Since it has been widely reported by sources other than Chris Mortensen that the Oakland Raiders are about to name Tom Cable their next head coach, Raider fans are left to ponder what kind of coach Cable will be.
Will he be a solid dependable choice or an uninspired disaster? At this point in time, the optimist in me is leaning toward Cable turning out to be a solid, dependable choice.
The main two things Cable has going for him is that it is clear that he really wants to be the Oakland Raiders' head coach, and he was able to get the team to respond to him long after last season became meaningless.
Cable has repeatedly said that being the Raiders' head coach would be his dream job. He consistently preaches to the fans, media, and team that there is nowhere else he would want to be.
That total commitment and enthusiasm is something that Lane Kiffin never even attempted to portray. Fans, and certainly the team, knew Kiffin was using the team as a stop-over point to something that he considered better.
The level of commitment that Cable brings to the team is something that the team can rely on. Currently, the Raiders' biggest offseason issue is finding a way to keep both Shane Lechler and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Both players expressed the understandable frustration that they were tired of losing. Both players had cleaned out their lockers prior to the end-of-the-year team meeting. Both players are essential to the Raiders’ success next season.
Unfortunately, only one of them can be franchised. To keep them both, the Raiders need to convince them that they want to stay and see this transition through.
What better way to do that than with a coach whose commitment to the team is without question?
It can safely be assumed that Cable’s commitment was what the players responded to at the end of the season. The team, already tired of losing, felt Kiffin quit on the team and purposefully forced his way out by leaving Al Davis no other choice than to fire him. The team played uninspired football and was completely awful.
Cable figuratively grabbed the team by the collar and told them to snap out of it. While it took several weeks for the team to see that Cable’s commitment was genuine, they did start to play more focused football.
Several members of the team remarked that Cable was responsible for getting the team to believe it could win, including Robert Gallery, JaMarcus Russell, Lechler, and Asomugha.
Perhaps this is the biggest reason of all that Cable may be the right choice. He was able to inspire a demoralized and beaten-down team to play good football long after the season was over and long after most people cared about what the Raiders did.
The nagging thing in the back of my mind about Cable, however, is the image of that botched fake field goal where Cable thought it was a great idea for Janikowski to catch a between the legs pass from Lechler and rumble for a first down.
The Raider team and its fans can only hope that this school-yard play was simply a mistake that Cable will learn from and never repeat.
Aside from that, Cable has been involved with coaching staff hiring, has the trust of the players, and hopefully, will eventually have the fans trust.