Five weeks into a season that has gone from hopeful to chaotic, the Oakland Raiders have several options to look at regarding the team, what course of action to take, and hopefully salvage some wins.
Or things could go down in flames.
Looking at the team in the last few weeks, one key point that stands out is the lack of production from the quarterback, JaMarcus Russell (you may know him by any number of nicknames used to describe the hard-throwing, hard to catch passer).
One week he might overthrow a WR option by five yards, another time he'll hit Todd Watkins and the player can't pull it in. Sometimes he'll throw a beautiful 29 yard pass to Zach Miller, and then overthrow a player breaking away from the defender.
A lot of the screaming has been calling for Russell to be removed and all of the Raiders problems will suddenly disappear. The team will score, our players will become healthy, the sun will shine, Tom Cable will be innocent...
Now wait. Back to reality for a second.
Sure, pulling the plug on JaMarcus Russell may sound like a wonderful idea at face value, if that was all that was wrong with the team at this time.
Right now the offensive line—you know, the one that needs to keep the quarterback alive—isn't functioning well enough to keep anyone upright. Last Sunday against the Giants, Russell went down six times and lost more than 30 yards.
The wide receiver corps are still patching themselves back together with Chaz Schilens out two or three weeks. The running game, also hurting due to the offensive line, is still missing Darren McFadden.
Above all, you would somehow have to convince Al Davis that his project QB is a bust. Not an easy task, considering he wasn't willing to give up on Marc Wilson...
On the other side of the coin, replacing Russell with a more dependable, accurate and skilled passer—say Gradkowski—Oakland could reap some benefits.
With shorter and more accurate throws, he might not need to spend that much time in the pocket. With the ball moving, the defense would be given a chance to actually rest between possessions. And if we can put points on the board—more than 16 points in three weeks—we might be able to compete.
Maybe the possibility of shaming Russell into performing would be a good thing. If Cable is going to be lost due to his recent legal issues, and there are going to be some changes anyway, maybe it would be for the good of the team for Russell to hear the Raider Nation cheer on another quarterback.