Monday, December 14, 2009

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.


Anonymous Raided Nate 75 said...

Draft-Tebow? McCoy? Claussen?
NO! Cut J-Russ, and go after a vet QB to get the job done.
Kyle Orton
David Carr
Kellen Clemens
Kyle Boller
Chris Redman

If you draft another QB, then go after a vet WR with:
Brandon Marshall
Chris Henry
Steve Breaston
Mark Clayton
or trade (RB?) for a vet WR, but for the love of God, do something drastic this offseason.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


During such dark days I am not trying to give you an I told you so but at the begining of the year when I was calling Jamarcus a fat lazy slob you were quite aggresive in disagreeing with me. Can I at least get a retraction from you on that?

On anohter note did oyu read all the stories of Gruden wearing Raider gear and having a reunion party. Do you think there is a glimmer of hope Al might be desparate enough to bring him back?

Florida Raider

P.S. At least you got to see anice win this year

7:13 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FL Raider -

I based my early season opinions about Russell on mostly his performance in 2008. He showed steady progress especially the last few games of the year.

Knowing that last year was his 1st full season as QB and given his progress and positive contributions to 2 season ending wins, I naturally thought there would be continued career development. I was wrong. He took steps back.

It isn't the 1st time I've been wrong nor will it be the last but "I told you so" is a bit childish and beneath you. Aren't you the same guy who is continually defending Al Davis?

If you want to have an honest debate, I'm all ears. If you want to make excuses and be an enabler for Davis, it is quite laughable. The 1 constant the past 7 years of double digit losses is Davis' poor management decisions and negligence (draft, free agency, coaching hires, lack of a GM, and I could go on forever).

BTW, pigs will fly before Gruden rejoins the Raiders.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Florida Raider, take it easy, everyone called Namdi a bust too when drafted, let's face it, we are all dissapointed, is it frye, is it losman, ha, not likely, but we would have said the same thing about gannon, lots of people want apologize for being fans, for being believers....makes me wonder, are you a fan, or are you someone who just really wants some self-satistaction about one or your rants being vindicated. its sports, man. you are a fellow fan, or your just someone looking to win an argument. what are you? and that was rhetorical, i dont care what you are.....i know what CJ is.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay honest debate here goes. Yes the Raiders have been horrendous the last 7 years. However, if you measure Al on the last ten years we have three division championships, two afc title games and one superbowl loss. I would gladly take that ten years over the mediocrity of the majroity of other teams in the NFL. Yes the lows have been awful but I would rather a few years of greatness and and some terrible lows rather than being average year in and year out.

How about some honest debate from your side CJ. Every time I brought up how out of shape JR was you booed me bad and said that did not matter and he was jsut big boned, in hindsight that is ridiculous. When told you that it was a problem and would hurt his performance but also a symptom of a guy who did not care. You heavily disputed this and attacked my comments, to me that is wearing blinders and not honest debate.

As far as what anonymous said being a fan does not involve supporting and accepting someone like Russell who basically does not give a crap and via his terrible attitude and lack of effort insults everyone who cares about the Raiders. Calling him out on that and demanding his dedication is being a fan. Russell is a disgrace to the Silver and Black as well as the NFL.

Florida Raiders

5:23 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FL Raider -

If you want to look at the last 25 years, what you will find is a team that had a few years of excellence, numerous years of mediocrity, and countless years of ineptitude.

The past 7 years is a record of futility unmatched by any other team in the entire history of the NFL. Let that sink in before you harken back to 2000-2002.

What you have to remember is that the success in the early part of the decade was the last time we had a good Head Coach AND GM working in partnership with Davis.

Don't you honestly believe that Davis has been negligent and made horrible decisions in the following areas;

(1) Draft
(2) Free Agency
(3) Head Coach hires
(4) GM vancancy being filled

As I said in my previous post, I was wrong about Russell. Guess what? So was Davis who drafted him at #1. You want to pin our failures on Russell who has started 26 games ... this doesn't account for all of the 11 loss seasons prior to Russell joining the Raiders.

The 1 constant in this 7 year embarrassment is Davis. Prior to the Gruden/Allen duo, we had a very dismal 90s.

Any Raider fan who is honest with himself realizes that Davis has the biggest responsiblity and impact on the organization. His actions (or inaction) determines the team's fate.

Do you really think Davis is capable of turning the team around without the assistance of an established GM? Do you think the Raiders have any shot at becoming a playoff team with "left over" Head Coach selections? Do you think the team can be consistently competitive playing Davis' archaic, predictable D?

