On Tuesday afternoon, the rampant speculation about the future of Tom Cable came to an end. The Raiders announced that they would not pick up the option on his contract for 2011. Cable led the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2010, the first time that the team hadn’t recorded double-digit losses since 2002. Seriously, you have to go back to a team led by Rich Gannon, Charlie Garner and Jerry Rice to find a time when the black hole didn’t have multiple meanings.
The Raiders finished with a strong effort against the Chiefs on the road to sweep the division. The running game once again dominated, this time with Michael Bush as the featured back, and the defense swarmed around Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel.
I’m left puzzled by the move on the surface given Cable’s inexpensive deal, the Raiders’ progress overall in the past two seasons and the pending lockout. I know it was uneven and depressing at times, even during this two-year run, but even the most pessimistic Oakland fan has to feel like things were at least moving the right direction. The biggest criticism that can be made concerns the quarterback position, where Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski were bounced back and forth prior to Gradkowski’s season-ending injury.
The next Oakland coach will be the sixth in 10 seasons. Cable’s run was the longest since Jon Gruden’s four-year tenure prior to leaving for Tampa Bay. The lack of organizational stability certainly makes it a difficult sell to the bevy of big names waiting to dive back into the coaching carousel or those looking to make a leap from college.
Now comes the hard part … trying to figure out precisely what the move means. With Al Davis, one never can tell.
– Does Jim Harbaugh make his next appearance at a podium in the silver and black? Will he roll over to San Francisco or move to Carolina?
– Can Jon Gruden be lured back from the Monday Night Football booth and bowl assignments?
– Is offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who was given permission to speak to the 49ers, a candidate?
New candidates will most certainly emerge in the next 24-48 hours, and we’ll discuss the latest on this and all NFL topics on the Fantasy 15 podcast tomorrow and on the 3-hour FOX Fantasy Freaks (the mix of pop culture, sports and fantasy chatter) show on Sunday morning.