Hey, Raider Nation, Is J.P. Losman An Upgrade?

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IDecember 16, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 05: Quarterback J.P. Losman #7 of the Buffalo Bills throws the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the Buffalo Bills v Arizona Cardinals NFL Game on October 5, 2008 at Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed UFL star and former Buffalo Bills quarterback, J.P. Losman, and could have him in the starting line-up as early as Week 16.

Of course, that may depend on franchise quarterback Jamarcus Russell's attitude and play in Week 15 , but all signs (especially the actual signing) point to the team finally moving in a different direction.

Russell moved back into the line-up after taking over for an injured Bruce Gradkowski (likely out for season) against the Washington Redskins last week, and proceeded to perform at his usual low level en route to a 34-13 defeat.

While the same high-points are still there with Russell: big arm, great size, and solid mobility, his attitude and comments in the past week have caused his coaches and team to question his commitment to the team, as well as his ability to take any blame for his poor play.

It may be a stretch to assume Losman can step right in, learn the offense, and turn things around for the Raiders anemic offense, but if Gradkowski could do it so easily, why not Losman, as well?

The only thing for certain is that Jamarcus Russell isn't (and hasn't) been getting it done for three years now, and once Gradkowski was inserted into the starting line-up, the Raiders magically won two games, and their receivers and overall offense jumped to a new level of play.

Many attribute that to Gradkowski's fire and passion, as well as his leadership in the huddle. Gradkowski has kept open communication with all of his weapons, and played as if he had something to lose, something Russell has never exhibited since being handed the starting job at the end of his rookie season.

One could go on and on about why (or why not, more importantly) Russell deserves another shot, but the more interesting and pressing question now is if Losman can pick-up where Gradkowski left off.

Losman has different skills than Russell or Gradkowski, and like Russell, is a former first rounder than didn't quite pan out with the team that drafted him.

However, unlike Russell, he showed an ability to take over games and execute at a high level, albeit at an inconsistent and erratic rate, and was at least playing mediocre football up until the Buffalo Bills replaced him with Trent Edwards.

Now, after starring for the UFL Las Vegas Locomotives, the UFL champions, Losman has his confidence back, and has displayed quality leadership and decision-making abilities, while still show-casing the same physical talents that warranted him being drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft .

But this isn't necessarily about any individual quarterback on this Raiders team. This is about Jamarcus Russell blowing his chances and not putting an even remotely average offensive product onto the field.

Losman, on the other hand, stared humility and failure in the face, accepted a contract with the UFL, and has worked his way back into the NFL .

If anyone deserves a second chance, it's him, and not the sulky, selfish Russell.

So, Raider Nation, the question stands: Is J.P. Losman an upgrade over Jamarcus Russell?

The answer is an emphatic "yes", and in every possible way.

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