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Biggest Cable weakness was his supposed strength

If and when Tom Cable gets the chance to plead his case with Al Davis about retaining job as head coach, the hardest part will be explaining the play of the Raiders offensive line.

It’s the only thing he has in common with Art Shell. Cable is an expert and an offensive line guru of sorts. But like Shell in 2006, possibly the greatest tackle in the history of the NFL, the unit with which he has the most expertise was most responsible for a poor season.

Warren Sapp can say all he wants “stats are for losers,” but the stats of the Raiders offensive line make it pretty clear why the Raiders were losers in 2009.

A top 10 rushing team each of the last two years, they finished 21st in 2009.

The Raiders played 16 games and had seven rushing touchdowns.

They were tied for 19th in yards per carry at 4.1 yards per attempt.

As far as protecting the quarterback, the Raiders surrendered 49 sacks, third most in the NFL. And while JaMarcus Russell undoubtedly had issues other than Las Vegas excursions that led to too many sacks, both of the quarterbacks who supplanted him _ Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye _ were knockout victims at the hands of an opposing pass rush.

It was Cable who in 2008, stuck with Kwame Harris beyond all reason. It was Cable who pushed hard for free agent Khalif Barnes, who never made an impact even though he made a relatively quick recovery from a broken ankle sustained in training camp.

At left tackle Mario Henderson started the season well enough but seemed to fade. Cable has long been effusive of his praise for right tackle Cornell Green, who finished with 12 penalties in 12 games and was never intended to be anything more than a backup when he was signed.

Right guard Cooper Carlisle, signed because of his experience as a zone blocker in Denver, may have been the Raiders best lineman in 2007 and has regressed in each of the past two years.

Chris Morris, a smallish guard/center with zone blocking skills, ranged from a game ball performance against Pittsburgh to be being benched in favor of 362-pound Langston Walker for a poor performance against Washington.

Erik Pears, another ex-Bronco with zone blocking experience, did his best work as a blocker when forced into action as an emergency tight end.

It wasn’t Cable’s fault that it amounted to a lost season for Robert Gallery, who opened the season with an emergency appendectomy and followed it up with a broken fibula and a serious back injury that required surgery.

There is no denying Cable’s passion and expertise with regard to coaching an offensive line. Before he was the head coach, during training camp his unit was a must-see just for the way he worked and interacted with his players. When the unit was struggling under Jim Michalczik, Cable stepped in to such an extent it was if Michalczik was a bystander for more than a month.

But the Raiders never managed a truly dominating game from their offensive line, one in which they simply seized the game in the fourth quarter and made it their own despite a trio of capable backs in Michael Bush, Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas.

Oakland spent much of its training camp assuming it would run the ball well and working on its passing game to bring Russell and Co. up to speed. Cable said he will look hard at whether that decision ended up hurting their ability to run.

When quizzed about the shortcomings of the offensive line, Cable included the defensive line play as well.

“You’re asking specifically about the offensive line, but I think on both sides we have to get better,” Cable said. “ “There’s no question. The good teams in this league, they’re built on the line of scrimmage. And the cohesiveness it takes, whether it be on offense or defense, is extreme. And I don’t think we had enough on either side this year.”

Cable remains a staunch supporter of zone blocking, the scheme he became sold on while working in Atlanta for Alex Gibbs.

“The teams that are leading the league are still predominately zone blocking teams,” Cable said. “So I’m not sure whether it’s the scheme that’s the issue, it’s how we are teaching it, how we are a playing it.”

Coaching for an owner whose 1970s powerhouse teams were built on offensive line play, Cable will need to come up with some answers.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • DMAC

    Yeah your right on that one.

  • DMAC

    Forgot he’s a punt returner as well.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Cut Fargas, wait til he gets picked up off waivers and then trade DMAC for him.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Keep Cable…”The consistency would work wonders.”

    That is what most of you said last season…but a 5-11 record with a 23 point loss at Houston, a 37 point loss New York a two touchdown loss at Cleveland, a 20 point loss to Denver, a 21 point loss to Washingtonin and a 38 point loss to the Jets later you guys still ask for more?

    NO THANK YOU!

  • OFL71

    The ONLY two positions this team needs to worry about in the draft are OL & DL.
    That being said I’m sure Davis will be looking at WR,CB,S.
    And the hits just keep on coming,another double digit loss season is on the bleak horizon.
    Sucks to be a Raider fan right now.

