Oakland coach Tom Cable has led Tony Stewart (86) and the Raiders to four wins this season … one more than the Redskins. (AP photo)
We caught up with Jerry McDonald, who covers the Oakland Raiders for The Oakland Tribune. He agreed to answer three quick questions about Washington’s opponent this weekend for Redskins 360.
1. How did the Raiders suddenly wake up on offense to stun the Steelers last Sunday?
They simply executed some basic pass plays, something that’s been eluding them for the better part of the last four seasons. Coach Tom Cable has insisted all along that the Raiders were close to hitting some of these passes — routinely for a lot of teams — and for one day at least, he was right. It helped that the Raiders ran well enough in the first half (62 yards) that Pittsburgh had to respect play-action, which is a big part of what the Raiders like to do.
2. Is there any chance Tom Cable returns as coach in 2010 and if not, whom do you think Al Davis will try to hire?
A chance, yes. But they’ll have to avoid a face-plant after a win and they’ve been unable to do that so far this season. If they’re able to go 3-1 in the last quarter, Cable would have a shot. They face Washington, Denver, Cleveland and Baltimore. If Cable is shown the door, the company line will be that lots of hot candidates really want to the job. The reality is that Davis will probably make another run at Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride (a finalist along with Cable last time) or ex-Giants coach/Raiders assistant Jim Fassel, who would leave the UFL and take the job. A darkhorse? Montreal (CFL) coach Marc Trestman, a former Raiders offensive coordinator And there’s always Art Shell. :)
3. How bad has Darrius Heyward-Bey’s rookie year been and are the coaches disgusted with the former Maryland standout?
He’s been very bad. He has started 11 games and caught just nine passes for 124 yards and been outshined by fourth-round pick Louis Murphy (23 catches, 411 yards, 4 TDs). When Heyward-Bey went out with a foot injury, the Raiders offense immediately got a lot better. Coincidence? He has a handful of drops, has never appeared to be a fluid and natural receiver, seems to even fight his catches. He doesn’t play as fast as his 40-time. The coaches aren’t disgusted with him because he seems like a legitimately good kid and a very hard worker.