Raiders head coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson each laughed off a report suggesting they were at odds this week. They both said there was no truth to it, and the reaction from the image-conscious coaches came as no surprise to team observers.
While sources say it's difficult to pinpoint the level of tension between the two men, it's well known that they're both competing for similar prizes. Cable is trying to keep his job with Oakland clinging to fading playoff hopes, and it's no secret that Jackson would like to be a head coach next season.
There's speculation that if owner Al Davis decides to fire Cable after the season, Jackson, who is expected to draw interest from other teams looking to fill a head-coaching vacancy, will be one of the top candidates to replace him.
The report suggested that Cable wasn't a fan of bringing Jackson in from the start and that Jackson's associates were pushing hard for him to find a new job. Davis stripped Cable of his play-calling duties and handed them to Jackson when he was hired in January. While the report said Cable was angry about that decision, Cable told PFW shortly after the move that he was on board with it.
Speaking at the Senior Bowl in late January, he said it would make him a better head coach since his focus would be more on the big picture rather than having to be so wired in to play-calling. The addition of Jackson and the alteration of Cable's duties seems to have benefited the Raiders, as they have won six games — the most wins they've had in a season since 2002 — and the team is scoring about twice as many points per game as it did in '09.
Both referenced how far back they go — they worked together as assistants at Cal State-Fullerton in 1990 and at the University of California in '96 — when refuting the report, but citing the duration of their relationship didn't prove that fractures between the two have not emerged.
The Raiders, who have been waiting for a coaching structure that would provide long-term stability, have achieved greater success than they have in a long while this season, but the hierarchy looks like it could change again next year.