If Al Davis was as good at building a team as he was hiding his intentions with regard to the next coach, the Raiders wouldn’t be on this seven-year run of misery.
Here’s what CBS Insider Charlie Casserly said to today regarding the Davis-Tom Cable situation:
“They met last week and nothing was resolved about Tom Cable’s status going forward as the head coach. Now here’s one of the issues they have to work through. Last year, Tom Cable was not only the head coach, he was the offensive coordinator, he was the play-caller, and he worked some with the offensive line.
If Tom Cable returns, look for the Raiders to hire an offensive coordinator to call the plays, and Tom Cable, as head coach, might work more with the offensive line. Another issue _ Tom Cable said I don’t know if we can win with JaMarcus Russell. Immediately, people said, well, one has to go. Not necessarily. They both could stay. They both could go or one or the other could stay or go.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick got all worked up before the playoffs when Casserly reported Tom Brady was playing with broken ribs, saying, “Who’s been wrong more than Charlie Casserly since he left the Redskins? His percentage is like a meteorologist.”
Belichick may feel differently if he saw today’s report on the Raiders, because Casserly pretty much covered himself for every possibility.
But let’s face it. Nobody’s got the definitive answer on Cable. Maybe because Davis hasn’t made up his mind; maybe because the inner circle of people who truly know what’s going is so small that if word were to get out, Davis would know immediately who spilled the beans.
Conventional wisdom, the most dangerous of phrases when applied to the Raiders, is that Cable is a goner. That hasn’t changed since since the day after the season ended.
But to paraphrase Jim Mora the elder, “You think you know, but you don’t know.”
I’ll leave out “and you never will.”
A few thoughts about playoff football and how it applies to the Raiders:
— Is there any good reason Darren McFadden can’t be a factor along the lines of Percy Harvin, Reggie Bush or his college teammate, Felix Jones? Did he really lay waste to the SEC only to fade into oblivion as an NFL player?
— Put Darrius Heyward-Bey, Reggie Wayne and Sidney Rice in a foot-race and you know who wins. Put a football in the air, and, well, you know. The last time the Raiders had a receiver with hands as reliable as Wayne, he wore No. 25 and was covered in Stickum.
— Tim “That’s not true!” Kawakami thinks Davis may be holding on to Cable simply to keep him away from joining young Lance at USC. If the guy isn’t good enough to coach for you, then why would you worry where he goes?
Of course, when Davis cut Lamont Jordan, it was supposedly with the handshake agreement he wouldn’t go to New England _ which is exactly what Jordan did. Again, if someone isn’t good enough to play for a team coming off a string of 4-12s and 5-11s, why worry about where he goes next?
Anyway, Kiffin may still have openings at offensive coordinator and offensive line. Initial reports had Tim Davis returning to USC as Kiffin’s line coach, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports Davis will remain at Minnesota as the line coach and running game coordinator.
— Here’s a sheer speculation possibility for Cable should the ax fall _ offensive line coach of the Washington Redskins. Joe Bugel has retired, Alex Gibbs joined Pete Carroll in Seattle, and Cable was trained under Gibbs as a zone blocking guru. Mike Shanahan is a zone blocking guy from way back. Gibbs was on his staff with the Los Angeles Raiders.
— The first three names I was given by a veteran Davis-watcher knowledgeable in the ways of the NFL rumor mill should Cable be fired _ Kevin Gilbride, Marc Trestman, Jim Harbaugh.
— As bad as the Raiders passing attack has been since 2006, and as tempting as it is to keep playing roulette with quarterbacks and receivers, the Raiders desperately need some offensive line studs to or they’ll never get back to .500 and beyond. As good as the Jets’ defense is, their offensive line paves the way to a terrific running game and adequately protects a rookie quarterback.