Raiders punter rips Al Davis

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

The Oakland Raiders took one giant step forward this season.

Only to have owner Al Davis shoot himself in the foot again.

That's the sentiment among many of the players after Davis fired head coach Tom Cable, even though he led them to their best record in eight years.

Punter Shane Lechler ripped the move in comments to Bay Area media, saying it was a "huge setback" for the Raiders. The Raiders announced their decision not to exercise a two-year, $5 million option on Cable's contract for 2011 and '12, two days after wrapping up an 8-8 season that gave Oakland its first non-losing record since winning the 2002 AFC championship. "It's hard to understand how or why the decision was made when it seemed it was in the best interest of players and we finally felt like we were headed in the right way, and the owner goes and pulls the plug," Lechler said,

Firing Cable just when the team was starting to show flashes of offence and Hue Jackson was making inroads with the defence seems wrong-headed. His players credited him with making the team a contender in the AFC West again after a run of seven straight years of at least 11 losses.

Expectations are that Jackson will end up as the head coach. He's a Davis favourite. But why fix something that for the first time in a long while doesn't appear to be broken? Maybe this makes sense somehow. But you have to be Dysfunctional Davis to understand why it makes sense.

The team now begins its search for their sixth coach since Jon Gruden left for Tampa Bay following the 2001 season. Cable lasted longer than any of the previous five, with a 17-27 record.


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