Al Davis decided not to pickup Tom Cable’s two-year guaranteed option.
Two years, fully guaranteed. Think about that for one second. It isn’t something to brush past in a rush to retain a coach that the players like.
Tom Cable brought the team from five wins to eight wins. He was given two years and the only improvement was the offense, for which you can give Hue Jackson a lot of the credit.
Tom Cable turned around a locker room. Tom Cable is a pretty good coach. He was well-liked as a blue collar ex-offensive line coach. A hard-working guy and respected by most his players.
This wasn’t your typical Al Davis firing. He didn’t use an overhead projector or try to recoup money paid to Cable. Davis didn’t even string out the process. The team thanked Tom Cable and gave him ample time to find a job.
The reality is that Tom Cable and Al Davis didn’t agree on things. The relationship was only likely to devolve further had Davis kept Cable around. At least Al Davis respected Cable enough to make the decision early.
Should Al Davis have fired Tom Cable? That all depends on perspective and what happens now.
If Al Davis and Tom Cable couldn’t agree on things, it wasn’t likely to be a productive pairing. Sure, the coach would provide stability, but a successful team means the coach and Davis have to get along.
No one is likely to get along with Davis for very long, but Davis is more likely to give a coach slack when they win. Playoffs and a winning record might have gotten Cable a little slack; instead he now has none, due in large part to the contract situation.
It was believed by many that Davis could have not renewed Cable’s contract only to later sign him to a new contract later. That possibility now seems impossible. The early divorce as well as the comments from Cable and the Raiders seems to indicate the Raiders will do as they always do and interview various willing participants.
It looks bad, maybe even feels bad to lose a coach. The players are emotionally attached to Cable, so their responses aren’t surprising.
Davis obviously expected more from his team than they expected from themselves. Davis is not happy with 8-8.
While it would have been nice to keep Cable for consistency and stability, the future depends more on the new coach than what happened in the past.
As has been reported by some, but the Raiders will not confirm, Hue Jackson could be the next coach. It wasn’t hard to see this coming when he was hired last offseason and signed to a two-year deal.
He would provide some consistency to the offense and Al Davis might insist on certain defensive assistants remaining with the team. There would likely be new coaches on the offensive side of the ball. Hue would want to recommend changes to Davis. One big one could be along the offensive line.
Al Davis has links to Jim Harbaugh. He is the hot candidate and Davis might think if he doesn’t get him now, he never will. Harbaugh has coached for Davis before and knows how Davis operates. Harbaugh would certainly know failure in Oakland would still leave him smelling like roses should things go south. Davis will make a play, but there is serious doubt Davis would give him both the control and the money Harbaugh could get elsewhere.
Then again, there is something to be said for not having to move your family. Harbaugh wouldn’t have to move if he took the job in Oakland or San Francisco.
It would be a big splash and instantly restore some of the sentiment lost by releasing Cable. It could happen, even if the chances are remote.
Harbaugh wasn’t attracted to the job last year, but that was when JaMarcus Russell was still on the team and before a stellar 2010 draft class. It was also before Campbell was acquired and Darren McFadden proved to be an elite running back.
He’s not coming back while Davis is around. People in the organization love him. He loves the people in the organization. He would come back given the right set of circumstances, but Al Davis wouldn’t bring him back. If it happens, I’ll eat crow and be so shocked it will taste like Filet Mignon.
Davis will likely interview many NFL assistants, college coaches, and NFL retreads. Doesn’t mean much now, if he can’t get Harbaugh, it’s likely Jackson getting the job.