JaMarcus Russell puts his stamp on the season


Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

Without an adequate quarterback, the Oakland Raiders are doomed to remain in 11-loss hell. After a 21-13 loss at home to the playoff bound Baltimore Ravens, it is clear that the biggest albatross hanging around the neck of pro football in the East Bay is one JaMarcus Russell.

I’ve stubbornly tried to defend him. He’s consistently let all of Raider Nation down. He has few supporters in his own locker room and even fewer fans in the stands. Russell has the physical tools that can’t be taught. But he’s also got the most ridiculous contract in pro sports.

Russell is due to make a cool $9 million in 2010 as a member of the Silver and Black. Another uninspired effort on Sunday might just have been his last chance to justify the right to sport Raider colors next season.

I’m no fan of Charlie Frye, but you can’t argue against the effort he puts forth. Frye spent the better part of the first half limping around the Coliseum. Despite his injuries, The Frye Guy threw for 180 yards and tossed a nice ball that found a leaping Zach Miller in the back of the end zone.

Once Russell took over as signal caller at the start of the second half, it signaled a familiar downward spiral.

A field goal followed by an interception topped off with a fumble would be the highlights of Russell’s afternoon.

JaMarcus played better than usual completing 9 of 14 passes with some coming in impressive fashion as he threaded-the-needle and made some of his most accurate tosses of the season.

However, results are all that matters.

Russell led his team to just three points in the second half. Not good enough to beat a team headed to the post season; just good enough to ensure the 7th straight 11-loss season for the once proud Oakland franchise.

The blame does not fall squarely on Russell’s shoulders. Once again the horrible run defense reared its ugly mug as Baltimore ran for 240 yards on the ground, 167 coming from Willis McGahee alone, 77 of those Hiram Eugene would prefer never to see again.

Despite a shaky first half, John Marshall made some masterful adjustments in the second half and kept the game within striking distance.

Too bad for the Raiders that Russell would have had a better chance striking oil in Alameda County than he would have paydirt.

Yet another 5-11 season comes to a close with those familiar questions looming: Who is going to be the head coach next season? What are we going to do about the quarterback position?  Will this defense ever be able to stop the run again?

Of all those questions, only one has a definite answer, let’s just hope Al Davis shares the same belief.

Tom Cable should be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

Another change in the coaching regime will be a sure ticket back to 5-11 in 2010. Cable has shown the ability to get the most out of his men. He just hasn’t figured out how to do so consistently.

As for the questions about the quarterback position, well, that’s not so simple. Bruce Gradkowski is currently the best option on the roster. Frye is better than Russell, but that’s not saying much. Russell was hand picked by Al Davis.

Whatever Davis decides in the near future will be his prerogative.

Davis should be aware that of the few faithful fans that did show their faces at the Oakland Coliseum this year, the overwhelming majority had but one refrain for Russell.


Cable has earned the right to get another chance in 2010. Russell hasn’t even earned the right to be on the roster, let alone the starting quarterback.


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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bruce Gradkowski Charlie Frye Hiram Eugene JaMarcus Russell John Marshall Willis McGhaee Zach Miller

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