Monday, Tom Cable addressed reporters after meeting individually with all of his players. With reports of Cable’s days being numbered in Oakland from the famed, ‘rumour monger,’ Adam Schefter,there was a tinge of excitement that often happens in the press room from the anticipation of possible breaking news.
The excitement quickly dissipated when Cable came walking into the room — which quickly told everyone that he isn’t going anywhere…for now.
The Raiders head coach was upbeat and as honest as he could be throughout the 22-plus minutes he took the stage and he got a little teary-eyed when addressing the possibility of not being the coach next season. Whether it was the flash from the cameras or Cable being emotional, the possibility of being fired by his childhood idol couldn’t be a pleasant scenario to consider for him.
Five questions into the press conference, the question of his job status came up. Al Davis has until January 18th to pick up a two-year contract option on Cable. Should Davis decline the option, Cable will be a coaching free agent. For this reason, the coach was asked what happens for him over the next couple of weeks.
“I’m going to rest, you know. I’m going to rest for a few days here, seriously,” said Cable emphatically. “We’ll have a chance to meet sometime in the next two weeks, I’m sure, but nothing’s been set up. There’s nothing like that. Right now, today, it’s not necessary.“
“We’ll do that moving forward,” Cable continued. “I think right now, a chance to reflect by everybody, evaluate the team, evaluate the staff, and do those things. I think those things are most important right now, and we’ll sit down whenever it’s right and necessary and we’ll make those decisions.“
The biggest wrench for Cable’s job security may very well be the status of Jim Harbaugh, who coached Stanford from a 1-11 team into a top-five 12-1 Orange Bowl victor in just four years. Speculation has swirled in recent years that Al Davis, who hired Harbaugh to his first coaching job in 2002, would be very interested in bringing back the former quarterback to lead the Silver and Black.
While that’s only speculation, fuel is being added to the fire with the developments in Denver. The Broncos, who fired their former coach Josh McDaniels, are in the market for a savior to coach their team. John Elway, a former Stanford star, will be announced Wednesday as Denver’s football operations boss, and he was on the sideline in Miami watching Harbaugh’s Cardinal whack the Virginia Tech Hokies 40-12 Monday night.
ESPN camera’s continued to show Elway on Stanford’s sideline alongside other former Cardinal greats — Jim Plunkett included. Again, it’s all speculation, but certainly an important backdrop to consider when analyzing the landscape of coaching changes and considering that Davis was no doubt watching the show.
Cable was asked if he expected to sit down with Davis to discuss the season, and answered, “I have not. I don’t know when.” Most likely, the two will get together prior to the option date on Cable’s contract, but the coach wasn’t letting on about it. Asked if he’d be disappointed to be let go before finishing what he’d started, the coach replied, “Well, it would be [disappointing], but it’s not for today, I can tell you that.“
Should the Raiders not bring Cable back, the venerable offensive line coach will have plenty of organizations knocking on his door to request his services. As an offensive line coach, Cable is considered one of the very best, and after getting the Raiders to 8-8, there will be at least one professional or college team willing to extend him an offer.
When pushed to give reporters his ‘gut feeling’ on his coaching future, Cable responded, “I’m gonna coach.” That answer prompted the follow-up question, “Here?” To which Cable responded, “I hope so. I hope so.“
The highlight of the job-grilling the coach underwent came when he answered to a question asking if he thought it was strange that reports were surfacing about him being let go after the noticeable improvement of the team under him. “I think it’s more the culture of what it’s been like here. It’s been so up and down for a number of years,” responded Cable.
“Am I surprised by it? No,” Cable asked and answered as he continued. “I’d like for it to just go away and have Al and I sit down and discuss it, which we will. I know what we’ve done. I think everybody else who knows football knows what we’ve done. Whoever says it or writes it probably doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing. You can quote that.“
Hello? Adam Schefter? Cable is talking to you.
On the season – “I would say a B-minus. Anything more than that would have mean going to the playoffs. But there was so much accomplished in terms of getting the team together and keeping them together and playing hard really every week, and going out there and doing it the right way for each other and responding to the challenges that we set out for them, the improvements that we made on offense … we still have some inconsistencies, we turned the ball over too much and too many penalties. If you’re looking for something as you move forward into 2011 I think those have to be at the top of the list in terms of getting better.“
On the draft class – “I’d give it an A-plus, just flat-out an A-plus. I think those guys from top to bottom have contributed, and they’ve contributed it the right way. They’re awesome young men that just love to play and they do it right and they work at it every day and it shows up on game day how much they’re contributing and they level they’re contributing.“
On his biggest improvement as a head coach the last two seasons – “In a lot of ways. You can’t do everything. Its not possible so don’t try to. I’m reminding myself all the time about just be who you are. But I think the thing I feel good about is the relationships with the team. Not that I’m their big brother or anything like that because they know I’ll get in their rear ends just as fast as I’ll pat them on the back. Just learning to deal with the whole group and bring it together is where I’ve grown the most. I think this was a heck of a job of coaching football, not just by me but by the entire staff. We’re all part of that.“
On his biggest need for improvement as a head coach – “Really right now I would say probably being a little bit more patient on some issues. Not very good that way. That’s what it is.“
Silver and Black Hue’s
The discussion of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s future came up. There were no questions asked about the speculation that has come up recently about Jackson taking over for Cable, but there were questions pertaining to the first-year offensive coordinator jumping ship to be a head coach elsewhere.
Asked of the possibility that Jackson could get hired by another team as a head coach, Cable answered, “Well, if that happens for him I’m going to be excited for him. That’s what everyone wants to do in this deal. Don’t want to lose him. If he gets the opportunity to do it, I’m supporting him.“
Should Jackson leave for greener pastures, Cable confirmed that he will not go back to being the head coach/offensive coordinator like he did in his rookie season. “No. I like how it works now,” said Cable. “I really do, and I think it would be wise of me, if I can say that now, to kind of keep it in terms of the organization that we have now and hire someone to do those things.“
Much of that has to do with the experience Cable had this season as only a head coach. When asked if having Jackson to take care of the offense and the playcalling duties gave him the opportunity to see the ‘big picture’ clearer, the head coach responded in the affirmative.
“We talked about that a few times,” said Cable of Jackson and himself. “It was a big help. I don’t think think there’s any question. I think it allowed me to touch the entire team and have, I don’t know, deeper, more solid relationships with everyone, rather than just that group I’m so dialed into all the time. I think it helped a great deal.“
A little bit about yesterday, came through the game, as the injuries I talked about as we got into today, relatively non-serious issues through MRIs with a couple of those guys, and it doesn’t seem like anything’s going to derail any of those four people and we should be fine as we head into the offseason. Good win yesterday when you look at the film. Played extremely hard as a football thing, and I think one of things most gratifying was to hear some of their players and coaches after the game talk about the mindset that they went into the game, that they wanted to close it out and stay undefeated at home and all that, and we were just too much for them. That’s a good thing for our team. It was some guys stepping up, Michael Bush stepping up for Darren, and without Richard Seymour and Shaughnessy goes down, you got some play from some guys like Jarvis Moss who went in there and got a sack and hurried the quarterback a couple times. A good job by our football team. It’s good to get the eighth win and to sweep the division, so we’ll have bigger and better goals as we move forward.
– Tom Cable on Monday to start his end of season press conference.
That’s it for now, but keep checking back for more throughout the offseason…
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