Should Tom Cable's contract be renewed or should Davis head in a different direction?
There are many out there who believe Cable should be retained because the Raiders have had their best season since 2002 and are improving.
For argument's sake, I'll go against those thoughts and state my case as to why Cable should be let go after the final game of the season.
When all is said and done, the Raiders will finish with a 7-9 or 8-8 record. While it is the best record the Raiders have had in eight years, it is still average and not good enough to reach the playoffs.
Cable has been on the record saying that the Raiders were an average quarterback away from being a playoff team.
Jason Campbell was average the whole season as he tried to adjust to a new offensive system, young receivers and poor pass protection.
As a matter of fact, Campbell has turned in the best season for a quarterback in a Raiders uniform since Rich Gannon in 2002.
No other quarterback has more wins as a starter or a better quarterback rating than Campbell since Gannon led the Raiders to a Super Bowl.
Cable's impatience with Campbell and comfort with Bruce Gradkowski may have slowed the Raiders' offensive progression down with the indecision at quarterback.
The offensive line was also a major problem for the Raiders in the pass game. Cable was very confident in his abilities to coach the offensive line and the players he had.
Fans saw that Campbell was often hurried and never really had time to establish himself in the pocket.
The Raiders offense sends a lot of their receivers deep on pass plays. That is the Al Davis way, but if the offensive line doesn't block or give the quarterback enough time, the receivers will never get the ball.
There is a reason Zach Miller, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush get as many receptions or more than the receivers do.
Most of their catches are quick dump-offs because the offensive line hasn't given their receivers or quarterback enough time to finish the route and get the pass off.
The Raiders also faced the same inconsistency that they faced last year, and because of that they are not a playoff team.
The Raiders will finish their division play with at least a 5-1 record and could go 6-0, but their inability to win games outside of their division is what hurt them.
If you look at the Raiders' eight losses this season, four of them have come when Bruce Gradkowski started. Three of those four came against teams with a losing record. It's no secret that Gradkowski is a Tom Cable guy.
Other issues that the Raiders have had this year are penalties and rush defense. These are the same problems that have plagued the Raiders for several years.
Cable has stated every offseason that his team's goals were the playoffs and stopping the run. The Raiders have failed to meet those goals the last two years.
Whether it is fair or not, the coach is the one that should take all of the responsibility for his team's actions.
The Raiders have a "Commitment to Excellence" and Cable's Raiders have been anything but that. Keeping Cable around would be rewarding a coach for mediocrity and being average at best.
Cable keeps saying that this team is "close" to getting to where they need to be. "Close" doesn't cut it in the NFL. Not when you have a league that has the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Jets, Colts and Chiefs.
Close keeps your team at home during the playoffs and your fans heartbroken when the season ends. Close doesn't sell out games.
Despite their best record since 2002, the Raiders underachieved this year. They should have been a 10-win team this season. There are no excuses for Cable or the Raiders.
This season will be remembered as the season that made the Raiders matter again, but it will also be a season of missed opportunities.
Letting Cable go would send a message to the players and the fans. Al Davis will not settle for "Close" or average, he wants excellence and will not rest until he finds it.
Many fans worry about continuity and the Raiders having to start over if Cable is let go. Odds are if Cable is let go, Hue Jackson will be the likely replacement.
If Jackson is the replacement, nothing would change other than the offensive line play. Cable doesn't call the offense or defense.
The schemes and attitude would stay the same, but the leadership would change and that is what this team needs more than anything to get over the hump.
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