Raider players are buying in but will the front office sell them out?


Tom Cable speaks with a calming, measured, tone in press conferences. When hearing him give such a glaring review of Marquis Cooper, during what must have been such a tough topic to grasp, one begins to understand the affinity that the 2008 Raiders developed for their then interim head coach.

The re-signings of Shane Lechler and Nnamdi Asomugha were the first indications that the “Cable Effect” was in full swing.  

Yesterday proved yet another host of Raiders are drinking the Cable Kool-Aid as reports of Justin Fargas, Robert Gallery and (gasp!) Javon Walker all restructured their contracts to remain in the Silver and Black family.

One could argue that players become willing to restructure when they know it is unlikely that they’ll receive a comparable salary on the open market. In this case I choose to believe that the rumors of Raider turmoil have quelled under the watchful eye of Coach Cable. A healthy environment is slowly growing, providing incentive for players to remain in Oakland.

I am a devout fan and know all too well that things can look sunny in March, yet turn gloomy come October.

The question begs to be asked, and I hate to have to pose it: Will Al Davis remain patient during this process or will his desire to see instant results create more turnover in the near future?

Though I give little credence to the T.O. rumors circulating, I do understand where they stem from. So far, the Mickey Mouse ears that sit atop the heads of the anchors on the Entertainment Sports Network are the main culprits of the “T.O. to Oakland” flames being fanned.

NoTOTo invite Terrell Owens into Tom Cable’s locker room would be a public slap in the face. A roster move as such would undermine all the work he has done to establish a voice in the Raider organization.

While I hate to continue to harp on the T.O. topic, it bears discussion.

Owens is no longer the same player. If he were, Jerry Jones would have sought fare compensation instead of opting for taking the $9 million cap bath. In addition to his diminished skills, Owens brings a media cavalry everywhere he goes that rivals Britney Spears.

While some believe he might be able to calm his egomaniacal nature to help preserve team chemistry, none can argue that players will grow tired of dealing with the press and their incessant questioning.

Football is unlike any other sport in the world. In contrast to baseball and basketball, where Phil Jackson and Joe Torre have a long season to iron out character issues, a 16 game slate is a much smaller window. In the NFL, a rough patch can quickly become a downward spiral, eventually unraveling into an epic meltdown (see Dallas 2008).   

There are more than 50 players on an NFL roster and if the head coach has to spend more time dealing with one player than the rest, chemistry problems are bound to arise.

Thus far, the patient approach that the front office has undertaken in evaluating talent – both on the roster and in free agency – has shown a real departure from mistakes made in the past.

Still, one must wonder what the reaction might be should this team begin the 2009 season slowly. Will Mr. Davis continue to shorten the leash on Coach Cable? Is it possible that the Raider brass might become enamored with a notion that one player could take the team to new heights instantly?

As things stand, most Raider fans will tell you that the new attitude around the franchise has been refreshing. But that attitude means little if the higher-ups suddenly do an about-face and decide that the time is now.

Sometimes it takes the tempering of expectations in order to attain success. This could mean settling for enduring the mistakes made by young players during their growth process over handing out large contracts for malcontent veterans in hopes of garnering wins immediately.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Britney Spears Javon Walker Jerry Jones Joe Torre Justin Fargas Marquis Cooper Nnamdi Asomugha Phil Jackson Robert Gallery Shane Lechler Terrell Owens Tom Cable

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