So it has been almost 48 hours now since the Raiders fired yet another coach. Things seem to have settled down on the Raider boards and in the media. The expected has happened, the majority of sports writers and talking heads have crucified Al Davis. Lane Kiffin has wisely shut his mouth and is now doing household chores for his wife. And reigning Brickinthebox man of the year Tom Cable now sits on the hot seat as Raiders head coach.
If you have followed the Raiders for any length of time, you knew that Davis was in a no win situation here. Fire Lane and say nothing, and the media simply runs the same rumors that they have for the last year and a half, showing how dysfunctional Al is and praises Lane for lasting so long. Have the press conference and address the rumors that have come out, and Al is a vindictive old man.
Few, if any, writers or talking head will stick up for Davis in any manner. Davis has burned too many bridges in the media community. Davis didn’t help things any by referring to Mort as a professional liar in the press conference. Davis’s bunker mentality has allowed the media to run wild for years with disinformation when it comes to the Raiders. So when Al does emerge from his self imposed exiles to address issues, he ends up painting the reporters as liars and rumor mongers. Its no wonder that the media doesn’t like him.
That said, the media response is often comical. Mort went on Mike and Mike to address the Lane Kiffin firing and tried to strike back at Al. In trying to show that Lane wasn’t his source for his information, Mort claimed that he learned that Cable was the next head coach before the announcement. Congratulations Mort, we all did thanks to Adam Schefter. But that is typical ESPN, if someone else breaks a story, than ESPN just plugs in the standard phrase “ESPN has learned” rather than credit any other organization.
Mort went on to defend Lane in the same bumbling manner. He brought up Lane’s attempt to bring his father Monte as the new Raiders defensive coordinator. Mort questioned why the Raiders wouldn’t want perhaps the best defensive coordinator of the last 10+ years as their new DC. Lets keep it simple; Monte was under contract with the Bucs. Any attempt by any member of the Raiders organization to recruit Monte would be considered tampering. That tampering could result in the Raiders forfeiting draft picks. However Mort is willing to overlook this to defend his source in Lane, and his honor as a media member.
It doesn’t stop there with the media. Normally fair minded outlets like Pat Kirwan decided to blast Al and defend Lane. Dismissing the possibility that Lane did anything wrong in this matter, using the same old rumors and innuendo that have circulated around the Raiders for years and miss citing the letter sent to Lane after the Denver game. Why, because Lane is a family fried who regularly appears on his program.
Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t this has become the story of Al’s later years.
Lane predictably has gone strangely quite now. He rewarded his media outlet of choice, ESPN, with an interview where he squirmed under softball questions and a fluff piece with Sirius NFL radio and his friend Pat Kirwan. After months of leaking information and blatantly calling out the organization in press conferences, Lane decided to choose the high road. You could smell the bullshit through the TV screen and over the radio. Lane publicly undermined the team for months, and now that he was called out he hid behind his boyish smirk.
There is no doubt in my mind that had Al not dressed Lane down in his press conference Lane would have gone forward with his planned press conference Wednesday and put his spin out there on the issues. Al beat him to the punch. Lane didn’t take the high road, he had the rug pulled out from under him by an old man. If Lane ever found himself on the high road he would be telling some balding hunter how he must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Then there is the final dance partner in this strange threesome. Brickinthebox’s 2007 man of the year; Tom Cable. Obviously I have allot of respect for Cable if I have plastered his face on every page of my website. So how will he fair as the interim head coach of the Raiders, well that is anybody’s guess, lets bore you with mine.
Cable is an ex-offensive lineman, and offensive line coach. Sure he has some experience as a head coach at Northwestern Idaho or something like that (no we don’t have a fact checker here) but the history of ex-offensive lineman dealing with Davis is promising. Offensive linemen generally are not ones to seek out attention and praise. It is a product of the position. If you are getting attention, chances are you fucked up. Working the thankless jobs becomes a way of life.
John Madden was an offensive lineman in his playing days, he may have been linebacker coach prior to taking over as the head coach of the Raiders, but doing the thankless jobs prepared him for working in Al’s shadow. Art Shell was a hall of famer, and say what you will about his last year as the Raider’s HC, his 1st tour of Duty was generally successful, even if he never guided the team to a ring. The key is for Cable to surround himself with coaches who can handle the X’s and O’s, and allow him to work with his lineman, and just take care of the head coach responsibilities of oversight, and clock management. Oh, and living in Al’s shadow.
If Cable can translate his ability to get the most out of offensive lineman, into the ability to get the most out of an entire team, the Raiders should be fine for this season. I’m not seeing playoffs, but respectable play. Will this mean he is retained at head coach at the end of the year, I don’t know. But I think it makes the most sense, as it gives the Raiders their best chance of retaining the offensive staff that has been working with JRuss to date. Which, since it makes the most sense, means it is the least likely outcome.
And finally, how has this affected me. Well we broke all of our traffic records here at Brickinthebox over the last 2 days. Which really excited me, who knows, the Raiders plight could lead to this site taking off. Until I took a closer look at the numbers, it seems that 90% of my hits came from people looking for pictures of Tom Cable, and most of them didn’t stick around long enough to get through one of my diatribes. Oh well, I guess it is back to the grind for me.