Is Cable The Right Guy for 2010?
The Raiders sit at 5-10 going into the finale vs. the Ravens. One of the important decisions going into next year is the status of Head Coach Tom Cable. If I was to base my opinion solely on the game vs. the Browns, I would vote for Cable to be demoted to OLine coach. What concerns me is some of Cable quotes after the game more than the actual failures to perform his job.
(1) Playcalling - Facing 1st and goal from the 2 yard line, Cable called 4 consecutive pass plays.
Quote: The decision not to run the ball or have Frye execute a run-pass option to the outside, Cable said the plays were "check with me" or dictated by the look of Cleveland's D.
Reality: You are 2 yards away from cutting the deficit to a TD. You have a RB (Bush) who averages 5.0 yards per carry and weighs 245 lbs and you don't run the ball at least 1 time? Cable as the Head Coach can "dictate" the playcall regardless of what the Cleveland D shows. I don't care if there are 11 defenders stacked in the box. It is totally inexcusable to not allow your RB 1 crack at picking up 2 tough yards.
(2) Personnel Management - RB Michael Bush had 9 carries for 50 yards in the 1st half. In the 2nd half he had 1 carry in the 3rd quarter. Why on earth does Cable have Charlie Frye, who has had only a handful of starts the past 3 years, chucking the ball 45 times?
Quote: Cable thought game circumstances stripped his team of "who we are" in terms of running in the 2nd half.
Reality: The Browns are one of the worst teams in the entire NFL at stopping the run. The score is 17-9 going into the 2nd half. There is ample time to use the run to sustain drives and cut the lead. Why on earth does Cable ice Bush when Bush just came off of a 100+ yard performance vs. the Broncos? 1 carry in the entire 2nd half? This goes against all football common sense.
(3) Leadership - As the 2nd quarter spun out of control with multiple penalty flags, personal fouls, and ejections (Routt, Stewart), where was Cable to reset the team's focus? Cable had numerous options as it unfolded. He could call a time-out and talk to the entire unit. He could yank one of the offending players off the field to cool off. He could get in the face of the officiating crew, bend their ear, and stand up for his team. Instead Cable sat idly on the sideline passively.
(4) Accountability - Either Cable has been watching a different season or has an inflated self worth but his assessment of his of own game management skills need to be checked.
Quote: On what he does exceptionally ... "I think I managed it as well as you can under the circumstances and what goes into the decision making, the opportunities to score points and do things throughout games." Cable said. "Certainly in game management I hear a lot of compliments from others that way, feel like that's a strength and I do that well."
Reality: Cable's playcalling skills has been erratic. His management and useage of personnel (Russell, DHB, Bush) has been questionable. Some will say that his hands were tied by Davis which is partly true. If Cable strongly believed that Russell and DHB needed the hook after the first 5 games or so this season, the burden falls on his shoulders to lobby, advocate, and persuade Davis. The way that he has utilized his best all around RB throughout the season has been nothing short of negligent.
Besides another double digit loss season, another factor in the demotion/termination of Cable is 7 losses of 14 or more points (Den, Hou, NYG, NYJ, Dal, Wash, Clev). 5 of these less than competitive games were by a margin of 20 points or more points.
The proponents for Cable returning as Head Coach in 2010 have a few good points to ponder. In no particular order, these are the considerations;
(1) The players genuinely like and play hard for Cable.
(2) The Raiders had good wins against playoff caliber teams (Philly, Cin, Pitt, Den).
(3) Bad QB play by Russell (and shoved down his throat for 9 games by Davis) killed Cable's chances for success in 2009.
(4) Cable seems to have a good working relationship with owner Al Davis.
(5) The importance of stability at Head Coach.
(6) Limited viable replacements for Cable.
(7) Cable has been thrown into the fire and is steadily learning/growing on the job.
One possible alternative is to keep Cable at Head Coach but find an offensive coordinator such as Marc Trestman to support him in his playcaling duties and be on deck for HC in 2011. In any other organization, this decision would be a no brainer ... Cable would receive his pink slip immediately following the Ravens game. 9-18, .333 winning percentage would normally warrant a dismissal. In an ironic and cruel twist of fate, Russell's poor performance might buy Cable an additional year.