If you were Raiders owner Al Davis, would you bring back Tom Cable as your head coach next season?
That seems to be the question today after reports surfaced that Davis will meet with his coaching staff next Monday to inform them of their coaching futures. Sure, I understand the Raiders have now lost 11 games in seven consecutive seasons, but when you take a step back and look closely at this team, it did get better as the season progressed.
That’s coaching, just like teaching. You want your players/students to improve over time. And I think the Raiders did that. They were competitive and they did win some football games, but if you fire Cable now, that’s gone.
It’s time to start over — again.
That never works in the NFL and, more important, it hasn’t worked in Oakland. Why throw aside Cable, the guy who seems to have this group of Raiders playing hard and playing to win? And he’s done this despite the shortcomings of the owner — who has saddled him with the biggest bust of all in QB JaMarcus Russell. Not to mention a first-round draft pick in WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was a ghost in terms of production.
We all saw it with Bruce Gradkowski at QB. This team was winning, it was efficient on offense and it was making plays in the fourth quarter of ballgames. Bottom line: It was good football. And good football is something we’ve seldom talked in recent memory when discussing this franchise.
Yes, I fully understand that Cable has had some incidents off the field that have raised eyebrows among the public, but let’s cut the crap about that — because there are plenty of star players in the NFL who have their own issues. This league and this business don’t care about that.
Instead, we’re talking about results, and results do matter when it comes to the head coach. But in saying that, why not let Cable work another season with his players? The foundation is there, the commitment — minus JaMarcus — is there, and if you want to see a winner in Oakland, give the man a chance to build one.
I know from my own experiences as a player that coaching changes — while they bring excitement to the locker room — are frowned upon when they keep happening. Players want some structure, and they want to build on the previous season when they come back for the offseason program. To do that, the owner has to resist change. And just as we see in Washington with Dan Snyder and his track record of hiring and firing coaches, change isn’t always the best option.
So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this post, I would have no doubts about brining Tom Cable back to the sidelines in Oakland — as long as JaMarcus Russell is holding a clipboard.
No matter what the old man says.
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