AFC West: Kevin Gilbride

The Oakland Raiders' coaching situation is heating up.

Tom Cable
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesTom Cable is 9-19 as head coach of the Raiders.
Plenty of potential replacements for Tom Cable have surfaced. But the issue still remains: Cable has not been fired.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Oakland reached out to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. But he declined the overtures. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland owner Al Davis has interviewed potential replacements for Cable. The paper said Jim Fassel and Marc Trestman are candidates and Kevin Gilbride and Winston Moss could be candidates. All four of those names have been connected to Oakland in the past.

On SIRIUS XM’s Mad Dog Radio Wednesday, Fassel said he has not contacted the Raiders.

“No. Because, I mean, Tom Cable’s the coach,” Fassel said.” He is the coach there and that’ll answer part of the question you asked me before. I think if a coach is in place you don’t start calling somebody and seeing if the job is open or not. Tom Cable is the coach. My son happens to be the special teams coordinator for the Raiders and they played very well this year. They set an NFL record, an all-time record, of net punt [yards] and gross punt [yards] this year. So I follow the Raiders pretty closely because my son is coaching there and I coached there at one time. But, no, I’m not lobbying for any job. I’m not lobbying for the Raider job. I have never in my life rooted for a coach to be let go so there’s an opening. I never have. I’m in the same fraternity. I just got my nose to the grindstone. I’m down here in Vegas working on getting situated down here and that’s where I am. Nobody’s reached out to me.”

Schefter is reporting Baltimore quarterback coach Hue Jackson is in Oakland interviewing for the offensive coordinator job. Under this scenario, Cable could remain as the head coach.

Davis is definitely looking ahead to 2010. Still, he has not pulled the plug on Cable -- yet.

But with all of these names surfacing, it leads you to believe that Davis is more interested in moving on than standing pat. Stay tuned.

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In-house fights are fairly common

August, 24, 2009
8/24/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The reported assault case involving Oakland head coach Tom Cable and defensive assistant Randy Hanson is being investigated by Napa, Calif. police and has the NFL's attention.

However, altercations between two people on the same NFL team happen and probably more than the public knows.

I remember several years ago, while I was covering the Vikings (along with NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert) we were waiting to be allowed into Minnesota's locker room after a preseason game at the Metrodome. A huge ruckus was heard and a long delay ensued. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and a little known rookie free agent tussled, knocking over some tables. Guess which player was cut shortly thereafter?

The point it, these things happen. The following is a list of some of the more memorable in-house physical disputes in the NFL. If you can recall any others, fill up the comment section:

Steve Smith attacks Ken Lucas: Smith, the Carolina star receiver, beat up Lucas, a cornerback, at training camp. Smith was suspended for two games by the team. Smith had two previous incidents in his career in which he assaulted a teammate.

Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride: In 1993, Ryan was the defensive coordinator and Gilbride was the offensive coordinator in Houston. Ryan punched Gilbride on the sideline during a national broadcast.

Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis: At Washington's camp in 1997, Westbrook, a receiver, attacked Davis, a running back, and beat him badly.

Kerry Collins and Norberto Davids-Garrido: In 1997, the Carolina teammates got into an argument at a bar during training camp and Davids-Garrido punched Collins.

Kenny Easley and Joe Vitt: Easley, the Seahawks' hard-hitting safety, knocked out the assistant coach with one punch after an argument in the early 1980s.

Shaun Smith and Brady Quinn: Late last season in Cleveland, Smith, a big defensive lineman, slugged Quinn, the quarterback.

Terdell Sands and Shane Lechler: Last season, on a flight home from Denver (after a win), the huge Sands hit Lechler, a punter.

Tom Bresnahan and Nick Nicolau: In 1989, the two Buffalo assistants had a huge brawl while watching game film that is still remembered around the league.

Cable hiring would make sense

January, 28, 2009
1/28/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Michael Smith's report that Al Davis had decided to make interim coach Tom Cable the head coach is no surprise.

 Cable

Who else really was in the mix? All signs have pointed to Cable since he finished the 2008 season 4-8 as the interim replacement to the fired Lane Kiffin.

