NFL Coaching Roundup: Jackson ousted in Oakland

The Sports Xchange

The Oakland Raiders named Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie their new general manager last week and, before he was even moved into his office at the team facility, McKenzie sent tidal waves through the Bay Area, firing coach Hue Jackson.

"The decision to move forward and where we are going into this new era, it's going to be a time for change," McKenzie said Tuesday at a joint press conference with owner Mark Davis. "I felt there was a need for change at the head coaching position, from the top. We're moving into a new era. No disrespect to coach Jackson but this was something I wanted to do, start anew."

McKenzie said he studied the Raiders and that his decision to fire Jackson was made before he arrived at team headquarters.

Jackson was let go after one season and an 8-8 record by new general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was officially introduced as the team's general manager. Jackson had been promoted from his position as offensive coordinator.

"The legacy of the Raiders is steeped in tradition but with all things there comes a time when change is necessary and for the Raiders, that time is now," McKenzie said. "The Raiders organization, with respect and deference to all its tradition and history, is about to embark on a new era."

McKenzie, a former linebacker in Oakland who was a starter alongside Matt Millen, spent 19 years in the personnel department of the Green Bay Packers. He was given full and final authority on all matters related to the football team when he accepted his first job as general manager last week.

"I want to bring my guy in and Mark was OK with that, period. That's what we want," McKenzie said.

--Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was becoming a popular target of teams in need of a head coach, but he has decided to withdraw from consideration to remain in Cincinnati.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams officially requested permission to interview Gruden this week. Reports indicate the Miami Dolphins were also considering inviting Gruden for an interview.

Gruden, 44, was a first-year offensive coordinator with the Bengals and was instrumental in the success of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who went 10-6 in the regular season with five wins on the road.

Meanwhile, the Rams and Dolphins continued to await a decision from Jeff Fisher.

St. Louis was scheduled to interview Tennessee Titans vice president/football operations Lake Dawson and Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel Les Snead as potential front office hires, following an interview with Eagles director of player personnel Ryan Grigson on Monday.

The team won't necessarily wait to hire a coach until a general manager is brought in, especially if Fisher decides on the Rams. Dolphins director of player personnel Brian Gaine and Jets vice president of college scouting Joey Clinkscales are expected to be among those interviewed.

The Dolphins wrapped up their interview with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer - the fifth candidate they have talked to about the head coaching vacancy.

--Chargers offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon said he will not return to the team in 2012 as he looks to "do other things" with his life.

A football coach for the past 37 years, including the past 10 in San Diego, Shelmon has been the offensive coordinator since 2007.

"I'm just done," said Shelmon, who coached. "You know when it's time."

--Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach Mel Tucker has been targeted by the Vikings as a candidate for their defensive coordinator job. The Jaguars are also interested in having him return as defensive coordinator.

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