Frantz: Al Davis appears stuck with Cable 

Despite reports to the contrary, the process of deciding the fate of Raiders coach Tom Cable has “not reached a conclusion.” Or so we’re told. The season ended on Jan. 3, and today is Jan. 25, which means we’re supposed to believe that Al Davis has spent 22 days, in addition to time spent in the season’s final weeks, evaluating his coach, but that he still can’t decide if Cable is Ca(pa)ble. Right?

Not bloody likely.

Since the season ended, there have been coaching changes in Washington, Buffalo and Seattle, while very difficult decisions to retain coaches were made in Cleveland, Chicago and Tampa Bay among others. Yet in Oakland, this labyrinthine evaluation process continues. And why? Probably because Davis is still trying to convince somebody else — anybody else — that they should be interested in this job. Well, anybody not named Jim Fassel, anyway.

It’s hard to imagine that Davis is truly conflicted on the merits of Cable, considering the coach’s public postseason pronouncement that the Raiders would have been a playoff team were it not for quarterback JaMarcus Russell. It is widely known that Cable started Russell on direct orders from High Command, and that he gambled with his own future when he finally benched the former No. 1 overall pick midway through the season in favor of a journeyman QB.

And now Al Davis, of all people, is going to accept such open defiance by bringing the head coach back for another season?

Not if he had any other options.

Ordinarily, Cable’s bold declaration of a playoff opportunity missed because of the owner’s insistence on justifying his draft pick of a super-sized, yet overmatched QB would be grounds for not only termination, but possibly extermination. Yet here we sit, three weeks after the conclusion of the Raiders’ seventh straight 11-loss season, with Cable still on the payroll? How can that be?

It can be because every upstart coordinator in the NFL and every hotshot college coach has been paying attention to the way things are run in Oakland. Honestly, how does the Raiders’ owner honestly expect Jim Harbaugh or any other bright young coach to even think about working for him after they watched the Lane Kiffin debacle followed by the Cable experiment?

Two years ago, it was widely believed that Davis gave the supremely underqualified, 31-year-old Kiffin the job solely because he was turned down by Kiffin’s then-USC staff mate, Steve Sarkisian. And, of course, because no qualified NFL coach liked the idea of working with Davis’ hand stuck up the back of his shirt.

And how, exactly, does the Raiders’ boss think that mentality has changed in the coaching community after Kiffin was overhead-projected right out of town and replaced by an offensive line coach who was willing to do exactly as he was told, at least until Russell became the 320-pound straw that broke even his back?

If it’s true that Davis has not actually made up his mind on his current coach’s status, it’s pretty safe to assume it’s a problem with his cable. Not Tom, mind you, but his telephone cable. And whether or not any coaches will answer on the other end of it.
 
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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