(Chris Park/Associated Press
ALAMEDA, Calif. - The Oakland Raiders enter their bye week in similar fashion to the way they started their season: coming off a close loss to San Diego and with more allegations being thrown at coach Tom Cable.
What happened between a 24-20 season-opening loss to the Chargers and Sunday’s 24-16 loss to them has been more dysfunction around the NFL’s worst team over the past seven seasons.
The Raiders (2-6) have lost four games by at least 20 points, have taken dramatic steps back offensively, and have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Cable was accused in training camp of assaulting defensive assistant Randy Hanson and breaking his jaw. More allegations trickled out before Cable was officially cleared by the Napa County district attorney late last month.
Soon after, Cable was hit with allegations that he has a history of violent behavior toward women. His first wife, Sandy Cable, and a former girlfriend, Marie Lutz, said in separate interviews on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines’’ that the first-year head coach physically abused them at times during their relationships.
In a statement Sunday, Cable acknowledged striking Sandy Cable with an open hand. Cable said the altercation happened more than 20 years ago and was the only time he’s ever touched a woman inappropriately. He stood by that statement yesterday, declining to answer any questions on the topic.
The Raiders said yesterday they will undertake a “serious evaluation’’ of domestic violence allegations against their coach.
The team says it does not condone the alleged attacks. The team also noted it has fired employees for misconduct.
When asked about his future, Cable responded: “I’m coaching the Raiders and I think my future is to be the coach of the Raiders.’’
The players are mostly tuning out the off-field issues, focusing on improving a team that is 26-76 since the 2002 season.
“We’re not thinking about it and we’re not worried about the outside distractions,’’ tight end Zach Miller said. “We’re just focused on being a better football team.’’
The Raiders have a lot of work to get there.
The Raiders have been unable to develop JaMarcus Russell into a big-play quarterback with the kind of deep-strike offense that owner Al Davis loves so much.
The Raiders have scored just three touchdowns in the past six games, have failed to reach 200 yards of offense in five of eight games, and are the lowest-ranked offense in the league.
“Everybody is looking for an answer right now,’’ wide receiver Louis Murphy said. “We have to continue to stay together as a team and continue to work hard, and continue in practice to work hard to drill our plays and continue to do what the coaches ask of us. Eventually it’s going to come out in the games.’’
The Raiders could get some good news after the bye week with running back Darren McFadden, receiver Chaz Schilens and offensive linemen Robert Gallery and Cornell Green hoping to return from injuries.