For Oakland Raiders Franchise, Continuity a Must Next Year

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IDecember 31, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Regardless of who says what and regardless of what type of source those people rely upon for their information, to deny that the Oakland Raiders could use some regularity would be absurd.

I mean, changing head coaches so often is obviously not working. The constantly revolving door of players has been detrimental to stability and growth as a unit and as a team.

One thing that should change this offseason is Al Davis's hard-headedness. It has seemingly brought nothing but hardship to his supposedly beloved franchise.

I say "supposedly beloved" because if he did love it, then maybe he wouldn't constantly be changing what presently exists. Look no further than your personal relationships for a similar example.  

"Continuity is always important. You always want your mom and your dad to stay together, so to speak, but (change is) a part of life," Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt said. "I think part of being a man and part of being a professional is dealing with change, because, you know, when you stop changing they say that’s when you die. You’ve just got to roll with the punches."

Surely we don't want the Raiders to die, but Routt is a perfect example of a young player (26 years old) who has been a pro for only five seasons but is already representing his fourth Raiders coach.

Bruce Gradkowski gave a good example of what works in this league when he recently said, "You see the good teams in this league have the same coaches and they’ve been consistent at quarterback."

It's true, too. Look at Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Donovan McNabb, and Eli Manning with their respective coaches Tony Dungy/Tom Mora, Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis, Sean Peyton, Norv Turner, Andy Reid, and Tom Coughlin.

Even throw in Ben Roethlisberger with Mike Tomlin and David Garrard with Jack Del Rio.

Can you think of a "good QB" without a consistent head coach?

Joe Montana/Bill Walsh, Dan Marino/Don Shula, Phil Simms/Drew Bledsoe/Chad Pennington/Bill Parcells, Jim Kelly/Marv Levy, Troy Aikman/Jimmy Johnson, Ken Stabler/John Madden, Rich Gannon/Jon Gruden...I could keep going, but I won't. I feel like Bruce Gradkowski and I have made our point.

Yes, the same Bruce Gradkowski who might not be a Raider next year. Luckily, I recently heard that if the owners and the NFLPA can't come to an agreement on a player salary cap, then due to the uncapped year, many unrestricted free agents would become restricted free agents for the next two years.

That means that players who would've been free to sign with whomever they wanted would be subjected to an environment in which their current teams have a chance to match the offer for up to the next two years. An uncapped year would also allow for teams to franchise two players instead of the typical one in a capped year.

There is no doubt that the current Oakland head coach wants to remain in Oakland. He wants—and in my opinion deserves—another chance to prove that he can turn this franchise around.

The quarterback is a sticky situation in the Raiders franchise. Some think that the guy who received $39.4 million of the owner's money needs to be stuck with. Others feel that the semi-journeyman Bruce Gradkowski should be voted quarterback of the future. However, it is doubtful that JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski could co-exist due to the level of pay for starters in Oakland.

Russell is due to make around $13.5-14 million next season. The former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassell's franchise tag for New England last year put him at $14.2 million, I believe.

Yet in an uncapped year, maybe the Raiders could afford to keep both. One thing that is unlikely to happen is that Bruce remains with Oakland at the $535,000 salary at which he is currently employed. One good thing that Oakland has working for them is that Gradkowski will be a restricted free agent, so Oakland will be able to match any offer made for him.

Getting back to my main point now, the Raiders need stability. It's part of the reason Nnamdi Asomugha decided to stay in Oakland after the season; because they kept the same head coach from the previous year.

I've said this before and I'll say it again right now: Since 1967, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had three head coaches. People who live across the country could probably name all of them.

Since Jon Gruden left in 2001, the Raiders have had five head coaches, all of whom almost nobody who's not a Raiders fan could name. That is an incredible contrast in philosophy.

Jeff Fisher has been a constant on the Tennessee Titans sideline since they switched states, regardless of the outcome to their year. Another good example of good QB/good HC is Jeff Fisher/Steve McNair.

Maybe Tom Cable has done some things that some people don't agree with. Maybe you don't see the progress that's been made under the current system. Regardless, Al Davis had his chance to make a change in January of 2009, and he didn't.

That is another reason why Lane Kiffin is correct when he says that Tom Cable should be given at least till the end of 2010 to prove he's worthy as the leader of the Oakland Raiders.

Consistency brings success. If you disagree, then give me some examples.


Click here to read Top Five Reasons Al Davis Won't Drop His Influence.