The Oakland Raiders may be searching for a general manager, but practically speaking, someone has already taken the job.
Less than two weeks after the passing of owner Al Davis, coach Hue Jackson has taken control of the Raiders – at least from a personnel standpoint. Proof of that came Tuesday with the bold deal for quarterback Carson Palmer(notes), which had been pushed months earlier by Jackson.
[ Related: Source says Carson Palmer to receive extension ]
As has become Jackson's MO, the Raiders went further than most people would have expected by giving up a 2012 first-round draft pick and a second-rounder in 2013. Anyone who has watched the Raiders play under the rookie head coach knows that he's a go-for-it type. As he likes to tell reporters in the Bay Area, he likes to "live on the edge."
Whether that means throwing deep at times when a run into the middle or a simple 8-yard pass play would be fine, or running a fake punt in your own territory on the road, or running a fake field goal at home when you're already leading, or whatever else the Raiders have done lately, Jackson is one of those people who climbs to the top of Half Dome at Yosemite, walks to the edge and leans over for a better view.
And then smiles gleefully as he turns to his friends.
This trade is pure Jackson, who has known Palmer since their days together in Cincinnati. This trade is pure Jackson, a guy who grew up in inner-city Los Angeles and still talks like he could run the streets. This trade is pure Jackson, a guy who has had to suffer fools for bosses such as Steve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino and last year Tom Cable before finally getting a chance to do what he always wanted.
It took Jackson's agent, Kennard McGuire, years to sell Davis on hiring Jackson as an offensive coordinator candidate. Heck, McGuire couldn't hardly sell anyone on Jackson. Then, after one year of watching Jackson rejuvenate the Raiders offense and turn running back Darren McFadden(notes) into one of the league's most dynamic weapons, Davis realized that Jackson was the real deal.
When Davis promoted Jackson to head coach, the only person Jackson had to answer to was Davis. Now, that person is Mark Davis, Al's son, and Jackson is pushing his agenda, which included getting Palmer. Understandably, the elder Davis wasn't willing in the offseason to pay Cincinnati owner Mike Brown's price.
[ Related: Trainer says Carson Palmer 'looks great' ]
However, circumstances have a way of changing. In this case, the changes couldn't be more severe. From Davis' death to quarterback Jason Campbell's(notes) collarbone injury Sunday, the Raiders have had more than their fair share of bad news the past 10 days. That said, the good news is that the team is 4-2 and generally playing well, even if there are still holes in the lineup.
All of that has combined to make the push for Palmer more desperate. In short, you had a desperate situation and a coach who doesn't mind taking desperate measures. With some newfound power, Jackson made the deal happen.
Now, he better make some serious results happen.
Practice rule puts teams in bind
While Gruden generally doesn't have a lot of critical stuff to say, he made a great point on Monday night about how the new rules regarding practice in a bye week greatly worked against Dolphins coach Tony Sparano this week. Gruden pointed out how the rule requiring players to have four consecutive days off didn't allow the Dolphins time to help get new quarterback Matt Moore(notes) ready.
Teams should have a "bank" of practices they can borrow from in situations like this one. A team could get a couple of days to use in the bye week and give players a day or two off later in the season under extreme circumstances, such as a quarterback injury in the previous game. With so many jobs on the line (for players as well as coaches), it would be wise of players to agree to this type of rule.
MNF needs flex-scheduling
Blaine Gabbert is 0-4 since taking over as the Jags' starter.
ESPN has a serious problem on Monday night and it's not just the blather of Gruden as he makes every player sound like a potential Hall of Famer. This year's lineup of games is becoming a farce and the league needs to address it. Through the first six weeks of the season, ESPN has had to build excitement for 0-5 Miami (twice), 0-6 Indianapolis and 0-5 St. Louis. Not much can be done over the first three or four weeks of the season, but an adjustment needs to be made for the remainder of the season.
Of the final 10 Monday night games remaining, two of them feature 1-5 Jacksonville, 2-3 Kansas City (the fourth-worst offensive team in terms of points scored) twice, 1-5 Minnesota and another one with St. Louis. That's six games that are potentially awful. ESPN needs a form of flex scheduling. Plenty of coaches won't like having to change travel plans, but a two-week advance is plenty of time to make changes for any team. As this year's lockout showed, teams and players can adjust a lot quicker than most expected.
1. Green Bay Packers (6-0): Their defensive stats continue to take a beating, but that's what happens when you're in prevent by halftime.
2. New England Patriots (5-1): Here's something scary to consider: The Patriots' defense actually started to look good against Dallas.
