Oakland Raiders: Gruden’s Purge shouldn’t be limited to the roster alone

ALAMEDA, CA - JANUARY 09: Oakland Raiders new head coach Jon Gruden (L) and Raiders owner Mark Davis pose for a photograph during a news conference at Oakland Raiders headquarters on January 9, 2018 in Alameda, California. Jon Gruden has returned to the Oakland Raiders after leaving the team in 2001. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
ALAMEDA, CA - JANUARY 09: Oakland Raiders new head coach Jon Gruden (L) and Raiders owner Mark Davis pose for a photograph during a news conference at Oakland Raiders headquarters on January 9, 2018 in Alameda, California. Jon Gruden has returned to the Oakland Raiders after leaving the team in 2001. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) /

Oakland Raiders HC Jon Gruden isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – but that doesn’t mean another coach shouldn’t be shown the door.

Oh, if only we could all find somebody to love us the way Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis loves Jon Gruden, this world might be a kinder, gentler, happier place.

As Gruden takes a blowtorch and ball-peen hammer to the organization, Davis sits nearby, cartoon hearts and rainbows floating over his head as he dreamily stares at Gruden.

Even more than that, like any good Secret Service agent, Davis will even step into the line of fire when the slings and arrows come flying Gruden’s way, taking shot after shot meant for the $100 million dollar man.

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How many of can say we’ve got somebody like that in our lives?

Davis’ love for Gruden was reaffirmed in a recent interview he gave to ESPN – not that we needed the reiteration, but whatever.

In that wide-ranging interview though, Davis took the blame for just about everything going on in the world today. He took the blame for everything from the poor bathroom facilities at the Coliseum, to climate change, to FedEx losing your package, to the current ragged and bedraggled state of the franchise.

And oh yeah, the team’s 1-8 record and abysmal play this season.

But, he also let everybody know, in no uncertain terms that Jon Gruden is his head coach. Gruden is his guy and he’s going to remain his guy come hell or high water.

"“I understood it was going to be a lot of work, but Jon has a 10-year contract. I know how hard Jon Gruden works. I know how much he wants to win. And how much days like today are killing him. Having Jon Gruden here was the endgame for me. Jon’s going to be the stability here. Jon’s going nowhere. That’s just the way it is.”"

Which is Davis’ way of saying that folks on Twitter can start all the #FireGruden and #DumpChucky hashtags they want, but he’s not listening – and when it comes to Gruden, he’ll never listen. Ever.

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So – with the idea that Gruden is going anywhere no matter how much vitriol and rage the Twitterverse spews out of the way, let’s look at one guy who should absolutely be out the door. Sooner, rather than later.

And that guy, of course, is offensive line coach Tom Cable.

Now, many of us balked the moment Cable was brought on board. Not only for the troubling domestic violence allegations in his past – something Davis himself once claimed to have zero tolerance for – but more so for the fact, that – well, to put it kindly – Cable just doesn’t seem to be a very good coach.

If you need evidence of that, just take a look at his last couple of season as Seattle’s offensive line coach.

The Raiders have the three best interior linemen in all of football in Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson, and Rodney Hudson. Rookie Kolton Miller has flashed some very big upside that could potentially justify Gruden using the fifteenth overall pick on him – eventually. And at right tackle – well – four out of five ain’t bad, right?

Yet, despite having one of the most physically imposing offensive lines in the league – a line that was spoken of as arguably, the best line in all of football just a couple of seasons ago – Oakland’s offensive line is just that – offensive.

Oakland’s offensive line has been more porous than the hull of the Titanic post-iceberg, and has given up 28 total sacks so far this season – an eye-popping 12 in the last two games alone.

Behind this group of matadors posing as an offensive line, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is on pace to be sacked a whopping 50 times this year – which would be the most sacks he’s taken in any season of his career. By far.

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Yes, Oakland’s line has been ravaged by injuries, which doesn’t help. But, as the offensive line coach, it’s Cable’s job to have the next man up ready to roll – because, you know, this is the NFL an injuries are inevitable. It’s a a matter of when, not if.

And yet, despite knowing that injuries happen and having the next man up ready and prepared, Oakland’s line has looked worse than – well, it’s looked so horrible, there may not even be an apt comparison to truly convey just how bad it’s been.

And that falls squarely upon the shoulders of Tom Cable.

As terrible as the team was in 2017, this year’s iteration is arguably even worse. Scoring is way down. The passing game is disjointed. The running game is nearly non-existent – the Raiders had 103 total rushing yards last week against a stout Chargers run defense – which sounds relatively decent. Right?

Not so much when you consider that 42 of those total rushing yards came on Johnny Townsend‘s fake punt.

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Las Vegas Raiders

Oakland’s offensive line can’t open holes for the running backs consistently. They can’t protect Carr, who is literally running for his life on every single play. It’s no wonder he’s so skittish in the pocket — he’s got a 300 pound man in his face all day long.

And if your line can’t open holes for the running game or protect your quarterback in the passing game, what good is your line at all anyway?

We are seeing what played out in Seattle over the last couple of seasons, playing out in Oakland once more. Namely, an atrocious and horribly coached offensive line, putting its quarterback in jeopardy week after week, and not being an asset in the running game, combining to create a perfect storm of offensive ineptitude.

And yes, that is all on Tom Cable’s shoulders. He is the offensive line coach and is charged with making sure all of his offensive linemen – all of them, and not just the starters – are ready to step in and play at a moment’s notice. Because, this is the NFL, and injuries are a part of life.

Cable never should have been hired for a myriad of reasons – the most salient among them being that he’s just not a good coach and his offensive lines tend to suck.

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With so much change and upheaval currently going on within the organization, Gruden should look beyond just the roster to find what’s working and what’s not. And if he looks at things with a fair and clear eye, he can’t escape the conclusion that Oakland’s failure to win in the trenches is one of the biggest contributing factors to them being 1-8 at the moment.

It’s well past time to admit that bringing Cable back on board was a mistake – and to then correct that mistake. And who knows, firing Cable may just earn him a few kudos, some gold stars, and a couple of smiley faces on Twitter.

Time for Gruden to cut the Cable. #FireCable