Seeing Al Davis these days is similar to seeing a ghost.
Al seems to be in hiding, not wanting to deal with media types until he is good and ready.
Sure, he shows up to the games, but as far as hearing his thoughts about the recent "Message to Al" campaign, forget about it.
However, Al Davis, in conjunction with head coach Tom Cable, has begun his own "Message to..." campaign. In this case it's a message to JaMarcus Russell.
On the verge of what may end up being an uncapped year in the NFL, Al is sending a clear and strong message to his dreamy quarterback: Show up, or I'll show you the door.
The recent signing of J.P. Losman just adds flames to the fire that was already burning from an earlier benching.
The injury of Bruce Gradkowski was no help to JaMarcus' case either, as he stunk up the field like dog dung on a hot day in Bruce's absence.
The decision from Davis and Cable this week to start Charlie Frye over the incompetent, overstayed quarterback puts Russell in the corner facing the wall.
Despite numerous attempts by coach Cable to get the multi-million dollar quarterback to be motivated and show a little integrity, Russell has failed to answer the call, and it now appears evident that the Raiders are preparing to make a move in an opposite direction.
Russell is due for a $5-plus million dollar roster bonus and a base salary of over $9 million next season. If there is no salary cap, then Oakland could choose to cut ties with Russell before the roster bonus with little to no residual effect, like to the tune of around $3 million.
While much has been said about the lack of work ethic in the 6'6" quarterback with the rocket launcher attached to his shoulder, there is no clear cut schedule of activities to my knowledge; meaning only those close to the organization know for sure what Russell has done in preparation for games and upcoming seasons.
While Charlie Frye said earlier this week, "I’m always prepared. That’s something about me, my work ethic is something I take pride in. The coaches let me sit in a lot of the meetings as far as the game planning and write up ideas and things. I’ve been a big part of the game plans the last few weeks."
To the best of my knowledge, JaMarcus Russell has no such claim.
Frye is known around the organization as the first one in. I'm not sure about the last to leave, but the bottom line is that sitting in on meetings and being the first to arrive on a daily basis gives him approximately 120 more hours worked than Russell this season. Granted, Frye does not have nearly the same salary.
That's okay with Russell though, because, "JaMarcus only worries about JaMarcus."
He can't help what other people think and his work ethic does not need to change at all, because that's not an issue. In addition, he will not restructure his contract despite the fact that the better preforming Bruce Gradkowski is making nearly $8.5 million dollars less than him.
So JaMarcus has made his bed and he will lie in it, at least until Al Davis decides to take out the trash this off season.
So far, Oakland has paid JaMarcus about $2 million per touchdown pass.
Al Davis has played his cards like a pro, but only time will tell what Mr. Davis is thinking, because he certainly won't say so.
In JMR's own words, "Time will tell, time will tell, time will really, really tell."