There’s a new offensive line coach in Oakland. Well, new this time around. Cable has been here before. First as offensive line coach, then as head coach. Now after seven years in Seattle, including two trips to the Super Bowl, the Cable’s back on in Oakland.
In 2016, the Raiders offensive line broke out. The progression started with Rodney Hudson in 2015 and was taken to an elite level with the addition of Kelechi Osemele, giving the Raiders one of the best lines in football.
Mike Tice was given a great deal of credit for the play of the line, which featured a Pro Bowl trio in Hudson, Osemele, and Donald Penn along with outstanding former third round pick right guard Gabe Jackson. But even with those four in house, they faltered last season. A change was needed. So, in came Jon Gruden along with Cable. And thus far, the All Pro of the bunch is loving it.
“With Cable it’s definitely one of those things where it’s a challenge and a strain mentally, he kinda want to try and ‘dick with you’ as he would say,” Osemele added. “Like kind of mess with you a little bit. Kind of see if he can catch you with some trick questions and stuff like that to make sure you’re actually studying and stuff like that. With Tice it was just kind of, you know, straightforward, coaching guys. Maybe a little bit of babying here and there, but… just like tough coaching from Cable.”
Osemele didn’t elaborate on how Tice was babying guys, but it’s clear his approach was one that he didn’t think challenged him or his line mates near enough. The word ‘tough’ was used quite a few times to describe Cable.
“Usually the tough coaches, they help develop tough lines,” said Gruden. “The thing I love about Cable is he’s a great teacher. He can go down and sit in an offensive line meeting for thirty minutes and he can coach about three days of information. He’s always ready, he’s sharp, and he’s a good teacher, he’s into it every day and he’s a tough guy. We like him.”
You may not think veterans like Osemele and the others need to be pushed, but they do. Just like any other players at any other position, you have to push the right buttons to get the most out of them. Gruden is known for his ability to do that, so it’s no wonder that’s a quality he seeks out in his coaches.
“He’s just good at knowing different people,” Osemele added, “like their personalities and how to get to them, like if a guy has a big ego, he might mess with him a little bit to get him to pay attention. He just understands people, he’s been doing it for so long, he understands different people’s personality and their psychology. He gets under there, he gets underneath that. He also cares about your development off the field as well and you respect a guy like that that’s teaching you. That’s only going to help your growth and development on and off the field.”
It’s strange, really, that Seattle’s offensive line was never all that great during Cable’s time there. And yet he has long been one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the league.
There’s a reason he was promoted from offensive line coach to head coach in Oakland and was also the assistant head coach in Seattle under Pete Carroll. His players respond to him. Judging by Osemele’s excitement so far, we could see a bounce back year for the elite group.