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Cable at the combine

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, March 1st, 2010 at 7:19 am in Oakland Raiders.

Managed to get a transcript of the Q&A session with Raiders coach Tom Cable at the Indianapolis scouting combine Sunday. So here it, is, albeit a day late:

Q: What is the Raiders QB situation for 2010?

Cable: You know, getting ready to start the offseason and get to OTAs and minicamp and let the job be competed for. That’s where we’re at in terms of our starting quarterback.

Q: Who will competition include?

Cable: All those guys so long as we can get some them re-signed and see if we add anybody to the mix.

Q: Is QB a position you might look for in the draft?

Cable: For us, we have to look at a number of things, so I don’t think you would discount that or any other position.

Q: What are some other positions of need?

Cable: For us right now probably working a little bit on the line of scrimmage and the secondary and some things like that. And really come away from this combine and knowing what’s going to be available, so you can really put your finger on some of that.

Q: Offensive or defensive line?

Cable: I think both. You always have to look at it and see where you want to be in those two areas.

Q: Is offensive tackle a position you would’ve wanted to fill last year?

Cable: The way Mario Henderson played to close out 2008, we felt good pretty good about it. As long as we can continue to get him better and improve him, which he’s done, and we’ll make the right decisions that way.

Q: What was the impact of Richard Seymour?

Cable: I think he was everything I thought he’d be. I heard a lot about who he is as a person and what he’d bring to the locker room and the practice field and preparation and all those things. To me, he accomplished everything I heard about him. The thing I probably was most excited about was how much he impacted our young players on the football team. He’s been in the NFL for some time and he knows how to prepare. How to get himself ready, how to take notes. The time it takes, day to day, week to week, as you go through the season. And, ultimately, how to take care of your body. So I think there were a lot of good lessons learned there from a bunch of young football players.

Q: Is there some blueprint that can used comparing JaMarcus Russell to Vince Young?

Cable: I have not put a lot of thought on this at this point. Right now the focus has been on getting this evaluated and getting ready for free agency and the draft. JaMarcus is working and doing things he should be doing right now. And he’ll get himself prepared to compete for the job. That’s the only way to look at it.

Q: How important is Seymour’s leadership on young players?

Cable: Very important. Both he and Greg Ellis brought a lot of that to our football team. And guys like Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski I thought brought some of that to the other side of the ball. I don’t think you can ever have a team that can turn it around and start building something without that type of leadership in the locker room.

Q: Are you hoping Seymour extends his deal beyond the one year?

Cable: I certainly you hope so. We’ll continue to work on all that. And I think Richard wants to be there and get his family settled. Those are the things important to him.

Q: Have Darren McFadden’s injuries kept him from taking lead role?

Cable: I think so. Every time he’s gotten himself going and had pretty good production something has happened to either take him out of that game or not let him be as big a part in the next one. He’s a fine player and as he’s able to stay healthy for longer periods of time you’ll see more for what we all hope.

Q: Reaction to possibility overtime rules will be changed for playoffs

Cable: Well, you know, for me, having spent quite a while in college football, that’s kind of the dynamic way to play overtime. I think both teams getting a fair shot at it and put into a stress environment in terms of a short field and all of those things and yet play off each other and answer what the other team did. I think that brings more strategy into this whole thing. Where they go with it and how they get there will be talked about and decided. I’m comfortable with it. I think there needs to be something, so we’ll see what they’re doing.

Q: What if it’s just used in playoffs and not regular season?

Cable: Well, again, we’ll see. Hopefully we’re one of the teams in playoffs that has to worry about that sort of thing.

Q: Do you expect Javon Walker to be on the team? And why haven’t you been able to get him going?

Cable: To answer the second question first, really we’ve had the emergence of those young players and really Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins give us something. Darius Heyward-Bey gets hurt and misses a good chunk of the season. So I think it’s there development and trying to bring that group along. Will he be there next year? We’ll see.

Q: Compare having one guy to get all offseason reps at QB, opposed to competition?

Cable: To me, that would help our football team right now to get into more of that competition. As we said the last time we met as a football team, the next step for us as a team is going to be the biggest, it’s going to be the hardest. We’re competitive now, but you got to win more and win the games you’re supposed to win. And I think competition helps you do those kinds of things. I’m all for having guys going at it and battle for the job.

Q: Was your job security ever a question for you?

Cable: No, it wasn’t. We went through the evaluation process. As I was told, ‘You’re under contract and we need to talk about everything.’ That’s what we did. There was a lot of speculation but the whole time I went to work every day and did what I knew I needed to do to get ready for the evaluation, get ready for the Senior Bowl,
ready for all those things that were coming up.

