Coach Tom Cable Says Raiders Will Focus on Fundamentals This Week

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 17, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Safety Michael Huff #24 of the Oakland Raiders intercepts the ball over Sam Hurd #17 of the Dallas Cowboys during the preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

First off, look at Michael Huff just doing a fantastic job playing his zone. Read and react, and you will do well every time, Huff.

So on to the point of the article.

Tom Cable has been very outspoken this weekend after his Oakland Raiders took it hard to the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night. In the process, the Raiders became the only AFC West team to come out with a victory in the first week of preseason action.

Cable spoke again on Sunday to correspondent Jeanette Thompson. Jeanette asked him if he thought the team progress was up to par.

Cable said that they are: “I think the mental sharpness of our football team was good, you know, we only had three fundamental errors in that football game, and that’s a product of that first eight practices we had. We played like a fast football team on all three phases, and I thought that was pretty neat.”

Let’s break down this statement, if I may.

First things first, the coaches have obviously watched the game film already, if not more than once. 

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They feel like there were only three fundamental errors—wow! Now, that doesn’t account for the penalties. Penalties are not fundamental. Fundamental would be things like being on your assignment, getting into the right position on a cut block, or reading the blitz and picking up the right guy to block.

I have to say, judging by the outcome of the game, three sounds about right. It’s obvious that Huff was fundamentally sound on his interception; he was in position, made a great play, and barely touched Sam Hurd.

As for the second part of his statement, they played very fast. I’m talking track-star fast, the way Al Davis likes it. Ricky Brown’s blitz up the middle showcased superior speed. He ran right past the blocker almost untouched.

Darren McFadden was going too fast for their defense also. He averaged 15.75 yards per carry. That is astounding.

Chaz Schilens' adjustment to that ball on the pass interference penalty was very mentally sharp on his part. That ball was severely underthrown, and he made a great adjustment to it in order for the referees to deem it catchable.

A couple of things that were slow, however, were JaMarcus Russell’s first two deep throws. They weren’t thrown at the speeds that the receivers were running. To add to the slow game, the run defense suffered on that second Dallas drive.

But we are talking positives today, people—no negative blabber.

Let’s move on to the rest of Cable’s interview, shall we? Good then.

Jeanette asked him how he would fix the errors on the penalties.

Cables responded, “Cut it up, show it to them, exactly where the leverage is, or where the hand placement is on a receiver, and really teach them where they would have to be so it won’t happen again. So it’s just part of teaching, the process.”

I like the idea of these coaches teaching the process. Previous coaches would have me a bit worried, but these coaches I have faith in. Why shouldn’t I? Look at their résumés; if you haven’t seen them, here's the link.

When asked what he would want to ask from the Raider Nation from a coach's standpoint, Cable said, “I think, um, they got a taste of a team that you know, really was hungry, albeit it was preseason, but what I would ask them is just to get your rear ends in the seats, because this is gonna be a lot of fun.

“You know, I said when I got hired that they’ve been very supportive, very loyal to the Raiders, and I think it was time this team gave them something back too, and I think we’re going to be able to do that. Be very competitive, and ultimately, if we can accomplish that, then it gives us a chance to win games.

“We had a great talk, with Jack Tatum, you know, in the old days when you came to Oakland, you had something coming, so that needs to come back. That’s something, in the last few years, I don’t think we’ve protected our home turf like you need to in this league, so that has to really become our deal, is that we win at home, and the fans are part of it...really the Raiders are Oakland, and Oakland is the Raiders, so really, we all gotta do this together.”

All right coach, we are together. You teach them the fundamentals, and we will teach them how to believe, because through all the down times, they have lacked those fundamentals you speak of—but the true Raiders fans, we have always believed.

Week in and week out we don their jerseys. Week after week we cheered, whether watching on television at a friend’s house or in the stadium hooting and hollering.

It is time for us to come together as a united force. Let’s do this damn thing. United we stand, divided we fall.