- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Al Davis made it very clear this afternoon: Tom Cable has to win. If Cable wins, he could stay on as the Raiders head coach in 2009. Until then, Cable is the Raiders' interim head coach.
But he has a chance. Davis's decision to hire Cable is interesting. Initially, the speculation on the eventual replacement for Lane Kiffin, who was fired this morning, surrounded around receivers coach James Lofton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. But it was Cable, the team's offensive line coach, who emerged. Davis said Cable dominates his unit and he thinks Cable can dominate the entire Oakland locker room.
Cable is known as one the better offensive line coaches in the league. He turned around the fortunes of Oakland's offensive line using the zone-blocking scheme that he was taught by Alex Gibbs who perfected the scheme in Denver.
Cable, 43, is known as a very businesslike coach, who can be tough on his players. He does have head coaching experience, but it wasn't successful. Cable, who played with former St. Louis coach Scott Linehan for current Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson at Idaho, had an 11-35 record at his alma mater.
Cable said offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will call the plays and Cable will still coach the offensive line. The key for Cable is to make sure young offensive talents JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden continue to develop.
It makes sense that Davis went to the offensive side of the ball. Russell and McFadden represent Oakland's greatest chance for a turnaround.
If Oakland's offense comes alive with the youngsters and the defense learns to put away games in the fourth quarter, perhaps Cable will stick around. If not there will be another coaching search in Oakland next January, where names such as San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike Martz could emerge. Until then, Cable has his chance.
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