As a Raider fan, I watch my team with much scrutiny. Watching individual players on each play, seeing who is performing well, being an asset and doing their job on the field.
In watching the recent play of the Raiders, a few things have become obvious to me (and I am sure many more of the Raider faithful).
Michael Bush: We picked up Bush as a bargain, later round pick, due to his broken leg the season before the draft. He was considered a Heisman hopeful till the injury. We nursed him along for a whole season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. To keep a player on the payroll for that long without getting any play (benefit) from him means that Mr. Davis thought he had extreme talent. He was right. Michael Bush is averaging over 5 yards per carry. That is only .7 less than the league leader (yards) Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. Bush is averaging over 5 yards per carry as compared to Justin Fargas at 3.8 and Darren McFadden at 3.5 yards per carry. That is a significant difference and should obviously mark Bush as the starter. Basically he is an animal, our best running back and should get the ball often.
Darren McFadden: Drafted for his big play ability and speed, McFadden should have gobbled up huge yards often. This hasn't been the case. Darren seems to go down easily when crossing the line of scrimmage. As the starter, he just doesn't seem to be much of a factor. Recently, the Raiders have been using him in the slot as a receiver and he has contributed with some nice chunks of yardage. I think we all knew he would do well with some space and it seems catching the ball downfield is his niche. He should be used in the slot often. Also, with our kick return game lacking some spark, shouldn't the Raiders try McFadden back there? It is late in the season, lets see what he can do for the team back there.
The Quarterback position: Well well, the quarterback spot. We all know what JaMarcus Russell can do (and not do). He has been given ample time to show his abilities, improve his skills and lead this team. He has failed. Bruce Gradkowski has come in, been a great leader and provided sustained drives and effort that has been much needed by this team. He is a definate asset. Charlie Frye has been given a chance to control this team recently and show the team what he can do. He played decent versus the Broncos but lacked the level of skills that Gradkowski produced. Frye should be and is behind Gradkowski on the depth chart. This should also include next season. J.P. Losman, the newest qb to grace our current roster. Losman is an interesting pick up by the Raiders. He was the 22nd pick in the 2004 draft (broke his leg and missed the full season). After some short history in the NFL, Losman led the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL to a championship in the 2009 season. This guy knows how to win, is sharp (hasn't been sitting on a couch all day) and I would assume, eager to get a starting role in the NFL (it is my guess that the NFL pays better than the UFL). This guy needs a full game in the NFL to show us what he can do. I would like the Raiders to take the opportunity to see what they have in Losman. They need to give him that shot as soon as possible. He just might be the best qb on the Raiders roster. There is no time like the present to find out who to sign for next season. If Losman plays well (like I think he will), Gradkowski and Losman can battle for the starting qb spot next season, and Frye could be third string. This would allow the Raiders to focus their draft on the O and D lines (and a fierce linebacker).
The time is now for the Raiders to put the best team on the field, see who to use and who to keep for next season.
The San Clemente Kid