Cable: Other distractions, not legal case, to blame for Raiders' skid

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- After watching his team endure yet another blowout loss, coach Tom Cable said one of the keys to getting the Oakland Raiders back on track is to eliminate distractions.

Cable was talking about how the team responds to adversity early in games, when one bad play or bad call can lead to more and end up in a lopsided game.


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The potentially bigger distraction of Cable's legal problems regarding his alleged training-camp assault on defensive assistant Randy Hanson isn't an issue, the coach said Monday.

"I don't believe it is," he said. "I would never believe that because, as I've said, I know the truth and I trust in the system, the process, and I just know that what's supposed to happen will happen. I've not let it become an issue. I've not put a lot into it, and, quite frankly, haven't brought it to the team because it's not their issue. It's mine."

The Napa police announced last week that they have ended their investigation and forwarded the results to the district attorney's office. The DA's office hasn't said how long it will take to decide whether to file charges, leaving this issue hanging over Cable's head for the foreseeable future.

The NFL also is monitoring the case, and Cable could face a suspension from the league depending on how the legal process plays out.

Hanson ended months of silence by talking to Yahoo! Sports late last week, saying Cable threatened to kill him during the August attack that left him with a broken jaw at the team's training-camp hotel in Napa. Cable has denied the allegations and admits it's difficult not to give his side, even though he has been advised to stay silent.

The more pressing issue for Cable is fixing an Oakland offense that has managed just 13 points during a three-game losing streak. The Raiders (1-4) have gained just 426 yards during that stretch, a mark that has been reached 25 times in a single game by other teams so far this season, including the New York Giants' 483-yard effort in Sunday's 44-7 victory over Oakland.

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"Obviously guys are frustrated. They aren't happy with how we're playing on offense," tight end Zach Miller said. "We're not going to win games the way we're playing on offense."

The Raiders trailed the Giants 28-0 before recording their initial first down of the game and never even had a chance. Their only touchdown of the past three weeks came after Sinorice Moss fumbled a punt at his 15-yard line and the officials ruled that Justin Fargas' forward progress had stopped before an apparent fumble that New York returned for a touchdown.

Oakland finished with 124 yards of offense, was sacked six times, lost three fumbles and managed just seven first downs.

"When you're kind of riding that rail of having a breakthrough and going backward, you can't allow like what just happened to us to keep pushing you backward," Cable said. "You have to keep fighting through it. I think it takes three wins in a row to really get faith and a belief in what you're trying to do, and we're just not there yet."

The Raiders haven't won three games in a row since their Super Bowl season in 2002, going 25-76 since the start of the following season in the worst stretch in franchise history.

Offensively, the team has never been worse than it has been the past few weeks. Oakland has failed to reach 200 yards of offense for four consecutive games, doubling the longest streak in franchise history and joining last season's Cleveland Browns as the only teams to reach such depths of offensive ineptitude in the last 32 years.

The Raiders have failed to reach even that low mark of production six times in the 13 games since Cable took over as the play-caller midway through last season. That matches the number of times the Raiders failed to record 200 yards in the entire decade of the 1970s.

Cable said he doesn't plan to relinquish the play-calling duties despite the team's offensive struggles.

"I really look at it as, is the play you call, does that have anything to do with executing it?" Cable said. "Does it have anything to do with being in a manageable third down? Those kinds of things probably weigh heavier on my mind than what play's being called."

Things don't figure to get much easier for the Raiders the next three weeks with home games against the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets and a visit to the San Diego Chargers before the bye week.

"The problem is not who we're playing, the problem is us," Cable said.

Notes:Raiders LB Ricky Brown injured his right ankle against the Giants and could miss the rest of the season if he needs surgery. If an operation isn't necessary, Brown likely will miss four weeks. ... Raiders WR Chaz Schilens (foot) and LG Robert Gallery (leg) could return from injuries this week.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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