This is my first article and it's basically a collection of general thoughts and observations from the offseason. I don't get very specific with the X's and O's —plenty of time for that later.
The position of Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders is a dance, the Al Davis tango. One must perform gracefully, yet decisively if they wish to continue. Gracefully meaning you must appease the boss and recognize his philosophical outlook on the game, never publicly appearing in opposition. And decisively meaning you must balance your duties to ownership with your duties to the players and assistant coaches—never allowing your leadership to appear compromised.
For the most part, Tom Cable has performed this dance admirably—bringing a cohesiveness and calm from the HC absent through all the years of losing. Yet despite mastering the dance, Tom Cable didn't have many wins to show for his work—so his job status was never secure.
And this is where Tom Cable's mastery of the dance continues, by convincing Al Davis that he could coach a winning team if he had the right personnel—which can only be interpreted as, get Jamarcus Russell off the team. So while Tom Cable successfully benched Al Davis' first round pick while controlling the offense—I think Davis needed to enact some influence on the team; call it diversifying the playbook, call it a power move, either way, it's being heraled as a great hire.
Hue Jackson, a California born, swagger bringing offensive guru who passed up an interview with the desperate Bears to join our desperate Raiders. Draped in recent success, he might be the spark Al Davis and the team need to get their mojo back. And while Tom Cable's exact job duties are open to interpretation, you can bet he'll be keeping the calm until he's told not to.
And yet even after the hiring of Jackson, there was still lingering pain in the back of my head, that pain was Jamarcus Russell.
By this time, like most fans, I was convinced Russell could not be a winning NFL quarterback, so it made me even more sick to read certain articles and blogs that said Jackson was coming here to help Russell. Seems laughable at this point—in retrospect, it makes more sense; assuming Jackson is a sane individual, he made it clear he would not come here if he had to coach Russell.
So here we are. Jason Campbell is the QB, Hue Jackson is calling the plays, and Tom Cable's doing his thing—but this talk of an open QB competition should end soon. Campbell is the best quarterback on the team and Gradkowski will be a fine backup, unless Kyle Boller, experienced in Jackson's offense, takes the number two spot—and I hope that doesn't offend the Gradkowski cult-following.
Either way, Jason Campbell is the quarterback and the main thing I'm interested to see is how our team looks when we don't go three and out every time. When Russell wasn't in the game, we had a new energy, and Raider fans know what I'm talking about. I'm especially curious to see what kind of year Zach Miller has—remember those touchdown passes Campbell threw against us last year to Fred Davis?
For now, in the dog days of the off-season, the Raiders are working away and not letting anyone see what they're doing or talk to their coaches—basically business as usual. At this point I really don't care, there is no talk that could suffice—though a Hue Jackson interview would be nice.
The Raiders need to win on Sundays to show their fans and haters they're back. This has gone on long enough.
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