3. Baltimore Ravens (4-1): Quietly, Ray Rice(notes) is on his way to 2,200 combined rushing and receiving yards, including almost 1,000 receiving.
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-1): OK, Jim Harbaugh, you were wrong. But don't change a thing. Not one single, solitary thing.
5. Detroit Lions (5-1): Dear Jim Schwartz, don't get distracted. With Atlanta, Denver and a bye coming, the Lions need to keep rolling.
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-5): QB Donovan McNabb(notes) thinks he's still the starter. Man, I wish I lived in that kind of denial.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5): It costs about $27 million to buy the Jaguars out of their lease. Gentlemen, start your moving vans.
30. St. Louis Rams (0-5): Nice, cheap pick up on Brandon Lloyd(notes), but that's hardly a solution. Rams still need to draft a big-time threat.
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-6): It's pretty sad when the Colts make the Bengals look like the second-coming of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-5): Brandon Marshall(notes) should have worked harder to get tossed Monday night since he basically didn't show up.
This and that
The Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz confrontation followed the Niners' come-from-behind win.
• Anybody who knows Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh knows that Sunday's conflagration wasn't surprising. Not that there's a deep, bitter history between the two men. Both of them are wound as tightly as golf balls. They're both smart and have great senses of humor but they are brutally competitive. Thus, Harbaugh's exuberant handshake and Schwartz's over-the-edge response are completely in character. That said, Schwartz's reaction probably deserved a $20,000 fine. That's not how coaches are supposed to act, though this instance doesn't rate in the history of outrageous coach-on-coach crime, such as when Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka got into it during a game when they were coaching together in Chicago and when Ryan punched Kevin Gilbride when they were coaching together in Houston.
• After the Denver Broncos traded Brandon Lloyd, more than a few Tim Tebow(notes) supporters said Monday that the Broncos are setting Tebow up to fail. Well, too bad. Tebow has up to 11 games to prove whether he's Denver's quarterback of the future or whether he's going to be traded or cut in the offseason. This was an uphill battle to begin with because most folks in the organization, starting with coach John Fox and top exec John Elway, have serious doubts about Tebow.
[ Video: Fantasy impact of Brandon Lloyd's trade ]
• For those who think Houston Texans wide receiver Derrick Mason(notes) made reasonable criticism of the Jets' game plan before he got traded, consider that folks in Baltimore had also grown weary of Mason's grousing about play-calling before he was released. Mason has had a good reputation as a team player and a guy who will play through pain. However, something seems to have changed the past couple of years and he has become something of a whiner.
• Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is likely to turn to John Beck(notes) as his third quarterback in 22 games since taking over. Like Donovan McNabb and Rex "Vegas" Grossman (the interceptions pour like coins from a slot machine), Beck is not the answer, either. Will Shanahan ever solve his quarterback situation or will he continue to hopscotch from one schlub to another? This, of course, is the story of Shanahan's career since Elway retired in Denver. He can't commit to a quarterback and always blames someone or something else. Sorry Mike, you're the common denominator.
• This is why Warren Sapp should never be hired as a coach: While Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio is likely to be fired after this season, his decision to kick a field goal with 4:22 remaining was actually the best decision Del Rio could have made if the Jaguars were going to win at Pittsburgh on Sunday. After Del Rio chose to kick the 45-yarder in a fourth-and-6 situation, Sapp tweeted that Del Rio should be fired. OK, but not for that. Rather, Del Rio was playing to try to win in regulation on the road, which is actually a smart gamble. Down 17-10, still having two timeouts left and with his defense playing well in the second half, Del Rio played the odds of getting the ball back. As it was, the Jags got the ball with 1:01 remaining and would have gotten it earlier if the defense had stopped the Steelers on their first third-down situation. Some people might have gone for the TD the first time around, but even if you get it, you need the ball one more time unless you go all-in and attempt the 2-point conversion.
• You have to feel bad for Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, who tore his right patellar tendon in the first half of the win over New Orleans. However, cornerback Ronde Barber(notes) took over for Lake, which is pretty much what happens with the secondary anyway. Barber started listening to the defensive staff over the headphones while on the sideline, relaying messages on changes in the defense. Does that mean Barber is ready for the "player-coach" title? "It's now and forever unofficial," Barber texted on Monday. Don't expect a coaching career in Barber's future.
Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
• Mike Brown handles Carson Palmer situation perfectly
• Fantasy spin: What Carson Palmer brings to the Raiders
• Rangers have the edge heading into World Series
• Analyst Steve Young caught in awkward moment