2 Halves, 2 QBs
If this was a video game, you could easily push the reset button. Since this was a real football game, the only logical option is to cut Russell at the end of the season.
In this game vs. the Washington Redskins, there were 2 very distinct Raider QBs behind center in 2 very distinct halves of football.
In the 1st half of a competitive, exciting, close, hard fought game, Gradkowski demonstrated the key qualities and competencies of an NFL QB in terms of leadership, energy, mobility, ball security, and offensive production.
The Raiders offensive unit moved the football (181 yards), Gradkowski had the passing attack clicking (10 receptions, 153 yards), showed pocket presence and escapability, and most importantly, had the Raiders within 1 score of the Skins.
Unfortunately, Ski tore 1 MCL and partially tore the other MCL on an attempted sack. In a cruel twist of irony, no pun intended, it was this very same play that Ski proved his toughness and adaptability to a stiff pass rush. It was amazing to watch Ski twist, turn, and improvise an underhand shovel pass to Fargas.
Russell started the 2nd half with the Raiders down 17-10. It was the equivalent of splashing cold water in the faces of the other 10 offensive players and Raider fans alike. The proverbial wind was taken out of our sails when our fallen leader got injured at the end of the first half. The good mojo of Ski was replaced by the negative mojo of Russell.
Russell looked like his cleats were filled with lead or he was playing in quicksand whenever he dropped back to pass. For the entire 2nd half, the Raiders offense accumulated only 19 net yards. Series after series was killed by Russell's lack of pocket awareness and mobility as he was sacked 6 times for -45 yards. Here is a quick snapshot of Russell's 1st 4 series;
1st series: (Start on own 44 yard line) 9 plays, 20 yards, 54 yard field goal; drive was killed by a -9 yard sack.
2nd series: (Start on own 49 yard line) sacked twice; -6 yards, -9 yards; punt
3rd series: 1st play INT
4th series: 1st play sack (-10 yards) & recovered fumble at own 3 yard line; later in the drive sacked for -9 yards and sacked for -2 yards
This Wednesday, Head Coach Cable has a very important decision to make that will impact the players and fans morale. He will choose his QB vs. the Broncos.
The choice will be either (a) the hard working, dedicated journeyman gym rat (Charlie Frye) or (b)the lazy, unaccountable check casher (JaMarcus Russell).
If Cable picks (a) over (b), I guarantee that the other 43 suited up players will bust their tail on Sunday and fans will have some sense of hope for a victory.
If he picks (b) or is forced to pick (b) by Davis, the entire spirit of competitive football will be carelessly tossed in the garbage bin.