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Former Raiders coach Jackson on opposite sideline Sunday

The SportsXchange

Hue Jackson re-energized a moribund Raiders offense but was swept out as head coach in an organizational restructure by new general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was hired by owner Mark Davis.

Jackson will be on the opposite sideline when the Raiders visit the Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, working as an assistant to Marvin Lewis and specializing in defensive backs and special teams.

"He has a lot of insight into most of the players there," Lewis told Bay Area reporters by conference call. "The players haven't changed that much, so that's good."

Hired by late owner Al Davis in 2010 to take the offense over from Tom Cable and the following season to replace Cable, the Raiders scored 44 touchdowns in 2008 and 2009 and 82 in the two seasons Jackson ran the offense.

His skill as a play-caller was cited by several players who accepted his departure as part of the business side of football.

"He's a phenomenal play-caller," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He does a great job of keeping defenses off-balance and surprising them with new stuff. Obviously it was time for a switch here with the new regime coming in, but I thought Hue was a great coach and will get another opportunity."

McKenzie, who said he wanted to hire his own head coach, selected Dennis Allen, whose background was as a defensive coach and who hasn't spent a lot of time talking to his team about Jackson being on the opposite sideline.

"We haven't addressed it," Allen said. "We're playing the Cincinnati Bengals and we've got to worry about doing things that we have to do to have success. And really, it's not a major factor in this game.

"It's going to be our players going out and executing against their team."

Two of Jackson's main projects were running back Darren McFadden and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, taken with No. 4 and No. 7 selections in the draft but who struggled until he arrived.

"He helped me out a whole lot, just building my confidence, and he gave me the opportunity to show folks I can go out there and run the ball the way I do," McFadden said.

Heyward-Bey, who caught 64 passes for 975 yards last season after struggling for three years, said, "He just saw the work I put in. He believed in me. He was the type of coach who called plays to see if you could make a play ... he has confidence in his guy over whoever is defending him. You like that as a player."
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