As the Raiders prepare for what could be yet another year of unfulfilled expectations and double-digit losses, one of their best players has offered up a theory for the team’s struggles over the past several years.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha thinks that the constant stream of coaching changes has hurt the franchise.
“It plays a huge part,” Asomugha recently said during an appearance on KLAC in Los Angeles (via Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times). “We can leave football and go to any company in the world. When your head person, the head guy in charge, is leaving every single year, that’s tough for the employees, it’s tough for the focus of the company to move in the right direction, and that’s been one of the problems with us. One of the things that has hurt us has been the coaching changes throughout the year, so it’s great to have [Tom] Cable back, maybe that will help us a lot more.”
Since Jon Gruden bolted for Tampa after the 2001 season, the Raiders have had five different head coaches, and counting: Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, and Tom Cable.
Cable got the job on an interim basis in September 2008, when Kiffin was fired after only one year and a few games on the job.
And while most people in the organization likely realize that owner Al Davis’ recent streak of Steinbrenner-in-his-prime-style terminations creates an impediment to achieving and sustaining success, Asomugha is one of the few people in the organization who can truly speak freely without fear of consequence.
After all, he’s the only true “shutdown” cornerback in the NFL right now, and he has a three-year, $45 million contract with $28.5 million guaranteed.
So, as a practical matter, Asomugha can say whatever he wants, limited only by the potential threat of a four-game suspension for conduct detrimental, if he takes it too far.
Our advice? Keep pushing the envelope, Nnamdi. Maybe you’ll be the one who finally gets through to the guy who runs the show.