Tom Cable was indeed let go as head coach of the Raiders, just days after finishing the season at 8-8. It looks more and more like offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will take his place. We'll get back to Hue in a minute.
First, let's hear from punter Shane Lechler(notes), who has been with the Raiders for 11 years and made the Pro Bowl in six of them. He talked to Kate Longworth of CSN Bay Area on Tuesday, and he's not happy with recent developments.
"I just looked at my wife and said, 'I can't go through another head coach.' This will be six now in 12 years, and it's not fun. [...] I think this is going to be a huge setback for us, to tell you the truth.
"Tom was good at how he handled the whole 'dealing with Al' and all that situation. He was one of the better coaches I had at handling that part of it, and not letting that part of it bother the football team.
"I seriously have a hard time believing that we're not going to now lose some very key free agent guys. I think now you'll probably see people like Robert Gallery(notes) go on to another team. Probably Michael Bush(notes). Probably a handful of guys that we really, really need back here.
"I'm not so sure -- and I don't mind saying it, I've been here long enough -- I'm not so sure this wasn't a terrible decision."
If you wanted to, I guess you could discard Lechler's opinion because he's a punter. But again, he's been with the Raiders for 11 years, and has witnessed the carnage that comes with an endless parade of hapless head coaches. No one's going to have a better perspective on the last decade of Raider history than Lechler.
Here are his thoughts on potential new guy, Hue Jackson:
"Whether he can call plays and pull off the whole head coaching deal, and deal with Al Davis on the side, I don't know."
That's twice in the same interview that Lechler's mentioned "dealing with Al Davis" as something a Raiders head coach has to do in order to keep Davis from "bothering the football team."
[See also: 49ers closing in on Jim Harbaugh]
What an odd little situation that exists in Oakland. It looks more and more like this was all about Hue Jackson. Al Davis must have felt like Jackson was more instrumental in the team's improvement than was Tom Cable, and if he didn't promote Jackson to head coach, he would have lost him. And for all I know, he's right on both counts.
[Rewind video: Jets coach trips Dolphins player during game]
It's still a huge, huge risk. There was someone in place who could, as Shane Lechler put it, "deal with Al," and at the same time get the team back to playing respectable football. That stability is gone, and stability seems like the one thing the Raiders need more than anything else. On the sidelines now is a guy who has never been a head coach, let alone a head coach that also has to "deal with Al."
Gracias, Pro Football Talk.
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