In the fourth quarter of the Raiders' 38-31 loss last Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Raiders faced a Third and 3 and then Fourth and 3. Kyle Boller was then temporarily under center for the injured Jason Campbell and the Raiders went to the air to try and pick up the crucial first down. He ended up throwing an interception. After the game, Tom Cable was asked about the merit of the play selection in that sequence made by offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. "I don’t know,’’ Cable said. "That’s not for me to decide right now.
It certainly is not a ringing endorsement and it caught the eye of Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole. Cole went on to publish an article holding the premise that the Raiders are collapsing and he cited an internal strife between Hue Jackson and Tom Cable as the impetus of their demise. In the article, Cole states that a source inside the team stated that Cable was unhappy with the decision to bring in Jackson to replace him as the offensive play-caller and since then "people close to Jackson have privately accused Cable of trying to undercut the coordinator." Cole then goes onto say that, "Jackson has been so unhappy with the situation that associates have been pushing him for a number of openings in the pro and college ranks, including for the University of Miami job."
Cole is a reputable reporter. One that Bay Area fans likely know from being the first to report of the 49ers' unhappiness with Jimmy Rae's performance as offensive coordinator. Reports that were denied by head coach Mike Singletary until Raye was fired.
These reports are also being refuted by a head coach. On Monday, when asked about any possible riff between himself and Jackson Cable said,
The only truth is that we were just laughing about it upstairs. There's absolutely no issue here between Hue and I. We have a prior relationship. He's doing a marvelous job. That's stupidity on (the part of) whoever wrote it. We had a lot of fun with it upstairs.
It wasn't likely that Tom Cable was going to come out and say the reports are true. It is also not likely that Cole is going to come out and say he was trying to make something out of nothing. So, we have to turn to our little friend logic to dissect what is really going on and logic tells me Cole is hungry for a good story.
The first assertion Cole makes is that Cable was unhappy with the hiring of Hue Jackson. That could very well be the case. Publicly, Cable has not admitted as much, but he was essentially being asked to step down from a job he likely felt was doomed since it involved working with a quarterback that was higher than Richard Pryor running down the street in flames.
It would be natural for him to harbor some resentment, but then again he must see, and has admitted to seeing, some of the positives of his reduced role. Cable has acknowledged that he had too much on his plate. He is now able to hone in on the bigger picture. While Cable did not select Jackson, he had worked with him before and according to
their former boss, Steve Mariucci, they got along well. If they didn't have a good working relationship it would stand to reason the Jackson would have not canceled his interview
for the Bears
offensive coordinator position before accepting the Raiders offer.
If those reports are true or not, there is no reason that they would have any bearing on Cable undercutting Jackson. What purpose would this serve? Cable needs the Raiders to play well to keep his job. Undercutting your offensive coordinator is not the best strategy to attain success and if that undercutting is working, then that is good coaching. More importantly, there is no evidence to suggest this is the case.
In what way has Cable undercut Jackson? Cable and Jackson have both said that the original idea to bench QB Jason Campbell was Jackson's. It could be that Cable is overruling Jackson on some of his play calls. Although Cable has said that Jackson has the final say and there is nothing to suggest this isn't the case. Look no further than the play calls that started this whole debate.
Then there is the assertion made by Cole that Jackson is so unhappy he is actively pursuing other jobs. This is the most laughable of all. Not because he suggests that Jackson is pursuing other jobs, but because he is attributing it to his unhappiness. Hue Jackson wants to be a head coach. That's what people do when they want something. They go after it. Hue Jackson is certainly not the only offensive coordinator actively pursuing head coaching positions.
Finally, has Cole forgotten this is the Raiders we are talking about? He is not accounting for the Al Davis factor. It was just a few weeks
ago that it was widely reported that it was Al Davis was vetoing his coaches quarterback decision by mandating Jason Campbell be the starter. We are supposed to believe that Tom Cable doesn't have enough pull to name his own starting quarterback, but that he can undercut his offensive coordinator?
If Jackson was that unhappy and felt he was being undercut there is a very good chance that he wouldn't have to be actively pursuing other jobs. He could simply tell Al Davis what was going on and be the Raiders next head coach. Jackson was hired by Davis and there is nothing to suggest that he has fallen out of favor with him. The Raiders offense is performing better than it has in years and it is doing so in the way that Al Davis likes to see his offenses succeed. If Cable was undercutting Jackson he would likely be signing his pink slip in the process. Davis brought in Jackson for a reason and it wasn't for Cable to undercut him.
Jason Cole would have us believe that this recent turn of events is a sign of the Raiders crumbling and their ship sinking from the damage of a mutiny. I am not buying it. In fact the very report that Tom Cable is meddling in the business of those under him seems to be a sign of progress for a franchise that has long been soaked with the stigma of an owner who calls all the shots. Only in the land of the Raiders can progress be measured by the assertions of "colorful" reporting.