  • DMAC

    We need to really think about fixing the right side of the line. Please sign at least one of these OL.
    http://www.footballsfuture.com/2010/fa/ol.html

  • Zymurge

    Bush didn’t have a significant number of carries to use average yards as a valid statistic. At that few carries, his single long run of 60 yards is worth an extra .5 average. Napolean Kaufmann had the highest average per carry in the league for a season or two, but I didn’t hear anyone screaming to make him an every down back.

    Meanwhile, Reggie Bush had a better avg than either Thomas or Bell, yet only got 70 carries for the potent Saints offense. Sproles had a better avg than LT but doesn’t start. Both Greene and Washington out averaged Thomas Jones for the Jets, yet they lead the league in rushing with Jones getting the majority of carries.

    That’s not saying that Bush is purely a change of pace back like those mentioned above, but that he is more situational. Fargas is the superior pass blocking RB so he had to endure the Russell half of the season. That meant running mostly against 8+ man fronts. Bush had his biggest games with anyone not named Russell at QB and faced looser defenses because of it. Fargas was injured during those same stints, so who’s to say that he wouldn’t have ran as well or better in those situation?

    Also, Bush was used as a 4th quarter hammer to come in against tired defenses to grind out the clock. As the Raiders defense has repeatedly shown us, in that situation you have gambling defenses that often end up giving up huge chunks of yards. If I recall, Bush was the benefit of a few of those, which helped to embellish his average.

    Furthermore, both Fargas and DMac out averaged Bush in yards per catch (albeit it at low enough numbers to also call not very statistically signficant). The point being, an RBs value has to be measured as yards per touch and not just yards per carry.

    Just to be clear — I’m not a Bush basher, I love having him on the Raiders. I’m just pointing out that until he develops better pass blocking and route running skills, he won’t be effective as a starter. One dimensional backs make it to easy for the defense to scheme against. Meanwhile, Fargas, for as much unjustified crap as he takes from the Raiders fan base, is a more complete every down back. His biggest drawback is his selfless, reckless style that gets him injured every season. Otherwise, he’d have a few more 1000 yard seasons under his belt even playing in this crappy offense.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dakota,

    That’s a great draft!

  • OFL71

    Hell maybe there’s a DL or OL out there with 4.5 speed,then he’s a lock to be in Oakland.
    Davis can give him 30 mil. guaranteed to be a backup while he sits on the bench eatin burgers and joking around with the other multi-million dollar washouts the Raiders are collecting.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Did GB really offer Aaron Rogers for Randy Moss when we had him?

  • http://atm Raider O

    OFL,

    There is, and His name is Carlos Dunlap!
    He is 6’6 280, and runs a sub 4.7!

  • OFL71

    O,
    No sh*t?
    Well welcome to Oakland Carlos.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Dakota,

    You can’t change the attitude of players used to doing whatever they want overnight. Players need consistency and motivation and to keep changing coaches hurts that. They figure why bother if next year someone else will come in. This team is lazy that way. Cable has handled things very well he just needs Grads and a OC to call plays. Unless Al can get a real HC and that’s doubtful, Cable is our best option.

  • OFL71

    Someone get him a gift card to Giant Burger…wait…he can just go with JM,he’s probably got lifetime supply worked into his contract.

  • http://www.elvis.com Lucifer-666

    OFL71

    We said that last year….and the year before

    The 2008 draft had 3 or 4 great Tackles and we didn’t pick one we went with DHB instead.

    The year before we could have had some good DL prospects but we took McFadden

    So now I get to type the same joke I have posted in here for about 4 years now….

    This is how we should draft….

    1st round OL
    2nd round DL
    3rd round MLB

    Here is how Al Davis will draft

    1st round Fastest guy on the board
    2nd round CB
    3rd round WR

    And like you said already the beatings will continue because of the retarded drafting done by an 80 year old man who has to wear a drool rag to work.

  • jhill

    And that’s where the QB makes all the difference. With JR in the game, there’s no fear of the passing game. DCs put 9 in the box and defy him to try and beat them in the air. Why worry about keeping safeties back to protect against underneath crossing routes when the QB has proven time and again that he can’t properly lead a WR and hit him in stride?

    ——————————————————-

    Didn’t we have a top 10 rushing offense last year?

    Hmmmmm ….

  • http://www.elvis.com Lucifer-666

    “Davis can give him 30 mil. guaranteed to be a backup while he sits on the bench eatin burgers and joking around with the other multi-million dollar washouts the Raiders are collecting.”

    Damn funny but so true it hurts!

    A bunch of check collectors is what we have in Oakland!

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Would really like to see Martz as OC, I think Grads can handle him.

