Cable laughs at report of tension with Jackson


Cable laughs at report of tension with Jackson


ALAMEDA -- How fine is that residual line between winning and losing?Well, if the Raiders had somehow held on and pulled out a victory atJacksonville on Sunday, wed be dropping Darren McFaddens name intothe league MVP discussion alongside the likes of Tom Brady, MichaelVick and Philip Rivers. But they didnt, the defense falling flat in surrendering big playsgalore. And while still mathematically alive for their first playoffberth since the 2002 season, the Raiders need help. A lot of it.Dysfunction and chaos reign in Silver and Blackdom when the season islost, and with the third-place Raiders (6-7) staring into the abyss, aYahoo! Sports report, in the wake of Oaklands 38-31 loss to the Jaguars, wastimely. Never mind a home game on the horizon against Denver.It spoke of a tension-filled backdrop to the Raiders modestlybreakthrough season. Of coach Tom Cable being angered by owner AlDavis bringing in Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator. Of Jacksonassociates accusing Cable of trying to undercut the playcaller. OfJackson being so unhappy with the situation that associates have beenpushing him for a number of openings in the pro and college ranks thisseason.When asked if there was any truth to the report in his weekly Monday media conference, Cable grinned.The only truth is that we were just laughing about it upstairs, Cablesaid. Theres absolutely no issue here between Hue and I. We have aprior relationship. Hes doing a marvelous job. Thats stupidity onwhoever wrote it. We had a lot of fun with it upstairs.But of course. What did you expect Cable to do, make like Kevin Baconin Animal House and yell, All is well; remain calm, while beingtrampled by an onrushing mob?Thing is, the report is no mere much-ado-about-nothing. Yet, its notquite where-theres-smoke-theres-fire, either. Its somewhere inbetween.You think Cable was thrilled to have his play-calling duties strippedat the conclusion of last season? You believe he was absolutely excitedto have a new offensive coordinator dropped in his lap? You honestlysuppose Cable was totally comfortable having a member of his staffknown as CIW, Coach in Waiting for short?Yet that was the word at the time of Cablewatch 10, when so many,including yours truly, were sure the coach was headed to the gallows that Cable survived because he acceded to Davis conditions of stayingon but giving up some power to the new guy.CIW, anyone?Jackson, meanwhile, did not arrive as some innocent. Rightly orwrongly, he came aboard with the reputation of being a smiling schemerworking the back channels for a big break. Harsh? Yes. His image insome coaching corners? No doubt.That Jackson and Cable had worked together previously on staffs at CalState Fullerton in 1990 and at Cal in 1996 made for a nice, smiley,feel-good backdrop. But it was Davis who hired Jackson, not Cable.So more than a few eyebrows were raised in recent weeks when Cableseemed to question the pass-happy playcalling in embarrassing losses tothe 49ers, Pittsburgh and Miami.The Raiders are a running team that has to stick to who we are, Cable said more than once.After the defeat in Jacksonville, Cable appeared to throw Jacksoncompletely under the bus. Asked why, with McFadden at his disposal andKyle Boller in at quarterback for an injured Jason Campbell, theRaiders would pass on third-and-three and again on fourth-and-three(neither play call worked), Cable said, I dont know. That is not forme to decide right now.Of course not. If that was not a shot across the bow of the SS Hue, I dont know what is.Which is why Cable praising Jacksons calls a day later seemed a tadforced, because it came as Cable was asked if he had the authority asthe head coach to change Jacksons calls.I dont need to, Cable said. Hes good at what he does. He did ahell of a job yesterday. I got asked about the third-and-three andfourth-and-three calls. They were two great calls. We just didntexecute them.Note that Cable never really answered the question.Cable was then asked if he talks with Jackson during timeouts about the upcoming play.About what our options are, Cable said. I think the role of the headcoach is to make sure youve looked at an A and a B as your choice.(Hue) did a great job, so theres no issue.So when Jackson makes the call from the sidelines, thats the call, no ifs and or butts about it?Absolutely, Cable said.Then surely, if you guys were laughing off this report, Jackson must beconcerned because the griping appears to be coming from his camp, right?He might be, but again, theres nothing to it whatsoever, Cable said.Its a shame that people would say or do something like that.Got it? Good. Then go head, take it all at face value. Just rememberCables flip-flopping on the QB Carousel that threatened whatever teamchemistry and harmony had been built. Even Jackson had a take on itafter the blowout loss to the Steelers.We dont like to play musical chairs at quarterback, Jackson said,but sometimes you do whatever you think you have to do to win.Cable has dramatically changed the culture, with players swearing by him.Jackson has drastically improved the offense, with the team alreadyscoring more points (314) through 13 games than it has in six of itsprevious seven full seasons.The movie on the team charter flight back home Sunday night wasMachete, a slice em up, dice em up tale of an antihero with aproclivity for knives.Could it have been a metaphor for coaches carving each other up behindthe scenes? Depends upon your point of view, and if the team wins orloses.
What's your take? Email Paul and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons

Patriots pummel Pittsburgh, return to Super Bowl to face Falcons


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Tom Brady redemption tour is headed to the Super Bowl.