Q: When were you told you were coming back?

Cable: I was never told I wasn’t. . . . That’s the one misnomer. There was a lot of speculation. But every day I went to work and every day I got ready for the routine, the self-scout and all the things you’d normally do. So for me sitting back, I wondered what all the fuss was about. I just going to work every day.

Q: How do you cope with all the distractions?

Cable: I don’t have that much distraction. I have a wonderful wife and kids and good family. Good coaching staff. Players I like to be around and coach all the time. So I really don’t worry about things I can’t control. Those are things that are immediate in my life that I can take care of.

Q: Are you taking part in negotiating contracts?

Cable: We’ve all kind of been involved in it, meaning the owner and I and other people in the building. I think that’s the way it’s always been done. It was that way last year and again this year. For me, it’s nothing new.

Q: Were you in the room when Sebastian Janikowski’s contract was being negotiated?

Cable: Some of that, yes.

Q: Nnamdi Asomugha has been rumored as a player on the trade block. Are you open to trading your best player?

Cable: We get a ton of calls about a lot of players on our football team all the time. In fact, before I came in here I was on the phone about something. To me, that stuff happens in the NFL. It’s going to happen all the time, so people call you and you listen. And see if anything interests you or doesn’t interest you. Sometimes it’s crazier than you think what they’re talking about. So you just take the call and you listen.

Q: Do you want to tell us who you were talking to?

Cable: No.

Q: Are you sure?

Cable: No.

Q: Mike Iupati, guard from Idaho, and his chance to be a strong player?

Cable: Absolutely. First of all, he’s an Idaho Vandal, so I’m biased. He’s a terrific player. I think his future will be very bright. He’s going to have to transition from that level to the NFL. But he showed he has the ability to do that at the Senior Bowl. I’m very proud of him. I’m pulling for him to succeed, big time.

Q: How much do the Raiders place on the combine. Perception is biggest-fastest-strongest is going to be a Raider?

Cable: I don’t know. How about the best player? Let’s talk that way. We need to get better in some areas, so you got to look at this thing and find who you think the best players are, rather than they jump the highest or run the fastest. It shouldn’t make a damn difference. He has to be able to play football good enough for you to become a championship team. At the end of the day, that’s what really counts. A lot of guys who run fast can’t play dead. For me, get the best players targeted
and go back and sit down as a group, collectively put that together, and start your process.

Q: Given that, how did Darius Heyward-Bey’s first season go?

Cable: I think there were some good and some things that were probably disappointing. The injury, to me, is disappointing. I think the amount of pressure that was put on that kid from all angles, the scrutiny came the day he was picked, probably unfair but, hey, this is the NFL and that’s what it is. But with his work ethic and his character, he’s going to be what he’s supposed to be. You’ll be excited to write about him soon.

Q: Have you made your RFA tenders?

Cable: We’ll do that when we get back.

Q: How would you assess the performance of Michael Huff?

Cable: I’ve always felt Michael was on the cusp of his breakthrough. He had it this year. Lionel Washington and those guys on defense really got him ready to go, and I thought he was outstanding the whole year from the first game all the way through the last one. It was definitely a breakthrough for Michael, and hopefully that’s just the sign of where he’s at as a player now and we can get a lot of big play from him.

Q: Do you still need to weed out guys who `don’t get it’?

Cable: I think as I stood up here last year we talked about some of those things. I think we’ve done that. We kind of go to work for a common theme now, which is to succeed. And I don’t think you can do that if you have a bunch of knuckleheads. I feel good about our team. What I want to do is improve our team. What I want to do is improve our team and it’s talent level and take the younger players and develop them even further than we have at this point. So I like where the team’s at that way. For us, again, the next step is becoming a winning team with some consistency. And that’ll be the hardest step.

Q: What does team need to do to improve?

Cable: All of the above. The first thing we need to do is get better at taking care of the football offensively and getting turnovers defensively. Then, we got to throw the ball on offense and stop the big play on defense. You can put your hands on those things. You can say that’s something we have to start from Day 1 and start preaching – not that we haven’t. But it’s got to become so focused here – not take anything away from anything else. But those areas, if we can really make some inroads there, we’ll be a pretty good team.

Q: What’s the risk of taking a player like Mike Mitchell who wasn’t invited to the combine? And were you concerned about public perception?

Cable: No. Look, what I’ve been through, that doesn’t matter to me that way. If people watch Mike play the last six weeks, they’d say, ‘That’s why they took him.’ He was sensational. He impacted the last six games as much as anybody on our defense in a number of ways because he can play in all your packages. So to worry about that now, not at all. The bottom line is to find the best players whether they’re under a rock or at the combine. It doesn’t matter.