I reserve the right to analyze this hire until the team makes it official. The team is denying that it is official. The Raiders have shown nothing is official until it's official over the years.

But the idea of Cable getting the job isn't farfetched. It's been expected for weeks.

There were just two other candidates reportedly interviewed, Kevin Gilbride and Winston Moss. But Cable has had all the momentum.

Cable has been part of the interview process and he represented the team at the Senior Bowl last week. He has support of several players and he knows the team well.

At this point, it would be an upset if anyone else is coaching the Raiders in 2009. Still, until the Raiders make it official, it is not official.

Is Cable the guy or not?

January, 26, 2009
1/26/09
2:54
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

When the Kansas City Chiefs finally fired coach Herm Edwards on Friday, ending 26 days limbo, Tom Cable stood alone twisting in the wind.

The Raiders have not hired a head coach after reportedly interviewing three candidates. The candidates interviewed were Cable, the team's interim coach, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and Packers defensive assistant Winston Moss.

It has long been assumed that Cable, who went 4-8 in 2008 after taking over for the fired Lane Kiffin on Sept. 30, will end up getting the job.

He has a good relationship with Raiders owner Al Davis. He really wants the job. He guided Oakland to wins over Houston and Tampa Bay to end the season and several key Oakland players are supporting him.

Plus, Cable has reportedly been sitting in on interviews for assistant coaches, several of whom who have ties to him. And Cable represented the Raiders at the Senior Bowl last week. He has basically been the head coach of the Raiders all month. Yet, he has not been named yet.

Cable has to know something or he would be working toward getting another job. Cable is a respected offensive line coach who is an expert in the zone-blocking scheme. Add his short head coaching tenure and he'd be an attractive candidate for several staffs.

Yet, Cable has stayed away from pursuing other jobs. Again, he must know something. But if he does know something, why doesn't the rest of the football world know?

What's the hold up?

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Two of the reasons why the Arizona Cardinals are headed to the Super Bowl are coach Ken Whisenhunt and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Whisenhunt, in his second season as the Cardinals' coach, has ended the culture of losing in Arizona and he has overseen the implementation of a dynamic offense. Fitzgerald has become perhaps the game's best receiver as the Cardinals have ascended to the top of the NFC.

Both Whisenhunt and Fitzgerald could have been Oakland Raiders.

Whisenhunt was pursued by Raiders owner Al Davis after the Steelers won the Super Bowl three years ago. However, Whisenhunt resisted overtures and stayed in Pittsburgh for one more season before taking the job in Arizona.

In 2004, Oakland had the No. 2 overall pick. It had a need at receiver. The Raiders, though, took tackle Robert Gallery. He is now a guard in Oakland after flaming out at the more pivotal left tackle possession. Gallery is serviceable and he had a solid 2008 season. But he's not a Pro Bowl level player.

Meanwhile, Oakland still has a need at receiver as Fitzgerald prepares to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Oakland, of course, is still looking for a head coach. Since pursuing Whisenhunt, Oakland has had three head coaches, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable.

Cable is a candidate for the current job along with Green Bay assistant Winston Moss and Kevin Gilbride.

Ironically, the Cardinals could be connected to Oakland again. There are strong indications the Raiders could consider interviewing offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He fits the mold Davis craves. He's young, innovative and offensive-minded. Perhaps landing Haley could take away from the sting of the two Cardinals that got away.

Pros and cons of keeping Cable

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
7:54
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Oakland owner Al Davis is still deciding on whether to bring back interim head coach Tom Cable or go with another head coach. (He has also interviewed Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and Green Bay defensive assistant Winston Moss.)

Here is a look at the pros and cons that Davis could be mulling in deciding if he'll bring back Cable.

PROS FOR KEEPING CABLE

He finished hot: The Raiders won their two final games under Cable to finish 5-11. High notes have been rare in Oakland in recent years so this can't be discounted.

The players like him: Several players, including quarterback JaMarcus Russell, have publicly said they want Cable to return. Happy players are always a good thing.

Continuity is needed: The Raiders have been in flux so long. Cable wants to be there and he offers stability that has been missing in recent years in Oakland.

