Heading into the last week of the regular season, the Oakland Raiders have little more to play for but pride and the opportunity to grab one more upset victory to a seemingly superior team.
Their season coming to an end, coach Tom Cable has elected to stay with Charlie Frye at quarterback for the third consecutive game. This in turn means that Jamarcus Russell will once again remain on the sidelines; clipboard in hand. For the third consecutive game, he will play cheerleader to his fellow Raiders. This is a game, he will watch from the sidelines. A game he SHOULD be starting at quarterback.
A large portion of the Raider Nation are not exactly huge fans of Jamarcus Russell. They had the highest of hopes for the young LSU quarterback who could throw the ball 100+ yards from one knee (kidding). His performance went swiftly downward and they turned on him almost as fast as they jumped on his bandwagon. I happen to be one of those fans.
Do I think Russell is the answer at quarterback? Do I think he will bring the Ravens' secondary to their knees? Do I think Russell rolls out of his dollar-sign shaped bed every morning, aspiring to be the most finely tuned QB to ever play the game? No, no, and no. Do I think Russel should start against the Ravens? Yes.
Charlie Frye has proved nothing so far in his tenure with the Raiders. Charles has amassed 401 yards in two games as a Raider. Nice. While earning those 401 yards he has also managed to throw 0 TDs and 4 picks. Not so nice. The only thing he has proved is that he is not capable of running a NFL offense. Jamarcus Russell's yearly statistics are equally as unimpressive. 1,185YDS, 3 TDs and 10 picks. Both quarterbacks share a QB rating in the 49's. Both are playing some fairly ugly football. The difference between the two is that Russell has a future with this team.
Charlie Frye has shown little promise in Oakland. He was given the opportunity to show that he could still play in the NFL. He failed. Jamarcus is going through similar trials. The reason that Russell should start is that when Frye becomes a free agent at seasons end, Russell will remain a Raider. A Raider that the organization has invested time, money (a lot), and a first overall draft pick in. It is almost a no-brainer that at this point, in a now meaningless season, you would start a player you have millions invested in over a passerby. You start Frye to either further the career of a washed up QB or to slap the face of your multi-million dollar backup. Either way it is a mistake and there is no benefit to the team by starting Frye. For better or worse, invest these last 60 minutes in a guy who will be on our team next year.
Russell has not been lighting the world on fire. We all know that. But what if something really does "click" for him and he ends up being a producer for this team? Lets give him the reps. Cable isn't doing all that bad of a job here in Oakland, but this is one issue that I strongly disagree on.
Bench the Frye-guy. Play J-Russ.