Cable says continuity at the top will help Raiders return to playoffs
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders interim coach Tom Cable lobbied for the full-time job Monday, saying that stability at the head coaching position would help the team make it back to the postseason.
"I don't think there's any question. In order for it to move forward and be a playoff team next year, which I believe it will be, hopefully things will go in the right direction that way," Cable said. "I think it's very important at this point."
Cable is 3-8 since taking over for the fired Lane Kiffin at the end of September, beating Houston 27-16 on Sunday in the home finale. If the Raiders (4-11) finish the season with a win Sunday at Tampa Bay, they would end up with their most wins since going 5-11 under Norv Turner in 2004.
Cable will sit down with owner Al Davis after the season to discuss the coaching situation. Under the terms of the Rooney Rule, the Raiders must conduct a search after the season that includes at least one interview with a minority candidate.
Cable hopes that he has done enough in his short stint to warrant keeping the job.
"I mentioned this when the whole opportunity came. This is a dream come true for me," he said. "I've invested a great deal in these last few weeks. My commitment level doesn't change that way."
If the Raiders do hire a new coach, it would be their sixth coach in seven seasons since going to the Super Bowl in January 2003. Oakland has a 23-72 record since losing that Super Bowl to Tampa Bay, becoming the first team in NFL history to lose at 11 games for six straight seasons.
Cable said that overcoming that culture of losing is an even bigger hurdle than he originally thought, comparing it to the difference of an elephant to a mouse.
"When there becomes a pattern or a culture of failure, it takes a lot to break that down," Cable said. "And certainly it's been that way here. Once you start to break through and you chip away at it, you're still going to have a couple steps back or a setback. But ultimately if you don't give in, the process won't let you down. And yesterday is just a product of the process, really."
The victory over the Texans was perhaps Oakland's most complete in a long time. JaMarcus Russell had his best game as a pro, completing 18 of 25 passes for 236 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Raiders held Houston to just 90 yards rushing and sacked Matt Schaub three times.
They gained a season-high 362 yards and matched a season-low with two penalties. They also returned a punt for a touchdown, their fifth return score in six games, and recovered an onside kick.
But as important as that performance was, Cable said it will be meaningless if the Raiders can't follow it up with another strong performance this week. The Raiders have not won consecutive games all season.
"We need a breakthrough as a team," Cable said. "If you can do it again then I think you can leave the facility going into the spring and the winter then having some confidence, having the right kind of positive feeling. The most important thing to me is we play the game the right way this Sunday in Tampa and if we're good enough to win the game it just makes it that much better. I just don't want to see all the lack of discipline or effort or any of those things that have kind of jumped up and bit us here a few weeks."
Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha underwent tests on his injured neck that forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter, but Cable does not believe the injury is serious. ... LB Ricky Brown (groin) and WR Ronald Curry (toe) are not expected to return this week.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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