Oakland Raiders: Media Fueling Tom Cable Speculation

Tim FitzgeraldContributor IFebruary 1, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 03:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders watches the action during the game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 3, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Does the national and local sports media really expect the Oakland Raiders to hold a press conference to confirm that they're retaining Head Coach Tom Cable?

Do they want Al Davis to give the dreaded "vote of confidence" for a guy who's under contract for 2010? Does the media need a press release confirming or refuting this speculation, so they can pontificate about what a bad decision it is?

I can tell you, we fans aren't overly concerned with it. The only reason the fans I've spoken with had any concern over whether or not Cable would be fired was that the media told them it was going to happen. 

They saw the ESPN scroll that came out immediately after the season saying Al Davis was, "inclined to fire Head Coach Tom Cable." Which might be the most vague and worthless ESPN bottom-line scroll I've ever read. 

He's "inclined" to fire Cable? What the hell does that mean? That's a headline you would put up as news, oh mighty, world-wide leader in sports?

I'm inclined to slap Joe Lieberman in the face and eat cereal all day. It doesn't mean I'm going to do it, though. 

What's next after running with inclinations? Will ESPN start covering whims? Will their next hot lead be based on what an NFL owner is fancying at the moment?

The mainstream sports media and blogs have assumed there was a rift between Davis and Cable over the benching of JaMarcus Russell. They've assumed Davis would fire Cable after another losing season, and they've assumed Davis was interviewing other head coaches.

Sure, Davis has fired coaches after one season before. But we've known about the special set of circumstances it takes to get Davis to fire a coach after one season. 

We know Al Davis is a "player's owner." He takes care of his athletes and puts them first. We know players have gone over the coach's head and come to him in the past with concerns.

Mike White, Joe Bugel, and Art Shell (Part Deux) all lost their player's confidence and thus Davis' as well.  Tom Cable still has strong support from his players.

The only coaches exempt from this would be Lane Kiffin and Mike Shanahan.  We've learned enough about Kiffin, though, to realize Davis most likely had legitimate reasons to fire him. And Davis and Shanahan had major philosophical and monetary differences.

Raider fans saw the speculations of local scribes that Cable's benching of, and comments about, JaMarcus Russell must be irritating Al Davis. Is this based on the comments by Davis that Lane Kiffin didn't want Russell? 

Those comments came before Russell had such terrible performances on the field.  Davis' first concern is winning, after all. Even he knows his young QB could benefit from sitting and watching.

And Raider fans figured Davis must be ready to fire Cable due to his legal issues and spousal-abuse accusations. Why? Because the media told them Davis would.

Why are media members still surprised by the way Al Davis operates? Is it still a story?  Or does the "Raider way" allow for the creation of stories?

Due to the Silver and Black's secretive style, journalists appear to fill in the blanks or make assumptions based on the past. Don't get me wrong, it's smart to cite precedent when trying to look into the future. But let's not have a blanket approach.

Of course Davis will interview and hire his head coach's assistants. This is news?  He does at least give a heads up to the head coach, or informs any non-Kiffin head coach, of a pool of assistants he's looking into so they can have some input.

And yes, Davis talks to current or retired head coaches he's close to for ideas. Is this the first time the national and local media have covered this occurrence?

We've had denials from Jim Harbaugh, Marc Trestman and Jim Fassel that they were contacted about being the head coach, and yet this story persists.

Yes, I would prefer it if Davis and the Raiders were less secretive. It's an out dated way of operating (much like their scouting). I'd prefer it if Davis gave his coaches more autonomy and hired a GM.

But I don't view the Raiders how they should be, or write about what I think they should do. I don't remark how odd they are in comparison to other NFL franchises or expect them operate like other teams.

I'm familiar with how Al Davis operates, and I view the Raiders realistically. I don't just make it up when I don't get the story I assume is there to begin with. After all these years of covering Al Davis' Raiders, you'd think the media would understand that too. 

But that doesn't sell as well, does it?