Memo To Al Davis: How to Play To an Empty Stadium

jeff rhorerContributor IJanuary 31, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Oakland Raiderettes Cheerleaders perform on the field during an NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers at McAfee Coliseum on October 29, 2006 in Oakland, California. The Raiders won 20-13. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

   When you go to the Coliseum, you want to see the Raiders play together as a team. A hard hitting, physical defense combined with an explosive offense and of course the big W at the end of the game. That's what you go to the games for and more.

    The fact that the Raiderettes are the classiest and cutest cheerleaders in the league is an added bonus. As gorgeous as the girls in Silver and Black are though they won't sell season tickets or fill the stands. So what fills the stands?

   Talent! Talent at quarterback first and foremost. And that is the problem facing Al Davis. Al is desperate to be proven right about his choosing Jamarcus Russell. He insisted on playing Russell with one disastrous game following another. Finally giving in at the end of the year when it was too late to salvage the season and too hard to endure the booing of a very small home crowd, Russell was benched. Yes the Raiders did much better after this, we all know.

   Now Al is trying to revamp the Raiders this offseason starting by bringing in Team Cable and keeping the coach. With Waufle to coach the d line and Jackson to coordinate the offense the organization is making great strides at forming a solid coaching unit that can take us to the next level. A good solid draft will put more  pieces of the puzzle in place and with a free agent or two, we may well win the AFC West in 2010. Unless of course he insists on starting Jamarcus Russell.

   This is not an attempt to re-evaluate Russells skills, his touch or lack of, his raw abilities, his arm strength, durability, accuracy, leadership or intelligence. This is about his track record of performance as judged by the best evaluators of talent in the NFL, Raider fans themselves. Russell has been given the golden ticket to the NFL and has flushed it. We know it, Cable knows it, and somewhere in the depths of Als consciousness he knows it too.

   But, Al is stubborn and needs to be right at nearly any cost. Well the cost is huge and the bill is coming due. No amount of coaching hires, no free agent acquisitions or wise draft choices, no slight of hand or smoke and mirrors will bring us to the Coliseum if Russell is named the starter. Raider Nation will not support another season of Russell, it's as simple as that. All the positive moves multiplied by zero improvement at quarterback equals zero. Who will show up for another guaranteed losing season with no hope of seeing the daylight of a division championship?

                                          Will you be there?