Raiders Face NFL Coach Deadline

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sideline during the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

    At the rate he's going, Al Davis might not announce whether the Oakland Raiders will fire or keep coach Tom Cable until around Memorial Day weekend. 

    But ProFootballTalk.com reports that the Raiders do have to make some coaching decisions, and make them quick. Sourcing a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, PFT cites an NFL rule saying that "teams must inform their assistant coaches whether they will be retained by the third Tuesday after the end of the regular season."

    And that would be this Tuesday, January 19.

    The thinking goes that even Tom Cable is going to be left dangling indefinitely, we can figure out Cable's fate by seeing if his staff of assistant coaches gets handed pink slips on Tuesday.

    But Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune snooped a little further, and reports on his Raiders blog that the rule only applies to coaches whose contracts are expiring. If the assistant coach is still under contract for next season, he can be fired at any time during the calendar year. Preferably at a time at which it's too late for Lane Kiffin to give him a job at USC.

    So which assistant coaches on Tom Cable's staff are under contract for next season? In true Raiders fashion, only Al Davis and his most trusted minions know. Assistant coach contract status is not public information in Raiderland.

    But Jerry McDonald does a little informed guesswork on his blog. McDonald notes that when the Raiders hire assistant coaches, they "normally sign them to two-year deals." Therefore the six first-year Raiders assistants, including defensive coordinator John Marshall, are still under contract and don't need to be informed of a thing.

    Aside from those six coaches, plenty of other Raiders assistants have contracts expiring Tuesday. So if Tom Cable sees those guys cleaning out their desks Tuesday, he might anticipate having to do the same.

    And maybe giving Lane Kiffin a call to see if there's any work for him down at USC.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who congratulates the San Diego Chargers on another first-game playoff elimination loss.