Raiders

Tom Cable out as Raiders head coach

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Tom Cable out as Raiders head coach

Jan. 4, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com

His voice still as strong as his personality, Al Davis spoke loud enough for anyone within earshot to notice late Sunday afternoon.The Raiders owner was being escorted to the team bus in the bowels of renovated Arrowhead Stadium and he was lamenting not only running back Darren McFadden not playing in the season finale against the Chiefs, but also rookie lineman Bruce Campbell being inactive. Clearly, it was an indictment against coach Tom Cable and his gameday decisions on which players to dress.As Davis turned a corner, I said hello and asked how he was doing after the Raiders 31-10 blowout victory. He said something to the effect of, not so hot.
REWIND: Raiders end season on winning noteWait, the Raiders had just gone 6-0 in the AFC West and ended a streak of seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses.But 8-8 is a good finish, right? I offered.If thats the world you live in, Davis shot back.No omens or signs were needed after that. Not only was Davis, 81, not thrilled with a .500 finish by Cable, he was angered that the Raiders missed the playoffs for an eighth straight season. The Super Bowl is his birthright, he feels.RELATED: NFL Standings
No marked on-field improvement mattered. Improved chemistry and changing the culture of the locker room meant even less.The Raiders announcing they will not extend the contract of Tom Cable for the position of head coach this evening is a shock in some corners, not a surprise at all in others.It seemingly opens the door for Hue Jackson to assume the reigns, especially since the 49ers earlier in the day requested permission to interview the Raiders first-year offensive coordinator for their vacant head coaching position.
RELATED: 49ers seek interview with Raiders' Jackson
But Raiders senior executive John Herrera said there was no timetable on hiring Cables replacement.We have not talked to anybody yet, Herrera said. Nothings been done. This was a decision that had to be made first.No one has been contacted. This was the first order of business. It was the right thing to do.Semantics? From the moment Jackson was hired away from Baltimore to be the Raiders play caller last January, many saw him as Oaklands coach-in-waiting. And really, the Raiders would not have had to talk to him about the gig because, well, hes already on their payroll.Ive never discussed anything about the possibility of being head coach with Al Davis, Jackson told CSN Bay Areas Henry Wofford. This is news to me.VIDEO: Henry Wofford's Raiders report
Another name sure to surface is Jim Harbaugh. He has already worked in Oakland, knows the dynamic under Davis and, by all accounts, gets along with the owner.Cable, meanwhile, was 17-27 since replacing Lane Kiffin as interim coach five games into the 2008 season. And while it had been heavily reported that Davis had until Jan. 17 to make a decision on whether to exercise the one-year, 2.5-million option on Cable, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed this evening it was actually for two years. Guaranteed.Could that have factored into Davis relatively quick decision to not pick up the existing option? Then consider this: if neither Cable nor Davis find suitable replacements, the two could then conceivably talk again. Perhaps about a one-year deal.But I digress.In his final Monday press conference of the season, Cable was asked about the reports that had him on his way out of town.I know what weve done, Cable said at the time. I think everybody else who knows football knows what weve done. Whoever says or writes it probably doesnt know what the hell theyre doing. You can quote that.Or just listen to Davis after a purported culture-changing victory.What's your take? Email Paul and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR

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AP

Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR

ALAMEDA – Obi Melifonwu participated in a Raiders practice Tuesday afternoon, his first session in months.

The second-round safety has been on injured reserve all season and hasn’t done football activities of any kind since suffering a knee injury in a preseason game in Dallas.

He had arthroscopic knee surgery and was put on the shelf for the season’s first half. Melifonwu's professional career barely started and then quickly stopped. That's why Wednesday's practice was such a big deal. 

“It was awesome to get back out there, finally,” Melfonwu said. “It’s been a while. It was beyond fun to just be out there and practice with the team."

He nearing a return to game action. That’s why the Raiders designated him to return off injured reserve. Wednesday marks the start of a three-week practice window where the Raiders can decide whether to put him on the 53-roster.

He’s expected to do so when eligible. Melifonwu was first able to practice this week, and can join the 53-man roster after Week 8. His NFL debut could come in Week 9 at Miami.

He can't wait, especially because he's physically ready now. 

"I feel 100 percent," Meilfonwu said. I feel fine."