After beginning the 2016 season suspended for four games for his role in the "Deflategate" scandal, the New England quarterback relentlessly carried the Patriots to an unprecedented ninth appearance in the title game, and his seventh. Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-17 rout of the helpless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New England's seventh consecutive AFC championship game.

The Patriots are early 3-point favorites heading to face Atlanta in two weeks in Houston, seeking their fifth NFL title with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. Belichick's seventh appearance in a Super Bowl will be a record for a head coach.

Brady was banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when New England (16-2) went 3-1 to open the schedule.

Since his return in Week 5, the only defeat came at home to Seattle, and Brady, 39, had one of the best seasons of a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He punctuated that in dreary weather similar to the 2014 conference title game that precipitated the deflated footballs investigation by flattening Pittsburgh's secondary.

Chris Hogan was his main weapon. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.

Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana's playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. Brady also had his 11th 300-yard postseason game, extending his NFL record, completing 32 of 42 throws.

Pittsburgh (13-6) lost star running back Le'Veon Bell late in the first quarter to a groin injury. It didn't seem to matter much in a record 16th conference title match for the Steelers, who made mistakes in every facet of the game. The franchise that has won the most Super Bowls, six, and the most postseason games, 36, never seemed likely to challenge in the misty rain.

Hogan's second touchdown came on a flea-flicker and he easily beat safety Mike Mitchell to the corner of the end zone. At that point, Hogan had seven catches for 117 yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his four-year career.

His first score made it 10-0 and came after Brady could have taken a nap before throwing, a common occurrence against a nonexistent pass rush. Hogan was all alone in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard score.

Pittsburgh had drawn to 10-6 on DeAngelo Williams' 5-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive. Veteran Williams is a nice security blanket in the backfield, though he's no Bell these days.

Still, he contributed on a 70-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter that appeared to be capped by Jesse James' TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn't get into the end zone, Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal.

The Steelers never threatened to get back into it.LeGarrette Blount punctuated the romp with a bruising 18-yard run on which he carried nearly the entire Pittsburgh defense with him. He then scored from the 1.

By the end, the crowd was chanting "Where is Roger?" and celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.


Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal to open the scoring set a franchise record with 27, surpassing Adam Vinatieri's 26. Gostkowski is fourth all-time. He made a 47-yarder in the third quarter, a 26-yarder in the fourth, but he missed an extra point.

Boswell, who set an NFL mark with six field goals in the Steelers' 18-16 win at Kansas City last week, missed an extra point wide left and made a 23-yard kick.


Steelers: Bell's early departure left him with 20 yards on six carries and no receptions.

Patriots: DB Nate Ebner left with a head injury.


After winning the AFC East with the conference's top record, New England defeated the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers to reach the Super Bowl. They will take on Atlanta, which beat Green Bay 44-21 for the NFC crown. Super Bowl 51 will be in Houston on Feb. 5; New England won the 2002 and 2005 Super Bowls after beating Pittsburgh for the AFC championship.

Reports: Former Raiders QB expected to join Cal's coaching staff


Reports: Former Raiders QB expected to join Cal's coaching staff

It looks as though Marques Tuiasosopo is heading back to the Pac-12, again. The former Rose Bowl MVP and Washington quarterback has reportedly been added to the coaching staff at Cal under new head coach Justin Wilcox.

The news was first reported by Bruin Sports Online and later followed up by Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, via Twitter.

Tuiasosopo is no stranger to coaching in the Pac-12. After spending 12 seasons in the NFL, Tuiasosopo returned to his alma mater to take on a role as assistant strength coach for the Washington Huskies in 2009.

After two years in that role, he joined the UCLA coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2011 and took on a role as tight ends coach in 2012 under Jim Mora. The following year, in 2013, Tuiasosopo returned to Washington to be the quarterback coach to work for Steve Sarkisian.