Maybe he’s not John Madden. Maybe he’ll never collect hardware like Tom Flores. But Tom Cable is the best fit possible for these Oakland Raiders. No other coach could have stepped into the job amid the turmoil Cable inherited and been able to win the respect of the locker room while also keeping management happy.
You read right. I said no other coach. Not Bill Belichick, he would have told Al Davis he’d never play JaMarcus Russell and been fired on the spot. No other coach could have possibly handled all that comes with coaching under Davis better than Cable.
When the interim tag was removed many were quick to label Cable another company man. Well, tell that to his benching of Jason Campbell. Many thought Cable was just another puppet. I don’t know too many puppets that can convince their stubborn owner to cut ties with a man they’ve committed more than $30-million to.
Simply put, Tom Cable has the perfect balance necessary to manage the Raiders in their current state. He keeps things simple by playing physical football. He’s honest with his players. He’s a blue-collar coach in a blue-collar town. He’s the right fit and he must remain in Oakland in order for this franchise to progress.
Now down the road it may come time for a change. But let that change come because Cable has raised expectations to a height not even he can reach. Call it the Tony Dungy Effect. Dungy made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers title contenders but couldn’t get them to the big game. So, he went out and Jon Gruden came in to finish the job.
For now, 8 wins is more than enough to keep Raider Nation happy and should be enough to keep Cable employed. Nobody is expecting a Super Bowl in the next year or two. But if things go according to plan, four or five years down the line 8 wins won’t be nearly enough.
But let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. In the present, we don’t need a hot coordinator like Hue Jackson to take the reigns. He might be a great head coach one day but he’s still got to learn on the job. And what he’ll learn as head coach of the Raiders is that no matter how much Al Davis loves you, it only takes one mistake to get access to his dog house.
Cable knows this already. He knows it all too well. In fact, Cable has darn near mastered the ability to keep Davis happy while simultaneously pissing him off at the same time. It’s an art. An art that takes years to perfect. Cable has a few years under his belt and he’s going to need a few more if this franchise wants to seriously Re-Commit to Excellence.
All in all, Cable might not be the best coach but he’s definitely the best coach for this job. Keeping Cable is a must. Anything else will be nothing more than another setback just as the road to recovery is becoming a little smoother.