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FILE -- Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, right, must decide quickly if he will exercise the contract option on head coach Tom Cable, left, or promote offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. (Anda Chu/Staff)

Raiders managing general partner Al Davis took his time after last season ended before deciding to stick with Tom Cable as his head coach. He won't have that luxury this time.

Davis has two factors conspiring against a drawn-out review process this year.

One, he is obligated to notify Cable before Jan. 18 whether he intends to exercise the one-year, $2.5 million option on Cable's contract.

Second is the rise in stock of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. If Davis has designs on turning over the reins to Jackson, he might be forced to act before other teams show interest in Jackson, and that could be even sooner than Jan. 18.

Jackson already has been mentioned as a candidate for the Denver Broncos' head coaching job held by interim coach Eric Studesville. The Broncos are one of a handful of teams that will be seeking new coaches once the regular season ends Sunday.

Jackson said Dec. 16 that he feels as if he has the "best job in football" right now. However, he also said that he aspires to be a head coach.

"I would say if someone calls, I'm not going to tell you I'm going to say no because it all depends on what the situation is," Jackson said at the time. "But I'm not going to tell you that I'm going to say yes, either, because I've really enjoyed my time here and what's happening here with Oakland Raider football."


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Jackson is certain to garner interest from teams who want an offensive-minded coach, based on the dramatic improvement made by the Raiders' offense this season in Jackson's first year with the team.

The Raiders have scored 379 points through 15 games, the seventh-most scored by a Raiders team in the franchise's 51-year history. They have averaged 355.3 yards per game, 10th in the league.

"We're probably the youngest offense in the NFL," Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell said, "(but) we rank 10th in the NFL. That's a good accomplishment."

By comparison, the Raiders scored only 197 points and averaged 12.3 points last season, 31st out of 32 in both categories. They rank sixth this season at 25.3 points per game.

This year's Raiders offense has performed better than any of its seven predecessors. The Raiders haven't been this effective offensively since leading the league with an average of 389.8 yards per game and finishing second in average points (28.1) in 2002.

Davis hired Jackson on Jan. 26. Cable served as offensive coordinator in 2009 after calling the plays for the latter half of the 2008 season.

Davis hasn't spoken with the local media for more than 15 months. Therefore, few people, if any, know which way he is leaning.

Cable said he and Davis haven't had any discussions about Cable's job security beyond this season. He said they likely will meet soon after the season ends.

On Wednesday, Cable said he isn't sure whether the Raiders need to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday for him to be asked back next season.

"Again, I don't think about that," Cable said. "(This game) determines if we can get it to 8-8 and 6-0 in the division. That's really our goal, so that's what we're trying to do. We're focused on that."

Notes: Rookie Jacoby Ford was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season. He returned the game-opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts, his second game-opening kickoff return TD this season. He returned five kicks for 188 yards. "... Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring), offensive tackle Langston Walker (concussion) and running back Darren McFadden (ankle) were the only three players who missed practice.

sunday's game
Raiders (7-8) at Kansas City (10-5), 10 a.m. CBS