Seattle Seahawks