Amid rampant speculation on Tom Cable's future, there is a divided opinion in the Raider Nation as to whether the embattled coach should stay or go. There are valid points on both sides of the coin, and Cable certainly hasn't made the decision any easier with his lack of consistent success on the field.
I am in the camp of those who want Cable to be retained. Many can point to an article I wrote earlier in the season in which I stated I wanted Cable fired right then and there. I stand by that feeling at the time, as he was producing nothing on the field and causing negative media attention off the field.
But the accusations of domestic violence went away as quickly as they came, and quietly as well, leading me to believe that there was little behind the accusations in the first place. At the time I felt that there was no proof of misdoings, but Cable was consistently being vilified in the press and that was a huge distraction for a team that needed huge distractions like they needed another guy who can run a 4.2 40 but not catch the ball.
The distractions went away, and Cable persevered. It was an impressive display of focus and leadership.
I now want Tom Cable to stay, unless proof of his violent acts is given unequivocally.
This Raider team played harder than any I can remember since the Gruden days. The main concern is a lack of focus after a victory. This can be attributed to Cable to an extent, but it mainly lies in the fact that this team has forgotten how to win consistently.
Cable's ability to succeed was held hostage by JaMarcus Russell for the majority of the season. Having to kowtow to Al Davis' incessant need to be right about his franchise quarterback, Cable was forced to stay with Russell long after it was clear that the kid just wasn't getting it on many levels. Once Cable was given the go-ahead to bench Russell, the team instantly began playing better in every phase of the game.
I'm also of the mind that Russell needs to be kept, if only to see how he comes into camp. If he's fat, out of shape, and wrapped in furs, then he needs to be kicked to the curb right away.
If he's slimmer, in shape, and ready to focus on football and his immense talent, then give him a shot to earn back his starting position and the respect he's lost.
Cable has shown an ability to lead this team, even if it hasn't always translated into victory. It's rare that a coach with little success has so much support in the locker room, but Cable has the ear and respect of his players. He's committed to cleaning up the losing mentality and the me-first attitude that has pervaded this franchise during our recent decline. The players recognize this and are on board.
Once again, I am as concerned as the next person at our inability to string together two good games in a row, or to beat the teams we should beat. It's baffling and frustrating that we outplayed playoff squads while losing, and sometimes badly, to teams that were equal or below us in the standings. But this is something that can be figured out.
Figuring out how to beat mediocre teams should be easier than figuring out how to beat good football teams, and that's where we are at right now.
Mainly, though, I am tired of the revolving-door mentality around Alameda. It's a matter of "Well, that didn't work. Let's try this..." without any kind of actual plan or focus. This is a garbage way to operate any kind of business, let alone a football franchise.
So let's keep Tom Cable. The only way I would want to get rid of him at this point is if Chucky were willing to come back (not happening), Cowher wanted to come here (not happening), or John Madden wanted to come out of retirement and coach this team in spectacular fashion again (definitely not happening).
Without any of those options, and with the amount of time Al is taking to make a decision, who better to lead this team than a guy who already has the respect of his players, a plan in place to improve the team, and the passion and love for the Raiders we all want from our coaches?
He needs some help to succeed. He needs to put his ego aside, admit that he can't do everything himself, and hire an offensive coordinator. At times his play-calling was innovative and creative, and worked well. But mostly it was stagnant, frustrating, and ill-timed, and cost us yardage and field position. This needs to change in a big way.
He also needs a good personnel man in the front office to help him build the roster he wants and we need to succeed. He needs to recognize that you can't mold every semi-talented player into a great offensive lineman and improve the talent level there. He needs to, in short, be surrounded with intelligent football people who will make the hard decisions and who will be brutally honest when evaluating talent, roster, and Cable himself.
With Al Davis at the helm, the likelihood of anyone other than Davis himself filling those roles is slim to none. So, that being the case, continuity is the next best thing here, and Cable already knows how to work with Al, what it means to coach the Raiders, and what kind of mental toughness it takes to do so.
Bringing another coach into this circus without any experience as to how to deal with the state of affairs is a recipe for disaster yet again.
I guess it's come to this: I want Cable to stay because we really have no other viable options. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but he's the best option we've got.