I like Tom Cable.
I admit it. I like him not just as a guy, but as a coach, and a head coach at that. Some people might not agree, and they might have good cause.
Early on it appeared to me that Cable probably wasn’t going to be the man for the Oakland Raiders' full-time head coaching job, and I said so at the time.
But there are a number of reasons why Cable might be the best fit for Oakland.
I’m not going to list the fact that there will be few applicants for the job. That would be giving the post to Cable by default, and that isn’t what this article is about.
But one reason in Cable's favor is that he's an Al Davis guy, just like John Madden was, and just like Tom Flores was.
This is Al’s team. It always has been and it always will be. While he is alive, nobody but Al is going to get total control of this franchise. But for those smarter and less ego-obsessed coaches, Al is a help, not a hindrance.
Al Davis has forgotten more about football than most of us will ever know. His vast store of knowledge can still be extremely useful to a coach who is willing to work with Al and not just want everything his own way. For a coach who is willing to work with Al, Mr. Davis will move heaven and Earth to get that coach what he needs to win.
Tom Cable is a guy who certainly fits the bill here.
Secondly, he is a team player.
How many people would want to take a job coaching the Oakland Raiders, halfway through the season, with a losing record? The answer is no one at all. Tom Cable took it because Al asked him to, and because the team needed him to.
He had no time to prepare in the preseason for how he wanted the team to play, to do the things that would put his stamp on the job. He was asked to step in, and he did. He didn’t even get a raise.
That takes some guts.
But the biggest reason to like Cable for the head coaching job, to me, is that this is a guy who isn’t afraid to do what is necessary to win. Not only is he prepared to make bold personnel moves such as cutting DeAngelo Hall, but he will take calculated risks to win games.
If you are never prepared to take those risks, and attempt the things that will win the game for you, then you just lose, albeit a little more slowly.
The play of the defense since Hall was cut has been excellent. Yes, the team is weak against the run at times, but you measure a defense by how many points, not yards, it concedes. This defense hasn’t conceded more than 20 points over the last four games. Considering the scoring drought the offense has had, that is a good performance.
As for taking risks to win games, it is easy to point to the fake field goal that cost Oakland the game against Kansas City, but conceding a touchdown on that play was something no one could predict.
With other plays, Cable has been a big winner.
The fake punt against the Jets and the 57-yard field goal in overtime to win the game are two examples. The safe bet would have been to punt, not to ask Seabass to make a career long kick to win the game.
But it paid off.
There was also the halfback pass from Michael Bush to Zach Miller on that third down against Denver, and the lateral from Ronald Curry to Darren McFadden against the Chiefs. Those show imagination, a willingness to do whatever is needed to get the job done, and to take those calculated risks necessary to win.
Tom Cable is working with Davis, with Rob Ryan, and with the players.
So let's give him some weapons on offense, some continuity, and a decent contract, and see where we end up at the end of next season.
We might be in for a pleasant surprise.