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Cable: Never any question that I will return to coach Raiders

Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable tried to clear up speculation about his future Thursday, when he said in his first offseason interview with a Sacramento, Calif., radio station that he has never doubted he will return for the 2010 season.


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"I don't think there was ever any question," Cable told KHTK-AM (via Sports Radio Interviews). "I think that was more speculation than anything else. So it's never been a thought in my mind, and you know, we went at this thing every day -- whether it was discussions with the owner or discussions with the staff -- that we're moving forward and getting ready for 2010. So it's never really been an issue for us.

"We've had a lot of conversations," added Cable, who's in Mobile, Ala., scouting players at the Senior Bowl. "You know, you're right -- there's been a lot of speculation, but the whole time we've talked about where we're at as a football team. And that's everything -- that's the organization, that's the coaches, that's the roster, our free agents, who we need to get signed back, just everything that goes in to it. We've never really had discussions about what would or wouldn't happen. It's just always been evaluating the Oakland Raiders."

Raiders senior executive John Herrera told NFL Network's Jason La Canfora on Monday that the team's evaluation of Cable was "an ongoing process."

One of the biggest questions facing the Raiders is quarterback JaMarcus Russell and the struggling offense. The Raiders had one of the worst offenses in the NFL during a 5-11 season, ranking second-to-last in the league in scoring and yards gained while posting a record seventh consecutive season with at least 11 losses.

The Raiders showed some improvement after Cable benched Russell midway through the season, scoring 5.8 more points and gaining more than 100 additional yards of offense per game in the final seven contests started by Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye.

The Raiders hired Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson on Tuesday to direct the offense. Jackson, who worked with Cable at stops at Cal State Fullerton and the University of California, is considered a quarterback guru after he worked with Joe Flacco in Baltimore and current Cincinnati Bengals star Carson Palmer as the offensive coordinator at USC.

But Cable said Thursday that more than only one player -- Russell -- needed to improve for the Raiders to have success.

"Well, he's just one man on this football team and he knows he's got to get better," Cable said. "We know we've got to get him better. But everyone on this team -- coaching staff, players alike -- everyone has got to get better. And that starts with me. So I don't know. ... Obviously, people want to single someone out or whatever that is, but right now, it's about everyone getting better."

Cable went on to say that Oakland's next step to make the playoffs. The Raiders were competitive and played a part in knocking the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos out of playoff contention with late-season victories. But the key to reaching the playoffs is addressing some remaining "issues."

"What we've learned about this team is we've got a couple of issues," Cable said. "One, we've got to score more points on offense. That's No. 1. And then No. 2, we've got a big issue with the big play defensively, in terms of giving it up. And I think those are two areas we just have to do much, much better in 2010 to be a playoff team. And then the third thing that I think is most significant is finding a return game in our special teams."

And, judging from his comments, Cable believes he will have the opportunity to fix those problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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