Tom Cable faced the local media today, and stated clearly what everyone already knows, that the problem is with the Oakland Raiders. He has backed away from the earlier assessment that the Raiders are a good football team, and updated it to “can be” a good football team. As the losses have piled up, along with the continuing streak of games with under 200 yards offense, the early optimism gives way to a burning pessimism.
Cable continued his string of no comments when it comes to the whole alleged incident with Randy Hanson, except to say that it is hard for him to keep quiet when Hanson is putting his side of the story out for public consumption. He did say that he has faith in the system, and that he knows the truth and doesn’t worry about it.
Cable opened by comparing this stretch to the stretch of games immediately after he took over for Lane Kiffin early last season. He said that the team had to get back to basics. However, it is ominous that with all of Cable’s emphasis on teamwork and playing the game the right way that the team has reverted to where they were when he first took over.
Cable hit the nail on the head when he said, “The problem is not who we’re playing. The problem is us. First you have to accept that, which I think we have. Then you got to come to grips with it and get things straightened out… it has to be about us, we are the issue.”
Indeed, the Raiders are the issue. They are not blocking or tackling well. They are not running the ball, throwing the ball, or catching the ball well. Other than the opening game against the Chargers, the Raiders have not been able to do much of anything well. Even in the Kansas City Chiefs game, which they won, they were not able to move the ball as an offense outside of the one drive.
When questions arise about JaMarcus Russell’s astoundingly inept performance, the answers always shift to the receivers or the blockers. When the questions are about the receivers, the answers involve them not getting opportunities. The key to success or failure of any endeavor is accountability, and there doesn’t seem to be any emanating from the Oakland Raiders organization.
When asked if he would relinquish the playcalling duties, Coach Cable said that the issue was execution, not the plays that were called. However, the play calling has been a key factor, as it has been completely vanilla. Additionally, many of the personnel decisions are questionable.In five games, Darrius Heyward-Bey has caught two balls. Cable even specifically stated that the defense hadn’t taken him away, but DHB has only caught two balls in three games, yet he is continuing to start whilst the leading wide receiver from last year in Johnnie Lee Higgins has been only used as a punt returner. In fact, Todd Watkins is above Higgins on the depth chart. Meanwhile, a former Pro Bowl receiver in Javon Walker has been getting the dog-house treatment, having only been active in one game.
The 2009 Raiders seem hell bent on establishing a whole new level of offensive ineptitude. The Raiders average of 191 ypg is a full 50 yards less than the Browns average of 248. They are number 31 in total scoring with the Rams trailing them. Only the Colts and Texans have played as many games as the Raiders and have less rushing yards. The Raiders 543 yards passing is absolutely last, including teams with less games played.
Someone on this team has to step up and be the leader. It is their own inability to get out of their own way that have been killing them.