Cable’s season-ending press conference


A full transcription of Monday’s season-ending press conference with Raiders coach Tom Cable:

Cable: Just to follow up yesterday, two guys who got nicked in the game – Charlie Frye is undergoing an MRI right now. Seemed to be a lower back strain and about the same this morning as it was yesterday after the game, pretty sore and tight. And then Darren McFadden got a pretty good stinger in the shoulder but did come back in and went back out and came back in, so, we’ll just make sure he’s O.K. there.

In regards to yesterday’s game, really, what I said after the game, really hit it on the head. I mean, we had a great opportunity, tremendous effort, didn’t get it done in the second half, when we had a real chance, I think it was 14-13, kind of grabbed momentum and then gave it up. Too many rushing yards with their offense, obviously, and, you know, but a game you walk away from feeling like you had a chance to win but you just didn’t get it done.

Q: Do you immediately dive into player evaluations now?

Cable: We’ll start on that probably this afternoon and that will be the next deal, spend a few days doing that. And then we’ll take a few days to kind of relax and refresh.”

Q: What is the checkout process, did you meet as a group?

Cable: Yeah. We met as a team, and then physicals for everyone, exit physicals, and information where everybody will be, that sort of thing, and then team meeting and then we’re done. This afternoon, the coaching staff will start on the evaluation.

Q: What was the message to the team?

Cable: Well, you know, it was kind of a follow-up to yesterday. The next step for this organization is to not just compete and be in them, but now to win them and get over the hump. The next step, I think, is the biggest one, and that’s what I tried to explain to them – that there has to be an individual standard set and then one that will combine as a team to set our own standard next fall. But that’s going to be the most difficult one.

And it takes a greater commitment and it takes a little more work and giving of yourself a little bit more and just focus on that. Next year, there can only be one goal, and that’s to be a playoff team. Not to win and all that, it’s to clear up all this inconsistency and those sort of things and become a playoff team.

Q: How do you get guys to work harder?

Cable: I think whenever you end the year like you did and you’re 5-11, albeit very competitive and all that, not winning enough, I think that’s all you need, you know? At the end of the day, it still comes down to winning and that still has to be the greatest motivator, is success.

Q: Is this a playoff team with some tweaks here and there?

Cable: (Yes).

Q: Or do you need to bring in a lot of guys?

Cable: I think when you get done evaluating it, have a better chance to answer that. But certainly there will always be change. You’ve got to make the team better and look at every area, every aspect of it, all positions, both sides of the ball, kicking game, whole deal, and really, have some real honest evaluation. Don’t window-dress it. It’s got to be very black and white.”

Q: Was everybody at that full team meeting this morning who you expected to be there?

Cable: Yes.

Q: Was JaMarcus Russell there?

Cable: He was not. But I knew he wasn’t going to be there.

Q: Why not?

Cable: Because he was excused.

Q: For personal reasons?

Cable: Same reason Richard Seymour was – personal issues.

Q: Who do you want to be your QB next year?

Cable: Well, again, that’s coming down really to the evaluation process, you know. Getting all that done and saying who you’re going to have on your team and build this team with and then, I think, once you get through that part of it, which will be free agency, the draft, then it’s time to really put your team together, in terms of who’s going to play where and what.

Q: Did you know when you were hired it could take more than a year to get things going?

Cable: I think I said that, even, in the beginning, that there would be a process to go through to get there. Certainly we hoped we could do it right away. But we’re much better and much closer but we’re not near close enough.”

Q: With the problems with the running game, quarterbacks getting sacked an injured, plus your background as a line coach, how much of a disappointment was the line play?

Cable: Well, I think on both sides of the ball. You’re asking specifically about the offense but I think on both sides we have to get better. There’s no question. And the good teams in this league, really, they’re bui;t on the line of scrimmage. And the cohesiveness it takes, whether it be on offense or defense, is extreme. And I didn’t think we had enough of that on either side this year.

Q: Still sold on the zone blocking scheme?

Cable: You know, really, when you look at it, the teams that are leading the league are still predominately zone blocking teams. So I’m not sure it’s the scheme that’s the issue, it’s how are we teaching it, how are we playing it. Those kinds of things to me are more of an issue.

