By Cam Inman
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson came forward Wednesday and took credit for recommending the halftime quarterback switch in the Raiders' victory Sunday.
Now why would Jackson volunteer that info?
Because he is honest and straightforward? Sure. Because he is bucking for a promotion? Gosh, Jackson seems more like an enthusiastic, team-oriented guy than a selfish, conniving figure.
The Raiders' ongoing quarterback shuffle -- Jason Campbell is out, Bruce Gradkowski is in as the starter for Sunday's game at Arizona -- has clued us in on Jackson's clout with a franchise desperate for offensive leadership.
It is only a matter of time before Al Davis cuts to the chase and appoints Jackson as coach Tom Cable's successor. Perhaps one more crushing loss is all it will take, or one more failed opportunity to win two in a row under Cable.
"This past week's game at halftime, I made a decision to go in and talk to our head coach about making a switch at quarterback," Jackson said. "OK. I have great latitude from our owner, Mr. Davis, and from Coach Cable, (to do) anything that I think needs to be done on offense in order for us to score points.
"Obviously, we have a head coach, and I run everything through him. But my job is to make sure that I put our offensive football team in the best situation to score points."
Even if Jackson simply suggested that Cable replace Campbell with Gradkowski to spark the victory over the St.
Louis Rams, the public revelation Wednesday undermined Cable's authority.
Cable is not a coach who can afford to lose credibility. The job did not come with much. When is the last time Davis praised him?
Cable is 10-20 since replacing Lane Kiffin, a tenure that has been spent entirely on the proverbial hot seat. Rumors of a rift with Davis are constantly on ESPN
Jackson's arrival this year allowed Cable to delegate responsibilities such as play-calling. Cable gave thanks for that again Wednesday, explaining how he and Jackson are working in unison to do what it takes to win.
That sounds like a wonderful concept. Is it possible to withstand the prevailing theory that Jackson will be Cable's eventual successor? Davis hailed his "bright, new, young offensive coordinator" in a training-camp interview with Sirius NFL Radio.
Cable did not dispute Jackson's assertion about the halftime switch. He said they talked earlier in the week about needing better quarterback play and that he instructed Jackson to tell him "what you need to succeed."
What we have now is a coaching conundrum that is juicier than the easy call to start Gradkowski on Sunday and play off the momentum from their home-opening rally.
Cable valiantly spoke about the quarterback decision: "It ultimately rested at my feet. My decision. It comes from me."
When Jackson filled in the blanks about how that decision was made, his take-charge news conference came off like a job audition.
The Raiders ushered Jackson to the podium to kick off media access, in which neither quarterback was made available. Jackson spoke like a head coach, and he walked off like a respected one, arm in arm with Raiders senior executive John Herrera.
Be clear on this: Jackson did not speak poorly about Cable's stature.
"Like I said, we have a head coach. Everything I do on offense, I do with the blessing of Tom Cable," Jackson said. "Obviously I think he would ask for my input.
"He's going to make that decision when it's all said and done. I told him what I feel and what I think. From there, he'll take it in. He's been here longer than I have, and I respect his feeling, just like I respect Coach Davis'. I call (Davis) 'Coach' more so than Al. I call him 'Coach.'
"They have a lot of insight about the inner workings here."
Jackson took a page right out of Coach Davis' script when he was asked if Campbell is fiery enough to lead.
"There's a fire that burns, there's a fire that burns in you, there's a fire that burns in us all," Jackson said.
There is a day coming when Cable will be fired. Take a guess at who will be first in line for a promotion.
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