Hue Jackson could have had a field day Sunday. Instead, he went on the field pregame at Paul Brown Stadium and chatted with any Raider that would have him and then watched his Bengals dismantle the team he took within five minutes of the playoffs last year.
After Sunday’s 34-10 victory over the team that fired him last year after one year as head coach, the Raiders look like they’re five minutes away from the second pick in the draft.
But Jackson kept it classy. After all, he’s reportedly already in the mix for the head coaching job at California. He knows people are going to say this was a sweet one for him.
“People will say this. I can look at it in my own mind and maybe felt that it was because I know those players and I’ve been in that organization with Coach (Al) Davis and the rest of the players and his son Mark (Davis),” he said after the game in the Bengals locker room. “But at the end of the day it was just another football game, a game we needed to win and I think our guys did a great job. Kudos to the offense, defense and special teams; it was a team win.”
Asked just exactly how good it felt, Jackson smiled.
“It does,” he said. “To win again and be 6-5 and going to San Diego, no question it does.”
Jackson said he had to separate the emotion from Sunday. It couldn’t be emotional, he said, even though those were his players out there and that was his quarterback he traded for with a first- and second-round pick that now, with the help of his firing, makes it one of the biggest steals in NFL history.
With Jackson molding him into his system on the fly last year, Palmer was 4-5 as the starter and if the Raiders held on to a fourth-quarter lead in the finale it would have been 5-5 and the playoffs. Now they’re 3-8.
“It couldn’t be (emotional),” Jackson said. “I think when I first start to see anybody, obviously a lot of old emotions and feelings come back and mainly what they were with Coach Davis. That’s a team that I know really well and I know the owner was someone that was very near and dear to me. Once we kick the ball off, it’s time to go play.”
Palmer hasn’t only been silent on his situation with the Bengals, but he hasn’t had much to say about Jackson in staying true to his desire to stay away from headlines and controversy.
The two did speak before and after Sunday’s game.
“I have a lot of respect for Carson. Carson’s a tremendous football player and that’s never going to change as far as I’m concerned,” Jackson said. “I wish him luck. I wanted to make sure him and his family are doing well and I’m sure we’ll run into each other somewhere down the line.”
Tags: Carson Palmer, Hue Jackson
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