Can Tom Cable Clean Up the Mess Al Davis Made?
Seven seasons after making their last Super Bowl appearance, the Oakland Raiders are a totally different franchise and have become one of the worst teams in the NFL. The sad, yet comical thing about the crumbling of the Raiders franchise is that Al Davis has no one to blame but himself. At one point in time, Davis was known around the NFL as having a keen eye for talent. Those days are gone and have since been replaced with big-money draft busts and overpaid, underperforming free agents. Davis’ gaffs also include the hiring of Lane Kiffin, which didn’t last long at all. Shortly into Kiffin’s second year on the job Davis had seen enough and decided to let him go just four games into the season. Tom Cable, who was the offensive line coach, replaced Kiffin as interim head coach for the rest of the season until Davis made it official and announced him as head coach.
Immediately, Cable’s presence was felt and the Raiders started playing organized, disciplined football. He is in a tough position but has made the most of it. The Raiders remain a work-in-progress but hope to be turning the corner after ridding themselves of the cancer that JaMarcus Russell was and trading for Jason Campbell. However, Darren McFadden and others must mature into the kind of players they were projected to be out of college before Oakland can get over the hump. That seems like a lot to ask when there hasn’t been ample evidence from those players thus far in their NFL careers. Unfortunately, winning their division is out of the question. The AFC West remains the domain of the San Diego Chargers, and the Raiders are stuck in a group of three teams fighting for second place, at best. Cable seems like he is the right guy for the job. I am not sure if he is the long-term solution but he has made strides thus far and hopes to continue to do so. Tom Cable joined KNBR in San Francisco to talk about his thoughts on how different this year feels from last training camp, his thoughts on his new quarterback Jason Campbell, and what he would like to see out of the running backs group this season.
His thoughts on how different this year feels from last training camp:
“I think in many ways it is just night and day. It is just a different mentality, a different energy level that is going around this football team and even with the additions to this team and kind of with this coaching staff, it has kind of helped us in the big picture and the draft was good for us. The free agency that we brought in, the trades have all, at least to this point, paid off thus far. We are looking forward to the next few days as we are getting ready for Dallas next week.”
His thoughts on Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson and what he brings to the Oakland Raiders:
“Well, Hue and I have a background together. We were at Cal together in ’96 with Steve Mariucci then we kind of went our separate ways and then there was a chance for him to come back and taking over an offense that obviously wasn’t very good. It had helped me tremendously and has allowed me to coach the team and free up, maybe keep my eyes on the offensive line a little bit more and just overall look after the team like the head coach should.”
His thoughts on his new quarterback Jason Campbell:
“I think a guy that can be consistent. I think that is the first thing that jumps out of your mind. What I like most about him is that he takes care of the football. If you look at his career thus far, all that being in Washington until now, he really did a nice job of not throwing many interceptions and I think if this team just gets where he has been, you know that low number of interceptions and kind of that medium number of touchdowns, we will be one hundred times better. I think the fact that he knows how to take care of the ball, he is good at making decisions, very, very professional, works at it very hard and I think if he will be just who he is, he will be fine.”
Whether saying that the team had a good draft goes beyond just drafting Rolando McClain in the first round:
“It really does. You mentioned linebacker, we drafted two kids. Travis Gaither from Arizona State, and then, obviously, Rolando McClain, in the first round. Both of those guys have already had an impact on this team. So I think it helps us take a position that if we look at we drafted two guys and made some trades for two others, moved Trevor Scott from defensive end to linebacker and I think it has gone from being a weakness on our team to really one of the strengths.”
What he would like to see out of the running backs group this season:
“First and foremost, we want to get back to where we were prior to last year and that is being in a top-ten rushing team. I don’t know anywhere in pro football that you could just do it with one guy, I mean Chris Johnson in Tennessee is probably the only exception to the whole thing, but if you look at every other team there is always a number two. I think we have two 1’s. I don’t think you can even call either of them #2’s. That is a good thing and I think it is something else to be able to hold onto as we go. Their job is to hold onto the football, not put it on the ground and stay consistent and take what the defense gives you in terms of, hitting holes and making plays.”