Interesting rant from Tom Cable last week at the NFL Owners' Meetings. Cable, who's known as a player's coach, lit into JaMarcus Russell in terms so unflattering it was as if JaMarcus had just decided to leave and go play for Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.
Cable was simply asked, "Your impressions of JaMarcus so far?"
In remarks captured on David White's Silver & Black blog in The Chronicle, Cable replied, "If he can accept the responsibility of being an NFL quarterback, I think that's working more, working harder, working longer than everybody else, accepting the responsibility that his teammates look to him as the face of the organization, that he has to go above and beyond almost on a daily basis, I think that comes with that position, whether that's right or wrong, that's what it is."
The indication couldn't be clearer -- Coach Cable doesn't feel Russell applies himself enough. That was an "If" statement, in which the expression "accepting responsibility" was used twice.
Cable's callings-out are being noticed nationally as well. Parts of Coach Cable's extended remarks were included in this week's edition of Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback on the Sports Illustrated site. To be fair, the remarks were not specifically about JaMarcus but the whole team. Addressing what he feels has been the Raiders' central problem in recent seasons, Cable was blunt. "Let's cut to the core and see what the real issue is. To put lip service to it and continually push it over in the corner, the monster keeps growing. So, deal with it. It's selfishness."
The immediate results from Cable's cutting the Mr. Nice Guy routine? JaMarcus Russell has increased his involvement in the off-season program. Dave White's Silver & Black blog reported two days later that Russell was participating in voluntary camp, and putting in extra time.
The way Coach Cable is calling out JaMarcus on specific identifiable deficiencies in his approach to the game -- you'd almost confuse this behavior with... dare I say it? -- leadership. The guy who got the job because he was the least likely to upset the apple cart is looking more and more like he's willing to challenge the status quo of this team.
Now if only he'd publicly admonish the guy up in the owner's box....
Joe Kukura is a freealnce writer who is not inteersted in accepting responsibility for the typographical errors in this sentence.