Part of the Bay Area News Group

Cable stakes his claim

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 1:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.

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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  • Ryan

    Does anyone know if kid Kiff was at the game? If so, was he wearing Tennessee colors? (lol)

  • http://insidebay Rick The Hunter

    Now lets say Al fires Tom Cable anyway, but is able to bring in one of the upper echelon coaches. Would anybody be totally upset about? Wouldnt mind Jack Del Rio for a defensive coordinator. Just saying,,,

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    what do the players want Rick??? thats what I want

  • oliverthizz

    Jack Del Rio for D-co would be amazing, but I doubt the Jags fire him. They had injuries all year. Detroit would be better off picking an OT. This is a WEAK QB class. Stafford is definitely not worthy of the 1st pick and if hes not, there might not even be a QB taken in the 1st.

  • S&B – Nation Collective

    Rick The Hunter Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 3:56 pm
    Now lets say Al fires Tom Cable anyway, but is able to bring in one of the upper echelon coaches. Would anybody be totally upset about? Wouldnt mind Jack Del Rio for a defensive coordinator. Just saying,,,
    ======================================================
    No! Tom Cable stays. He got the team playing competitive football. For one time, this Raider team needs continuity at the head coach. The players need to see that continuity. Especially the young guys who would have to learn anew with a new coach.

    I trust in Cable now. His K.C debacle and lack of DMAC carries and Kwame Harris are forgiven. This team is getting better and for the first time in a while I feel the team is moving in the right direction

    Cable for head coach

  • Ryan

    Unknown Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 3:12 pm
    Forget the high draft picks!! Adrian Peterson was about a 7th overall.

    Michael Huff was a 7th overall, as well.

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Unless there is a legitimate coach, Cable should be the guy. I don’t think Harbaugh is worthy enough to take the job after the progress of Cable. I think the young players are in place and the playcalling of Cable wasn’t bad either.

    In regards to personnel moves, Cable just thought that the veterans would give him a better chance to win. Most coaches would have done that. In the end, those players developed and we won some games so Cable knows who is core players will be for next season. There is no guarentee that starting all these young guys early in the season could have worked out the same way. These guys have needed time to develop as well and they have collectively.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    Jmac is still a little off the mark.this off season,pratice,pratice,pratice

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    I agree Huff: moving right along =)

  • Ryan

    SF wins. KC and the Rams will flip a coin for 2nd pick.

    Browns pick 4th
    Seattle 5th (if they lose to AZ)
    Cincy 6th
    Raiders 7th

  • Marc

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Florida Pete for GM! Oh, and Brien, you misspelled your name.

  • 909raiderlifer

    If, Delrio gets whacked in J-ville. hire him as DC.

    I say keep Barney.

  • 909raiderlifer

    Jerry Mac…

    Are you still at Ricky’s, with Norco Boob?

    Where is our FIX!?

  • eRoz

    Way to go Silver & Black! Take that Gruden. There’s a lot to look forward to next year. Let Cable be the guy for the job, he’s got them playing tough.

  • kirk

    I have been calling for Michael Bush ALL YEAR. How come we started Fargas ALL YEAR? Fargas is our worst back! The dumbest team in football tried to make Bush a fullback!

  • http://insidebay Rick The Hunter

    I like what Bush did today, but I say McFadden will breakout as the MAN next year. McFadden will be the feature back, he’s just too explosive & dangerous, and I like Bush to move the chains and wear down defenses throughout the game (especially in the 4th qtr) I wonder if the Raiders are willing to take a cap hit and dump Javon (I need a) Walker.

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Here’s a bit of realism – If Monte Kiffin would have never claimed he was leaving to Tennessee, his defense would have come to play and that could have been the difference against us however…they could have made the playoffs a couple of weeks ago and we could have been playing 2nd and 3rd string players instead. Maybe this win was guarenteed?

  • S&B – Nation Collective

    The Raiders have a better QB situation than many teams RIGHT NOW

    Stick with the plan and keep Cable. GEt a new OC/DC and make Bush/DMAC the primary backs

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    they was out-coached Huff

  • Ryan

    Here’s something else. It’s kind of ironic Lane wanted Monte as his DC to implement the Tampa 2 so the Raiders could stop the run.

    Monte’s Tampa Defense was run all over the last four games of the season.

    I was one who wanted to see Monte come to the Raiders. I was wrong. Although I don’t know how much better Robbo was.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    plus Lechler KICKED ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Seattle Raider

    Congats to the Raiders,

    Time to start restructurining some contracts.

  • http://insidebay Rick The Hunter

    S&B 4eva,,

    If Cable stays I probably wont be upset about since he appears to be getting the hang of it. He still makes me nervous though. But I think we all can agree that we definetly do NOT need Ryan around anymore, his contract is done and we should be done with him. So who do we bring in as O & D coordinators?

  • Chris in NY

    The one thing you have to worry about with Cable is this:
    Where were Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, Mario Henderson and JLH before the last couple of weeks?
    Is this the guy who you want making talent acquisition decisions with Al alone for the next few years? Remember: Kwame was his guy.

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Lets be honest…The Bucs of the last 4 weeks were not the same. They were demoralized by the Kiffin distraction. Generally, Monte’s defenses don’t play that bad. Its definately a coincidence.

  • RaiderDawg

    Word is Cable meets with Mr. Davis tomorrow to discuss his future. Further, Davis’ son greeted him after the game and told him he’d see him next year.

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    You know…we can question Cable on why he didn’t play those players sooner but the fact is…he ended up playing them and that is why we know they are so good. The point is, he could have been stubborn and NEVER played them but now we know what we have going into next season. Thats all we can ask for.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    Yo

  • #24 Aka Huff24
  • Holyroller

    #224 totally agree.

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Its amazing that the 11-5 Patriots did not make the playoffs. Unbelievable. I like it because its the Patriots but I think it hurts the playoffs because a 9-6-1 Eagles team can make it while an 11-5 team is out.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Dakota Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 2:36 pm
    Fargas:

    six seasons
    692 attempts
    7 TDs 8 fumbles
    60 receptions 0 TDs

    McFadden and Bush:

    One season
    207 attempts
    7 TDs
    46 receptions 0 TDs

    ________________

    Only an imbecile would start Fargas over Bush and McFadden.

    Post of the year!

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    I’m going to say…

    Ravens beat Dolphins
    Colts beat Denver/S.D.
    Eagles beat Vikings
    Falcons beat Cardinals

    All Away Team Victories

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Would you guys say that Fargas is Al Davis’ guy?

  • Dakota

    Saints won 34-3
    Falcons won 24-0
    Chargers won 34-7
    Patriots won 49-26

    Some of the ugliest losses ever…all under Tom Cable, but the last two games make up for that?

    Hmmm, I don’t think so. I know we are all desperate for a winner, but the Raiders have played very poorly under Cable outside of the last two weeks. 4-8. I am just not buying Cable.

    I just hope we don’t throw away the 2009 season to find out that Cable really is a 15-43 coach.

  • William Hronis

    We were fortunate that our cable system put the Raiders vs. Bucs game on the tube. Where was this kind of football all year? A lot of things took place which I have been ranting about in these pages. The offensive line decided to run block effectively and not let penalties kill the drives. The running attack with Bush looked dynamic. The play by the QB was something that I was looking for. Letting him throw the ball long to the receiver (although incomplete) showed the NFL that he has a legitimate arm to be respected. The play by the linebackers and the defensive secondary was exceptional when a big play was needed. Kirk Morrison and the linebackers are legitimate. Gibril Wilson was an excellent pick up. Chris Johnson made the decision of DeAngelo Hall’s release much better to take in after all these weeks. Coach Cable (although not my choice) should merit strong consideration for the job. Coach Cable showed the team how to play through adversity and to play till the end. If the common names are in play (i.e. Jim Fassel), then I would strongly consider keeping Cable. What does this mean for Rob Ryan as the defensive coordinator next season? I would strongly urge Al Davis to get a football man to take this nucleus and begin the building. Just think SD Chargers can get into the playoffs with an 8-8 record…Happy New Year.

  • Ryan

    The young Raiders have to be feeling good about the end of the season. The momentum and motivation for them to work hard in the offseason should be there. If Russell takes Gannons advise and works harder than everyone else next year, Russell will be an elite QB.

    If Cable is the coach, I think Cable tries to keep as many pieces in place. (Keep Lechler, 21, Burgess, Walker)

  • Bleeding Silver & Black

    When his brother gets his HC job Rob is gone…….

  • Memo

    Why not use a 2nd pick to trade for Boldin. I prefer to see the Raiders draft a more impact position (OL, DL, MLB)?

  • #24 Aka Huff24

    Dakota – I’m open minded when it comes to the coaching decision because of the last 6 years but who do you think gets hired based on what we know about Al Davis if it isn’t Cable?

  • http://insidebay Rick The Hunter

    Maybe the Cowboys should trade up and draft a QB because Tony OhNo is hot garbage. Id take Russell over Romo any day.

  • Ryan

    I would much rather see an experienced WR come to the Raiders rather then draft a Junior out of college.

    How about TJ for Nhamdi?

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    hey the Raiders were the 1st team 2 win the S/B as a wild-card with a 9-7 record.The play-offs are a diffrent beast alltogether.9-7 can = 16-0.Its a beautifull thing =)

  • Sharpe

    I have said this before and I’ll say it again…Cable is a Raider at heart! Truly a Raider at heart. That is all that Al will look to when he rehires him. Cable’s mentality is to take no prisoners…reminds me of “The Autmn Wind”. The team was in shambles when Cable took over but he circled the wagons and the locker room and the team gained the mentality of a Raider. Again, that is all that Al will look to, watch.

  • saintkaufman

    Oh crap, 4 months of draft speak….sigh….

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Dump Cable. He is still an idiot who said Kwame was our best bet at LT. He also refused to play DMAC and Bush like he should have. Did I mention the WR? Everyone with a sane mind knew the younger guys Watkins,Schilens and Higgins are faster and more hungry since they dont have the luxurious contracts yet. Screw Cable

  • Ryan

    SaintKaufman,

    13 months of football talk. 14 in a leap year.

  • Ryan

    Overall, this was a great weekend.

    Chucky and Randy, GO HOME!

  • http://www.guiltybyaffiliation.com JustinM

    Re: S&B – Nation Collective

    Thanks for those stats over the last 3 games. I calculated it out using this site
    http://brucey.net/nflab/statistics/qb_rating.html
    and it comes out to a 96 QB Rating. Nice!

  • Noshadowking

    Brien your an idiot. The raiders have sucked for the last 6 years. Finally the players are making an effort for a coach and you want him gone so another coach can come in and the players can give up on him. Yeah the Cable did some idiotic things in a couple games but the players are actually trying. When was the last time weve been down by ten and been able to come back in the 4th quarter? He needs to be given a shot and a new defensive coordinater needs to be brough in.