With the signing of former Buffalo Bills No. 1 pick J.P. Losman, the Oakland Raiders offseason moves have begun and we still have three games to go in the 2009 season.
Al Davis never fails to be fascinating— He’s turned the Raiders quarterback position into a twisted, smoking, heap of metal on the side of the highway.
But in the end, Losman could emerge as Oakland's primary signal caller next season.
Let’s examine the Raiders quarterbacking situation as it stands.
Bruce Gradkowski energized the team. He gave the Raiders some moxie and they won games. Pure and simple.
But I think Davis saw the “wounded ducks” in Pittsburgh and said; that’s not my style of football--Bruce will be playing football next season but not in Oakland.
So is Frye the guy?
That remains to be seen. From all of Tom Cable’s indications, the former Browns and Seahawks QB runs a great scout team and is the consummate pro, but nothing more.
In my opinion, the signing of Losman just laid out Davis’ future plans at the Raiders glamour position of quarterback.
He will use Losman as a way to cut his losses with franchise-bust JaMarcus Russell.
In the coming months, Davis will demand that Russell restructure his contract or be cut.
Russell could have a hard decision to make here, since he’s already told reporters that he won’t reduce his mega-bucks deal to reflect his disasterously poor season.
In the end, I think Russell will bend to the owner’s wishes, realizing that his prospects on the open market are slim.
Meanwhile, Losman is now a reclamation project and Davis probably thinks he can reinvent the UFL quarterback and put pressure on Russell to perform.
It's a win-win for Davis, if Russell fails, then he still has Losman waiting in the wings.
But Losman has his own demons to fight. The former Tulane star was taken with the 22nd pick in the 2004 draft. He was part of a quarterback rich draft, which included the likes of Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
That's a tough class to be measured against, and obviously Losman was the one that failed in that group. Maybe he needs the right team, and right place, to succeed in the NFL.
In 2006, the Southern Cal native started 16-games for Buffalo, and threw19-touchdowns with 14-interceptions. Not bad, considering how mediocre the Bills offense was in that particular stretch. Losman had no real receivers to throw to except for Lee Evans.
Think about this scenario: If this maneuver succeeds in finally bringing Oakland a quarterback, Davis would consider it a genius move, and that would partially wipe-out the abysmal failure of drafting Russell.
The bottom line is Davis wants a strong armed quarterback to lead his team.
With Losman on board, now comes the speculation that Jim Fassel will soon follow.
The ready made coach-quarterback combo could be the driving force that facilitates yet another coaching change in Oakland.
Fassel is a quarterback developer, most notably with John Elway and Kerry Collins, but he hasn’t been a head coach in the NFL since 2003.
In 2004 and 2005, Fassel had an unsuccessful stint in Baltimore, as the offensive coordinator. During those seasons the Ravens offense ranked among the worst in the league.
Will Fassel and Losman lead the Raiders next year?
Right now it’s a stronger possibility than bringing back the “rock star” Jon Gruden, especially since Davis can get them on the cheap.