By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 10:13 pm in Oakland Raiders.
NOTE: Here’s a link to my Web column on Al Davis’ distaste for a .500 record, why players will get over Tom Cable’s departure and why things will work out just fine for Cable in the end . . .
So when is Hue Jackson’s press conference?
Nothing scheduled yet. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Raiders draw the process out, initiate a search, and then come to the decision which may have been made nearly a year ago when Jackson was hired as offensive coordinator with Cable in the last year of his contract.
Unless Davis fears the San Francisco 49ers might really make Jackson the head coach _ and the interview process has yet to begin _ he is already under contract and there is no rush to make things official.
He can name Jackson any time he chooses since the Rooney Rule is not in play.
– Yes, if he wishes, Davis could go trolling for Jim Harbaugh or make a large segment of the fan base extremely happy by reconnecting with Jon Gruden, but that’s not the way to bet. The Raiders don’t pay the kind of money they are likely to command, and Gruden’s sticking point when he left would not have changed _ he wants to hire his own coaches and pick the 53-man roster.
– Worst-case scenario _ Harbaugh says he doesn’t want the 49ers job, Jackson interviews and his quickly hired, and the Raiders lose their offensive continuity.
Wonder if Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman is interested in getting back into the NFL?
– Here’s how I assessed Jackson’s hiring in this blog almost a year ago _ a no-lose situation.
– Punter Shane Lechler, who said Monday he wasn’t interested in having another new coach, thinks Cable’s ouster will have a negative effect on free agency.
“It’s going to influence a lot of guys’ decisions on free agency,” Lechler said by phone. “You’re going to for darned sure lose Robert Gallery now. You’re going to lose Michael Bush now, for sure. You’re going to lose a bunch of guys that are great football players and just because of this move . . . I already know what those guys are going to do. I’ve talked to them, I’m friends with them, and I know what’s going on.”
More Lechler: “It’s going to be a huge setback because you heard the locker room just like I did. It’s hard to understand how or why the decision was made when it seemed it was in the best interest of players and we finally felt like we were headed in the right way, and owner goes and pulls the (plug).”
– With regard to Bush, he may not even be an unrestricted free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Bush spent his first season rehabbing a broken ankle and then played three seasons. His contract has expried, but the Raiders could end up with a right of first refusal in a new CBA _ just like with Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard last season.
As for Gallery, I talked to him on the phone and he was extremely disappointed while stopping short of saying he was heading for the door when free agency beckons.
“I really haven’t processed that yet,” Gallery said. “It’s definitely something to think about. Coach Cable and everyone else knows how I feel about him and the things he did as far as getting my career back on track. He’s a guy I wanted to play for. We’ll have to see what happens when free agency does come.”
More Gallery: “I think this is going to hit 99 percent of the locker room really hard because people respected how he dealt with us and where we were headed. It’s definitely a step back from what we’ve done going forward the last year or two.”
– It was almost surreal, listening to Raider-basher and Al Davis arch-enemy Marty Schottenheimer be so complimentary towards a Raiders coach _ who would learn shortly after hanging up the phone he was out of a job.
Cable was the “Late Hits” show with host Brian McGovern and Marty Schottenheimer, who made Raider-baiting (and beating) into an art form in Kansas City and San Diego.
“You’re probably aware I’m anti-Raiders and all this, but the bottom line is, I see a guy like yourself go to work, take a football team that’s struggling to understand the things that have to happen to win and all of a sudden you can see it just beginning to grow,” Schottenheimer said. “You have to be tickled to death, looking at the great picture of the way your football team is starting to rise up.”
The soon-to-be-former Raiders coach, in turn even said he borrowed from Schottenheimer in remaking the Raiders’ image and attitude.
“I actually stole a page from your book, because that’s been my mantra this whole time, that we’re going to own this division, and the way we’re going to own it is we’re going to be the tough guy, and we’re going to be the first one to punch you in the mouth and we’re going to be the last one to punch you in the mouth, and that’s the way I think you build a team at this level,” Cable said.
“If you don’t have that tough mentality, then you have no chance. You can throw it around all you want, and throwing the ball is pretty, and you’ve got to throw it some to win in this league, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to stop the run and you’ve got to be able to run.”
Cable continued to support the candidacy of Jackson as a head coach, although not necessarily for his job.
“In terms of Hue, he deserves it. He’s done a fine job,” Cable said. “We’ve been friends for a long, long time. I know what he’s about and what his goals are and all that. I know he wants to be a head coach in this league, so if that works out for him, I support it and I want what’s best for him.”