Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable talked with Seattle-area reporters this morning. Part of his conversation included his thoughts on Mike Williams when he was there in 2007. Cable joined the Raiders as the offensive line coach in 2007 and later became the head coach in 2009.
“I knew of him in college,” Cable said, who served as UCLA’s offensive coordinator in 2004-05. “He was a big guy that could be dominant and knew how to use his size and body. He kind of surprised you with how well he ran. He could catch everything, so to me he was a guy who could take over a game.
“And when he got to this level I really don’t know what happened to him. I was a line coach then, so I really wasn’t involved with him that much at that point. Obviously he wasn’t the player he was in college, but he certainly has gone back to being the player he was in college at Seattle. He’s a big guy that can really play.”
Cable said he doesn’t know if Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski will start on Sunday.
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Gradkowski was sidelined for two games because of a sprained passing shoulder. He suffered the injury three weeks ago during a game against the San Diego. Campbell posted a career-best passer rating of 127.9 in leading Oakland’s offense to a team record for points in the Raiders 59-14 win over Denver, rebounding from a poor performance the week before in which he threw a pair of interceptions and failed to get the Raiders in the end zone in a 17-9 loss to San Francisco.
Cable confirmed that Gradkowski remains the starter if he’s healthy.
“Bruce Gradkowski has improved and should work today” Cable said. “So we’ll see where that’s at, and if he’s ready to do all the things we need him to do."
As far as what he sees in Seattle, Cable echoed other coaches in stating that the defense plays fast, particularly the front seven. But he also believes the offense is developing into a solid unit.
“Matt Hasselbeck is a guy proven in this league at a very high level, good enough to take a team to the Super Bowl,” Cable said. “You’ve got an outstanding tight end in (John) Carlson, the big receiver, Mike Williams, has turned his career around. (Golden) Tate is a very good, young player as is (Deon) Butler.
“So to me, as he said, they’ve got the right pieces going. The trade for Marshawn (Lynch) is big. (Justin) Forsett is a good player, no question. He can impact a game; he can hit a home run at any time. But Marshawn adds a dimension in terms of the physicality ofthe guy.”
Cable grew up here locally and attended Snohomish High. But he said he’s always been a Raiders fan, and is living a dream by leading the team he grew up rooting for.
“It’s a pure joy,” he said. “The Seahawks weren’t in Seattle when I was a little kid. They didn’t come until ’75 or ’76, and by then I was already 12 years old. So I had always been a Raiders fan. So it’s a dream come true. It’s a joy every day to coach this football team.”
And is he in awe of team owner Al Davis?
“I never have been,” Cable said. “I think that’s the thing people need to understand is as the owner of this football team, you respect that, yet there’s a job that needs to be done. If you spend all your time being in awe of someone you’re not doing your job.
As far as the team’s best defensive player, Pro Bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha, Cable said it’s the 29-year-old's preparation that makes him so good.
“He’s obviously talented and all of that,” he said. “But he works himself every week and prepares himself every week to be at his best. I think if you just ask for one thing, it’s the way he prepares.”
Cable said one of the reasons running back Darren McFadden is finally starting to live up to his draft status is that he’s taken criticism of his play to heart.
“He’s taken some heat, and some things have been written and said about him with the media,” Cable said. “And you know, that’s you job. That’s what you do. But I think that when anyone gets questioned, good character looks into the mirror and says, ‘Is this really me? And if it is I’ve got to change.’ And so you kind of use all that crazy stuff that gets said or written, you use it as fuel and I think he’s done that.”
Cable had this to say when asked if his team turned a corner after the impressive win on the road at Denver.
“I think it’s a game we played well in and things went our way,” he said. “Momentum took over and there’s a lot of good things that came out of it. But every week in the NFL is a whole new challenge. What you did last week really doesn’t matter.
So is his team becoming more consistent?
“I think we know what we can do,” Cable said. “I think what we’re trying to find is the trust and the belief in the process it takes to get there. But we know what we’re capable of, and we know what the challenges are before us, I think that’s the most important thing is understanding that process.
Cable says that McFadden and Michael Bush will continue to share time at running back, depending on who has the hot hand.
“They’re like brothers,” Cable said about the two runners. “As close as you could ever be to your own brother. It’s a very good relationship. They understand that Darren goes in there as the starter, and if he needs a blow Mike goes in. If Mike gets hot, it’s Mike’s show and that’s just how we do it.”