Raider Nation: Benching Jamarcus Russell Is a Mistake

Elias TrejoSenior Analyst IINovember 18, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders throws the ball during their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Tom Cable needs to win the majority of the games remaining to keep his job, and he doesn't feel Jamarcus Russell will help his cause.

Tom Cable has announced that he will start Bruce Gradkowski this week against the Bengals. Many fans will be pleased by this, and not many will disagree with this move. I am one of the ones that think this move is a mistake.

The Raiders are 2-7 this season, and are out of the playoff picture already. The rest of the season will be crucial for our young offense to grow together and gel. Last year Russell struggled to find his receivers, and this year has been even harder. The whole first half of the season he has had two rookie wideouts starting.

Chaz Schillens is back after missing half the season, and Darren Mcfadden is also coming back off an injury. All these guys need to be on the field together getting their reps in and gaining experience together. Can we really think of a positive outcome if Gradkowski starts?

Out of Russell and Gradkowski, we want Russell to pan out and emerge as our guy. He was our first round pick, and he's got the physical ability to be a great player. There is still a lot of upside with Jamarcus Russell, mostly because it can't get any worse.

What is Gradkowski going to do for the team long term? When the Raiders released Jeff Garcia, they made it clear that Russell would be the starter. Had they kept him, this decision would of made more sense. Gradkowski hasn't showed he could do much better than Russell in his time as QB.

Had some of Russell's throws not been dropped, this is a conversation we wouldn't be having.

This situation is almost similiar to the situation with Vince Young and the Titans. The major difference there was that the Titans were winning games despite Youngs horrible play. They felt that adding Kerry Kollins would make them a more solid team, and that worked out well and the time on the bench for VY, seems to have helped him grow. He is 3-0 since winnning his job back.

The Raiders situation is a lot different. They are not winning any games, and Russell is not the only reason for the Raiders woes. If the Raiders were in a playoff race today, i'd say this was the best decision for the franchise. But the Raiders are 2-7, and the remaining games are crucial for a young team to gain experience and play together.

The Raiders have 7 games remaining, and only the Browns and Redskins have a losing record. Gradkowski isn't going to get us to the playoffs next year or the year after, but Russell can.

Mabye Gradkowski gives us a better chance to win today, but he isn't our answer for tomorrow. Cable chose to sit Russell, because he knows if he is going to be the head coach next year, the Raiders need to win today.

He'd rather sacrifice and stunt the much needed growth and experience of a young QB, who needs to be on the field and grow with his team, just so he can try and scrap an extra two wins to save his job.

The Raiders will have a new head coach next year, with a real offensive coordinator. Russell will be the quarterback, and expect the Raiders to sign a Jason Cambell or other veteran QB to compete for the starting job with Russell. I fully expect Russell and the rest of the much maligned offense to greatly improve after this horrible season.