Tom, this is your show. You've made some choices, which are either going to help the team or create questions on your sanity.
First of all, swapping out JaMarcus Russell was long overdue. It's good that he is on the bench, maybe he can stop using the playbook as a footrest. It's a question on if Bruce Gradkowski will do any better with the same group of players, but there are some ideas that might actually help the Raiders win on Sunday.
First of all, plant Darrius Heyward-Bey on the bench next to Russell. Sure, he's a rookie. Sure, he's fast. Sure, he's green. All the more reason for him to learn from others on how to catch the ball, get separation, and get into the end zone.
Secondly, Zach Miller is going to be Bruce Gradkowski's best friend. As a Tight End, he is the perfect relief valve for blitz packages, and if Tom wants to make the Bengals defense sweat, set up some double tight end packages—or pull out the stops, and send four players on first down. Hey, we caught the Chiefs last week flat-footed on the first drive, why not keep them confused all day long?
Third, is bringing the defense. We had a good game against Larry Johnson in week two, maybe Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis can bring back that pattern of stoppage.
Fourth, if something works well, keep using it. Last week the Raiders had good momentum on the running game—and then they would switch to passing and be forced to punt. If Michael Bush, Justin Fargas, and Darren McFadden are able to keep punishing the line, go ahead and let them wear out the line. By the end of the game, one of the three will go for paydirt.
Lastly, remember the game against the Eagles? Little things, like good tackles and good blocking all came together for a great Sunday.
I'd like to see a replay of that game—duplicate it, against the Bengals.