As other NFL teams began evaluating their head coaches Monday, all signs point to another deliberate process by the Raiders.
At his season-ending news conference, Raiders coach Tom Cable said he and owner Al Davis had not scheduled a time to talk about the season or his own status as head coach.
"I'm going to rest for a few days," Cable said. "We'll have a chance to meet some time in the next two weeks, but nothing has been set up. ... Right now is a time to reflect, evaluate the team, evaluate the staff. We'll sit down when it's right and necessary and make those decisions."
Despite an 8-8 season that snapped an unparalleled seven-year streak of losing 11 or more games, Cable's job security became an issue again when ESPN's Adam Schefter and the NFL Network's Mike Lombardi reported on Sunday that Cable was "unlikely" to return.
There were similar reports last season, when the Raiders finished 5-11 and Cable dealt with distractions such as an alleged attack on assistant coach Randy Hanson in which no charges were filed and allegations of domestic abuse in an ESPN story.
Given that the Raiders have had eight head coaches in 16 seasons since returning to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995, Cable cited "the culture of what it's been like here" and said he understands the speculation even if he doesn't agree with it.
"I'd like for it to just go away and have Al and I sit down and discuss it, which we will," Cable said. "I think
The Raiders finished the season with a 31-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, giving them a 6-0 record in the AFC West. With a 17-27 record, Cable has served more games as Raiders head coach than anyone since Jon Gruden, who coached from 1998 through 2001.
A year ago, the Raiders went into February without affirming Cable's status as head coach, with a spokesman saying "the process was ongoing," even as Hue Jackson was hired as the offensive coordinator.
It didn't become clear until Cable attended the NFL scouting combine in late February that he would be back.
The difference this year is Cable is in the final year of a contract that reportedly has a two-year option at $2.5 million per season, with notification coming by Jan. 17.
If Oakland does not exercise the option, then Cable is free to field offers as an assistant or head coach from other teams, although there would be nothing preventing the Raiders from signing him to a new contract.
Several players have been outspoken in their wish for Cable to return.
"I can't go through another head coach, I just can't," said punter Shane Lechler, who has had six head coaches in 11 seasons. "I've been through too many of them. I'd rather be with the guy that's here right now and we'll roll with him."
One of the things Davis will consider is whether Jackson, architect of one of the NFL's most improved offenses, becomes a head coaching candidate for one of several jobs that are available or expected to be available in the coming days.
The Raiders more than doubled their scoring average in 2010, going from 12.3 points to 25.6.
With current openings in Cleveland, Carolina, Denver and San Francisco, and others that could become available, Jackson, 45, fits the profile of a young assistant coach but also satisfies the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview a minority candidate.
Although Jackson has been a play-calling coordinator for just one year (in previous one-year stints in Washington and Atlanta he did not call plays), that was all it took Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin to be hired in 2007 to replace Bill Cowher.
Tomlin was considered a long shot to land the Pittsburgh job after just one year as defensive coordinator in Minnesota but landed the job after impressing ownership.
The prospect of an interview could force Davis to weigh Cable against Jackson and make a choice as a pre-emptive strike.
On Dec. 16, Jackson said he had "the best job in football" as the Raiders offensive coordinator but conceded his goal was to be a head coach.
Jackson was a wide receivers coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, who are currently deciding whether to part with coach Marvin Lewis, and his Raiders offense scored 98 points and gained 1,010 yards in two games against the Broncos.
Regarding Jackson's potential candidacy elsewhere, Cable said he didn't want to lose him but "if he gets that opportunity I'd be excited for him."
Cable also said he would not want to return to being a coordinator and play-caller.
Asked what he felt in his gut, Cable said, "I'm going to coach." In Oakland?
"I hope so. I hope so," Cable said.