Q: Did this team underachieve, overachieve or play to its potential?

Cable: I think there are some times I felt like it underachieved. There’s some times I think we played to our potential. And then learning how to win, I think that’s the next step, and I think we’ve learned the little things it takes to insure that you win. When you have it 14-13, make another play. Just keep playing, make another play. That would have been the difference yesterday.

Q: Have you done enough to retain your job for next year?

Cable: It’s not up to me.

Q: Do you feel you have?

Cable: Yes, definitely.

Q: Do you anticipate a meeting with Al Davis soon?

Cable: We have talked this morning, and we’ll talk again next week.

Q: On Monday?

Cable: Sometime next week.

Q: Did he give you any reassurance?

Cable: No, it’s not about that right now. Right now it’s about getting this team evaluated.

Q: Do you thin you and Al on the same page regarding the QB situation?

Cable: I do, because his words to me were, ‘You’re the coach. Make the decision.’

Q: Was the play of the offense over the final seven weeks an indication of what this team may one day be able to achieve?

Cable: Yeah, there’s no question.

Q: Scoring still was an issue, though . . .

Cable: We were at nine points a game before, and it went to 16-something in the last seven weeks.

Q: What did you learn this year?

Cable: (Laughs) A lot. Really. What a great experience. I learned be careful about trying to do too much. I’ll put that at the top of the list. Be careful about trying to do too much as the head coach. You gotta do a lot. You gotta have your hand on everything.

But I think I’ve always been one to just roll ‘em up and go at it, whatever needs to be done, get in and get it done. I think that’s why you have the coaches you have and the staff you have and those kind of things. So I’d say that’d be at the top of my list.”

Q: Of all your many roles, which would you like to keep next year?

Cable: I think first thing is to get through this week, evaluating the players. And I’m gonna do that next. That’s kind of second on my list. I don’t think it’s time to answer that question, but it will be soon.”

Q: Did you overextend yourself at times?

Cable: Yeah, I think you can sometimes do so much that you’re not good at the things you should be, you know?

Q: Are you open to having someone else call the plays?

Cable: Oh, yeah. At the end of the day I’ll do what’s best, for sure. For sure.

Q: Did you tell Al you wanted to stay?

Cable: We don’t have conversations like that. Right now, there’s a process every team’s going through that’s not in the playoffs, and that’s really to evaluate where you’re at, who you are, right now at the end of this thing. And then, from those evaluations and from those discussions, you make some decisions.”

Q: Does Al Davis share your optimism about this team?

Cable: Well, I hope so. But again, we don’t have those types of conversations. So when you’re in the locker room and you’re on the field every day, I think your thought, your approach to it is very real, cause you see it. You see it for what it is.

Q: What was the nature of today’s meeting with Al?

Cable: Just to plan the evaluation, and discuss what we’ll talk next week, and we’ll go from there.

Q: Is Richard Seymour a guy you’d like to have back next season?

Cable: I hope so. Again, that’s part of these next few days and evaluating this whole thing. But he certainly did a lot of good things since he’s come here.

Q: In retrospect, did the decision to focus on passing game in camp hurt the running game?

Cable: That’s one of the things on my list to look back on. It certainly could have. I think at the time it was the right thing to do. Even though there were struggles early, it certainly kind of worked itself out to where we improved that area.

Q: Should you have changed QBs earlier?

Cable: It’s not time to do all that right now. What it is is let’s evaluate our players and see where we can make our team better. And then we have to do those kind of things, we have to answer that kind of question.

Q: Was Gradkowski one of the year’s surprises?

Cable: I think so. He and Charlie both did a nice job when they were given the opportunity. They were prepared and all that, so yeah.

Q: Do you expect an open QB competition next year?

Cable: Again, I haven’t even thought about all of that.

Q: Young receivers, ya like em?

Cable: I’m excited about that group, for Chaz (Schilens) and Louis (Murphy). And we’ll get Darrius (Heyward-Bey) back and get him through the first-year blues, if you will, and get him relaxed and calmed down and continue to develop the group. You can throw Brandon Myers in there. I think that’s someone in the future that’s going to help us with Zach. There’s a nice core there, a nice nucleus to grow with.

