Season on the Brink for Tom Cable, Raiders

Things were supposed to be different. Tom Cable was doing things his way, or at least that was the guise. Sure, Al Davis might dip his fingers into the cookie jar on occasion but for the most part these have been Coach Cable’s Raiders.

Cable was the man initially pitted with making the offensive line respectable. Right about now the O-line is rubbish.

Cable was the one who finally got JaMarcus Russell a seat from the sideline and then wasted no time in doing the same to Jason Campbell. None can argue that handing the job to Bruce Gradkowski has been anything but a success. Unless, of course, you define success by wins.

Cable was also the one who took it upon himself to handle the play calling duties. That didn’t go too well either and now Hue Jackson has come in to reinvent the Oakland offensive attack.

Across the board, the Raiders are an improved bunch this year. Too bad one win against three losses is good for dead last in the AFC West.

With so much at stake, Sebastian Janikowski shanked a kick that would have given Cable hope.

With discipline an issue, Cable got his team to clean up the penalties but saw the ugly face of the run defense rear its nasty mug again as the Texans ran rampant over the Raiders. 

If there is one area in which Cable has failed miserably it is the inability to get this team to put it all together. Some games the offense shows up while the defense and special teams take Sunday afternoon off. Some games the special teams shows up and punches the clock early while the offense and defense hit the snooze.

Two things that are as consistent as Janikowski hitting the liquor store on Friday night are the Raiders being incapable of stopping the run and the offensive line being unable to protect the quarterback.

Cable can’t be held accountable for the personnel. Those decisions are made from the owner on high. However, by sticking with certain players no matter the circumstances you have to wonder if he’s watching the same games as the rest of Raider Nation.

The Mario Henderson experiment should have been over after last season. He rode a string of solid performances at the end of ’08 to an unchallenged position as staring left tackle with no success to speak of. Henderson gets credit for being a hard worker and a standup guy but that means little in a results driven business. The problem for Cable is that his next best option is Jared Veldheer, a rookie making the transition from small college ball to the pros and who was switched to center then back to left tackle again.

The Michael Huff experiment should have ended two years ago. Huff got off to a hot start in ’09 that had this blogger eating his own words. Now, I’m back to make him eat those same words…again. Huff’s athletic ability is great, but this  is football and not a track meet. He can’t tackle in the open field yet he’s tabbed with being the last line of defense. Perhaps he’d be better off as a corner, as Huff did have success as a rookie covering tight ends and slot receivers, but we’ll never know as this insistence to make him a safety continues.

Not all is lost. This is still a very long season. But time is not a luxury Tom Cable has. For Cable the time is now or never.

Up next are the San Diego Chargers who the Raiders haven’t beaten since Rich Gannon bested Drew Brees once upon a time. After that a trip across the Bay Bridge where the worse-off 49ers await followed by a date in Denver. All in all things couldn’t be better for Cable to make a case for his job. Win two of these three against bitter rivals and the tide will have turned. Win just one and it had better be against the Chargers. Lose all three and as sure as there won’t be a home sellout in the East Bay this season there won’t be a Cable guy on the sidelines any longer either.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bruce Gradkowski Drew Brees Hue Jackson JaMarcus Russell Jared Veldheer Jason Campbell Mario Henderson Michael Huff Rich Gannon Sebastian Janikowski Tom Cable

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