This year has been the best year to be a Raider fan in a long, long time. As happy as I (and the rest of the nation) is that our much-awaited Raider Renaissance has begun, we have to begin to examine what has brought us to this point and where we need to go in the future to make this current very good team into a dynastic team.
The Renaissance began with the hiring of Tom Cable as our head coach. After a string of uninspiring, unmotivated coaching hires, Mr. Davis finally struck gold when he hired the hardworking, player's coach in Cable. Under his tutelage, we saw a Raider team that played inspired football for the first time since Chucky left. Despite subpar rosters (I'm still trying to block the image of Justin Fargas plowing into the back of his own linemen out of my memory), Cable willed the Raiders into improving each of his years at the helm, culminating of course in the 8-8 season last year that showed the Nation that good times were coming.
Unfortunately, we have (predictably) regressed as a team since letting Cable go, despite what our record may be. If Cable was our coach, we would be at least 8-2 at this point if not better. The (for all intents and purposes) firing of Cable caused us to suffer damaging losses in free agency, most notably of course our defensive cornerstone in Asomugha. Had Cable been retained as coach, Nnamdi would have stayed. This alone would have been the difference in losses to the Bills and Patriots as far as I am concerned. Furthermore, with Nnamdi in tow, we would have a top 10 defense despite the incompetence of our defensive uncoordinator Chuck Bresnahan.
If Cable was our coach, he would have done a MUCH better job handling the quarterback situation following the catastrophic injury of Jason Campbell. Bearing in mind the fact that Hue would still be calling plays even if Cable was the coach, as was the case last year, the handling of the quarterback position is the direct cause of our two other losses this year. Had Cable stayed as coach, we would have also retained the services of Bruce Gradkowski, who would have been able to more than competently fill the two-game bridge CP3 needed to get fully ready to play. With Grad at QB, we would have won the KC and Denver games. Also, when Cable was our coach we did a MUCH better job of handling our running backs. McFadden got run into the ground too early in the season, which would not have happened had Cable been at the helm. Hue's brilliance as an offensive coach would have been able to fully flourish if he was still dedicated to being a full-time offensive coordinator.
Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic to see us where we are right now. The best is yet to come for this team and we are as good as, if not better than, any team in the AFC on any given Sunday (at least for the first half). We would just be so much better, far and away the best team in the AFC, if Tom Cable was still our coach.