CONS OF KEEPING CABLE

He was 4-8 in Oakland: While Cable ended the season well, his overall 12-game tenure as Lane Kiffin's replacement wasn't stellar. The Raiders were beaten badly often and the team looked lost at times during Cable's regime.

He is not a quarterback guru: The key player in Oakland is Russell. He has been slow to develop in his two NFL seasons. Many believe the Raiders need a quarterback coach to be the head coach. Cable's area of expertise is the offensive line.

New blood could be good: A coach like Gilbride or Moss could give Oakland a fresh perspective as they try to break a 24-72 run over the course of the past six seasons.

AFC West news and notes

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
9:45
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

New Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli met with coach Herm Edwards on Thursday. A decision on Edwards' future is expected soon. If the team is indeed interested in Miami defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, the interest makes sense. Pioli and Pasqualoni have ties dating back several years.

  • Kansas City defensive backs coach David Gibbs is leaving the team to join Houston's staff in a similar role.
  • The Oakland Tribune reports that interim Raiders coach Tom Cable is interviewing potential assistants, which is a strong indication he will be named the permanent coach. Still, the Raiders interviewed Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on Thursday.
  • Don't be surprised if Ed Donatell becomes the secondary coach in Denver. A former NFL defensive coordinator, Donatell was Denver's secondary coach during its Super Bowl run last decade.
  • The word out of Oakland is that quality control coach John Fassel could be the team's new special-teams coach.
  • Former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist interviewed in Atlanta for the Kansas City job before Pioli emerged as a candidate.

AFC West news and notes

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
9:39
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson  

• New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said he will talk to coach Herman Edwards before making a decision on his future.

The two are expected to talk Thursday and Pioli is expected to make up his mind soon. The longer it drags out, the better Edwards chances of staying are.

• The Raiders will talk again with Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on Thursday. He previously had a phone conversation with Raiders owner Al Davis. Gilbride joins interim coach Tom Cable and Green Bay defensive assistant Winston Moss as known candidates for the job. There's been word around the league that Gilbride is Davis' first choice. With him getting a second interview, that could back up that speculation.

• According to sources, the Broncos are poised to hire Mike Priefer as special teams coach. He was with Kansas City. He also interviewed at Green Bay.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The AFC West is changing dramatically.

Comfortable names such as Mike Shanahan and Carl Peterson are memories. New additions to the division are New England hotshots Josh McDaniels and Scott Pioli in Denver and in Kansas City, respectively.

The Broncos and Chiefs have dominated the headlines the past couple of days with high-profile hires. Now it is the Raiders' turn to make some noise. The Broncos are done and the Chiefs may or may not be done depending on if they fire coach Herman Edwards.

With two major hirings complete in the AFC West, all eyes are on Oakland.

There are indications Oakland is moving somewhat on its decision to either retain interim coach Tom Cable or hire someone else. They have already talked to Cable, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and Packers assistant Winston Moss.

There have been indications that Oakland owner Al Davis is making calls examining other coaches.

The team has made some coaching moves, including the firing of receivers coach James Lofton. The team has also sought to talk to Denver passing game coordinator Jeremy Bates.

This is very intriguing. Bates is a highly-respected coach who called plays in Denver last season. He was credited for helping quarterback Jay Cutler become a Pro Bowl player in 2008. He'd surely help Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who will be entering his third NFL season in 2009.

It is likely Bates is being pursued in Oakland as an offensive coordinator candidate. He fits Davis' mold. He is young, bright and aggressive in his offensive scheme. He'd be a great addition in Oakland.

The Broncos wanted to keep him and Cutler wanted him back. But with McDaniels calling the offensive plays, Bates may want to go elsewhere.

AFC West mailbag

January, 10, 2009
1/10/09
12:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Weekend mail call:

Conrad from Parker: Broncos draft needs- I prefer Moreno to Wells, but both are studs. I really think the Broncos need help up the middle. They really need a 4-3 NT since Robertson (stunk). They need a true MLB. They need a ball-hawking FS. They need SOLB depth behind Winborn (I'm expecting Boss to be cut). What are they doing with Woodyard? Barrett looks like the SS of the future. If Bly gets cut, like I think, who's playing CB? Williams? I think the Defense needs the love in this draft.

