It’s no secret that Raiders fans are eager to run offensive line coach Tom Cable out of town. The Raiders had a fierce rushing attack during Cable’s first tenure with the team and a lot of that was due to solid offensive line play. He has seemed to coast on that fact for several years at this point. Cable put up several years of mediocrity while in Seattle and was fired after the 2017 season.
For some reason, when Jon Gruden was assembling his new staff after signing with the Raiders, he decided to bring in Tom Cable to fill in the vacant offensive line coach position. What’s even more surprising is that Cable was able to retain the job after the Raiders went from the eighth best offensive line in the NFL for 2017 to the 28th in 2018. Yes, the Raiders offensive line was hit with a number of injuries last season, but that is a steep drop for a unit that’s loaded with talent. Rodney Hudson has been called the best pass-blocking center in the NFL and Gabe Jackson has been a consistent rock at right-guard.
What really doesn’t help Cable’s case is that Seattle’s offensive line is set to improve in 2019. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is happy with how his offensive line has developed since Cable’s departure.
“I feel, after seeing Mike Iupati come in and fill a spot that was opened up [at left guard], I really feel great about that,” Carroll said to reporters during Thursday’s media conference. “And the way he mixed with [left tackle] Duane [Brown] and communicating with [center] Justin [Britt] and now on the left side just really gives us confidence, George Fant, too, and what he’s doing, how we’re playing him, moving him around.”
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While Cable was the offensive line coach for the Seahawks, the starting quarterback for the team never took less than 40 sacks in a given year. Below is a breakdown of how many sacks each quarterback took while Cable was with the team:
2011 – Tavaris Jackson took 42 sacks, 3rd most in the league.
2012 – Russell Willson took 40 sacks, 6th most in the league.
2013 – Russell Wilson took 51 sacks, 2nd most in the league.
2014 – Russell Wilson took 52 sacks, 2nd most in the league.
2015 – Russell Wilson took 52 sacks, most in the league.
2016 – Russell Wilson took 47 sacks, most in the league.
2017 – Russell Wilson took 43 sacks, 4th most in the league.
How he lasted that long in Seattle is anyone’s guess. He never had a quarterback finish outside the top six in the league in sacks taken. In Cable’s defense, Russell Wilson took 52 sacks in 2018, but one could argue that was because of lingering effects from Cable’s reign. In 2017, Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr only took 20 sacks, which was tied for the 31st in the league. In Cable’s first year back with the Raiders, Carr took 51 sacks. That was good for fourth-most in the league and significantly more sacks than Carr took in 2016 and 2017 combined.
The Raiders spent big money on former New England Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown and added former pro-bowl guard Richie Incognito. The Raiders offensive line is loaded. The only position that is a little suspect is at left tackle where 2018 first round pick Kolton Miller will look to improve. Miller had a tough year during his rookie season. He was also battling injuries, so he could play much better in 2019 if he stays healthy. Even if Miller doesn’t play up to potential, the Raiders should still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Tom Cable seems to have nine lives, but he’s running out of them. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Cable survives this season if Carr is anywhere near the top 10 in sacked quarterbacks. When Carr has a clean pocket, he’s a much better quarterback. He proved that in 2016. If Cable can’t get it done with this current group of linemen, he has no business coaching in the NFL of Sundays.