Tom Cable: Bringing the Mystique Back to the Oakland Raiders

Pat CowanCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2009

Word on the street is that the Oakland Raiders will give interim head coach Tom Cable the full-time job.

Although nothing is official, the lack of candidates being interviewed in recent weeks coupled with the fact that Cable is currently scouting at the Senior Bowl reinforces the claim.

Cable was handed the reins in the middle of last season after Al Davis, armed with his mighty overhead projector, fired Lane "The Pain" Kiffin, following a Week Four loss to the Chargers.

Cable's first decision was to overhaul the offense. His plan was to trash Kiffin's dink-and-dunk-style offense and replace it with a more balanced attack that didn't rely so heavily on the run.

Next, Cable wanted Jamarcus Russell to go out and learn how to lead the offense. More than that, though, he wanted to get the team to believe it could win.

He believed they could. He wanted to show them that what they thought was an affliction was simply a challenge.

The task proved daunting, as the team went only 1-5 in its next six games and looked reminiscent of Art Shell's 2006 team. Cable found that he had to contend with low morale and grumbling players.

It didn't get better when he benched locker room favorite Ronald Curry and struggling safety Michael Huff at the same time he gave DeAngelo Hall walking papers.

Cable never gave up through that time. In his press conferences, he carried the same demeanor every week. He talked about where they had improved and where they needed more work. He made no apologies, he didn't have meltdowns and he didn't place blame. These were his defining moments.

The next defining moment was when they went into Denver and beat the Broncos. Cable announced to the team that it was a historic rivalry, and that's the way the Broncos were approaching the game.

It wasn't another game. It was a fierce division rival. The Raiders went out and won the game.

After the 1-6 start under Cable, the Raiders finished the season 3-3, racking up wins over the talented Texans and knocking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the playoff race. Losing was no longer the identity. The offense had become efficient and productive.

Russell had become the field leader that Cable had envisioned. The team's confidence showed in its play.

Tom Cable proved that he is capable of being a winning coach in the NFL. He has overcome the single biggest obstacle of getting a team to believe in itself and the system.

How did he do it? By joining them. By being a Raider. 

When he sat at the postgame press conferences, win or lose, he was proud to wear the Silver and Black. He was proud of every single person who ever put on that uniform and he made no distinction between his Raider team or the ones of the past.

Tom Cable has taken the identity of the Raider franchise and purified it with his Silver and Black heart and determination. He has distinguished himself like coaches in Raiders past by enforcing the team's mystique.

That alone has earned him the right to keep coaching the Oakland Raiders.