Bill Williamson: I agree that defense has to be the focus. Linebackers will get the first look. Also a safety like Taylor Mays from USC will also be considered. Even before Mike Shanahan was fired, the plan was to go defense heavy in the draft. That is still the clear choice. Look for Denver to try to add at linebacker, defensive tackle, defensive end and at safety. Yes, it has needs nearly everywhere on defense.


Big J from Sactown: B-dub, is it safe to say that whoever the Chiefs next Gm is, Gunther Cunningham will be gone? I love Gunther, but I can't understand how so much young talent (DJ, Page, Pollard, Dorsey) could underachieve so much. I keep hearing that he has been using Dorsey the wrong way, and the LB's seem to be getting worse. Is Gun being handicapped by Herm's scheme?

BW: Gunther Cunningham is an fixture in Kansas City. If Herman Edwards is kept as coach, Cunningham may stay. The losing wasn't all on Cunningham. The entire program was lacking. He's a fine teacher. But if there is a new coach in Kansas City, there will likely be wholesale changes on the coaching staff.


Bobby: Bill what is your take on the "payton Manning rule" to change overtime since alot of east coast sports people ala Jim Nantz, Phil Simms had a debate about how unfair it was that payton didnt get a chance to play in there overtime loss to the Chargers. I mean come on had my Bolts lost do you think they would have ever talked about how unfair it was that Rivers didnt get a chance to play in OT. The Colts cried when the Patriots were covering there receivers to close thus the next year the rules were changed in there favor when will east coast bias stop.

BW: I don't buy it. If the Colts had won the coin flip and Peyton Manning would have led the Colts to a score on the first drive of overtime it wouldn't have been fair to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, either. But that's just way it is. The rules are the rules.


George from Sacramento: What is the chance Al Davis will be back Tom Cable? After the last 2 wins I think most Raider fans see promise in him. Do You think Davis will as well?

BW: It's starting to look good. The Raiders have interviewed Cable along with Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and it has been reported that Green Bay defensive assistant Winston Moss will interview this weekend. Still, there is a belief around the league Cable will get a long look. He ended the season well and he has the support of key Oakland players. His chances of being retained appear fairly strong.

Oakland coaching search update

January, 9, 2009
1/09/09
2:45
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

There is movement in Oakland's coaching search.

The Raiders are reportedly bringing in Green Bay assistant Winston Moss for an interview this weekend. Moss is a former NFL linebacker who spent time in Oakland.

Moss is considered a long shot because of a lack of experience. The team has also interviewed New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and interim coach Tom Cable.

Many league observers believe Cable will be hired as the full-time coach. He led Oakland to two season-ending victories and he has the support of several Oakland players as well as a good relationship with Oakland owner Al Davis.

Adding fuel to the Cable fire is the team's interest in Ed Donatell as a defensive coordinator to replace Rob Ryan, who reportedly will take the same job in Cleveland. Cable and Donatell have a history together.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Interim Raiders coach Tom Cable has talked to Oakland owner Al Davis about the permanent head coaching job.

This is good progress by the Raiders. Davis needs to make a decision. His only known interview for the job is a short phone interview with Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Cable has long been considered a legitimate candidate.

The fact that he has talked to Davis is a good sign for Cable getting the promotion. Cable led Oakland to victories in its final two games, and he has the support of several key Oakland players, including quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

The Raiders have lost several assistant coaches and whoever the head coach is will need to assemble a staff. So the faster it happens the better.

Elsewhere in the AFC West:

  • Denver cornerback Champ Bailey injured his elbow in the Broncos' disastrous 31-point defeat at San Diego to end the season. Bailey is having surgery and he could be sidelined until June. Bailey is expected to be ready for training camp.
  • The Chiefs signed fullback/tailback Jed Collins. He was with Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland during 2008.
  • The latest weather forecast for Pittsburgh Sunday for the AFC divisional playoff game between the Chargers and the Steelers is for a high of 27 and a chance for snow.