  • OFL71

    Looking back on the past 7 drafts or so it’s easy to see that anyone with 1/2 a brain could have been putting together an awesome young team.
    However the Raiders have been operating far under that 1/2 a brain level.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Lucifer, have you come to collect on your deal with Al?

  • 4evaRaider

    lmao Bo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Hobs Gnarly Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 10:01 am
    Dakota,

    You can’t change the attitude of players used to doing whatever they want overnight. Players need consistency and motivation and to keep changing coaches hurts that. They figure why bother if next year someone else will come in. This team is lazy that way. Cable has handled things very well he just needs Grads and a OC to call plays. Unless Al can get a real HC and that’s doubtful, Cable is our best option.
    _______________________________________

    Nearly two seasons is more than enough time for him to get that job done. He didn’t do it. A team that is well coached does not lay down as often as we did in 2009, nor do they follow a “great win” by stepping on their deeks the next week EVERY GODDAMNED TIME!

    You might get your wish…another 5-11 or 6-10 season will be the result.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    I see hope in the team. I think the defense needs more help than offense (without JR of course)and unfortunately that’s the part AD can ‘t keep his fingers out of.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    As long as Cable is around championing Garbagekowski, Fargas, Green, Cooper and Satele we are going nowhere fast.

  • http://www.elvis.com Lucifer-666

    If this football team was a corporation they would have Al Davis removed but its not and no one can do anything about it.

    I can say that I have not given Al Davis any of my money in the last two years since I decided that it was up to us fans to show him he needs to hire a GM to run this team or step down.

    I went from Season ticket holder in 96 to a guy who went to 4 or 5 games a year in 2002-06 to a guy who refuses to go to any games or buy any team paraphernalia until Al Davis is removed or hires a GM.

    I know that there are others out there who think like me looking at the attendance during the Baltimore game.

  • DMAC

    I’m telling you a true MLB will do wonders for our defense. The DL isn’t too bad.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Who is your option? I’m sorry but some lame up and comer isn’t going to cut it this time and a proven coach is not coming to our rescue. Cable was severly handicapped by JR this season. Everytime a HC shows some authority, Al’s minions start to whisper in the old mans ears with poison.

  • OFL71

    Hobs,
    regarding Martz/Gradkowski,that will never happen because Davis is gonna sh*tcan Cable partly due to his disloyalty to Russell.
    Davis WANTS Russell to be our QB so any coach he brings in here will have to fall in line.
    Grads EARNED the starting spot therefor Raider/Davis logic says bench him.

  • http://www.elvis.com Lucifer-666

    Hobs Gnarly

    I have been trying to collect his soul but that senile old man keeps avoiding me!!

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Those players are players, they play tough and with the right attitude, it’s no wonder they are his players.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    “The year before we could have had some good DL prospects but we took McFadden…”

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    As well as OL prospects, but instead we got a guy who tackles himself when he isn’t fumbling or hurt (or ignoring the sound advice of Planned Parenthood).

  • 4evaRaider

    Good to know there are others of superior intellect lol
    ***************************************************

    Zymurge Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 9:52 am
    Bush didn’t have a significant number of carries to use average yards as a valid statistic. At that few carries, his single long run of 60 yards is worth an extra .5 average. Napolean Kaufmann had the highest average per carry in the league for a season or two, but I didn’t hear anyone screaming to make him an every down back.

    Meanwhile, Reggie Bush had a better avg than either Thomas or Bell, yet only got 70 carries for the potent Saints offense. Sproles had a better avg than LT but doesn’t start. Both Greene and Washington out averaged Thomas Jones for the Jets, yet they lead the league in rushing with Jones getting the majority of carries.

    That’s not saying that Bush is purely a change of pace back like those mentioned above, but that he is more situational. Fargas is the superior pass blocking RB so he had to endure the Russell half of the season. That meant running mostly against 8+ man fronts. Bush had his biggest games with anyone not named Russell at QB and faced looser defenses because of it. Fargas was injured during those same stints, so who’s to say that he wouldn’t have ran as well or better in those situation?

    Also, Bush was used as a 4th quarter hammer to come in against tired defenses to grind out the clock. As the Raiders defense has repeatedly shown us, in that situation you have gambling defenses that often end up giving up huge chunks of yards. If I recall, Bush was the benefit of a few of those, which helped to embellish his average.

    Furthermore, both Fargas and DMac out averaged Bush in yards per catch (albeit it at low enough numbers to also call not very statistically signficant). The point being, an RBs value has to be measured as yards per touch and not just yards per carry.