Q: How will building the roster for next year be affected by lack of CBA?

Cable: I think it’s going to have an affect on all that. I think every team is going to go through the same ups and downs with it. That’s why to me it’s so important that the evaluation you do in the next few days I think has to be very, very critical and has to be very detailed. You have to really get some bottom line things answered.

Q: Did you see the billboard campaign for a GM, and are you in favor of it?

Cable: You know what? I really haven’t. I was told about it and that’s about all I know about it. I don’t have any feeling on that.

Q: But would you be in favor of a GM?

Cable: I think right now let’s see where this team is and again that’s part of how do you get us better.

Q: What does it mean to have the players support?

Cable: It means that they trust you and you give them everything you’ve got, and they know that, that you try to give them a chance to succeed and that you respect them and care about them. That’s really what it means. Again, I made a point a little bit ago, when you spend all that time with them, be it weight room, locker room, on the field, camp, on and on and on, it either is a good fit for a coach and the players or it’s not. We try to do it right and we certainly are learning to play for each other and grind for each other the way you’re supposed to. Now let’s get to winning football games.

Q: Why the lack of production from Darren McFadden? Are injuries the biggest issue?

Cable: If you’re going to put your hand on one thing, it’d probably be it. Yesterday, he’s in he’s out he’s in he’s out with a stinger. That happens a number of times. I think again he’ll be fine. I think we’ve got good runners there.

To me it’s more a product of getting more success early so you can grow your confidence and you can become the sort of explosive team you want to be because then it makes weapons like Darren that much more special. You can do these things with him and be as creative as you want to.

Q: Thoughts on Sebastian Janikowski’s season and his impact?

Cable: Well it’s tremendous. You think about scoring 1,000 points and you can argue all day about him being the Pro Bowl kicker in the AFC. He’s done it since 2000 certainly since I’ve been here a very high level of consistency. Just a lot of positive for Sebastian and what he’s done in his career. He’s not very old so he’s got a long life left as a kicker in this league. Hopefully we’ll get something worked out with him and he’ll be a Raider.

Q: With all the people talking about your job security, how often do you think about it?
Cable: I don’t because all I know is I have a contract right now. Whether or not that’s honored is not up to me. I’m a ballcoach. I’m a damned good football coach so things will work out. They always do.

Q: How much have you learned to ride through storms here?

Cable:. I’m the master. Any of you got problems, just call me. Believe me. I can help you with your alternator and those kinds of things, your travel plans. But seriously, I think you asked me what I’ve learned. I think that’s the next biggest thing I’ve learned is everything I was raised to be and understand and believe in got me through the year.

I think it justified a lot of things for me but it also taught me some things about just how strong you really have to be. Not for yourself, it’s for the people around you, whether it’s your coaches, your team, your family, whatever that is. I think that’s No. 2. Don’t try to do too much and No. 2 really realize what you’re capable of but also understand just how tough you have to be to get through it.

Q: Do you think all the outside distractions are behind you?

Cable: Well I hope so. I have no control over any of that. I know the truth, we all know the truth, it was proven and so you got to move forward.

Q: You have changed the culture here . . .

Cable: Well I said that from the very beginning. I said one of the things that would really have to happen for us to get back to being a team that would have a chance to make a run at the playoffs and have success was you had to change the attitude and you had to change the mentality and the defeatist attitude that gets in the locker room when you struggle for a long time. The thing I’m most pleased about from the season is the fact that our talk now is about we can and we will. It’s not ‘Oh well, this happened, here we go again,’ that kind of BS. It’s we can and we will. I think that’s really a big deal.

Q: Can Luke Lawton have any contact with the team while under suspension for using performance enhancing drugs?

Cable: No if I understand the rules really it’s a suspension. You’re out, you’re away and all that.

Q: Was it an honest mistake on Lawton’s part?

Cable: I don’t really know. Coaches are not part of that deal so …

Q: Which players have been pleasant surprises?