Around the AFC West

January, 5, 2009
1/05/09
4:05
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Denver

The Broncos want more scoring for their yardage buck.

My take: Yes, the Broncos didn't score nearly as many points as they should have considering the yards they ate up. That has been a problem in recent years. That may lend to the theory Denver will hire an offensive-minded coach such as New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The problem is, Denver's defense is even a bigger mess. If McDaniels comes to Denver, he needs to find himself a good defensive coordinator.

Kansas City

One columnist believes the Chiefs' open general manager's job is the best in the NFL.

My take: It is right up with the best. There is plenty of room for growth here and it is a job many personnel folks want. This is a job in which someone can turn into a long-term position in Kansas City. There's plenty to like here, beginning with ownership, fan support and the youth on the team. Meanwhile, it is being reported the Chiefs are eying a front-office type from Tampa Bay.
 

Oakland

The Raiders are downplaying the Kevin Gilbride interview.

My take: This is the time of year to be secretive and the Raiders are kings of secret. Don't expect the Raiders to be forthright about their coaching search until they make an announcement of the hire. That's understandable. There is a lot of jockeying around the league for coaches. If the Raiders want to keep their plans secret that's their business, but don't put too much stock in denials this time of year.

San Diego

The Chargers are preparing to be without LaDainian Tomlinson on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

My take: It will be an upset at this point if Tomlinson can play because of a groin injury. But expect him to try to play on game day, like he did Saturday night against the Colts. If Tomlinson can help the Chargers even on a limited basis, he will be given the chance. But right now that looks like a stretch.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Qualcomm Stadium erupted when running back LaDainian Tomlinson was introduced with the San Diego starting offense. Tomlinson was riding a stationary bike to warm up before the game and he went back to the bike after San Diego's second possession. Tomlinson was a game time decision with a groin injury.

Tomlinson rushed for 13 yards and a first down on the first play and a two-yard run on the second play. He appears to be running with some pain.

The Chargers then went to their other injured star, tight end Antonio Gates, on the third play with a short pass. Like Tomlinson, Gates missed all week of practice. He had an ankle injury.

Chargers fans are in such a good mood that coach Norv Turner was cheered by fans. Turner was not so popular three weeks ago but after the Chargers rebounded from a 4-8 start to a 8-8 finish and AFC West division title, Turner got back in the fans' good graces.

Meanwhile, the NFL coaching carousel continues to turn. Dallas is looking at Denver coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired Tuesday, for a potential job in 2010.

Is it strange? Sure, but it's Jerry Jones. He does things differently. This situation could appeal to Shanahan. Those close to him said he may be leaning toward taking the season off. With a year off and the possibility of taking over the Cowboys in 2010, Shanahan could return refreshed.

Also, it is being reported that Oakland interviewed Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on Saturday. He has been one of the team's top choices. If Gilbride doesn't end up with Oakland, the team could turn to interim coach Tom Cable who was 4-8 in 2008.

Raiders make coaching list

December, 30, 2008
12/30/08
3:36
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Raiders, who in the past have waited until February before hiring a new coach, been have given indications that they will decide much quicker on who will be the team's head coach in 2009.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the team is, indeed, moving along. Among the names the paper is saying will be pursued include Kevin Gilbride -- who ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Monday will be pursued heavily by the team -- Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Raiders scout Paul Hackett. Interim coach Tom Cable is also expected to be considered. This is a very believable list.

They are all offensive-first coaches and that is owner Al Davis' top priority when hiring a coach. His last 11 head coaches were offensive-minded coaches. Plus, developing quarterback JaMarcus Russell will be a major part of the job.

There is a faction around the league that believes Gilbride is Davis' top choice, but if he doesn't show interest, Davis could turn to Cable. The Raiders won their final two games with Cable, who was 4-8 as the Raiders' interim head coach. Several players, including Russell, have endorsed him for the full-time job.

Harbaugh's name has been connected to the job for months. He has a relationship with Davis and he would be a good sell in the Bay Area because of the rebuilding job he has done at Stanford. Hackett is a veteran coach who knows the Raiders' personnel after being with the team for the season.

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