For this article I will give a non-bias no-hate style to comparing the QB's of the 9ers and the Raiders. Running Backs will be next.
Russell: The #1 pick of '07 had a long contract holdout and didn't sign a contract until after a week 1 loss at Oakland to the Lions. Daunte Culpepper and Josh McCown were ahead of him on the depth chart until the last month of the season when he had limited playing time as Coach Kiffin eased Russell into the NFL. Reasons for Russell's poor past seasons have been coaching changes, play-caller changes and his only reliable target has been TE Zach Miller. Late in '08 Russell showed signs of promise and looked like the long-term answer at QB. Cable returns as play-caller this season with a new QB coach (Paul Hackett) and "passing-game cordinator" (Ted Tollner) while his recievers who helped his late season success return with additions of Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy and now Javon Walker claims to be 100% healthy for the first time in his Raiders tenure.
Hill-Smith: Smith was the #1 pick of '05, quickly signed a 6 year, $55+ million dollar deal and was instantly fed into the fire. Shaun Hill was not a first-rounder and was a back-up before Smith began to show his injury-prone side. Hill thrived under the coaching of Mike Singletary while Smith restructured his contract so the team wouldn't release him and that overrated salary. With another new offensive cordinator the only continuity for the two QBs is the receiving corps. Adding Crabtree (#10 pick this year) and Issac Bruce returning instead of retiring will help Vernon Davis and the 9ers other targets get open for the QBs. But the big question is on the O-line. Can they protect the winner of the training camp battle or will the winner of this battle win an all expense paid trip to the ground from blitzing linebackers or speedy DEs? Vote in the poll and comment your opinion.