Oakland Raiders: Sometimes Divisional Dominance Just Isn't Enough
The Raiders hold a perfect 5-0 record against their divisional rivals out-scoring them 184 to 97 and are looking to make it a perfect 6-0 with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17.
And as I'm sure you know, the Raiders are no longer playing for a spot in the playoffs, while the Chiefs are.
For both teams, this game means almost nothing. The Raiders are playing for bragging rights and the Chiefs may or may not be playing to hold onto the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
Strangely, even if the Raiders sweep the division, they will not make the playoffs. Hell, if the Chargers beat the Broncos next week, the Raiders can sweep the division placing third in a four team division.
I'm not sure if that has ever happened in the history of the NFL.
In order to discover what went wrong, look no further than the Raiders non divisional opponents. The Raiders went 2-8 against teams outside of the AFC West. Out of those eight teams that the Raiders lost to, only three have a winning record.
The Raiders suffered losses to teams they should have beat, like the 5-10 San Francisco 49ers, the 5-10 Arizona Cardinals, the 5-10 Houston Texans and the 6-9 Tennessee Titans.
Were the Raiders simply not prepared for for these teams? Did they overemphasize preparation for division rivals, while neglecting preparation for other teams? Or did they simply just play down to the ability of lesser teams?
Who do you blame for the Raiders going 2-8 outside the divison
Assuming the Raiders simply weren't prepared or played down to inferior opponents, who is to blame? Do you blame the head coach for not motivating his team to win week in and week out?
Or do you blame the coordinators, Hue Jackson and John Marshall, for not properly preparing their respective units each week?
Or do you blame the players for not executing on a consistent basis?
Legitimate arguments can be made for all of the above, but I personally believe that the bulk of the blame has to fall on Tom Cable.
In most cases, head coaches either specialize in offense or defense and spend extra time coaching in their area of expertise.
For example, Norv Turner is a former offensive coordinator, so naturally he spends extra time with the offense—and it shows, with one of the top ranked offenses in the NFL.
Rex Ryan is a former defensive end, defensive line coach and defensive coordinator. He spends extra with his defense and it shows, as the Jets have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Then you have Tom Cable. He is a former offensive linemen and former offensive line "guru." So naturally, you would expect him to spend extra time with the o-line. And like Norv Turner has a top tier offense and Rex Ryan has a top tier defense, you would expect Cable to have a top tier o-line.
That is not the case, at all.
Actually, Tom Cable's area of expertise, the o-line, is the team's Achilles heel. If Tom Cable cannot improve the o-line, what is the point of having him? He knows little to nothing about offensive game-planning and is by no means an X and O head coach.
But it's not Tom Cable's fault; he is just unqualified.
It is inherent that NFL head coaches have experience as either an offensive or defensive coordinator.
Look at the San Francisco 49ers: Mike Singletary had no experience as a coordinator of any kind, but was a great motivator. Look at how far that took the 49ers; Singletary is no longer even coaching across the bay.
Many fans have argued that Tom Cable has another area of expertise and brings much more to this team. Allegedly, Tom Cable is a great motivator of men, the team is behind him and believe it or not, some fans have even called him the heart and soul of this team.
Sadly though, it is not the coaches job to be the player's friend. In Dallas, the players were behind Wade Phillips and had his back until the end; despite Wade Phillips relationship with his players, the team was better off without him.
As for his motivational skills, many fans including myself question them. If he truly is a great motivator, then he damn sure isn't a consistent one.
Where was the motivation to open the season against the Titans, or Week 2 when we came out flat and barely pulled a win against the Rams? What about against Arizona, Houston, San Francisco or Pittsburgh—we didn't look motivated in any of those games.
Bottom line is Tom Cable needs to go. The team has reached their peak under Tom Cable and it is time to move on.
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