Tom Cable: Is He the Reason For Russell's Struggles?

Ramone BrownSenior Writer ISeptember 23, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13:  Head coach Tom Cable talks with his quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys during the preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Yes, that is right I am calling out Tom Cable not JaMarcus Russell for the struggles in the Raiders passing game.

But before you call me a hater know this. I am not questioning his ability as a head coach. He is a good head coach and a great team motivator. His ability as a team motivator is evident in how he turned the team around last year and got the team to believe in the team first "53 men committed to one purpose" mentality.

The Problem is Tom Cable has implemented a flawed offensive coaching staff. Lets take a look: There's Head Coach Tom Cable, QB Coach Paul Hackett, Passing Game Coordinator Ted Tollner, and then all the position coaches.

But wait somethings missing? Whose calling the plays, wheres the offensive coordinator?

Well, Tom Cable is calling the plays and his playcalling is suspect. And as a new-comer to the head coaching world he is asking way to much of himself setting himself up for failure. Cable is very hands on with the team especially the o-line as he is the teams former o-line coach. Throw in playcalling(that should be done by the offensive coordinator) and a few distractions: Randy Hanson, Lane Kiffin, Warren Sapp. And whatever other distractions can be thrown at the team and Tom Cable has bitten of more than he can chew.

As a play-caller Cable is at times a huge risk taker often taking unnecessary chances. His play calling also tends to get streaky often becoming pass-happy at any sign of success through the air. This is likely due to the fact that two of the Raiders most prominent offensive coaches are Ted Tollner and Paul Hackett are in his ear about the passing game as well as the pressure to develop Russell into a productive QB.

Lets take a look at some of Cables suspect playcalling. First the positive then the negative.

Last year in the victory over the Jets on 4th down we line up to punt. Rather than the expected, the ball is snapped directly to up back and linebacker Jon Alston who runs for a 1st down.

This years Monday night opener against the Chargers. 4th and long your QB just left the game with an injury what does he do. Rather than punt he puts his young QB back in the game fortunately Russell threw a perfect pass for a TD over the Charger defense.


Now the bad.

Last year against the Chiefs. 4th and long the Raiders are going for a field goal. Rather than kick it the ball is snapped to Lechlar who laterals it to Janakowski who drops the ball.

First off that's three points you could have had. Second It put the Chiefs in a great position to score. Thirdly, I know the Raiders like to draft track stars but I don't think the kicker fits that stereotype. I doubt he would have toasted the Chiefs for a first down.

He has had other questionable play calls but the thing to remember is when these calls succeed he looks like a genius when they fail he looks like one of the three stooges.


Then theres the Chiefs game this year. Knowing he had a struggling young QB and an outstanding running game Cable came out throwing against the Chiefs. This often set the Raiders up with 2nd-and10 which resulted in third downs which had to be converted through the air. Setting up multiple three and outs through bad playcalling.

Another noteable is out of all of the leagues top offenses the only team whose head coach calls plays is San Diego's Norv Turner.

The Raiders have the talent to be atop the division but they will continue to struggle without a quality playcaller and offensive coordinator. I like Tom Cable as a head coach but he needs to relinquish his playcalling duties in favor of someone more qualified.