Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis discusses Tom Cable and the team (Part 2)
He said that he was partly to blame for the Raiders having a losing record for eight consecutive years. Their best record since the 1992 season was 8-8, which they achieved in the current 2010-11 season.
The 81-year-old Raiders owner said, "I have made mistakes. Yes, there's no question about it, and you got to have great players. But you also, sometimes, have the players and don't get it done. So, you're saying, should I take some of the blame? I certainly
He also said that the failure of number one draft pick JeMarcus Russell was a blow to the team. He was cut from the Raiders after being paid more than $39 million for three seasons. The Louisiana State University quarterback was not worth the money that
he was paid, winning only seven out of the 25 games that he started in. Davis acknowledged that Russell had let the whole team down.
He said, "We had a big investment in this guy (Russell). Basically, he's a good person but he's got personal problems, and I decided that it was time that we were not going to fight it anymore."
Davis was also furious that Cable had said that “we’re no losers anymore” after finishing 8-8 this season. Davis obviously believes that being 8-8 is nothing to be proud of. He said, "If that's not being a loser in our world, I don't know what it is, come
in .500. That's never been my goal."
He also said that he still has a strong belief in wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Even though he had only 37 receptions in two years, Davis has faith in him and explained why, "Explosion. He can catch, he's getting better and he's a good guy. He's going
to be good."
He is also unsure whether or not he wants to bring Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha back to the Raiders, after the final year of his contract was voided for not meeting certain incentives. Davis hinted that the Raiders would rather have let him go, than keeping
him for another season in which he was to be paid at least $16.8 million.
Davis said, "Can that $17 million bring you two or three quality players to help you win?," meaning that he would rather bring in a few new players for the same amount that it would take to bring Asomugha back for another season.
He also said that he wasn’t surprised that former head coach Lane Kiffin filed a grievance against him. Kiffin was fired without compensation for “bringing disgrace to the organisation” and being a “flat-out liar.” He is suing the Raiders owner for $300,000.
Even now, Davis says that "I beat him because he lied. He's a liar. He lied to you guys." Kiffin’s first season as head coach ended in a disappointing 4-12 record.
He also said that the franchise was hurt by low revenues, but needed a new stadium preferably at the same site of their current stadium. The team has had only one sold out game in the season, but Davis feels that a new labour deal will help the Raiders out
a lot. Davis said, "We don't have the resources that other teams have, but I think we've shown that we can compete. It's a question now of winning, and doing better than them. But it depends on what happens in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA)."
The Raiders owner also said that he wasn’t worried about being criticised by Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler about firing Cable. He pointed out that Lechler wanted to be a free agent after the 2008 season was over but came back. "Shane said publicly he wasn't
coming back, he didn't like it here. A month later, he was coming back because I gave him the highest-paid contract of a specialist in pro football. No, these things happen, that's a part of our lives, I read about marriage breakups, all those things."
So, all in all, the news conference with Davis was very informative. Just a couple of days ago, people were saying that Davis was unfair to his head coaches, making him one of the most controversial owners. However, now it’s clear that the coaches do just
as much wrong to the team, as Davis does to the coaches. In Davis’ first news conference in 16 months, the state of the Raiders became much clearer.