The Raiders' season has come to a close, so let's tackle the big question of the offseason—will Tom Cable be back on the Oakland sideline in 2010?
A lot of people, including Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic from ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, say Cable has this team pointed in the right direction. Many people agree that if the Raiders could have been a playoff team this year if they had gotten more consistent play at quarterback.
Many players are standing behind Cable, including JaMarcus Russell, who was benched by the coach earlier this year. Russell agreed that better quarterback play was an issue.
"No doubt, you know, you need better than average play from your quarterback to be a great team," Russell told ComcasSportsNet.com, describing his play as "shaky" and saying it was similar to a roller coaster.
"You know you go up, you go down, you go up, you go down, same thing," he said.
Russell was asked if the coach should be back next year and said, "You know, he should, he should...that's not my decision."
Nnamdi Asomugha told The Oakland Tribune newspaper that he and other team captains will voice their support for coach Cable if the need arises.
"Sometimes it doesn't take a coach two years; sometimes it does take him three," Asomugha said. "Tom during his speech today said, 'This is a playoff team and next year we'll be in the playoffs.' We started to get a rhythm and we started to understand what we were doing. I would definitely try to get Cable back, just because that gives us some consistency."
Right guard Cooper Carlisle told The Tribune that the decision to keep Cable on will have a major effect on the team, "It's huge. He deserves a shot. He had some tough breaks early. Everybody respects him, everybody plays hard for him, and he does a lot of things that are positive and that work."
On the flip side, ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said that if he had to guess, he would say that Cable will be gone from Oakland by the end of this week.
While sources close to Raiders owner/GM Al Davis have apparently told The Tribune that Davis is prepared to fire Cable on the grounds that he could not score more points with an offense that he was responsible for calling plays for and the fact that he did not stick with Russell for more than nine weeks.
If you ask me, that is a Catch-22, but this is crazy old Al we are talking about.
Cable said he thinks he will still be around. "I see, and you all see, too, where this team is going, and what we've been able to accomplish in proving some things," Cable said. "Where we are offensively since the Cincinnati game speaks volumes but, again, yeah, I'm pretty sure (I'll be here). As sure as I can be."
If the Raiders do make a coaching change, the hands down fan favorite is Jon Gruden. However, several people have pointed to the idea that this has no chance whatsoever of happening.
One reason is because of what Gruden would demand to return. It is expected he would want close to $5 million in yearly salary, along with full control of the 53-man roster and his coaching staff. All three things are things Davis is not likely to agree to give Gruden.
In addition to reason one, it was recently reported by Ibuzz.com's Jerry McDonald that a Raiders club staffer, at the request of a spitting mad Al Davis, asked that photos of Gruden at Ricky’s Sports Grill and Lounge from the Dec. 14 party hosted by Gruden with current employees of the organization be removed from the restaurant’s Web site.
I was listening to the post-game show last night on the Oakland Raiders' flagship station, KSFO-560 AM. A call-in listener suggested the Raiders should replace Cable with former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. I'd be very interested to hear more insight into that theory. What do you think, Raider Nation, is Leach the guy?
It appears Bill Cowher is not the guy. He has apparently interviewed for the vacancy in Buffalo and has also shown interest in Carolina and Tampa Bay. It appears Cowher, who has reportedly already begun to assemble a coaching staff, is interested more by potential jobs on the East Coast.
Mike Shanahan was never really in the Raiders' discussion because of his relationship with Mr. Davis, and he appears bound for Washington. Wade Phillips is expected to stay in Dallas, as well as John Fox in Carolina, Lovie Smith in Chicago, and Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville.
The Raiders, with their seventh straight 11-loss season, have secured the No. 8 pick in the 2010 draft. Many fans think they should draft Alabama "Controlled Chaos" middle linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain is ranked seventh on Scouts Inc.'s top 32 college prospects board.
Others have suggested that the Raiders should take a guy that will help them develop as a better team in the trenches, e.g. an offensive or defensive tackle. But Davis' past selections would point at him shying away from these type of selections, especially considering that Robert Gallery didn't work out as a "sure-fire pick" as a franchise left tackle drafted No. 2 overall.
Many draftboards, however, say that Davis will be inclined to selected former USC Trojans safety Taylor Mays. The thinking is Davis will fall in love with Mays' measurables, i.e. his height, weight, and speed.
While the draft gurus say this would be a good pick, it would once again leave the members of Raider Nation scratching their heads, considering the current development of former second-round pick Tyvon Branch as well as improved play at the free safety position by former No. 7 overall pick Michael Huff.
In addition to the second-round pick last year, Ohio Bobcats safety Mike Mitchell, selecting Mays would give the Raiders three players at safety who were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft plus Tyvon Branch.
Evidently, there is not a fine line between being equipped at a position and being crowded.
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