Hue Jackson: Willing to Gamble the Raiders Franchise on Carson Palmer

Yusuf HassanCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 09:  Head coach Hue Jackson of the Oakland Raiders try to hold back tears during a moment of silence for Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis as the Raiders are to play the Houston Texans on October 9, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Raider owner, Al Davis died at age 82 at his home Saturday morning.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Before Al Davis passed away, the iconic NFL owner had put together a team that looked as if it was headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Davis drafted the backfield tandem of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, who led the Raiders to the second-highest rushing offense in the league in 2010.

Davis drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey, who in his third season, is ranked second in the AFC West in reception yards.

Davis drafted Veldheer and Wiz, who have turned the Raiders' offensive line into one of the nastiest bunches in the league.

Davis traded for Jason Campbell, who reminded Davis of Jim Plunkett. In return, Campbell has gone 12-7 in the games he’s played in for the rebuilding Raiders.

Over the past few years, Al Davis had rebuilt the Raiders, mainly through the draft, much like the Packers, Patriots, Jets, 49ers, Steelers and Ravens—teams that have done well without making blockbuster trades for highly-paid veterans at the expense of their draft picks.

Within a month of Davis’ passing, Hue Jackson has traded away the Raiders' first-round draft pick in 2012, a conditional second-round pick in 2013 and ran Al Davis’ quarterback out of Oakland.

By sacrificing the picks on Carson Palmer, Hue Jackson gave starting quarterback Jason Campbell a pink slip once his contract expires during the offseason.

In return, Carson Palmer completed eight passes and threw three interceptions in his Raiders debut.

Jason Campbell told CSN Bay Area, “I’m a starter in this league...I’m definitely a starter.  I’m not ready to accept being in a backup role.  I’ve come too far and done too much and I feel like I’m still pressing on and I haven’t even done my best yet.”

Jackson’s trade was a bold move for a first-year coach with no general management experience. Actually, it was a bold trade for any acting coach. And bold is the approach that Jackson takes in all phases of football, regardless of his experience.

And there is no one better at making inexperienced bold moves in football than Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. But over the last year, Snyder has resigned from sacrificing high draft picks on big-name, over-paid free agents.

Snyder always seemed to be the proverbial "young bull on the top of the hill" who wanted to run down to sow his oats. But after many failed attempts at buying a championship, Snyder has shown wisdom over the past year and has returned to the draft.

Snyder, an owner, is capable of rebounding from bad personnel management because there is no one to fire the owner. But Hue Jackson, a first-year coach, will have a general manager to answer to if the trade doesn’t produce a significant playoff run.

And if Carson Palmer does not pan out, the Raiders will have lost two or three prime seasons for defensive stud Richard Seymour, and many of the players acquired in the Al Davis era will be free agents. If the Raiders lose another slew of free agents in two years like they did this past offseason, the Raiders might be starting from scratch—with nothing to show for it.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King compared Jason Campbell to Palmer. King notes Campbell’s completion percentage (.623-.608), yards (9,250-7,813), winning percentage (.432-.389), rating (84.1-81.4) and interception totals (39-50) are all better than Palmer’s.

In addition, Palmer’s numbers have been in a decline, while Campbell’s numbers are ascending.

After inserting Palmer into the game on Sunday, Palmer quickly showed why the Cincinnati Bengals are happy to have rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and two Raider draft picks for a quarterback—Carson Palmer who would have been their backup.

The Raiders are in transition. They have a new quarterback. They are without a GM. And they were shut out by the lowly Chiefs at home on Sunday.

“Just a couple weeks ago, we were one of the better offenses in this league,” Darren McFadden told reporters Monday after the loss to the Chiefs, “and now all of a sudden, it’s like the wheels fell off. No, the wheels didn’t fall off. We didn’t all of a sudden become dumb on offense and not know what we’re doing. What we’re doing is we’re going through a transition period.”

Two years ago, another young, brash, first-time head coach transitioned another AFC West team by replacing the team’s starting quarterback when he got a chance to bring in his own guy.

That rookie coach was Josh McDaniels, the protégé of Belichick. A cocky, brash, my-way-or-the-highway type who ironically hit the highway after his Riverboat Gambler style of personnel management sunk the Denver Bronco franchise, which they are still recovering from.

Has Hue Jackson made the same rookie mistake as McDaniels by sacrificing the integrity of the franchise by banishing Al Davis’ handpicked quarterback and trading away two valuable draft picks for a big-name has been?