By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at 9:43 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Tom Cable was either doing his best impression of Chip Diller or has long been privy to knowledge he’s kept to himself until Thursday.
Other than a few quick comments to a reporter at the scouting combine, Cable made himself available to his first extended interview with KHTK (1140-AM) and host MIke Lamb and sounded a lot like the Kevin Bacon character in the movie “Animal House,” who told parade goers “remain calm, all is well,” as chaos ensued around them.
For the record, the Raiders continue to insist the Cable’s situation is being evaluated.
A transcription of the KHTK interview:
Q: What do you think of Idaho (guard) Mike Iupati? Seen him?
Cable: Oh, yeah. Good player. Really, he’s got a lot of skill, he’s got a lot of size and he’s got the right combination to be, hopefully, very successful in the NFL.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish at the Senior Bowl?
Cable: Well, you’re really looking at these kids and trying to familiarize yourself with them as you prepare for the next step, which will be the combine. So, you get a chance to look at, basically, 70-some players, you get a chance to go back now and look at all the juniors that are coming out and just kind of start comparing this whole thing and then it gets you ready for the combine. Because that group that was here in Mobile, they’ll be at the combine, as well as all those juniors that came out. So, it gives you a great opportunity to kind of get a jump on it and familiarize yourself with the whole group.
Q: Does the Senior Bowl or scouting combine mean more to you?
Cable: Seeing them work as a football player practicing the game, how they take to the drills, how they learn, seeing how well they can pick things up and then go out and execute because that’s important at our level. You have to be able to do it, really, from Day 1 to a certain extent. So, that gives you an advantage that way. Certainly, you get a chance to really study them and talk to them and interview them at the combine and see them run and do some athletic things.
Q: What do you make of the Tom Cable Watch the past three weeks or so? Have you spoken with Davis and what have you learned?
Cable: Well, we’ve had a lot of conversations. You’re right, there’s been a lot of speculation. But the whole time, we’ve talked about where we’re at as a football team. And that’s everything. That’s the organization, that’s the coaches, that’s the roster, our free agents, who we need to get signed back, just everything that goes into it. We really never have had discussions about what would or wouldn’t happen. It’s just always been about evaluating the Oakland Raiders. I don’t know that at anytime he’s ever said he was going to change or he wasn’t going to change. It’s just an evaluation process that every team goes through. We did great diligence in terms of an organization, the coaches, and here we are getting ready for the 2010 season and starting the scouting routine with the Senior Bowl.
Q: So, do you expect to be the coach of the Raiders for 2010?
Cable: Well, absolutely. I don’t think there was ever any question. That, really, was more speculation than anything else. It’s never been a thought in my mind. We went at this thing every day, whether it was discussions with the owner or discussions with the staff, that we were moving forward and getting ready for 2010. So, it’s never really been an issue for us.
Q: What did you like and dislike about last season’s team?
Cable: Well, there’s a couple of things. The first thing that we learned about this team, or what we’ve become is very competitive. We’re at that stage now, where it’s time to take the next step, and the next step is becoming a playoff team. It will be the hardest step but it’s the next one for this group. That has to be our goal, and our purpose for 2010, is to be a playoff team. Anything less than that isn’t good enough. That’s just how I feel about it. What we’ve learned about our team is, we’ve got a couple of issues. One, we got to score more points on offense. That’s number one. And number two, we’ve had a big issue in terms of the big play defensively, giving it up. Those are two areas that just jump out at you as things we have to do much, much better in 2010 to be a playoff team. And, then the third thing, probably that was most significant, is finding a return game on our special teams.
Q: How big a part of your job is getting Russell to be better?
Cable: He’s just one man on this football team. He knows he’s got to get better. We know we’ve got to get him better. But everyone on this team, coaching staff, players alike, has to get better, and that starts with me. So, obviously, people want to single someone out or whatever that is but right now, it’s about all of us getting better.
Q: It’s a quarterback driven league, how much is execution and how much is leadership?
Cable: I don’t think there’s any question about that. You look at the two teams in the Super Bowl, they both have outstanding quarterbacks, both guys bring leadership to the talble, but leadership to me, comes form all areas, I think you’ve got to have someone like that at every position, so I don’t know that it’s necessarily just the quarterback, it’s everybody involved.
Q: What is Hue Jackson’s role, to get the most of out JaMarcus Russell?
Cable: I think that’s just part of of it. I think the biggest goal for Hue is to get our offense to be more of a scoring threat, with some consistency, and that’s the reason he’s here, and I‘m excited about it. I think it’s something as an organization that we needed to do. I think it will help me as a head coach, to be able to handle some other things, and put more attention to other things.
Q: Was it your decision to bring him in, or one made by the organization?
Cable: I think it was everyone involved, because it’s important that we improve, and when you look at where we need to improve I need to do a better job at
managing this team and looking at all areas and not be so focused in one area like I was and I think it will help us a great deal.
Q: As you called the plays and ran the offense, did you find yourself saying it was more than one person could handle?
Cable: To some degree I did. I think I felt some of that during the season. You know, the second half of the season, we scored doubled our point output in over 100 yards a game in offense, so there was improvement there, but again it gets back to scoring points and I think some freshness, won’t change the system per
se, but try to try and add and make it better.
Q: What are your needs as you look at the Senior Bowl and get ready for the NFL draft?
Cable: Well, we have some things, that I probably won’t talk about right now, let’s keep looking at this, as I said, we’ll look at Moble here, we’ll look at
the group of juniors that are coming out, and see if the players are going to be there for us in terms for our needs and really dial in to those needs.
Q: Did you find it getting easier after first game and did you get some gratification seeing the growth of the team?
Cable: It’s made it more exciting. I don’t know that it’s ever an easy job, but it’s made it more exciting. In our last meeting after the Baltimore game, we talked about what’s in front of us, and the next step would be the most difficult one. That’s going from being a competitive team to the one that wins the games that it’s supposed to and you find a way to win some people don’t think you should, and that’s a playoff team, and that’s the next step, and as I said earlier, that’s our goal, period. I don’t think it’s changing the attitude. I think that’s done. I think, becoming competitive, I think that’s done, and now it’s kind of returning a position to where you can get in the tournament.
Q: When you took the job over if you were 100 percent away from your goal, how much closer are you now, 10 pct, 20 pct?
Cable: I think we’re halfway there, but as I mentioned, but the next half, or the next step is going to be the biggest one, and it’s also going to be the toughest one, and we’re ready for it now, and that’s why I’m excited and ready to do this now and so it will be up to us to see it through and be one of those teams next year.
Q: Sound like conversations went well and you’re going to continue on as coach of the Raiders?