Two years ago, Mike Singletary was in charge of hiring the 49ers new offensive coordinator, a dynamic which, in retrospect, was like enlisting your wife to fix the leaky carburetor while drafting your fantasy football team.
Singletary met with seven candidates during a month-long process before settling on Jimmy Raye, who signed off on the head coach’s see-ball, run-ball philosophy.
Raye beat out then-Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, the runner-up for the job who had two interviews with Singletary in a five-day span.
Today, of course, Jackson, the Raiders offensive coordinator, is back in the role of 49ers candidate as he interviews for Singletary’s old job.
It’s widely perceived that it’s window dressing – Jackson is warming for the seat for Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh while allowing the Niners to satisfy the Rooney Rule.
But while wondering what might have been had the 49ers hired Jackson in 2009, it’s worth noting that Jackson, based on his recent body of work, is a legitimate head-coaching candidate. The Raiders have denied a San Francisco Chronicle report that he has already been tapped to succeed Tom Cable. No surprise there.
Who knows how this will shake out if the anticipated Harbaugh-Niners marriage doesn’t materialize?
Just in case, here’s a look at the recent resume of Jackson, 45, a 10-year NFL coaching veteran, who has also had one-year stints as an offensive coordinator in Washington (2003, 23rd in NFL in total offense) and Atlanta (2007, 23rd).
• From 2008-2009, Jackson was the Ravens quarterbacks coach. His project was rookie Joe Flacco, the 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft who played at the University of Delaware.
Flacco made a seamless transition from playing against New Hamsphire (Wildcats) to New England (Patriots).
In his first season with Jackson, he started all 16 regular-season games, threw for 2,971 yards with 14 TDs and 12 INTs and became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games.
In his second season, he threw for 3,613 yards with 21 TDs and 12 INTs.
In the event Jackson ends up in San Francisco – yes, I know, beyond unlikely – he would appear well-suited to help groom whatever young quarterback the Niners take in the draft.
• This past season, Jackson was Oakland’s offensive coordinator. His project was a comically awful offense that hadn’t ranked higher than 25th in the league from 2005-09 and hadn’t cracked the top half of the league’s rankings since 2002.
Under Jackson this season, the Raiders scored 410 points (6th in the NFL), which nearly matched their offensive output from 2008-2009 (460 points). After a slow start, they ranked 10th in total offense (354.6), finding their stride after a 17-9 loss to the 49ers on Oct. 17.
In the season’s final 10 games, Oakland averaged 379.9 yards and gained more than 475 yards on four occasions. The Niners, by the way, haven’t had 475 yards in a game since Dec. 14, 2003.
Jackson did it in Oakland with an offensive cast that was similar to San Francisco’s – a so-so quarterback tandem (Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski), a good running back (Darren McFadden), a good tight end (Zach Miller) and an average group of wide receivers (Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey).