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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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  • saintkaufman

    Good one Ryan! It will be hard to temper expectations on this blog after the last 2 weeks.

    I’ll give Cable 1 thing. He somehow got this team to minimize their penalties. Most of the penalties were coming from HIS OLine, was it addition by subtraction or did someone finally get thru to these guys? Not saying it was him, but the stats are there.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    every one remember;Bush played early in year,only having a good game at squaws.Now I’m all 4 letting Bush play,I just dont think 4 some reason he wasnt ready.Why else not play him.The line never played this well either

  • http://www.guiltybyaffiliation.com JustinM

    I’d keep Cable. But I would send Ryan packing.

  • Dakota

    Huff,

    Obviously none of us really know what Al is going to do, but I would not be surprised to see Al replace Cable with Jim Fassel or Harbaugh. Fassel is the classic Al Davis retread and Harbaugh is the classic Al Davis young HC pick.

    I find it very strange that Harbaugh hasn’t signed his extension with Stanford. Maybe there was some truth to the report that he would be the next Raiders HC. I really don’t see what is so great about him, but he fits Al’s young HC mold.

    But, my money is on Jim Fassel, and I think that is probably the best we could hope for. He would be the best mentor for Russell and he has the record to command the respect of the players.

  • Ryan

    Now if Shanarat can get spanked…

    It’s funny that the coaches in TB, Denver, SD, and KC are on the hot seat.

  • Sharpe

    I think that Al will ditch Javon, Curry, Drew Carter, and Kwame Harris, redistribute their monies. With those funds he’ll sign both Nnamdi, and Shane, and keep the DTs intact. He’ll keep Chaz, Higgins, Arman Shields, Lelie, Watkins, Holland. Javon, Curry, Drew Carter need to go.

  • lefty12

    one point everyone seems to be overlooking is that Cable seems to be able to work with the owner like Flores and Madden used to do.instead of trying to show he’s his own man,he embraces working with the owner,which one must do to be successful working for the Raiders.but that will work itself out.right now the key is to enjoy the fact that we knocked chucky out of the play-offs.todays game also showed the tampa-2 isn’t the beat all Def. some think it is.

  • GSW_United

    BREAKING NEWS….

    Deal done….Cable stay with Raiders for next 5 years.

    either tonite or tomorrow morning will be announced according inside source

    that’s what i heard from NFL talkshow guy.

  • http://mikesblogmarketingtips.com Mikey D

    Message to Al -

    Keep Cable, Schnieder and Lofton (I know, some of you don’t like Lofton, but you have to admit, he’s got the youngsters playing hard)

    Fire Ryan.

    Let Cable pick the rest of his staff.

    Sign Aso and Lechler.

    Go defense with the 1st round pick. Morrison plays hard and has mad skills, but need a run stuffing MLB playing behind Kelly and Warren. Address all other needs in the later rounds.

    DMAC and MB become the featured RB’s, but keep Fargas.
    I know, I know….but Huggy Bear has given his all, has bled silver and black and deserves to finish his career as a Raider.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Theshdowprincess…………..Idiot? Boy I’m god watch your mouth. Cable is still a moron. The players have been playing hard since 2007. Nothing new there once the young guys got in.

  • Dakota

    lol, Cable gets a five year deal, hahahaha. good one.

  • Ryan

    Well, if it is Fassell, Cable, or Harbaugh, one thing is for sure. Lofton will be talking to Al for an hour or so on Monday to get the Rooney rule out of the way.

    How about that Gallery? It’s a good thing when nobody is talking about him. What did he have 2 or 3 penalties all year?

  • saintkaufman

    same thing I thought Dakota….

  • Sharpe

    Justin M,

    I understand your frustration with Ryan, but all he needed was a real man to be his head coach. Notice that he became accountable to Cable. He was not accountable to Kiffin. He did whatever he wanted to do. Cable admitted not knowing the intricacies of the defense when he first took over but he still made Ryan accountable to him. Cable is a man, he’s a Raider. He wants to crush people

  • Dakota

    You Oakland boys better not get too greedy, the Warriors are going down tonight.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Cable has guts but no brain

  • Dakota

    Wade Phillips as DC…yeah, I said it…Wade Phillips!

  • Ryan

    If Cable leaves, he’ll take Harris and Fargas with him to Seattle… Maybe even Aso.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Sound fuggin crazy Dakota

  • Mo Bigsley

    No other way to look at it, an impressive statement by Cable. Given no hope to turn around an impossible situation, he brought a measure of respectability in the last two games. Today’s team was nothing like the slop we’ve been subjected to all season.

    Not only that, but there’s obvious development in a number of our young players – Higgens, Shilens and most notably Russell – and in our overall offensive scheme. Obviously the team is playing hard for him and are behind him and are beating some good teams.

    Making him the head coach brings an obvious risk, but right now continuity is vital for this team. If indeed Nnamdi would sing a long term deal with Cable as coach, that’s enough reason right there.

    It would be interesting to see what kind of staff Cable can assemble and if he can be successful in wooing free agents.

    What I like most about him – besides the bond he’s developed with the players – is he brings creativy to the offense and isn’t afraid to take take chances. In the short time we’ve seen him, we’ve seen 2 fake punts (alright, one could be the most embarrasing one in NFL history but at least he was thinking outside the box) and creative uses of Russell, DMac, Bush, Shilens, Higgens and Miller.

    And bitch all day about Harris playing over Henderson, when Henderson finally got his chance he’s delivered. Maybe, just maybe, Cable knows more about developing an offensive lineman’s mentality and when he’s ready to perform than the rest of us.

    What we do have to have is a smart draft – I’d love to see us pick up a powerhouse linebacker like Maleuga or Laurenitis in R1, best OT in the 2nd – get someone in the front office in a GM capacity, attract a few key free agents, and continue to bring Russell and our other young players along.

    So, with that being said, it really is hard to argue against making Cable our new head coach with a 3 year deal.

    Oh and finally Brein is complete idiot.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Dakota I’d take Wade as DC damn right. He can call a defense

  • Joey Bee 1

    Fargas will be a great 3rd string for us, and if he’s not down with it… trade him (for a wide reciever!).

    Draft Rey Malagua from USC we need help stopping the run!

  • Ryan

    Wade Phillips as DC, only if he can get Merryman and implement a 3-4

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Oh and finally Brein is complete idiot.

    But yet in your post I’ve said alot of those things namel henderson since the summer, so go fugg yourself you little bitch

  • Noshadowking

    Hey Brien im not saying Cable didnt do a couple of the dumbest things Ive ever seen in the nfl before but seriously when was the last time weve been down by 10 in the last 6 years and not given up and lost the game? I think Cable has learned as hes gone along the last few games. Maybe some of the players have been playing hard since 07 but as a team they definately have not. These last couple games have been a team effort. The Raiders would have to be idiots to bring in another new coach and risk the mental state of the players going down hill again. We just need a better scouting department,oc, and dc

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Mo Bitchley, lol yeah attract what key free agents? TJ or Haynesworth aint coming

  • Joey Bee 1

    Asomougha is a keeper, we can’t let this guy go. He’s the best at it in the League.

  • Shawnraiders81

    Brien is the real idiot and everyone here knows it, I think most readers and myself when they see his name don’t even look at the post.

  • Dakota

    Ryan,

    Cable and Seattle can have all of them. That would mean we would have the #6 and #7 overall picks this year, and Seattle’s top five pick next year when Mora tanks it in Seattle, lol.

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    No because Cable will lobby for sorry ass Jake Grove to start again for 12 games next year then realize he sucks. This team should have won at least 8 games this year and Cable is apart of that as well with his idiocy

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Shawnraiders81 Says:
    December 28th, 2008 at 5:21 pm
    Brien is the real idiot and everyone here knows it, I think most readers and myself when they see his name don’t even look at the post.

    Words from a true bitch

  • Joey Bee 1

    Kwame’s trade value went up the last two weeks.

  • unknown

    Yeah Brien is a tool, i wouldnt give this a**clown the time of day.

  • Maclinfor#1

    Maclin is the best wr coming out of the draft. We take him and our O is dangerous. and I believe we do need a middle linebacker. Kirk is good, but not the one.

  • Mad Road Dog

    Cable has earned the right to stay as HC, sack Ryan and get a new DC. Give Lechler his money and either trade Aso or franchise him. The receivers are good enough to not address this position until later in the draft. Draft a tackle, MLB, DE or DT, who is best available in the 3rd rnd. Center next and more “O” line and “D” line.

    Fun win and great to go into the offseason on a positive note. Go Raiders!

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Brien<———-real idiot who knew in the summer Chaz,Higgins and Watkins should be our guys at WR, also said Henderson is the best chance at LT……consistently! Yeah complete idiot alright

  • Memo

    I also say take Malauga.

    I think keeping Cable wont be a bad idea; but, he’ll need to get a play caller. Gregg Knapp is usualy a good Coord..i dont know what happen but I think he bolts to Seattle. Tom Rathman should get a shot at calling the plays-im just saying.

    Most important, the Raiders must re-sign Nnamdi & tag Lechler.

  • http://none The Ghost of Robert Comer

    Let’s see some injuries!

    Go Raiders!

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Tool? Spare me the suburban talk “dude”

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Rathman and Knapp are going to seattle

  • http://www.insidebayarea.com GreatWhiteRaider

    For the sake of continuity only, Cable should stay on as HC and Al needs to hire a GM. Hopefully by now it’s clear that meddling owners (cough! Jerry Jones) with stooge coaches don’t win.

    While they have the “right” to be involved, they cause problems and embarass themselves. Meanwhile the good franchise owners hire good football people and are content to sit in their luxury boxes and drink $300/glass booze while their teams win, instead of undermining their coaches by being enablers for goofs on bloated scholarship contracts.

    As much as I love the CrashTest Dummy, he should be moved so Bush and McFadden can be used properly, seeing other one of those young backs mishandled will break my heart.

  • Memo

    They also need to get a OT…Green & Kwame suck..Henderson could get better. If Kwame stays, they should move him to guard..

  • Dakota

    Parcells isn’t going to bail on all those guys he braught over from Dallas. The only reason he has the clause in his contract is in case Al Davis would try to buy the Dolphins, lol.

  • Ryan

    Dakota,

    Actually it would be the 5th and 7th pick this year, and a 1st rounder next year.

    Can the Raiders afford a 5th and a 7th this year in salary?

    …down goes Champ…

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Kwame should jump off a bridge Memo

  • Noshadowking

    I think most of us have been calling for the young guys to play all year and I think most of us also realize most coaches are going to let the vets play for a while because they would assume that vets have the best shot at winning. That being said most coaches would have just gone down in flames the whole year and never have given the young guys a shot. I think Cable should get some credit for letting these guys have a shot

  • Brien(The Young Guys huh?

    Yeah Al better hire a GM and sit back but if you hire a GM dont you let him pick who the head coach would be?

  • Memo

    Rathman is a good coach..it would suck if he left (cant blame him). Either way, they need a play caller…

  • edward teach

    Del Rio would be a great DC for us, and he has two things going for him; like Cable, he’s a Raider fan. Number two, he’s a USC guy (and we all know who likes USC guys).

    He had his DTs playing at a very high level in Jville. I’d love to see him come in here and kick some butt. No more ice cream and sodas in the meetings, fat boys. You’re here to work.

    Of course, Jacksonville has to fire him first…

  • unknown

    Your still a tool brian