Ratto: Cable's future in Oakland doomed all along

January 5, 2011, 4:03 am
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Before you get all carried away with Tom Cables firing as head coach of the Raiders, understand this.He was doomed way before today.
RELATED: Cable out as Raiders head coach
He did the one unforgivable thing in sports, or business. He was thehired dog who tried to bite his owner. He wanted to show Al Davis thathe was capable of independent thought (Bruce Gradkowski) when it wasclear that Al hired him because there is only room for one independentthinker (Al) with one independent thought (Jason Campbell).But beyond that, the idea that the 8-8 Raiders were a dramaticimprovement on the 6-10 Raiders or the 4-12 Raiders is a pretty thinreed upon which to seize. They were 6-0 in a bad division, 2-8 outsideit. They lost to some seriously bad teams. They had neither thepersonnel, the will nor the coaching acumen to be better than 8-8, butthe way they ended up 8-8, plus his occasional bursts of willfulnessre: the quarterback, put Al in a frame of mind to can him well beforeTuesday.
RELATED: Raiders results
Bizarrely, Cable survived punching out a member of his staff, andallegations of spousal abuse. Well, bizarre if you forget that these are the Raiders, where the only two sins are not winning 10 games anddefying the owner on a football matter without winning those 10 games.More than that, Al was done with Cable when he brought in Hue Jacksonto run the offense and made Cable a glorified offensive line coach whohad to deal with a bored media. They were interesting as a study indysfunction; as an average team that couldnt measure up to playoffteams, and got less out of their draft choices than Al intended, theywere just meh, with a capital-M.Indeed, we dont even have the strength to float a JimHarbaugh-to-the-Raiders rumor, because Harbaughs got many bigger fishto fry.No, this was Al finishing the job he meant to do all along. Cable wouldnot have gotten the job under normal circumstances, and he would havehad to be extraordinary to keep it. He wasnt.But it is also a measure of the World of Al that their first non-losingseason since that fateful Super Bowl had no impact upon his decision.He had soured on Cable well before this, and even beating the Chiefs131-10 Sunday would have made no difference.
REWIND: Raiders finish 6-0 in division with win in K.C.
Of course, it is Als fault that Cable got the job to begin with; hecame off as the guy who was in the office when Al finally found theoverhead projector in Laffaire Kiffin. If Cable had been at lunch, itprobably would have been John Marshalls job instead.And it was not a proud tenure, to be sure, which is why Cable couldnever dig his way out of the hole he started in three years ago. He wasa place-holder, and he should have known that before he decided to behis own man with Gradkowski. He wasnt hired because Al valued him. Alvalues no coach, at least none since Tom Flores, and hasnt treated oneas an equal since John Madden.It seemed, almost, like Al hired him so he could say to the world, See? Ill get anyone to replace that weasel Kiffin.In fairness, the players seemed to like Cable, and they didnt overtlyquit on him as they had some of his predecessors. But Cable didnt winany points for being a players coach either. He was Als coach, untilAl decided he wasnt being sufficiently Als coach.Now hes out, and it seems unlikely that there will be another headcoaching job for him in the NFL. He has some skills; he can teachoffensive line play. But he was hired at a time when nobody could havesucceeded in Oakland, and he didnt succeed. And no, 8-8 isntsucceeding.Put simply, Tom Cables attempts to show Al Davis he was worthy of thejob hed been given was a suckers bet all along. Maybe he knew thatand played Gradkowski in an attempt to see if Al valued independentthought. Maybe he decided he could teach Al something. Maybe he knew hewas going to get canned and tried to go down his way.That last one seems least plausible, because Cable often went offscript and then backtracked after a meeting on the second floor.In short, he lived out his lifespan in Oakland, and longer than most.There was nothing special about him, nothing so extraordinary that Alwould have to swallow hard and keep him. He was just a guy who went towork every day and did the best he could the best way he knew how.He just never impressed anyone with his product. And when he tried toescape the Raiders gravitational pull, the owners suite, he forgotwhy hed been hired, and that never goes over well.That last part is a lesson Hue Jackson better know, and that JimHarbaugh is at least aware of, and if neither of them take the job, thenext guy will learn right away. In Oakland, you buy your independencewith wins, lots more than Tom Cable managed. Lots more.What's on your mind? Email Ray and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.