Q: Was there a feeling somebody else was going to get Mitchell?

Cable: We knew teams knew about him. We knew there were three other teams that liked Mike like we did. So it was going to be a matter of who came up first in the draft.

Q: With all you gave up to acquire Seymour, was the value there?

Cable: I think so, if you look at what he brought to our team . . . the opponents’ ability, or lack thereof, to run at him, run on that side of the line of scrimmage. I’d like to see a little more pass rush out of him, which he’ll probably be the first to tell you that. But with all those things considered, yeah, definitely. If you can get that out of a first-round pick, you’ve done pretty well.

Q: Has Russell given you assurances he’ll take care of himself in the offseason?

Cable: It’s really not about him giving assurances. It’s simply, he has a job to do like everybody else. Do your job and do it in a matter helps this team succeed. We have talked a couple of times. I know he’s working and I’m anxious for the offseason program to get started so we can see him all the time.

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  • SteveAlford21

    Priest,

    In the real world, just because you say “ture (sic) story” after you say something, that doesn’t make it true. You should ask Al, Snyder, and JJ to explain that to you when you have lunch with them tomorrow after 18 holes in the morning. Do you still have Marcus Allen caddy for you guys?

  • priesttj

    Stevie you don’t know squat about our scouting dept. nada zilch nothing. I know those men because I’ve worked with them.

    There are scouting dept. all ovr the NFL that is not as well put together as ours is. But you wouldn’t know that because you don’t NFL personnel you’re just running your mouth on a blog as if you do.

    As I said if you want to know something ask.

  • SteveAlford21

    Okay, you said that if I want to know something to ask.

    Where and when did you work with the people in our scouting department and with whom specifically did you work?

  • priesttj

    MR you said they said just rumble and they didn’t teach him the game or at the very least you implied it.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    preist, why do we have to know NFL personnel to know that our team sucks and needs drastic changes in the front office? Can’t a fan just read an almanac and see that his team’s sucked for 7 straight years? Why must we have had to have been employed in an NFL scouting department to have the expertise to look at a team’s 7 years losing record and say, “wow, they suck”?

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    priest, that’s what long said. He said that when he came to the Raiders, it wasn’t about all of the techinical stuff. It was about just putting on the pads and cracking. I know what I saw.

  • priesttj

    It’s been a long time son I’m not KK not here to brag or show off. I just hate lies about things that ignorant people carry on in here. I’ve told you a lot more than I should’ve that’s enough.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Do you hate lies that come from the team and Al Davis?

  • SteveAlford21

    You said that if I wanted to know, to ask. Now I ask you to give me verifiable info and you deny. LMFAO. Why refuse? Because someone could look up staffs and find out that you aren’t on them. You’re busted lying, just own up to it.

  • priesttj

    MR, that’s bullcrap when Hoie got here he had zero technigue NONE everything he learned he learned from Earl Leggettt who at that time was the preeminent Dline coach in this league. He taught Howie the 3tech and the 5tech well enough for him to make it to the HOF.

    Don’t be foolish He also taught Greg Townsend, Bill Pickell and many others we went to SB because of Earl Leggett and Charlie Sumner. Don’t be stupid!!

  • NorthernD

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:25 pm
    Northern D, is everything you said about Lombardi, etc, a conspiracy theory, too? Why’s it only a conspiracy theory when it comes from me? What’s it called when it comes from you?
    ==============================
    Nothing wrong with a good conspricay theory.
    I didn’t mention Lombardi at all. That was Alford.

    I’d much rather read about a good conspiracy theory than all the back and forth name calling that goes on.

    Besides, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    Seriously, you seem to know quite a lot about the Davis early days. Where did he get the $180,000 to buy into the Raiders in the first place?

  • SteveAlford21

    “It’s been a long time”

    So it hasn’t been too long to remember every little thing that was said… but you can’t remember where you worked or when you worked there or with whom you were working? LOL @ TJ’S LYING ASS BUSTED!

  • SteveAlford21

    RMR,

    I am totally on board with the Raiders teams of those years not being as good without Wolfe and Lombardi respectively. I’m not trying to say that Al is/was incompetent, just that everyone is better when they have great people working with them. Al, as he is TODAY, has done a bad job with no high-ranking front office personnel to assist him or with whom to collaborate.

  • priesttj

    i never said i was on staff because i wasn’t and if i wa you’d never know it you don’t know my real name and you never will.

