ARLINGTON, Texas — The Oakland Raiders have kept new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson under tight wraps since he was hired 6½ months ago, shielding him from the media and keeping mum on his philosophy for the upcoming season.
Jackson let his offense speak for him Thursday night in Oakland's 17-9 exhibition-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium, in which the Raiders scored all their points in the final 4:58. In summary, things look much the same under Jackson as they did with coach Tom Cable calling the plays last season.
The belief is that Jackson's presence, combined with Jason Campbell at quarterback instead of JaMarcus Russell, will be enough to turn around an offense that finished 31st in average points and average yards per game last season.
Time will tell, of course. For now, we know that most of the other offensive pieces and the play-calling look rather familiar.
Right offensive tackle Langston Walker figures to be the only other new face among the starters, unless someone supplants Luke Lawton at fullback in the coming weeks.
The rest is upon Campbell and Jackson until further notice.
Thursday night's performance showed that it's going to take more than a different person throwing the football and a different person barking out plays to affect much change.
Campbell's first pass hit off wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey's hands, and Heyward-Bey disappeared the rest of the half.
Tight end Zach Miller was the receiver of choice on three third-down plays, as he was so often last season.
Receiver Louis Murphy was the only receiver able to get open downfield. The running game was solid, if not spectacular.
It didn't take much imagination to convince yourself that you were watching the 2009 Raiders offense. Under Campbell's guidance, the Raiders managed only 68 yards and four first downs on four drives without scoring any points.
The Raiders will counter that this marked their first game, they need time to jell and that there isn't any benefit in showing too much creativity in an exhibition game.
Plenty can change between now and the regular-season opener Sept. 12. The Raiders will take their defense as it stands based on its solid showing against the Cowboys.
The Raiders sacked Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo three times and allowed only one field goal in the first half.
Cable and defensive coordinator John Marshall have made stopping the run a top priority this season.
To that end, they made over the linebacking corps — there should be new starters at all three positions — selected middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end Lamarr Houston with their first two draft picks and added run-stopping veterans John Henderson and Kamerion Wimbley.
The early returns are encouraging, especially for a team that finished near the bottom of the league in average rushing yards allowed and opponents' average yard per carry, as well as tied for last in rushing touchdowns allowed, last season.
The Raiders held Cowboys lead running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones to 12 yards on five carries and prevented the kind of long, back-breaking runs that dogged them almost every game last season.
Dallas' first-team offense moved the ball well and had snaps from Oakland's 16, 13, 9 and 10, but failed to get into the end zone. One of those drives was stopped on downs, and the others were settled by David Buehler making kicks of 42, 27 and 28 yards.
Oakland went ahead 10-9 with 2:24 left when first-string kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 28-yard field goal. Swayze Waters had badly missed a 34-yarder at the start of the fourth quarter.
Raiders safety Jerome Boyd stretched the lead when he intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown with 33 seconds left.