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Cable stakes his claim

Raider Nation, Cable’s your guy.

There is simply no other conclusion Al Davis can reach than to remove the “interim” from the job title of Tom Cable and make him the head coach of the Raiders for 2009 and beyond.

All Cable did was step in to the most impossible job situation in the NFL and deliver the hope of real progress in the last two games of a lost season.

A 31-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at Raymond James Stadium was the most rousing Raiders sendoff since 1999, when they embarked on a three-year run of AFC West titles with a 41-38 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

It so happens that the coach that day, Jon Gruden, so jubilant at the Chiefs demise at Arrowhead, was the one who walked off the field Sunday with the knowledge that his team lost four straight games to end the season and is out of the playoffs at 9-7.

That Chiefs game happens to be the only time since the Raiders came back from Los Angeles in 1995 that they won a game after Dec. 1 outside of the state of California.

To put it mildly, the Raiders have gone into a turtle position in the season’s final month, which makes what Cable has done all the more impressive.

Considering the mess Cable walked in to, a disaster which former coach Lane Kiffin and Davis share equal blame, he couldn’t have done much more.

After back-to-back losses to San Diego and New England, Cable may have been the only one who believed it when he insisted he saw progress. It’s hard not to believe him now.

When the clock ticked to zero against the Bucs, Cable thrust his arms into the air in victory. Right next to him was unrestricted free agent Nnamdi Asomugha, doing the same thing.

It’s worth noting that Asomugha has seen nothing like the last two weeks since he joined the Raiders in 2003, the start of their six-year demise. Punter Shane Lechler, who played a key role keeping the Bucs in bad field position, surely saw a difference as well.

If Davis makes Cable the head coach, Asomugha, all but out the door mentally and looking for a way to force a trade if franchised, may suddenly want to stay on and enjoy the ride. It could give Lechler second thoughts as well.

If Davis picks anyone else, it’s simply another change _ one coming after back-to-back games the likes of which haven’t been seen since the AFC championship game season in 2002.

Neither Bill Callahan in Year 2, Norv Turner, Art Shell or Kiffin ever had teams which were more resilient and tough for eight consecutive quarters of football.

Cable promised to be a “no excuses” coach, and it was never more evident than in beating Tampa Bay.

Asomugha was inactive with a neck injury, leaving Stanford Routt as the starter along with Chris Johnson and return specialist Justin Miller as the third corner.

Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden came into the game injured and couldn’t finish.

So what happened?

Michael Bush, who has been reluctant to embrace playing fullback, went out and made his case for being a tailback with a 177-yard, 27-carry, 2 touchdown performance that carred him to exhaustion and beyond.

Perhaps the most important reason to keep Cable is that under his watch, JaMarcus Russell validated his No. 1 pick status in the last two games of the season.

Think back to the day Kiffin was given the boot via overhead projector, and Davis saying that he thought Russell was a special player who needed to be turned loose.

With Cable has head coach, Russell grew up in his last two games. First was a nearly flawless performance in a 27-16 win over a Houston team on a four-game winning streak.

The win over Tampa Bay brought with it a different lesson. Russell survived a big interception, returned 85 yards by Sabby Piscatelli, that led to a Bucs touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

He brought the Raiders right back, with the help of a 43-yard pass interference penalty engineered on a halfback option pass call made by Cable.

I talked with one player this week in casual conversation who was making a case for Cable staying on, in part because of his ability to keep the team together “after Lane quit on us.”

I’m guessing the postgame locker room will have no shortage of Cable supporters. I’m also guessing he’s got one back home named Al Davis, watching on television.

Davis usually takes his time with these things, but if he’s smart, he’ll satisfy the Rooney Rule in short order and make Cable his coach.

More to come later this afternoon . . .

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Dark………I feel the Raiders dont need to get a WR unless he is a 2nd day. I’m confident with Higgins, Schilens,Watkins and Shields. Hungry young guys who havent got a big contract yet

  • darkknight01

    A good WR can be found in rounds 3-4 in the draft. No doubt!

