Changes are coming with the Raiders, and Tom Cable could be one of them
Tom Cable was brought in to help turn the Oakland Raiders offensive line into the best in the business, but he has wildly underachieved in year one.
The 2018 NFL regular season is finally coming to a close for the Oakland Raiders. It wasn’t the season everyone had hoped it would be for Jon Gruden’s second stint with the team. The Raiders are a horrendous 4-11 entering week 17. For a team that desperately needs to rebuild, the offseason can’t come any sooner.
There are multiple aspects that the team needs to address. From figuring out where to play in 2019 to deciding on which players or coaches should be retained. It’s a quite long list for the Raiders entering the offseason. With that said, what should the first order of business be for the Oakland Raiders?
Without hesitation, it should be the firing of offensive line coach Tom Cable. Cable inherited one of the best offensive lines he’s ever been around, yet they have regressed once again. In 2017, the unit took some steps back and it was believed they couldn’t get much worse. Well, the season is nearing it’s end and the high priced offensive line looks worse than it did in 2017.
Leading up to 2018, it was the hope that Cable would be able to adhere to their strengths as well as Marshawn Lynch‘s. It only made sense considering Lynch had his best years with Cable coaching the offensive line. That was the belief and main factor to Cable’s hiring. For a good portion of the season, Lynch was running the ball effectively. However, even with some minor successes running the ball they do not exceed the failures of the overall product.
Prior to week 16, Pro Football Focus had the Raiders offensive line graded as the third worst in the NFL this season. That is unacceptable for the fourth highest paid offensive line in 2018. This isn’t 100% solely on Tom Cable because the players like Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson have been subpar. That’s mostly do to injuries, but that goes the same for the other 31 teams. That can’t be a crutch nor an excuse for why Cable can’t get this offensive line consistent. The Raiders invested too much money on that line to have results like this. It’s not just the money, it’s the draft capital they put into the line.
Kolton Miller has flashed, but has been very inconsistent. Brandon Parker looks decent as a run blocker, but horrible in pass protection. The writing was on the wall the very moment Cable was brought in. His history with developing a strong pass protecting offensive line is nonexistent.
Just look at the Seattle Seahawks who are on the verge of a playoff berth. Why is it that once they let Cable go their offensive line starts to look stable in both run and pass? Russell Wilson isn’t scrambling as often as he’s used to. He currently only has 65 rush attempts leading up to week 16. Last season Wilson finished with 95 rush attempts, which speaks volumes as to how atrocious his pass protection was. Tom Cable’s scheme does benefit a running back like Lynch.
It’s why Doug Martin has been serviceable in his Lynch’s absence. However, his scheme doesn’t translate to pass protection. In this era of the NFL, pass protection is significantly more valuable than run blocking is.
The Raiders need to fire Tom Cable. This is not a young coach who still has room for improvement. Cable is who he is and no one should expect anything more from him. He has the fourth highest paid line for 2018, yet somehow Derek Carr‘s average sack time entering week 16 was 3.8 seconds per Josh Dubow Associated Press. That is the fourth quickest among qualifying quarterbacks. In Cable’s defense, he’s only only had one season with this offensive line. It’s not that great of a sample size, so maybe allowing another season with them will be beneficial? I highly doubt it.
This offensive line, aside from the rookie tackles, are seasoned veterans. They get paid the big bucks because they’re talented, yet they’re inconsistent with Cable as their coach. Once again, Cable is not some young coach that will improve. There is no secret talent with him.
He’s not going to suddenly become a great offensive line coach. The Raiders would be better suited to poach someone off another team or wait for other teams to start letting personnel go. An offensive line coach is the most important, if not one of the most important position groups on the team due to the fact of how many players they are responsible for. In this case, developing Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker is crucial. I don’t see Tom Cable being able to turn both of these players into exceptional status, even though both have shown promise in spurts. Even with some positive signs, the best course of action is to go a different direction.
This season and Cable’s previous track record speaks for itself. It comes down to this… be okay with average to subpar or take flyer on a new coach? It should be to take the flyer because this team cannot afford to settle. They need to ensure strong development with the two rookie tackles, so that they’re selection of them in the draft doesn’t turn into a waste.