Maybe it would not have worked. Maybe the chemistry between the temperate boss and the ebullient subordinate would have been all wrong.
But Hue Jackson did enough in 2011 to warrant another year as head coach of the Raiders, a chance to work with new general manager Reggie McKenzie.
I don't necessarily believe McKenzie and Jackson would have clashed and brought down the franchise -- especially when Hue realized he essentially was an interim coach, on a one-year trial.
McKenzie, however, wanted his "own guy." That's a common approach for a new executive, whether in sports or politics or the restaurant business. Sometimes the cure and sometimes the disease "ownguyism" can be found in most any office or factory.
Dennis Allen is McKenzie's own guy and, thus, Reggie's great experiment. Allen is a good coach, with the potential to become an excellent head coach. He may find the solutions to overcome Oakland's atrocious start.
It's also reasonable to believe this start might have been avoided if Jackson were engineering the offense.
Hindsight? Not really. I thought in January that McKenzie moved too quickly to replace the head coach, and nothing that has happened in September has changed my opinion.
The strength of the 2011 Raiders was an offense that was productive despite being improvisational at quarterback and the loss of star running back Darren McFadden to injury. It was the offense that allowed the Raiders to come within a win of the making the postseason.
Defense was this team's weakness, and it's an issue Jackson and McKenzie could have addressed and likely solved by making comprehensive changes within the coaching staff assembled by former owner/G.M. Al Davis.
To be clear, Jackson was not a great head coach. He was by turns superb and mystifying. His bravado was on his sleeve, and his ego sometimes lifted him above the clouds. He was a former college quarterback who took risks, tempted fate and embraced the spotlight.
Hue and his abundance of effervescence would have required considerable maintenance.
Yet Reggie could have managed. Trial basis gives an executive tremendous leverage.
But McKenzie wanted a clean slate and his own guy. So he replaced Jackson with Allen, who had done a nice job in his one year as defensive coordinator in Denver.
This was a drastic change. No doubt the Raiders were in need of dramatic change. Davis was the boss for nearly 50 years, and his death required several positions to be filled. Anyone who filled them would have brought radical change.
Given authority by Mark Davis, McKenzie practically blew up the place, starting over, almost from the bottom up. Nearly everything he is doing needed to be done for the outdated Raiders to join the updated NFL.
But it's quite possible such sweeping change -- Allen came aboard 20 days after McKenzie took over as G.M. and three months after Al Davis' son Mark assumed ownership -- is a case of too much, too fast.
Allen, despite positive reviews during training camp, is under fire for Oakland's regression during its 0-2 start. The Raiders suddenly are regarded as one of the NFL's five worst teams. Moreover, Allen is taking extreme criticism for his choice of Greg Knapp as offensive coordinator.
That's what happens when a talent like McFadden disappears in plain sight, when an offense with the tools to improve opens the season with 12 punts and one meaningful touchdown.
It's what happens when an offensive scheme that was working is scrapped for one that is struggling.
It's not that an entirely new football structure can't work. After installing two first-timers -- G.M. Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith -- in 2008, Atlanta has had four successive winning seasons.
The Falcons, however, were 4-12 the previous season and entered 2008 holding six of the first 98 picks in the draft, including two in the first round.
The Raiders had posted consecutive 8-8 seasons, entered the last two Decembers in the playoff race and came into 2012 with conceivably the worst draft positioning in franchise history.
The 2011 team in many ways outperformed its talent, its circumstances (on and off the field) and its front-office operation.
The '12 Raiders are not among the deepest or most talented teams in the league. The roster is a tangle of the good, the average and the imminently replaceable.
To get the Raiders where they want to be, D.A. needs Reggie's help. That will take time. Given the scope of the makeover, any progress that comes likely will be incremental. This could take years.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have taken several steps backward. It's particularly hard to watch, after they found a way last season to take a few steps forward.