Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson is hoping to party like it's 2005. The Raiders signed former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh to a one year deal today, reuniting him with his quarterback in Cincinnati, Carson Palmer.
Jackson was wide receivers coach here when Houshmandzadeh had his most productive years. He played seven years as a Bengals and topped 1000 yards receiving twice while in stripes. After leaving via free agency for Seattle and then Baltimore, Houshmandzadeh never approached his numbers he put up in Cincinnati. His production dropped precipitously with the Ravens last season as he only caught 30 passes for 398 yards.
One has to wonder whether Jackson is a bit too enamored with his coaching at this point. It's one thing to go out and get Palmer as the Raiders were desperate for a quarterback after Jason Campbell's injury. Palmer was available and familiar to Jackson already, so that move made sense. Signing a 34 year old receiver whose best years clearly seem to be behind him looks to be a reach. Jackson intimated that he believed TJ's drop off in production was due to his not being under Jackson's guidance.
I guess we'll see, but with a stable of young receivers like Darius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, and Louis Murphy, the need to add an aging receiver with declining numbers and a history of not being a great locker room influence seems to be an odd decision.
Given what we've seen thus far out of the Chargers, Chiefs, and Broncos, though, the AFC West is up for grabs and Jackson and the Raiders look to be pulling out all the stops to win this year. The Raiders have only invested one year at the league minimum, so there's some level of justification there.
I imagine Jackson could convince Rudi Johnson to come on board if he asked, Chad Ochocinco might be looking for work soon as well. Perhaps they've got Coach Jackson's number on speed dial.
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