Its the middle of December and teams are positioning themselves for the playoffs, and some are positioning themselves for the NFL Draft. We see the same faces on top and the same on the bottom. Rams, Browns, Lions and Raiders are once again looking like a lock for a top ten pick, and the Colts, Patriots, Eagles and Chargers are once again looking like a lock for a division title. While most fans carry hope through November and December, Raider Fans know the season is over by the end of October. This offseason will bring many changes to the Oakland Raiders yet again, here are some moves that need to happen.
I will be the first one to admit that I wanted Russell to succeed. As Raider Fans, we needed him to succeed. Giving up on him will remind us of the players we could have taken, and the money we have thrown away. It was important for him to develop and be the QB we needed. I'll put the blame 50% on Russell and 50% on the Raiders. To be a QB in this league, you have to give it your 110% both physically and mentally. Only 32 people in the world can say they are a Starting NFL QB on Sundays. Many people behind those starting QB's are working just as hard because they want that job. Russell has now been leapfrogged by the back up and the third stringer. Russell played well to end last season, he posted better numbers and ratings than Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. The difference was, Flacco and Ryan progressed during the offseason, Russell hasn't. The other 50% of the blame goes to the Raiders. You can't bring in a raw talent like Russell and develop him in the Circus that is the Oakland Raiders. No stability at head coach, he's worked with various different play callers, and in his season when he was supposed to break out, he was rewarded with 2 rookie starters at WR , and the three headed monster at running back that wasn't very scary. At the end of the day the NFL is a business. If Russell isn't producing in Oakland, its time to part ways. Jason Cambell, Michael Vick, and J.P. Losman could all be viable options at QB. If Russell stays a Raider, look for Cable to be shown the door. That may happen anyway.
Call me crazy, but I have a hunch that the Al Davis has already found the next coach in line for the Oakland Raiders. Fassel attended the game vs the Redskins last week, a couple days later the Raiders signed J.P. Losman, the QB that Fassel coached to a Championship in the UFL. His son, was given a 15 yard penalty for yelling at the refs and being on the field. Fassel made it clear last year he wanted to coach the Raiders. Is all this a little suspicious to anyone else? Maybe J.P. Losman will stay a Raider, if that is the case, don't be surprised to see Fassel as the next Raider head coach.
Expect a big time contract to be handed out to Richard Seymour this offseason, if not the Franchise Tag, but last year the Raiders surprised everyone when they didn't put the tag on Shane Lechler or Nnamdi Asomugha. If Seymour is given a monster contract, that will be 3 players on the defense that were signed to monster contracts. Despite the money being spent on D, it is still ranked one of the worst in the league. That may be because of a dismal offense.
To ease the pressure of of Jamarcus Russell, lets just put the blame on the Oakland Raiders Drafting strategy or as I like to call it, Al Davis's "Its my team I can pick if I want to," Plan. Michael Huff, Robert Gallery, Jamarcus Russell, Darren Mcfadden and Darrius Heyward-Bey haven't prodcued in their careers at the postion they were chosen for. Gallery has become a good guard, though he's been injured too much this season. MIchael Huff is having a better year, but with the emergence of Tyvonn Branch, and drafting Mike Mitchell last year, you might wonder if Huff may be done as a Raider as well. Mcfadden has gotten more yards lined up as a receiver this year than he has as running back. As a matter of fact, he gained more yards this last week vs the Redskins than Heyward-Bey has in any one game. We must draft better, I'd love for us to draft offensive linemen with our first two pick this offseason.
This team has been horrible becasue of horrible decisions from the big man upstairs. Starting with the decision to get rid of Jon Gruden. We can get angry at all the players, and boo as loud as we can, but they aren't the real problem. This is a business and its time for Davis to hold himself accountable. The Raiders stadium is always empty, games are blacked out, we aren't winning games and we over pay free agents just to come play for us. Our current system is not working. Hiring a GM, will get the monkey off Davis's back. Best part of all, if the GM doesn't help, then Davis can fire him too!
I have a feeling that Russell may stay as the Raiders QB for one more season, and it will be because of Davis's ego. Davis will fire cable, which was almost a given when he rehired Randy "The Jaw" Hanson. Al Davis will then hire Jim Fassel, and retain J.P. Losman. Russell will rework his contract or he will be let go, which I believe his contract will be reworked and have a lot of incentive based additions to it. Davis has too much pride to admit when he is wrong, especially with the big armed Russell. Him releasing Russell will show the world that Lane Kiffin was right, and Al does not want that. No GM will be hired, but expect Davis to be less hands on once Fassel is hired.