Cable: Sure there was. I mentioned our safety play, to me Michael Huff really became a big-time guy, a guy who you can count on, a guy who can make plays, was solid from beginning to end. Tyvon Branch just seemed to get better every week. Matt Shaughnessy, better and better every week. Trevor Scott.

The play of Nnamdi. The thing I’m most, and I don’t know how many of you really know this, but to me Nnamdi became a much better player because of how he became a much better leader and how he became more solid in those aspects off the field. I’m really proud of Nnam just because of who I think he is become. He’s becoming complete. He’s become not just a guy respected because he plays great. I think because he’s doing the right things all the time and I think that’s pretty impressive, how he works, what he puts into it, those things. So valuable because young guys see that, Mike Mitchell sees that and that’s what you want him to see. Mike Mitchell’s a guy I think in the last six weeks has really come alive and can really help us.

Desmond Bryant, another one, I really think that kid’s got a big big upside. Richard has already been talked about. Trevor Scott, talked about. Offensively, I think Zach had a fine, fine year. The young tight end Brandon Myers I think is going to be a very good player in this league. The receivers was talked about, they’re coming along. I’d like to as I said get Darrius maybe a little more confident and settle down a little bit, don’t feel like you’ve got to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, just play.

Samson Satele had some really good moments and I think there’s really something there to build on in terms of stability at that spot. In the backfield, those three guys, albeit up and down, a lot of time the situation dictating what we could or couldn’t do, pretty solid for us.

Q: How did Mario Henderson do in his first year as a starter?

Cable: I think like a lot of guys on this team, there were some really good moments, some times when you’re really excited about him and then there’s some times where he’s got to improve. There’s some things, he’ll be the first to tell you, there’s some things he has to get better at and improve on.

Q: Assuming you return, would you like to see the staff intact?

Cable: Well I hope so. This is a group of good teachers. One thing about them, they’ve always gone out and I think the response of the players kind of proves that this staff has given these players the opportunity to have success at what they’re doing.

Q: Did the job of Pau Hackett or Ted Tollner change with quarterbacks?

Cable: Not really. No.

OK? Thank you all.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Nnamdi21

    “Kool” Kell: Honestly dude, who gives a rip about this Anthony Smith (WHO?!) incident?

    Chris Henry was a mencae to society and attacked 16 yr old with a gold club.

    After stating they would never hire him again, the Bengals did exactly that.

    The League is full of stories worse then your blast from the past.

    Reaching and pathetic.

  • Russell’s big enough to sustain the hits our QB has to take. Not that that’s a reason to draft a QB by any means. But it’s the only reason he’s the last cockroach roaming the earth that is our QB roster. He’s a big guy and can take the hits. With this system, we’d better find a QB with Russell’s size, at least.

  • MR,

    Bruce won’t let this team go 5-11. I am confidant in it.

  • Nnamdi21

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 5:01 pm
    Look at what happens to every QB we throw in in place of Russell. They get hurt, all of them. Our system does not protect the QB, and you have to have that in today’s league.


    Not the system, the players manning it.

    IF the injuries hadn’t happend IF Satele hadn’t sucked, IF Morris could move the pile IF Green didn’t whiff and get flagged every 10 plays, If Carlisle wasn’t outdated….

    IF the line was solid, the run game would work better and the play action would help protect the passer…in theory…

  • mistic1

    Marshall can stay, I would love to see what he can do with his own guys, and returners having a solid grip on the concepts. give him som new toys, D tackle and mlb.

    There is no redeeming Cable. His team does not respect him. Cable is like the dad the smokes weed with his sons. As long as the kids get what they want everything is fine, as soon as the dad tries to put his foot down the son says, screw off hypocrite. By the way I think no.2 showed a lot of class after the game. he really could have hammered cable, especially after cable trashed him. Instead he took the high road and said he needed to improve everything. Dont look now but could he be starting to get it? We will know for sure come july.

  • 860Todd Christensen

    MR, If JR puts his butt to the grindstone from now to August, loses weight, man’s up, and a real reality check comes in, I can see him leading this team. He got a real dose of reality, now it’s up to him. The party is over, real life is here, where are you going to go?

  • Kirk

    Draft an offensive tackle and a defensive tackle in that order.