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    no wideouts need to be drafted day one with holes onthe dline and oline…….you guys smoke good crack

  • darkknight01

    Brien,

    T

  • Noshadowking

    Hopefully whoever is the offensive coordinater next year is a bit creative. Weve got 2 good running backs who can be used to pass,run, and recieve. If used correctly on top of Jamarcus starting to develop we could definately have a solid offense next year. Definately not going to get my hopes up like I have the last couple of years though until the coaching situations play out but I will say this next year seems to look like it could be the most promising in a while.

  • Noshadowking

    Yeah if we pick up any wideouts it should be in the later rounds of the draft or via free agency or trade. The first few picks of the draft need to be used on both sides of the line. The only other pick we should even consider n rounds 1-3 that arent on one side of the line would be mlb

  • darkknight01

    Rick The Hunter Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Dakota I feel ya bruh, but Im convinced that the left side of the line is good and that we can fix the right side in FA. so here’s my picks for the first 3rds:

    1) Rey Maualuga MLB USC 6′ 2 258lbs. a true MLB

    2) Terranc Taylor DT Michigan 6ft 320lbs. can play in 4-3 & 3-4

    3) Demetrius Byrd WR LSU 6′2 195 sub 4.4 forty

    afterwards I say we continue to adress O & D-line. It could work,,,Mayb

    ^Not bad…but I think a RT needs to be thrown in there ahead of a WR in the first 3 rounds.

    A solid WR prospect can be found in round 4-5

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  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Terrance Taylor? Doubt he will be good. Bj Raji or Terrence Cody are ideal NT

  • http://yahoo.com john hand”the raider man”

    man i can’t belive all the raider haters out there in the nation…look,i don’t care if cable is deaf,blind or stupid as a hc.he has done the one thing that no other head couch of the oakland raiders has done in 6 yrs.. win back to back games in december,and convincely i might add. it took some tinkering with the line up and with a lot of hard work,he said jr was ready..and u seen thr reselts for yourselfs,his undieing determination for the team paid off in the last 2 games,u guys seen the score today,big AL.. give the man a shot,i don”t think u can do better than what u have now…more later

  • http://insidebayarea.com Raiderkoolaid

    I agree with picking Maualuga if he’s available. I think he could be elite a la Ray Lewis/ Laurence Taylor. I doesn’t even matter if LB isn’t our biggest need. You just can’t pass on a player of that caliber.

  • hwnrdr

    Ok guys…
    We will not know who the coach is going to be because Al will still have to interview a minority candidate because of the Rooney rule before he makes his decision to either keep Cable, or hire anyone else. However, besides Cable…who wants to coach here? If Parcells does come here (although I doubt it), who would he pick? I believe that Parcells being here will bring top tier coaches, but…will he come here? Hmmm…no one knows.
    So, for now…we should all be happy that we ended a nine year streak in beating a possible playoff bound team in December on the road and actually knocking them out of the playoffs. We also won back to back the first time this year. Yeah, Monte may have distracted the defense, but they did (for the most part) come to play. So, everyone, please…enjoy this one. It leaves a good taste in Al’s mouth going to the offseason. Besides, when was the last time we won the last two games of the year (one at home and on the road)?

  • edward teach

    John Ramsdell is the QB coach for the Dolts. Has been there since ’06. Works for Norv (not a HC but a helluva OC). Was with the Rams for 10 years 95-05.

    Dolts scored a lot of points this year. The Rams scored a lot of points late 90′s early 2000′s. Good QB play on both teams.

    OC candidate?

  • hwnrdr

    Post 364,
    Would he be a good OC, or a good QB coach/mentor for JRuss?

  • gdamac

    If he goes with Cable, he should do it quickly.

  • E-Culb

    Ya’ll keep talking about a soild WR found in the latter rounds but we need more than soild we need BIG PLAY WR! We missed with C. Johnson, heck we even missed on Eddie Royal 2nd round. You keep waiting for late round gems and we keep getting stuck wit subpar guys who rarely get open. Look Al loves speed, but shows very little knowledge of guys with skill get a player personel guy who can spot skill and then we are moving in the right direction.

  • hwnrdr

    E-Culb,
    You’re right. We do need a TRUE #1 WR. Higgins, Chaz will be good 2 and 3, or 3 and 4 (if we can get a good #2).

