Jan. 4, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com
His voice still as strong as his personality, Al Davis spoke loud enough for anyone within earshot to notice late Sunday afternoon.The Raiders owner was being escorted to the team bus in the bowels of renovated Arrowhead Stadium and he was lamenting not only running back Darren McFadden not playing in the season finale against the Chiefs, but also rookie lineman Bruce Campbell being inactive. Clearly, it was an indictment against coach Tom Cable and his gameday decisions on which players to dress.As Davis turned a corner, I said hello and asked how he was doing after the Raiders 31-10 blowout victory. He said something to the effect of, not so hot.
REWIND: Raiders end season on winning noteWait, the Raiders had just gone 6-0 in the AFC West and ended a streak of seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses.But 8-8 is a good finish, right? I offered.If thats the world you live in, Davis shot back.No omens or signs were needed after that. Not only was Davis, 81, not thrilled with a .500 finish by Cable, he was angered that the Raiders missed the playoffs for an eighth straight season. The Super Bowl is his birthright, he feels.RELATED: NFL Standings
No marked on-field improvement mattered. Improved chemistry and changing the culture of the locker room meant even less.The Raiders announcing they will not extend the contract of Tom Cable for the position of head coach this evening is a shock in some corners, not a surprise at all in others.It seemingly opens the door for Hue Jackson to assume the reigns, especially since the 49ers earlier in the day requested permission to interview the Raiders first-year offensive coordinator for their vacant head coaching position.
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But Raiders senior executive John Herrera said there was no timetable on hiring Cables replacement.We have not talked to anybody yet, Herrera said. Nothings been done. This was a decision that had to be made first.No one has been contacted. This was the first order of business. It was the right thing to do.Semantics? From the moment Jackson was hired away from Baltimore to be the Raiders play caller last January, many saw him as Oaklands coach-in-waiting. And really, the Raiders would not have had to talk to him about the gig because, well, hes already on their payroll.Ive never discussed anything about the possibility of being head coach with Al Davis, Jackson told CSN Bay Areas Henry Wofford. This is news to me.VIDEO: Henry Wofford's Raiders report
Another name sure to surface is Jim Harbaugh. He has already worked in Oakland, knows the dynamic under Davis and, by all accounts, gets along with the owner.Cable, meanwhile, was 17-27 since replacing Lane Kiffin as interim coach five games into the 2008 season. And while it had been heavily reported that Davis had until Jan. 17 to make a decision on whether to exercise the one-year, 2.5-million option on Cable, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed this evening it was actually for two years. Guaranteed.Could that have factored into Davis relatively quick decision to not pick up the existing option? Then consider this: if neither Cable nor Davis find suitable replacements, the two could then conceivably talk again. Perhaps about a one-year deal.But I digress.In his final Monday press conference of the season, Cable was asked about the reports that had him on his way out of town.I know what weve done, Cable said at the time. I think everybody else who knows football knows what weve done. Whoever says or writes it probably doesnt know what the hell theyre doing. You can quote that.Or just listen to Davis after a purported culture-changing victory.What's your take? Email Paul and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.