  • Saying Russell knows how to take the hits is like saying a 10-15 boxer has a good chin.

    No crap, he takes more sacks than anybody so he is a little more versed in the art of sack-taking.

    Frye doesn’t know how to absorb the hits. I don’t know if I ever seen a QB get rag-dolled like he does.

  • Nnamdi21

    Good news though, the Broncos suck and missed the play offs.

  • The Party ain’t over 860. It’s the off-season, the party is just getting started.

    Jamarcus got a leg up on everybody skipping town a day early.

  • Nnamdi21

    860Todd Christensen Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    MR, If JR puts his butt to the grindstone from now to August, loses weight, man’s up, and a real reality check comes in, I can see him leading this team. He got a real dose of reality, now it’s up to him. The party is over, real life is here, where are you going to go?


    I’d love nothing more then for Russell to become the next Elway, but he’s alreay got $40 million reasons to not put in the effort.


  • Nnamdi, the players IN the system is part of what I meant. The system, throwing the football downfield, something Al Davis will always want, and making offensive linemen the lowest priority. If Al was as serious about building an offensive line as he was about drafting fast receivers, our QB would get more time back there. Al Davis does not care about the offensive line. He expects his QBs to get murdered, which is why he likes Russell. His size.

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Vegas, all our QB’s took a beating this year. How come?

  • Vegas, I agree with you. But it’s the reason Russell’s standing. Quick couple of questions for you: Who started yesterday? Who FINISHED?

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Vegas, all our RB’s took a beating all year. How come?

  • 860, I don’t know how much Russell can improve in this system. He can be a little bit better if he took his job seriously. But no QB is going to lead this team to a winning record with this system. Nobody in the league. Like I said earlier, if Davis isn’t going to hire a better head coach, I kind of hope he cuts Russell and keeps Cable, just to show you guys that Russell is not the reason we suck. Because we’ll be 5 win (or less) team next year, too.

  • It’s not like we sent out our Murderer’s Row of QB’s.

    It was Charlie Frye and Jamarcus Russell. You mean the Baltimore Ravens beat the crap out of those guys?? No way, who would have guessed that!!!

  • mistic1

    the party is over and I think no2 knows it. Lets see what he does about it.

  • John Elway might be the only QB in history who could play in this system, because of his size. But he wouldn’t make us that much better. We don’t run the ball enough, too many receivers that can’t catch the ball, a horrible offensive line, Elway would still be under pressure all of the time. If you put a 25 year old Elway into this offense right now, I’d say we go to 7-9, tops.

  • I can only go by what’s happened, Vegas Raider. Gradkowski gone for year. Frye seems to go down every game we put him in. All I can go by is what happens.

  • 860,

    I want us to improve the O-line. I think the D-line is more important, but replacing Green and our RG and depth is a top priority.

    We have had some top 10 rushing years in the past few years. This year, barely below average NFL rushing team. I think Fargas and McFadden suck, and the jury is out on Bush.

    Dead last nearly every year stopping the run. We need a MLB and some DT’s more so than any other position besides QB.

  • Mistic1 Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Name one owner or gm that has fired themselves? This does not happen in sports or any other business arena. Instead the owner pulls the plug and starts again. Why do you think Davis should do anything different than 99.9 % of the rest business world?
    The Board removes them, or they go out of business.

    You can play disingenuous little games all you want to delude yourself, or lie to others.

    You said Al Davis only looks at Wins-Losses. His are worse than the 5 Head Coaches he’s hired/fired, by far.

  • The Bruce injury is the one that is the killer.

    Hurt his knee. Brady did last year, and it happens, but that was not a banner day for our O-line.

    8 sacks?? LOL

  • LOL. Yeh, Mistic, Al is just doing what the rest of the business world does. Sticking with a failing model for nearly a decade. Al’s just running with the pack, everyone. LOL.

  • mistic1


    The top two draft choices should be at d tackle and any one of the o-line positions from center to right guard/tackle. Without upgrades here no qb can save us. No.2 got killed, sent to the bench, then the next two qb’s were hammered. On top of the fact that we also loss badly with all three qb’s. Evidence suggest that the biggest problem isnt no.2, its cable and his o-line.