  • Camille

    Why can’t Shilenz, and Higgins can’t be #1, #2 WRs?
    They proved they could play very well last 2-3 weeks.
    I believe in them. Sure, they aren’t Fitzerald/Boldin WRs or even Johnson/TJ but i believe they are good enough to be starters.
    OL need the Center form Cal. The recovery of McQuistan and another backup guard.
    The DL need a DT (Kelly will be in shape for Trainning camp, Sand and gerrard need a pay cut) and a Strong DE, not a pass rusher,we have enough of them (Burgess, Scott, Edwards, Gunheim).
    At the LB position i would much rather get a Stong LB than another MLB. We haven’t had a true one for a long time. Get Aarron Curry in the 1st round, then try to move up in the end of the 1st to get the Center. (we don’t need as many pick as we think especially if we keep our player: Aso and Lecher)

  • Dski

    I said it before. Cable should be the head coach of the Raiders. He’s developed a passion for it. If Al doesn’t make him the head coach, I’m done. And I’ve been a Raiders fan for over 38 years.

  • NCRaiderFan

    It’s a fact that whoever wrote this article is the biggest idiot of all time. After all NORV stepped into an impossible situation and won 5 games. You have got to be drunk!!!

  • Jimbo

    There are a couple of reason Big Al won’t hire Cable on as The Man!

    1) He lost to a beatable Kansas City – remember fake Janakowsi play?

    2) Too many people here are calling Cable – The man! Al won’t stand for that! Cable must go, just like when Gruden was starting to turn the team for the better. Al rules. Never forget it! Al giveth and he taketh away – until hw dies and starts the same thing over for another 50 years when he turns the keys to the team over to his dumb ass son Mark! Road to Perdition!

  • GRILLA RFL

    If Mr. Davis gets rid of Tom Cable, he will be making a big mistake. I don’t think he will. Tom has this team playing the way it should, and he is loyal to the Raiders.

    DMAC/BUSH/HIGGINS/CHAZ

    Raider for life.

  • Al Davis

    Cable must still go. I am not impressed with victories over Houston and Tampa, two teams that are not that good to begin with. Now had they beaten the Pats at home, maybe, but Cable is not the answer. He is nothing more than a “Yes Man” along with Ryan. They both must go. Bring in Parcells as the GM..then we will win.

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Good article Jerry.
    You’re right on the money with this.
    Cable should stay.

  • fatony30

    Im not completly sold on cable, but i am impressed with the last 2 games. The 2009 Raiders do have potential if everything stay’s the same. I hope that we can draft or obtain a really good WR to assist Higgins.

  • fatony30

    p.s. Parcells and Davis cannot exist on the same team. Davis is too old to change and Parcells would never tolerate Davis’ antics!!!

  • LondonRaider

    Give Cable the job. Keep Lechler as he is impossible to replace. Draft some OL help and a big fast linebacker. Bush for president and petition your Congressmen to get Stabler into the Hall of fame.
    Go Raiders!

  • Tired_Hope

    Shawnraiders81 Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 1:40 pm
    Interesting read on Parcells being able to opting out of his contract, and team on HIS radar include the Oakland Raiders. It’s on ESPN I would post the link but can’t.
    Here is the link
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3795922

  • Raiders 2 speak Giants’ Gilbride

    Raiders hope to speak with Giants’ Gilbride

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3798205

  • willie rosas

    Tom Cable grew up a RAIDER fan. as a life long RAIDER fan i know the passion he has for this team,he appears to be a good leader, i would like to see a little more dicipline,to be a great head coach you need to be able to motivate your team to rally around you and stick together,more importantly you need to surround yourself with the best coordinators you can find that can maximize the talents you have on your team. you don’t hire a coordinator that runs the traditional west-coast offense when you have the strongest arm in th NFL, and poss two of the best running backs.McFadden and Bush on your team. Fargas we love you for your hard running, dedication and overall way you carry yourself, but he is not the answer Fargas sould be the third back, pass- blocking 5 carries a game, McFadden and Bush should split 35 carries, yeah we need to run the ball that many times, we need to find the best free agent off. lineman that fits Cables style, two if you can afford it.any poss. we can fill in with the best of what we have. Cable needs to review some of Todd Christianson’s old film, if he could be open all the time just think what you could do with Miller. Draft the best wide reciever in the draft..well thats a start.yeah, we should keep Cable.

  • NCRaiderFan

    Cable SUCKS!
    Last

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