*The Oakland Raiders promoted offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to head coach on Monday after he helped the team more than double its scoring output in his first year with the franchise.
According to the AP, Jackson will be formally introduced at a news conference today — two weeks after the Raiders announced they were not picking up an option to keep coach Tom Cable.
“The fire in Hue will set a flame that will burn for a long time in the hearts and minds of the Raider football team and the Raider Nation,” owner Al Davis said in a statement.
Jackson was widely considered the leading contender to get the job as soon as the Raiders announced Cable’s departure. This is Jackson’s first head coaching job at any level.
Jackson was hired a year ago to take over the play-calling duties from Cable and oversaw a transformation on offense. Oakland scored more than twice as many points in 2010 as it did in ’09 — and the Raiders won eight games and avoid an eighth straight losing season.
Jackson was popular with players on both sides of the ball in Oakland, with the defenders enjoying the competitive nature he brought to practice each day. Linebacker Quentin Groves wrote on his Twitter feed, “Congrats to Hue Jackson … This is gonna be a great ride!!!”
Led by quarterback Jason Campbell, a breakout season from running back Darren McFadden and big plays from rookie receiver Jacoby Ford, the Raiders finished sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points.
That was the sixth-most points in franchise history and a huge improvement from 2009, when former first overall pick JaMarcus Russell spent most of the time at quarterback.
“That’s what I came here for,” Jackson said late in the season. “It would be different if there wasn’t and then I’d be really upset but that’s why I’m here. That’s why I came to the Raiders, was to improve, but we didn’t improve fast enough. … We expect to be challenging for the playoffs, challenging for our division year in and year out and we’re not getting that done, so to me, that’s a disappointment. There’s either first place or there’s last place and there’s no in between.”
That was a far different tone than the one expressed by Cable, who notably pronounced “you can’t call us losers anymore,” after the Raiders capped an 8-8 season by beating AFC West champion Kansas City in the season finale.
The Raiders won all six division games, but only two of their other 10 games. They became the first team since the 1970 merger to have a perfect record in the division and not make the postseason.
Jackson will try to get the Raiders back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2002 AFC championship. Davis has let go of five coaches since then.