Al Davis: Busting a Move!

Steve DuranContributor IJune 20, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 19:  Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis watches his team warm up prior to the start of the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans at Network Associates Coliseum on January 19, 2003 in Oakland, California.  The Raiders defeated the Titans 41-24, sending them on to the NFL title game for the first time since 1984.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The silent roar emitting from the media is almost deafening.  After a long string of hiring the wrong Coaches, it looks like Al Davis finally got it right.  

Now this is the part that just seems to puzzle a brilliant mind? Reviewing the list of Coaches since John Gruden, it looks impressive?

Bill Callahan 2002-2003
Norv Turner 2004-2005
Art Shell 2006
Lane Kiffin 2007-2008

Bill Callahan was the air apparent and in the interest of offensive consistency the logical choice.  Every media outlet in the country was calling this a good save, after Al Davis granted Grudens' wish to go home and coach in Tampa Bay. Who would have thought consistency would ever turn out to be a teams undoing?

Norv Turner was and always will be a great Offensive Coordinator.  The jury on his ability as Head Coach is still out. Lets face it, an 8–8 record last season in San Diego was anything but impressive.  It also magnifies his records at Washington and Oakland. It's obvious to most of the sports world, this will be Norv's last year in San Diego.

Art Shell is in the Hall of Fame because of his ability as a player.  He was a decent Coach his first trip around and I would like to think that he would have actually worked out better if he had been hired sooner.  By the time Art was hired, he patched his coaching staff together as quickly as he could and as they say, the rest is history.

Lane Kiffin the Boy Wonder Who Wasn't.  Al Davis was looking for clean fresh mind that had the ability to develop a new offense.  Al Davis doesn't think small, he didn't want just a vertical offense with new players.  He wanted a new version of the vertical offense developed by a new kind of coach. 

As the saying goes, you can't win big without gambling, and lets face it, without the name Kiffin he would have never been an assistant at USC and would have never been available for Al Davis to consider. 

More over, because of his young age, his huge character flaws were not yet exposed.  After he was let go from the Raiders, Lane Kiffin wasn't satisfied with harpooning one NFL team, he couldn't wait one month and announced the hiring of his father as Defensive Coordinator.  Tampa Bay then lost their last four games in a row and missed the playoffs.

Now...Today, it appears Al Davis has a Coach, and boy what a Coach.  Who is this guy named Tom Cable?  He's the guy that beat the: New York Jets, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Each of these teams was either on a roll going into the game or desperately needed a win to make the playoffs. 

Lets not make light of the fact that the Quarterbacks for these teams were: Farve, Cutler, Schaub and Garcia. All of these Quarterbacks are highly respected and have explosive abilities.

So what makes Tom Cable so special?  It's simple...He gets the most out of his players for 60 minutes.  Tom Cable took the job and cut dead wood like a Lumber Jack. He quietly asked the remaining players if any of them wanted to play some football and put them on the field to prove their worth.

He gained the respect of his men, plain and simple. This is impressive, but this isn't his only ability.  Tom Cable also shows an uncanny ability to pick talent.  Starting with last years benching and releasing of DeAngelo Hall. Then replacing the fired Pro-Bowler with a seventh round pick, that out played the paper tiger and earned not only a starting spot but a new contract. 

This year the draft wasn't what the same, so–called experts predicted.  Not drafting a Deva Receiver with Lineman speed and micro-fracture bone problems after only two years of single sport mileage and taking the fastest player in the draft, with strong hands, and excellent leaping ability, just seems like a no–brainer. 

Another player that had 16 teams at his Pro-Day, was called by his Agent and told to be available on the first day, per instructions from the interested team.  Then was actually called by the team prior to their selection.

How many times does this happen to players not taken by the interested team...NONE.  The action in the war rooms during the first two rounds of a draft is both fast and furious and far too important to call and chat with second day players.

Mitchell is not only worthy of a second round pick, but can flat out play.  Sports Writers are notorious for being sore losers and the large majority of them getting caught asleep at the wheel makes them cranky. 

The bad news for them is now they will actually have to push themselves away from the bar and actually do the leg work they are being paid for.

The good news for the Raiders is Mitchell is the real deal and should provide weekly highlight reels to thrill the fans.

Bottom line: expect to see Al Davis's smile many times this season.  He's about to take the experts to school...again.