  • RaiderDebo

    priesttj Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:38 pm
    Stevie you don’t know squat about our scouting dept. nada zilch nothing. I know those men because I’ve worked with them.

    There are scouting dept. all ovr the NFL that is not as well put together as ours is. But you wouldn’t know that because you don’t NFL personnel you’re just running your mouth on a blog as if you do.

    As I said if you want to know something ask.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Sorry Steve, but I’ve got to agree with Priest here. You sound like a guy regurgitating the same old garbage dork reporters say about the Raiders’ scouting department and the organization in general. Do you honestly have any real knoweledge about who the scouts are and how many are employed? I understand if you don’t. I don’t either. But it’s annoying to hear people run off at the mouth about it without real knowledge of the inner-workings of the organization. In the end, it’s all speculation. That’s why I do my best to stick to what I’m seeing ON the field.

  • SteveAlford21

    NorthernD,

    My guess is that Al had quite a few connections back in Brooklyn to help get the capital. Then again, he might have just gotten a loan from a bank… but to hear him talk about the old neighborhood… methinks there were some doins afoot.

  • SteveAlford21

    TJ, I asked where and when you worked with them… so if you weren’t on staff, in what capacity did you “work” with them? FYI, staring at them through binoculars and using a sound-amplifier for the hearing impaired to listen to their conversations isn’t “working with them.”

  • priesttj

    just aint telling you bud, it’s none of your business. so let’s just say i’m lying ok

  • NorthernD

    I’ll add my two cents.
    I heard from Lombardi talking on the NFL network.
    He said the Raiders scout did their work and made full assessments on all the players. ( I assume they have a full staff of competant scouts)
    The problem was that Al would come down the day before the draft and change the order they had the players listed. Hence DHB gets moved ahead of Crabtree, etc.
    And that came from Lombardi himself.

  • SteveAlford21

    NorthernD,

    That’s why I mentioned player-personnel and an insufficient scouting department together. The fact that Al no longer has a President of Football Operations and/or a GM to handle personnel decisions or advise him on such things is the reason we’ve drafted only three linemen in what, six years? You can have fifty scouts, but unless they have a full player-personnel department with which to coordinate, that department will be insufficient.

  • SteveAlford21

    Even though you admitted it sarcastically, that’s good enough for me. Did you honestly think anyone besides Debo bought your lines of B.S. about all your ties?

  • NorthernD

    I don’t think it matters if they have a GM. Al has always done that. The GM may have given a differing opinion, but I don’t think it has ever stopped Al from making the final call on a player, or coach.
    The only advantage of a GM is that they are young enough to do the things Al can no longer physically do.

  • priesttj

    Debo,

    Stevie is another one of these guy’s who has pinion that he convinced himdelf must be true. They’re so frustrated that they don’t know they conjure up any and everything hoping it makes sense.

    Al Davis ahs what he feels he needs around him at this time wether we can call the guy a GM or not who knows but he has plenty of people around him that he trust some coaches some personnel people as well as others who may not be on staff but do work for him.

    The Raiders will, start winning when all of this young talent starts to produce untill then they will struggle. Hopefully it ends this year.

  • priesttj

    You mean a player personnel director I think they have that and have jhad him for years. lol

    what you want is a guy with a title when a guy capable of doing the job is sufficient. Title or no…

  • RaiderDebo

    SteveAlford21 Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:14 pm
    RMR,

    I think that he doesn’t think he can trust anyone now… and also that his stubborn pride won’t let him admit that he messed up his prized, beloved franchise and needs help from other people to fix it. It seems that he’s just saying, “It’s just a slight hiccup, I have it all under control, you will eventually see the master plan play out and know that I had it right from the start.”

    To hire help now would be admitting that he has been inept. I don’t think that Al is capable of such a thing.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    Dude, why do you keep running your mouth about what Al’s thinking? Unless you’re going to surprise me and tell me you are great fiends with him and talk to him everyday, I’ve got to believe you don’t know sht about what he’s thinking. This isn’t the only organization that is struggling. There are lots of reasons that an organization goes through struggles. You’re just popping off.

  • SteveAlford21

    Lol @ having an opinion and convincing myself that it’s true.

    You are aware that you can look up the staff, right? Sorry bro, I stated facts about lack of people in certain positions… and the on-field product has been significantly less successful since certain positions became (and stayed) vacant. Argue with it all you want, but those are FACTS.

  • RaiderDebo

    priesttj Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 12:05 am
    Debo,

    Stevie is another one of these guy’s who has pinion that he convinced himdelf must be true. They’re so frustrated that they don’t know they conjure up any and everything hoping it makes sense.