    Just to be clear — I’m not a Bush basher, I love having him on the Raiders. I’m just pointing out that until he develops better pass blocking and route running skills, he won’t be effective as a starter. One dimensional backs make it to easy for the defense to scheme against. Meanwhile, Fargas, for as much unjustified crap as he takes from the Raiders fan base, is a more complete every down back. His biggest drawback is his selfless, reckless style that gets him injured every season. Otherwise, he’d have a few more 1000 yard seasons under his belt even playing in this crappy offense.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    OFL, I know that but this is my opinion of what is best for the team right now. No good real other options

  • Hobs Gnarly

    got to go, have a good evening

  • OFL71

    Fargas a complete back…?
    Completely average maybe…

  • The Big Banana

    I am the same way. No more games for me until things change. I always have to laugh when people say ‘Meh, it’s not my money so I don’t care if they overspent for that guy’ or ‘We can’t do anything about it’.

    I personally don’t think Al will keep Cable. He’ll think about it but he’s gonna have to shake some things up to get some butts in the seats.

  • DMAC

    I wouldn’t mind having Marshan Lynch. I’m sure he’s available w/ the right trade.

  • DMAC

    + he’s from Oakland.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Trade DMAC for Lynch!

  • OFL71

    OL,DL,and a REAL MLB.
    Morrison and Howard at SLB,WLB,but a REAL MLB would help our run defense immensely,Morrison is playing out of position.IMO

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Hobs Gnarly,

    I agree that Al and his minions are poison. No question about that.

    However, just because one area is broken (Al) does not mean we should fail to fix other areas that are also broken (Cable).

    Cable has failed because he is unqualified to be an NFL head coach. Al struggled with the decision to hire him last offseason, but he fell for (as most fans also did) the mirage of progress those two end of year wins portrayed. Cable did not improve us one bit in 2009…we still can’t stop the run, we still can’t pass the ball, we still can’t run the ball, and our o-line (his baby) was fuggin terrible…and he even managed to take our one strength, special teams, and turn it into a weakness. He never once demonstrated an ability to make adjustments and improve the team other than the obvious change of QB.

    Now you certainly have valid points about the difficulty of hiring a good HC to come to Oakland. You are absolutely correct in that sense. However, since our current HC is bottom of the barrell and proved it after 29 games, and is also an Al Davis yes man to the core, it is time to look in another direction.

    We could at least hire another Al Davis yes man, but one with some talent and a proven track record: Jim Fassel, or Dennis Green.

    We could hire a guy like Brian Billick, who is desperate for another chance.

    We could hire an up and comer…you may not like that, but Al has nailed it with up and comers twice, Gruden and Shanny, and it looks like Kiffin can coach as well, so I am not afraid of Al selecting a young guy as HC.

    Gilbride? I don’t know about that one, but could his offense really be worse than Cable’s? At least he would be willing to run the ball. Cable started our third string QB and let him pass the ball at a 2-1 ratio against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, the Browns, in the first half when the score was still close! He flat out just doesn’t get it. Any of those coaches above-mentioned would be a major improvement over Cable.

    Continuity doesn’t mean schit when what you want continued is garbage.

  • DMAC

    yeah trade DMAC for Lynch.

  • DMAC

    In a heart beat!

  • Stabler76

    7 years 10 rushing touchdowns

  • DMAC

    who?

