Cable wants to stay as Raiders head coach

Since taking over for Lane Kiffin early in the season, Tom Cable has downplayed any talk about his long-term future with the Raiders. With one game left, though, it's clear Cable has warmed to the idea of staying in Oakland. Now the question is, does Al Davis feel the same way?

A day after the Raiders beat the Houston Texans in their final home game of 2008, Cable openly expressed his desire to remain as Oakland's head coach and said he'd have no problem going through a round of interviews as part of the process.

"I mentioned this when the whole opportunity came, this is a dream come true for me and I've invested a great deal in these last few weeks," Cable said Monday. "My commitment level doesn't change that way."

Cable has not spoken with Davis about coaching beyond the current year but hopes to find out soon one way or another. He declined to say if he would return as the Raiders offensive line coach were he to be passed over for top job but acknowledged it's critical that Oakland find some continuity at the head coaching spot.

"I don't think there's any question," Cable said. "In order for it to move forward and be a playoff team next year, which I believe it will be, hopefully things will go in the right direction that way. I think it's very important at this point.

"It's just a matter of what direction he (Davis) wants to go with the organization."

Davis, who has not spoken to the media since firing Kiffin on Sept. 30, cannot simply promote Cable to the full-time head coach. According to NFL policies, the Raiders must conduct a full round of interviews which must include at least one minority candidate.

Cable has had generally good support in the locker room but has not openly campaigned for the job. But he has played the par t of company man and, unlike Kiffin, hasn't gone out of his way to wrinkle Davis' feathers.

The fact that the Raiders came up with arguably their best overall game in more than five years should help Cable's cause. Oakland had long ago lost the motivation of the playoffs and went into Sunday's game against Houston having lost seven of its previous eight games before dominating the Texans at every turn.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell came up with the best performance of his career, throwing for a pair of touchdowns while garnering a rating of 128.1.

Cable gushed about Russell's day after the win and felt even more strongly after reviewing the game on tape.

"I'm elated for the kid," Cable said. "You're going to see, that is a breakthrough game for that guy. That was a team that had won four in a row, a team that defensively really struggled early in the year and really got it going … but our quarterback went out there, led the team, made great decisions, was on time. Man, his movement in the pocket was excellent, his eyes stayed up the field and his feet were right. I thought he was fabulous. I think he had a breakthrough. Just know there will be some other hurdles to get over as you go through it but its certainly headed in the right way."

In other news and notes:

· Left tackle Mario Henderson earned a B-plus grade from Cable after holding Houston defensive end Mario Williams without a sack in his second straight start since replacing Kwame Harris.

"Mario Henderson played well in protection," Cable said. "He struggled a little bit in the run game but he played well. He didn't have any mental errors or anything like that. I see him starting to maybe get a little more comfortable, a little more confident in it. But we've gotta make him better, help him get better as a run player. Definitely have to do that."

· Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is undergoing additional tests on his neck, though Cable said it doesn't appear to be serious. Asomugha was injured in the second half while trying to make a tackle and was unable to finish the game.

· Russell, cornerback Chris Johnson (interception, three pass defensed), defensive end Derrick Burgess (two sacks, three hurries), safety Hiram Eugene (six tackles), running back Justin Fargas (93 yards on 22 carries), punt returner/wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (two TDs), Marquis Cooper (special teams) and Ike Ekejiuba (special teams) all received game balls following the win over Houston.


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