The Raiders still struggle covering the aforementioned skill players, using young linebackers or an undersized safety against those guys. The Raiders have given up the most yards to tight ends and running backs in the NFL this season. Melifonwu was drafted to help cover tight ends and running backs right away in sub packages, with a long-term eye on a full-time starting spot.

"I bring versatility, and I think I’m a guy who can fit into a lot of different spots," Melifonwu said. "Wherever the coaches need me to fit and help the team win, I’m all for it."

He has missed significant development time while out. He also missed most of training camp with an apparent ankle injury. The team hopes he can be ready to contribute when eligible despite missing so much time. The downtime was difficult, but Melifonwu now hopes to hit the ground running.

"It was definitely tough," he said. "As a competitor, you always want to be out there helping your team win. As a guy who hasn’t been hurt, it was pretty tough. It comes with playing football. I’m just glad to be out there now."

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

NaVorro Bowman hasn’t been a Raider long. The inside linebacker visited the team’s training complex Monday morning, signed a one-year, $3 million contract that afternoon and was on the practice field a few hours later.

Bowman’s in something of a rush. His new team plays the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Bowman plans to face them.

That’ll take a crash course in Raiders defense. There’s new terminology to learn and roles to master, even if he hones on a specific package.

It won’t be easy. Even a perfect week might come up short with but one real practice in an incredibly quick turnaround.

It’s rational to think he won’t be ready, fair to give him two weeks practice before a Raiders debut.

That’s not the tack he’ll take.

“Hey,” Bowman said, with a wry smile. “I’m going to show you something.”

He understands the situation. The Raiders are 2-4, in desperate need of an AFC West win. A loss might put the Raiders too far down to rebound. The four-time All-Pro knows he’s needed, and believes he can help if he can get some scheme down.

“It’ll take a lot of hours, a lot of studying, a lot of repeating the same words and things like that,” Bowman said after Monday’s walk-through. “It’s part of being a good football player. You have to put the time in. It doesn’t come easy.

“I’m the guy to do it. I won’t let them down. I’ll put the work in that’s needed to be done.”

Immersing in brand new can be a cleansing process. Bowman left the only NFL team he’s ever known Friday when the 49ers cut him loose. He wanted to spend his career with one team. After seven-plus seasons, a switch was required. He didn’t like losing snaps. The 49ers wanted to go younger at the position. A trade was attempted. He didn’t like the suitor, and the 49ers respectfully pulled back. An outright cut was the decisive action.

It gave Bowman an opportunity to choose his next step. He didn’t go far. Bowman’s new job sits 35 miles north in Alameda, which offered plenty of advantages for a family man.

“My twin girls are five and my son is eight and they’re in school,” Bowman said. “They’re doing really well so you always want to keep that going as a parent. You don’t want to keep switching them in and out. That played a big part in what I was going to do. For the Raiders to show as much enthusiasm in wanting me to come here made my decision a lot easier.”

Enthusiasm was evident in two ways. The bottom line comes first. The Raiders offered $3 million to make this deal quick, adding a solid sum to the $6.75 million base salary guaranteed by the 49ers under his previous contract.

The second was clear in a Monday morning conversation with Jack Del Rio. The Raiders head coach spoke plainly, saying Bowman could make a major impact as a player and veteran leader of a shockingly young position group.

“It was really upfront, letting me know their position and how bad they want me,” Bowman said. “He let me know exactly what he wanted to get out of me coming here and being a presence for this defense. Being more vocal, getting guys to understand the urgency to be really good at the NFL level.”

His lessons start Tuesday morning. Starting weakside linebacker Cory James introduced himself in the locker room Monday and asked Bowman when he’ll start watching film. The answer: bright and early.

Bowman has a game to play Thursday. That’s possible because he didn’t have to relocate. He can just hit the ground running. He’s been constantly learning new systems during the 49ers coaching carousel, so he’d a quick learning. He also sees similar concepts between schemes.

“It’s not too different,” Bowman said. “The terminology is really the hard part. I’m a fast learner. I went out there today and I think I did pretty well. I’ll get in here early tomorrow and learn from my mistakes and try to keep getting better.”

That’s Bowman’s first goal. He also wants to show knee and Achilles’ tendon injuries haven’t sapped his effectiveness as many believe.

“I’m only 29 years old,” Bowman said. “I still have a lot of juice left in me.”