  • DirtyRaccoon

    While I am not a proponent of fan bashing by any team’s fans, I still have a dark spot in my Raider heart for the events that occurred in New England on Jan. 19, 2002.
    To most of the football-eating world, the ruling by Walt Coleman and the NFL was a travesty that enabled the New England Patriots to win the first, of what many consider, three tainted Super Bowls.
    Cheating allegations aside, I have the utmost respect for the abilities of Tom Brady and the organization that Bill Belichick has built in NE. I just wish he hadn’t tarnished his achievements with his win-at-all-costs mentality.
    In the six years since the “Snow Job” game, I have had many a conversations with NE fans. For the most part, they have been obnoxious and arrogant about their team’s achievements, which has given me quite a bias against them.
    I have run into a few articulate and genuine individuals with whom I’ve had great football discussions, and I choose to believe that they are the majority in NE, not the very vocal minority.
    That said, I would like to relate an experience from a good friend at last year’s Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. It was his own little revenge party, which he pulled off with an audience, and quite frankly, one of the funniest stories I’ve heard in years.
    My buddy, who I’ll call “Pancho”, to protect his identity, is well connected in the NFL party circles, and had been in Phoenix attending many of the Super Bowl extravaganzas.
    Let’s face it, Pancho goes where the women are, and has had the success in life to pursue hottest of the hot. Where you and I might be just a bit overwhelmed by the Playboy girls, Pancho is in his element.
    One of his acquaintances has been kind enough to see to it that he had a very good single seat to the big game. Having been tainted by the very same bias against the Patriots and their fans, he didn’t have any desire to watch what we all felt would be another New England victory, so he decided to sell the ticket the morning of the game.
    No doubt that decision was also fueled by having an outrageous hangover from several days of partying, and a fine, shall we say, accoutrement taking up residence in his hotel suite.
    Being the businessman that he is, he’d heard that the going price for his ticket was fairly substantial and decided, on a whim, to post a local ad on Craigslist. It wasn’t the smartest move. He’d posted his cell number and received 50 calls in an hour.
    Pancho, always one to make the best of a bad situation, decided to have a little fun wheeling and dealing. He quickly figured out, by the area code of the callers, who was calling from a New England number vs. a New York/Jersey digit.
    He developed a script and returned the first call from a Pats fan.
    “Pancho here, returning your call regarding the Super Bowl ticket.”
    “Yo…You still got that ticket? How much?”
    “Yes sir, and thanks for calling. Allow me to put something out front before we talk about you buying my ticket. There are special requirements for purchase. I am a Raider fan and I’m going to need you to admit that we got f***ed in the Tuck Rule incident.”
    “You serious?”
    “Yes, I have a ticket in my hand (gave out the section and seat), and it is a great seat. If you want me to sell it to you, then I am going to need to hear these words: ‘New England did not deserve to go to the SB the year of the Snow Job. It was a bad call and a fumble. We don’t talk about it, but we all know it deep down the Raiders were screwed.’”
    The first guy, in an accent that sounded like he has a wad of bread in his mouth said, “Aw forget about that, do you want to sell the ticket or not?”
    Pancho hung up. If they weren’t going to play the game his way, then they weren’t going to get to the second step of negotiating a completely unreasonable price for the ticket.

    The guy calls back and says, “Are you fricking serious?”
    Pancho replies, “About as serious as a heart attack, sir. This is your Karma you have on the line. I have the ticket, and you are going to have to sing to get it. Do you have your confession ready or should I move on to your next-door neighbor whom I have on hold? Listen, I’m in a hurry.”
    This time bread mouth hung up. I have the utmost respect for that particular fan, he was a true believer and couldn’t bring himself to making the admission.

    Pancho decided to field the calls with his phone on speaker while hanging out in the sports bar at his hotel. By the time he was finished, he had coerced eight confessions as a crowd stood around his table laughing uproariously while being thoroughly entertained by his nefarious activities. It’s not only Raiders fans who hold a grudge with the Pats fans.
    Eventually he sold the ticket to a Giants fan of 30 years. He slept well that night knowing that the elderly gentleman had been able to live his football dream, while at the same time he was able to exact his own little bit of sweet revenge for the years of ugliness we’ve seen from the vocal minority.
    Pancho watched the game from a legendary local sports bar, and ironically there were four Pats fans (two couples) in full gear a couple of tables over, as Pancho recalled, “They were making a whole lot of noise and yelling 18-0 over and over, then 18-0-and-a-half at the intermission.”

    “After the game, I watched both the female Pats fans weep uncontrollably, and their men just too devastated to console them, after Eli engineered that sweet last-minute drive. I thought about that elderly gentleman I sold the ticket to. This was meant to be. He was meant to be there and to witness that, and I was meant to be in that bar to enjoy every last tear.”

    Over the years, if we are lucky, our teams will be great, and almost certainly great disappointments. It’s always a good idea to practice humility in victory and be stoic in defeat. You just never know when Karma is going to run over your Dogma.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Trade DMAC for Briggs!

  • DMAC

    I rather take Urlacher!

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    I would love to see McFadden traded…then we could see what he could do under a legit NFL coaching staff.

  • Stabler76

    Stabler76 Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 10:30 am
    7 years 10 rushing touchdowns

    DMAC Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 10:34 am
    who?

    ——

    Fargas.

    I guess I should not be so hard on him. After all
    in the last 7 years Fargas has more rushing TD’s than LT had passing TD’s.

    Fargas rushing = 10
    LT passing = 7

    Gannon had more rushing TD’s from the QB position in 4 years than Fargas from the RB position in 7 years.

    Fargas rushing = 10
    Gannon rushing = 11