After Tom Cable was notified that the Oakland Raiders would not be exercising their option on his contract this offseason, pro bowl punter Shane Lechler was the first, and really only, Raider to sound off on what had happened.
Lechler, along with a number of other Raiders, were vocal before the end of the season that Tom Cable should be kept on as head coach. Lechler even went so far as to say that he just couldn't play for another coach in Oakland after playing for six different coaches in his career in Oakland.
Then, when the Raiders declined to do so, Lechler did what would guarantee most players on the Raiders a one way ticket out of town: he was critical of Al Davis.
When hearing about the news, Lechler said that he was not sure that this was not a "terrible" decision on the part of the Raiders. Lechler also stated that he believed big Raider free agents Michael Bush and Robert Gallery will not want to re-sign with the Raiders this season. Lechler also emphasized the need for continuity and the fact that the players all liked Tom Cable and wanted to play for him.
Not long after Shane Lechler made comments that could easily be construed as insulting the decision making of Al Davis, the Raiders sent their own shot across the bow. On Thursday morning, Pro Football Talk reported that the Oakland Raiders had signed punter Glenn Pakulak. Based on the timing, it is clear that this was a message to Shane Lechler, the question remains: what is the message?
Are the Raiders right for sending a message to Shane Lechler?
The signing could mean one of two things. Either Al Davis has already made up his mind and Shane Lechler is going to be released or traded, or this is just a warning letting Lechler know that he cannot mouth off without repercussions.
I have no basis for this other than gut instinct, but I am worried that it is the former rather than the latter that is true. By firing Cable, Davis made a statement that this is still his team, not the head coach's team. Now, he is again asserting his power and letting people know he is still running the team.
Earlier in the season, when a reporter asked Davis about the fact that the Raiders would not have a first round pick this season, Davis scoffed at the remark and told the reporter he was jumping to conclusions by assuming the Raiders would not jump back into the first round.
Now, while Lechler would not draw a first round pick, he could be part of a package deal that would draw a first round pick. Who else would be in the package? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, Davis has asserted control of the team and will be actively involved with any moves the Raiders make this offseason.