Dec. 13, 2010GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com
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.
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