  • 860Todd Christensen

    MR, did you not notice a different in JR on the field yesterday? I did, but he still needs work, maybe 2 or 3 years worth, but not as starting QB. I say we keep him, develope him, everyone wants instant gratification with a draft pick, like they do in their lives. This doesn’t work in the NFL, and in most things in life. This society is on the verge of financial collapse because of instant gratification, but I’m from an older time. I remember Stabler sitting pine for 5 years. Otto playing in his prime. We, as a team, are not far away, we need a LOT of help on our lines, address that issue, then talk SB.

  • 504 Raider

    Man I awoke this morning seeing Al Davis preparing to fire Cable at the bottom of the ESPN ticker and I jumped outta bed excited an even posted a couple times arouns 8 am (somethin I’ve never done).

    Then I go to work and have a good day in good spirits and come home to this crap. Cable ain’t fired yet and he’s still working. Man I’m so depressed right now that when I’m finished bloggin tonight, I’m gonna go jump in Lake Pontchartrain. And it’s freezin freakin cold tonight.

  • r8eray

    Don’t do it, you got alot to live for!!

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Chill the beer in there, not you 504!

  • r8eray

    Like another 5-11 season!!
    Al Davis death!!
    The Raiders one day winning a Super Bowl!!

  • mistic1

    If your claims are true, how do you explain owners like ford, bidwell, brown, to name a few. These teams are horrendous year in year out, have these owners fired themselves? Of course not. What about tom benson in new orleans, his teams were awful in the ninties and a good prtion of this decade, did he fire himself? Please. Why would you expect davis to do this? Coaches get fired not team owners, get serious. By the way Al has changed several different times, different coaches have different amounts of rope, they bring different offensive and defensive schemes. You have to win or you are out. There is only one super bowl winner every one else failed. When you fail miserably as a coach, you dont deserve more time to screw it up. Complaining about davis is worthless, besides when he does pick the next winner where will all of you be then.

  • SouthernStyle

    Cable: Well, I think on both sides of the ball. You’re asking specifically about the offense but I think on both sides we have to get better. There’s no question. And the good teams in this league, really, they’re bui;t on the line of scrimmage.

    Yeah, no shyte Cable. Make sure you tell Al we need a DT or OL, when you do your evaluation. You’ll get fired for cause and he’ll get pi$$ed and draft 3 of the fastest db’s.

  • true_2da_silverblack



  • raiderforlife

    This situation in Oakland is so easy to fix I could round up some of you on this post and we could fix it. We need 2 linemen that are better than you pick 2 on this line, I would draft the best linemen one with some size lets start blowing people off the line. The defense is not that far off just a little more stubborn with the run. The middle linebacker is not getting it done so we change that. If our first round draft bust doesn’t show signs of understanding this offense buy May 1 see you. Tom Cable he is not John Gruden but he might be John Madden the players play hard for him you cannot underestimate that. AL Davis cant afford to hire some collage coach who is going to wet his pants at the first encounter with him. otnom@netscape.net Boston MA

  • raiderforlife

    Do not fire Cable we need consistency

  • raiderforlife

    Build up the lines and take or chances with Bruce

  • DKnight007


    Ooops….If the old man is to stupid and stubborn to bring Gruden back then the the old looney man Al needs to take a step back HIRE a REAL GM/PERSONNEL MAN to work with Cable on personnel and then Cable needs to hire an offensive coordinator.

    This is if Cable stays as Head Coach of course.

  • DKnight007

    If the dumb old man Al is too stubborn and stupid to hire a REAL head coach like Gruden back or hiring Harbaugh….then there is no point in hiring a new lapdog puppet coach.

    Just keep Cable for continuities sake and Cable needs to hire an OC to call plays.

    I think Cable also needs to hire a new running backs coach that is in the mold of Rathman. They also need to draft or sign free agents on the O-Line that weight over 315 pounds to bring more power to the ZBS.

  • 1960AutumnWind

    860Todd Christensen Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    The only way JR leaves here is if you give him a “Wings For Life” card in Alabama!


    Have you not seen a profile view of JR – He already has one!