When looking around the media these last few weeks, there has been a lot of blaming going on. A lot of what ifs, if onlys, and a share of maybes, that do nobody any good.
If only we pulled JaMarcus Russell. If only we have Gruden back. If only Al Davis fell off the planet. The list goes on.
Some blame it on previous events, such as the constant switching of coaches, for limiting the development of players. How do they want to remedy this situation? Of course! Replace the coaches again!
The history, or at least the ugly part of it has the Raiders struggling through the last six and a half years. The Raiders would put out a good effort that would fall short, win a random game here or there, and get blown out in other games.
Sometimes it was due to the defense falling apart against the run. Sometimes the team would simply give up, leading to ugly scores. Other times, players would be brought in, former Pro-Bowlers, who struggled to regain their form. Other times, those players would only play when they felt like they wanted to, truly ripping off the fans.
But this last season, we had to endure a quarterback who regressed, a former first round pick go down injured in running back Darren McFadden and a joke of a first round pick in Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Tom Cable's own circus with the media, first with the incident at Napa and then ESPN's own slime-a-thon airing, had to be a distraction. Sure he tried to show a solid front, concentrating on the game, but if your former loves for the last 20 years were paraded by the media, do you think you could ignore the world and go about working?
As it was, the Raiders had some games that had the Raider Nation licking their lips, wanting more. A close game against the Chargers, lost due to a prevent defense, gave us hope. A win, when everyone thought we were lost, against the Chiefs gave us what we hoped would be a breakout by Russell.
Then the wheels fell off, with three straight losses, scoring only 16 points total.
Oakland's defense, irked by a comment from a Giants player, would catch the Eagles flat-footed, as Oakland would rout the Eagles 13-9 in Oakland...then the Raiders would get shut out the next week in front of Raider Nation, 38-0 against the Jets.
It now leaves Oakland, at 5-10, facing a good opponent on Sunday; facing the Ravens who want a playoff berth at home.
So, who shoulders the blame for this season going so badly?
Does Davis, with his record of bad picks. He failed to land a good defensive project, instead settling on Darrius Heyward-Bey? For that matter, was it his mistake in signing Cable, when someone else may have been more qualified for the job?
Was it Cable's fault, for opening a can of worms in training camp, knocking a coach out of his chair, then allowing his dirty laundry to be thrown around the league, distracting the team? Did he fail to properly adjust Russell to the league, make poor choices in coaching and poor selections in filling out his coaching roster?
Are the players to blame, for not performing to standards? Russell's own failures are not to be denied, as some like to link him to Ryan Leaf's history of goof ups. Others would blame the likes of McFadden for not becoming the breakaway back we thought he would be.
Or blaming Heyward-Bey, since his own actions took away a major option for passing, for any quarterback. Questions remain; what would the Raiders have looked like, if Chaz Schilens had played more this year, or had Louis Murphy been used as the go-to option, instead of the butterfingered Bey?
What if Robert Gallery hadn't had gotten hurt twice? What if Cornell Green actually blocked on the line, instead of holding people?
Most importantly, even if blame is placed, will it produce what is truly needed for this team: change?
Getting rid of Cable, simply reverts the team back to square one. Someone coming in, would need time to get the team situated to his coaching style. He would want to bring in his own coaches, people he is comfortable with. So again, there is another wasted season of development.
Getting rid of some deadweight players, does stand some scrutiny, as some contracts are laughable. Javon Walker for example, is being paid to be a cheerleader, instead of being on the turf running patterns. Russell, for his draft status still generates money, be it from the bench or being sacked. Some shakeups could happen that would help the team. But for this to happen, a key situation has to be resolved.
That situation is Al Davis....he needs to let this team evolve. He needs to let the players who are no longer functioning go and get the help Cable needs for next year to be better.
Getting rid of Tom Cable....would destroy any progress made. If anything, send him a skilled playcaller to work with him...and help the Raiders move forward into this new decade.