Ratto: Davis turns Jackson hire into Cable-bashing

January 19, 2011, 1:24 am
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Watch the Raiders press conference in its entirety at 10 p.m. Tuesday on CSNCalifornia.
Ray Ratto

So who got that Raider job anyway?

I mean, one minute, Hue Jackson is looking and sounding like the new head coach in Oakland, and the next, Tom Cable is being hauled out for one more comprehensive kneecapping from Al Davis.

Comprehensive, and maybe even a hair vindictive, too.

Jackson was the story of Davis latest presser, at least early on. The hard-working assistant finally getting his chance, fixing the Oakland offense and producing almost enough points last year to satisfying the owners scoring requirements.

And then it all went off the rails . . . that is, if you thought introducing Hue Jackson was the point of the gathering.

Davis had something to say about why Cable got fired. In fact, he had a lot to say, so much in fact that when Cable was announced as the Seahawks new assistant head coach and offensive line coach, you could only laugh at the surreal juxtaposition of events.

NEWS: Seahawks hire ex-Raiders coach Cable

Then again, thats the real beauty of the Raiders at times like this. They never get the timing right.

If Davis was offended by Cable laying out assistant coach Randy Hansen, he should have fired him 18 months ago. If he was outraged by the accusations of spousal abuse, he should have fired him when he first learned of it. If he was scandalized by Cable bringing women not currently his wife on road trips for night-before-the-game sances, he should have fired him then. If he was satisfied with emasculating him last January by stripping him of play-calling duties, he should have fired him then.

And he should have explained his reasons when he fired Cable 48 hours after the season ended, or had someone who is good at making the Raiders case to the public do it for him.

Oh, and he should have shut up about the imports altogether. That was just gratuitous.

Instead, he shoehorned his expressions of anger over Cable in with Jacksons big day, and as a result made the new coach disappear.

This is what happens when you pop your head out every two years or so -- he hadnt done a presser since the Richard Seymour trade two Septembers ago. You want to cover too much, and something is sacrificed, in this case the coach who is supposed to save your keister.

This is what happens when you dont want to explain yourself. When you do, you have to cover too much ground.

And this is what happens when you keep a coach way past the day when you cant stand him any more. When you do, the reasons why you didnt fire him look worse and worse, and then finally you go over the top.

In short, Al was too late again. He should canned Cable when he first decided he could no longer abide him, for whatever reason happened to set him off.

And he waited too long to explain it, wedging the relevant and the irrelevant in a massive hodgepodge of legal, moral and football issues that well need a team of forensic speech experts to sort out completely.

Ultimately, he kept Cable around because he didnt know Jackson well enough last winter. He kept Cable around because he didnt want to have to pay off Cable and a replacement offensive line coach. And he kept him around until he was sure the season was lost.

In short, Randy Hansen and the spousal abuse issues explained the 120,000 in fines, but not the firing. The firing came, at least in Als mind, when Jackson was hired. The absolute drop-dead firing date was when they blew the Miami game.
REWIND: Napa DA's statement on Cable-Hansen investigation

But the part about the women on the road clearly came the day Cable decided to say, Were not losers any more. Thats when Al decided that no holds would barred in dismembering the former coach.

Its why he brought up the fact that Cable has been a coach on three winning teams in his entire coaching career. Its why he brought up the pregame sleepovers. Al was mad that Cable decided to take his parting shot, so much so that he decided to strike back the most aggressive way he knew how.

The over-the-top way.

Davis had enough good reasons to fire Cable for the past 18 months, but didnt do it for 32 games. He had three weeks to explain it when he did fire him. Instead, he decided to handle the Cable matter on the day that he was introducing his replacement, and he threw in so many extraneous issues that the presser became Al justifying himself . . . strangely while blaming himself for doing a lousy job of background checks on his employees.

At least we think he was blaming himself. He might have just blurted out an answer to silence a noisome questioner.

And then he did another 20 minutes after that on other issues, as he usually does at these events, which reminded everyone yet again of why they were all gathered there in Alameda.

To meet the new coach . . . Old Whatisname . . . the guy who sat next to Al when he was clipping Cable . . . the guy who fixed Jason Campbell . . . yeah, Hue Jackson. Thats the guy.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.