SBD/January 5, 2011/Franchises

Raiders Cut Ties With Coach Tom Cable; Bengals Bring Back Lewis

Raiders had until Jan. 17 to make call on Cable's option

The Raiders yesterday announced that they "won't pick up the two-year option" on coach Tom Cable's contract, according to Steve Corkran of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Raiders Owner Al Davis "had until Jan. 17 to decide whether to exercise the two-year, $5 million option on Cable's contract." That Davis "dumped Cable so soon portends his desire to head off other teams from making a play for offensive coordinator Hue Jackson or, perhaps, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 1/5). ESPN.com's Bill Williamson wrote "one of the biggest problems in Oakland has been the lack of stability," and by changing head coaches again, the Raiders "have compromised their continuity." Williamson: "I just don't understand the timing." If Davis "didn't think Cable could lead Oakland to the playoffs, he should have just fired Cable a year ago, fresh off" allegations he assaulted former assistant coach Randy Hanson (ESPN.com, 1/4). YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell wrote Cable's dismissal may mean Davis "wants a bigger name and flashier presence on the sidelines" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/4).

STAYING ON IN CINCY: In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy reports the Bengals and coach Marvin Lewis "agreed to an extension believed to be for two years." Bengals Owner Mike Brown: "This gives us our best shot going forward, to be the team we want to be." Brown and Lewis "were vague on changes" during a news conference yesterday (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/5). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, “Of course they might as well keep Marvin Lewis. They got to get rid of Mike Brown. He's the problem there, not the coach or the staff." Fanhouse.com's Kevin Blackistone: "This is really more representative of the franchise itself. It's just poorly run. (Lewis) is the only coach way up north who doesn't have a covered field to practice in in inclement conditions" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/4). Brown and Lewis both "agree the team needs an indoor place to practice." However, Lewis "wants it yesterday; Mike is not 'as keen' on making that happen" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/5). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "This is how the Bengals operate. The rest of the NFL is IBM and they are the corner grocery. ... Other teams have 11 people doing a job, the Bengals have one. They don't dedicate their resources to getting these things done, which is why they can't be consistently good" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/4). NFL Network's Charles Davis: "The Bengals tend to do things a little bit different than other people" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 1/4).

Vikings promote interim coach Leslie Frazier To Full-Time Role
CHANGES BY OWNERS: In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere wrote the Vikings' decision to hire interim coach Leslie Frazier full time was a "stroke of clear thinking and common sense, traits that haven't always been on display since" Zygi and Mark Wilf became the franchise's primary owners. Sansevere: "Zygi and Mark have been owners for six seasons now, and maybe they've wised up. ... There was no need to look elsewhere, no reason to consider anyone else" (TWINCITIES.com, 1/4). Meanwhile, in Houston, Jerome Solomon notes the Texans elected to retain coach Gary Kubiak, but if Owner Bob McNair's "words are to be believed, Kubiak's job will be on the line" next season. Solomon: "On-the-field production -- translation: win or else -- will determine whether Kubiak retains his position with the Texans after next season." Kubiak up to this point in his tenure "has had little reason to believe he would be fired for not winning games." Solomon: "On some level, Kubiak, like all coaches, expected that was the case, but that point was never made explicitly" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/5).

LABOR RAMIFICATIONS: In Jacksonville, Hays Carlyon wrote the Jaguars' decision to keep coach Jack Del Rio "isn't popular, but it's the best move for the franchise in light of the impending lockout next season." Carlyon: "If the season is trimmed down to 10 or 12 games, the teams with the best shot at making the playoffs will be the ones with stability" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/4). In West Palm Beach, Dave George writes Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross in determining the fate of coach Tony Sparano "has to be thinking, as all NFL owners are thinking, about what best serves his bottom line during the famine of a football shutdown." Sparano "could get the 2011 Dolphins up and running in a couple of weeks, if that's all NFL coaches are afforded in preparation for the season opener." A new coach "means a new staff and maybe even a new general manager, all of which represent new expenditures." And if a lockout occurs, "now we're talking about player evaluations being made on the fly and a new system being taught to players in August, not April" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/5).

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