Lane Kiffin didn't want to go into what role Mark Jackson played in the Raiders' draft moves.
Who is Mark Jackson, you ask? The team's web site summarizes Jackson's role, noting he works with Kiffin "... on all operational aspects of the football team, Jackson will be involved in a number of areas including personnel evaluation, coaching staff decisions, media relations and overall administrative functions of the football team."
Jackson has taken over some of the duties of Mike Lombardi, the senior personnel executive who clashed with Art Shell last season.
Shell is gone, but it's apparent Lombardi wasn't restored to his full duties with Shell gone.
Not only was Jackson working the phones this weekend pursuing trades, he also works on player contracts, an area that was Lombardi's charge.
Kiffin credited Jackson as one of the staffers who was patient and didn't force the Raiders to give up too much to acquire Mike Williams and Josh McCown from Detroit.
"He was really strong in the last two days, and really helped us with a lot of stuff happening on the phone with other teams," Kiffin said of Jackson. "But this isn't about Mark, or Al (Davis), or me, or any of that. This is about the Raiders. We thought we had two great days, and just like this is a team that comes in this same room we're sitting in now, this is a great team upstairs as well."
When Jackson was hired in February, it wasn't earth-shattering news. He knew Kiffin from his time as director of football operations/assistant athletic director at USC (2001 to '05) and figured to provide administrative support.
He had worked as a coaching assistant with the Patriots (1998 to 2000) helping with running backs and special teams in addition to some small-college coaching.
Shake-ups in the Raiders' front office have been rumored for months. Jackson's work is evidence Kiffin is having some say upstairs.
It would make sense for Lombardi to leave if the Raiders allow Jackson to take over his duties. But after Shell called out Lombardi as someone who would work against the organization that employs him, it's unlikely teams would line up to hire him.
- Jason Jones