I think the Seattle Seahawks community spends a little too much time talking about Tom Cable, honestly, but here we are with a relevant news story that could significantly alter the NFC West next season: The San Francisco 49ers are going to interview the much-maligned Seahawks offensive line coach for their head coaching vacancy next week.
Cable has been Seattle’s offensive line and assistant head coach since being fired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders following the 2010 season. During his tenure, he has helped Russell Okung and Max Unger achieve Pro Bowl seasons, and surely deserves some credit for a Super Bowl championship in 2013, but has also drawn the ire of many fans for the performance of the line over the last couple of years. Most analysts, publications, and advanced sites agree that the Seahawks have a bottom-three offensive line in the NFL, if not the worst.
How much of that is Cable vs how much blame does the front office get for spending the least amount of money on offensive linemen? That’s unclear, but he has experience in working with players who may be on the fringes of being a pro and trying to get them to perform at a starter-level — something the Niners are facing with a roster that still needs a massive overhaul.
As the Raiders head coach from 2008 to 2010, Cable went 17-27, including an 8-8 season in his final year, their first non-losing campaign since 2002. But that wasn’t enough to save Cable’s job, as in addition to not winning enough, Cable had a violent past that included punching an assistant, as well as domestic violence allegations by three different women. Whether or not that means he never deserves another chance to be a head coach is up to NFL teams, or an individual’s personal opinion, but he may get another chance with San Francisco. He may also be paired with a current Seahawks exec as GM.
In addition to interviewing Cable, the 49ers will talk to Seattle front office executives Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer about their GM opening after firing Trent Baalke.
Kirchner is experienced with GM interviews, having talked to the New York Jets in 2014 and the Detroit Lions in 2015. A co-director of player personnel (with Fitterer), Kirchner spent a large part of his career as a scout for the Carolina Panthers from 2002 to 2009 before joining the Seahawks in 2010, and working his way up to his current role beginning in 2015. He may deserve a lot of credit for scouting of players on other teams who came to Seattle, such as Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett, and Cliff Avril, while Fitterer was director of college scouting from 2011 to 2014 before the promotion, which is when the team added players like Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, and Bobby Wagner.
Here is Kirchner talking with the Seahawks website before the draft last year and speaking about how important it is for the coaches to buy into the players that the front office selects, especially late round picks. That’s the type of relationship that it seems like Baalke never had with Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula, or Chip Kelly, which led to the dysfunction in San Francisco that got them to 2-14 this season. It’s also why owner Jed York may want to hire a duo that’s already familiar with each other, like Cable and Kirchner, or Cable and Fitterer.
That may be a good thing, or it may be a bad thing. Especially losing an exec to a rival, if that exec will start stealing the guys in the draft that he knows both franchises may want. Even in the event of losing Cable, we really have little idea how much of the offensive line woes fall on him, or if the next guy will do any better.
But at least the community would talk about him less as it pertains to Seattle’s offensive line -- and a lot more as a rival who would be hated for a new set of reasons.