Tom Cable was the offensive line coach for a bad Raiders team not too long ago.
Cable lead a resurgent group of offensive lineman in 2007 behind three different quarterbacks and came out smelling like roses in the media. Robert Gallery turned into a solid guard and a group of no name lineman played well under Cable's tutelage.
In many ways, Cable's work with the offensive line in 2007 was the only reason the fans even recognized his name when he was hired to replace "Lance" Kiffin.
When JaMarcus Russell took over the starting job full-time, the line took a small step backwards. Of course, this was lost in the fiasco that is and was Lane Kiffin.
Al Davis gave Cable a cup of coffee as head coach at the end of 2008 citing he had earned the respect of the players. Al Davis was no doubt skeptical, announcing the hire as if Cable was only coach until Davis could find someone better.
Al Davis didn't have much choice but to stick with Cable in 2009 after the famous overhead projector firing of Kiffin and six straight losing seasons. Even most college coaches were turning Davis down.
Aided by two wins at the end of 2008 against the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cable retained the job. Of course, Al Davis hand-picked many of the coaches, including Randy Hanson and Paul Hackett.
2009 was a disaster season from the start with Randy Hanson grabbing local and national headlines. It was a five-win season again, but with perhaps some light at the end of the tunnel.
In many ways 2010 has been an offseason with the least amount of off the field drama and the most hope since Jon Gruden was coach.
Raider brought in Jason Campbell, Kamerion Wimbley, had a solid draft and hired offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
Just as quickly as it came it went. Jason Campbell was benched after six quarters and the Raiders sit at 1-2 after a heart-breaking loss to the Cardinals.
Cable Takes a Risk
When benching Jason Campbell, Cable said he didn't consult with Davis and made the decision alone. This was a departure, he benched JaMarcus Russell only after consulting with Davis and Russell had been performing poorly for a year and half, Campbell just six quarters.
Cable did one thing very smart, he got new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson on board. Now Davis can't use the Campbell benching against Cable.
The quarterback switch is Cable playing with fire. He is saved if Gradkowski wins games.
Cable knows he is gone if he can't get this team to .500 or better. He might as well do it his way and keep Davis happy with wins instead of scholarship players.
What is easily deducted from this: The coaching staff truly believes Gradkowski is the quarterback that gives this team the best chance to win.
Best Chance To Win
Campbell's benching is more of a condemnation of the offensive line than Campbell. Campbell's slow delivery and lack of mobility were already well known.
Many have criticized Cable for his verbal protection of the offensive lineman in the media, but even Cable admitted after the draft that Russell Okung and Trent Williams would have been the preferred selection.
The Raiders drafted two offensive lineman in the third and fourth rounds, demonstrating the severe need.
It only took six quarters for Cable to realize his offensive line wasn't capable of blocking and executing the type of offense that could make Jason Campbell a success. Hue Jackson realized it too.
Cooper Carlisle, Langston Walker and Mario Henderson have been abysmal for veteran lineman. The only problem is Cable has no one to turn to for help. Rookie Jared Veldheer still plays too high, Khalif Barnes is just as poor and Bruce Campbell is still very raw.
If Robert Gallery could stay healthy Daniel Loper could remain a starter at right guard, but can Gallery stay healthy? Gallery is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Texans.
The failure of the offensive line is on Cable, fair or not. He knows it, the fans know it, and Al Davis knows it and that is why Gradkowski is the starter.
So next time Cable defends a poor performance from his offensive line, know that he does so tongue-in-cheek.