At the age of 80, Davis desperately needs and deserves executive managment support. If you disagree with this very simple premise, then you are the one burying your head in the sand.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for your reply and glad to hear you recognize that you were wrong about Russell---the biggest problem with him is his attitude which is where his weight problems, lack of ability to read defenses and ppor performances stem from. The reason I am so down on Russell is because he was handed 30 million plus and all he is done is take a crap on the Raiders. To not dedicate yourself actually forget dedicate how about for not trying or caring at all is incredibly insutling to Raider fans and sports fans in general. He is a big spoiled baby and makes Jeff George look like a team player. Anyone who still supports him is doing a siservice to the Rraiders and the league. Guys like Russelll do nto deserve to play in the NFL thats why the rookie salaries are so out of whack can you imagine wht Jim Otto thinks of this guy it mus make him puke.

That being siad I have never blamed him for the all the woes that the Raiders have suffered. Davis deserves a huge part of the blame. Whiffing on the last four (Heyward Bey, Mcfadden, Russell, Huff) top ten picks is a big problem.

You are correct the problems with the Raiders go much deeper than Russell.

Al Davis obviously needs a GM to help not just becuase he is getting old but because the NFL is incredibly complicated now and running a team has so many moving parts. No one man can do it not even Al Davis of the 70 and 80s. Hiring joke coaches like Cable and Kiffin have to end, I am mystified how Al can be blind to this.

My point on Davis that when looked at in aggregate or ten year increments he has not done a terrible job. In the 90s and 2000s yes they have had a lot of terrible years during that time which did not happen in the 80s and 70s but there has also been intermitten success. For example in the 90s we had three playoff apperances. I would rather have the Raiders record the last ten years than the Cowboys at least we have won some playofff games.

Hopefully things will turn around soon

Florida Raider

5:17 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...


Al Davis needs to get his head out of the 70's & 80's and into the current times. The organization is being run like a mom & pop shop.

At the advanced age of 80, he needs to adapt by hiring a GM with authority. The GM needs to conduct an exhaustive search for the best available HC. The HC needs to have the authority to run any offensive or defensive systems that he sees fit.

We need to run a more sophisticated offense and defense that is less predictable and more dynamic.

If the Raiders continue on their current path (No GM, overwhelmed HC) there is no logical reason to expect the team to have sustained success. As the organization is being run today, we are at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

Changing QBs & HCs every year or 2 isn't going to lay a foundation for success. Throwing big bucks at dubious FAs like Walker, Hall, and the like isn't going to improve the team. Drafting speedy athletes doesn't suffice compared to drafting real football players.

Do you know how pathetic and unlikely it is for a team to lose 11 or more games for 7 consecutive seasons? Unless there is significant, tangible, comprehensive change with the way business is conducted in Alameda, we will continue to underperform.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Stuporburg said...

Good to see this blog alive and kicking ... (The last time I posted anything in here must have been almost a year ago!)

Anyway ... I think this season's worth of QB scenery tells us this much:

1. JR is not ready for NFL. Unfortunately, he has not done much to help himself other than cash in the guaranteed contract money. This is certainly not the way for a young QB to grow and join the ranks of NFL starters.

2. Too small of data sampling (3 games w/ Grad, 1 game w/ Frye), but I think the team has shown they will step up if they are led by a QB who actually know what he is doing. Nothing must be more depressing than for a player to realize that his backfield general does not know his stuff! Not to mention that improving the corps of inexperienced receivers is all but impossible as long as there is no competent QB around.

As for almighty Davis ......

1. Insanity is when one repeats the same thing but expecting to get different results. Big arm, sprinters, shut-down-corners = has not worked, and is not working, and will not work. Notice that 'football player' is not even included in this equation!

2. More than anything else, this team seriously need GM and scout who are familiar with today, not some 20+ years ago.

3. If I were Gruden, I would be very skeptical about rejoining the Raiders unless the Raiders' corporate culture is overhauled first. Having to second-guess the owner and not having enough delegated authority ... what a very inefficient way of football operations!

8:17 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Great points, Stuporburg.

I will gladly take a QB who can manage the game, is dedicated to his craft, understands the ENTIRE playbook, and commands respect.

A healthy competition between Gradkowski, Frye, and Losman in 2010 will allow the team to gain some traction. No need to waste any draft picks on QBs or take a stab at free agency. Free agency needs to concentrate on the OLine.

Hope you stop by more often and best holiday wishes to all.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...


Word, true dat, and ditto. Applies to all your posts, bro.

9:27 PM  

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