I’ve made a habit out of bashing Al Davis and the Raiders, and it all pretty much sounds the same at this point, so allow me to preface this short and sour diatribe with the same prologue I used when I went on an anti-Davis rant nearly a year ago:
Listen, I respect the hell out of Al Davis. The guy’s a pioneer of the football world and there’s little doubt the NFL wouldn’t be where it is today without his contributions to the game. But enough is enough. The way he’s running the Oakland Raiders is downright embarrassing for all involved.
Okay, Davis’ problem at that point was that he was taking too much time to decide the fate of his head coach, Tom Cable. Two weeks had gone by since the end of the regular season and Davis still hadn’t informed Cable whether or not he’d be back. It was in fact a small upset when it was revealed that Cable would be kept on board for the final year of his contract, but by then it would have been too late to hire a new head coach anyway.
At that point, the Raiders were coming off a 5-11 season and things looked bleak. They had scored an AFC-low 197 points in ’09, 48 fewer than the Cleveland Browns. And recent high draft picks JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and Darrius Heyward-Bey all appeared to be busts.
But things changed in 2010. McFadden broke out, an offence that managed just 17 touchdowns in ’09 scored 37, Cable refrained from punching his assistants and the Raiders won eight games for the first time since 2002.
But that wasn’t good enough for Davis, who either felt his team hadn’t made significant enough improvements or just decided, for whatever reason, that he no longer wanted Cable to be his head coach. Knowing Davis, we’ll probably never get an authentic answer as to why he cut Cable loose.
At least Davis didn’t let Cable twist in the wind this time around. The irony, though, is that in an offseason likely to be held up by a work stoppage and with in-house candidate Hue Jackson projected to replace Cable, this was an instance in which Davis had no reason to rush his decision.
While I don’t think Cable is necessarily a great coach, the team made drastic improvements under his direction. And even if his replacement is more than capable of keeping the Raiders on that track, trying to fix something that ain’t broke is a dangerous practice in a business like this one.
I guess the premise here is that Davis has by all indications lost his mind. A guy who most of us wouldn’t trust to operate our household electrical appliances is running a $750 million sports franchise. It’s scary and it’s dangerous.