    Al Davis ahs what he feels he needs around him at this time wether we can call the guy a GM or not who knows but he has plenty of people around him that he trust some coaches some personnel people as well as others who may not be on staff but do work for him.

    The Raiders will, start winning when all of this young talent starts to produce untill then they will struggle. Hopefully it ends this year.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    I’m with you man. I hope it ends too. The way 2008 ended, I was sure 2009 would be a jumping off point. But we had such a bad offseason heading into 2009. Not quite sure where to place the blame for that.

  • SteveAlford21

    Am I the only one wondering if TJ and Debo are the same person? No one else agrees with either of them except the other… and Debo hadn’t posted in HOURS… until TJ called him by name in a post just a couple of minutes ago. Either they’re talking to each other outside the blog on phone or messenger or sitting in each other’s laps… or they’re the same person.

  • priesttj

    e could also say since the team hasn’t had a consistent QB the team hasn’t won. It could be that simple. That’s a fact as well. So which is more accurate?

  • SteveAlford21

    Unless of course, Debo has been sitting here refreshing for hours, not saying anything (even though I addressed him earlier) until TJ addressed him… and then replying instantly. That sounds quite likely…

  • priesttj

    Stevie, getting paranoid hahahaha!!

    Debo, he’s going off the deep end. Hahhaha

  • SteveAlford21

    How is that paranoid or going off the deep end? All I did was ask a rhetorical question based on logical inference.

  • priesttj

    Adios!! I’m tired

  • RaiderDebo

    631.priesttj Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 12:17 am
    Stevie, getting paranoid hahahaha!!

    Debo, he’s going off the deep end. Hahhaha
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@2@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    No kidding. Don’t think Steve is a bad guy. But these generic criticisms of the organization are so lame. Come up with an original thought once in a while.

  • SteveAlford21

    How was it unoriginal or generic to state a specific issue? It seems that whenever anyone makes an argument, you just insult their statements or the person making the statement rather than addressing the content of what was said. It’s an incredibly weak tactic in a debate and logical fallacy at its worst.

  • SteveAlford21

    To be more clear, I didn’t say “the organization is messed up” or “Al sucks.” I stated exactly what problems I saw and how I thought they were detriments. There’s nothing generic about that, it’s as specific as specificity gets. Please address the issues presented if you want to try to attain a modicum of anything remotely resembling credibility.

  • RaiderDebo

    Whatever. You’ve worn me out this evening. I’ll be back tomorrow. Come up with something better than the same “we suck because we don’t have a GM” BS we hear all day everyday and we’ll debate. Hell, maybe we’ll even agree. Good night.

  • NorthernD

    priesttj and RaiderDebo= Norman Bates and his mother

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Northern D, you’re right. These theories about people other than Al running the team are just nutty conspiracies. Al is the Raiders. Every great team the Raiders ever fielded was hand crafted by Al. And, the Raiders will be back. The losing of the past 7 years? Refs sabotaging us. Oh, wait, that’s a conspiracy theory too. Oops.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Northern D, what about Elway going to the Raiders, only for the league to stop it? Oh, darn, another conspiracy.

  • NorthernD

    Teams that wear black uniforms get more penalties than teams that wear white.
    A little conspiracy, a little fact.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    NorthernD Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    The problem was that Al would come down the day before the draft and change the order they had the players listed.

    ……………….

    Now, that is not a conspiracy theory. Provable fact.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    But notice how it’s ok for you to churn up conspiracy theories, NorthernD? But it’s kooky when others do it, especially people you disagree with, or, rather don’t want to believe?

  • NorthernD

    I know Rozelle and Davis had it in for each other.

    I don’t think the refs are specifically told to flag the Raiders, but, I do think they know they won’t catch as much flak for making a bad call against the Raiders as they would for another team.

    That superbowl with Jerome Bettis in Detroit was a ridiculous game by the refs. I know they play favorites, it’s just difficult to prove.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    priest, I don’t believe you about Howie being taught everything he knows by an assistant coach. Sorry. No sell. Unless you have proof.

  • NorthernD

    It depends on the theory.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Interesting takes, Northern D. You go to Berkeley by any chance?

  • NorthernD

    As for Al deliberately trying to lose? That’s hard to believe.
    GG said it could be for tax reasons, before he gave it to his kid. That kind of makes sense.
    But I just can’t see Al wanting to lose for any reason. He knows his time is nearly up. He’s desparate to win now. To cement his legacy.
    The last thing he wants to do is have his last memories of the team in a complete state of disrepair.

  • NorthernD

    Berkeley?
    Nope. MIT.

  • NorthernD

    I’m the night janitor.

    No wait, that was a movie I watched.