Back in 2018, head coach Jon Gruden returned to the sidelines for the Las Vegas Raiders. Filling out his staff, no move was more scrutinized than bringing back Tom Cable to coach the offensive line.
Cable’s tenure as Raiders head coach was unfruitful and his stop as offensive line coach in Seattle was nothing short of disastrous. Ranking last in most categories, Seattle’s ‘hog mollies’ led by Cable had some believing it was a preview of what was to come with his return to the Raiders. Following dominant play in 2015 and 2016, there was concern that the Raiders would never return to their previous dominance in the trenches. Regardless of the expectations at the moment of his hiring, Cable and the offensive line have been elite despite the obstacles that have stood in their way.
Coaching through Adversity
While 2020 has been full of difficult and unprecedented moments, few in the NFL have faced more adversity than the Raider’s offensive line. As Raider Nation knows all too well, the projected starting o-line has played a total of three snaps together.
Stemming from injuries to Richie Incognito, Trent Brown, and more recently, Kolton Miller, this unit has pieced together quite a few quality performances in their absence. Ranking 11th in the league according to PFF, Cable deserves praise for keeping the lifeblood of this team breathing even without key pieces. Not does this line rank 11th, but they have also statistically been one of the top units in the league.
They propelled the running game to top-five status behind great run blocking. Also, opposing defenses have sacked Carr down four times. While Covid and the injury report have decimated this squad, Cable’s done an amazing job preparing a mostly-second team unit.
Developing The Raiders Young Talent
If Cable’s hiring wasn’t debatable enough, the Raiders selecting tackle Kolton Miller over safety Derwin James in 2018 was more so. Nagging injuries riddled Miller’s rookie season, which raised concerns over his selection. Fast forward two seasons and seeing Miller’s development has put much of the concern to bed.
In his third year in the league, Miller has allowed zero sacks against formidable pass-rushing units this season. Stymying superstar Myles Garrett and 2019 sack leader Shaquill Barret are just two of Miller’s outstanding 2020 performances. Cable certainly deserves credit for his work to develop the first-round selection.
There’s no doubt that Miller has been the shining star from the 2018 draft. Be that as it may, there’s another selection that’s shown tremendous development under Cable.
Brandon Parker Showing Promise For Raiders
Third round selection Brandon Parker has been the recipient of much criticism in his first two seasons. Entering 2020, he looked like the backup to swing tackle Sam Young. Fast forward to Weeks 9-11 and a plethora of injuries thrust Parker into the starting lineup. Not only has the former third-round pick found success, but he has also found himself ahead of Young on the depth chart. As he continues his dominant play in relief for Trent Brown, Parker’s successful development is due to Cable’s coaching.
Besides Parker, swing guard Denzelle Good has also been having a solid campaign. Showing flashes in 2019, Good has been stellar as a replacement for Richie Incognito. Preparing Good at multiple different positions is no easy task and should not be taken lightly. While Good and Parker continue their tear, they may be primed to step in as full-time starters in 2021.
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