By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 8:51 am in Oakland Raiders.
It’s better for the Raiders if the Broncos are true to their public stance that they want to keep quarterback Jay Cutler.
I remember writing a column two years ago how Cutler was in a much better situation than JaMarcus Russell, given that he was being instructed by Mike Shanahan in a system which wasn’t going to change.
Russell, meanwhile, could be looking at a coaching staff overhaul if Lane Kiffin didn’t work out.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Having observed Cutler from the outside for two years, he strikes me as a front-runner who is fine when things are going his way, only to morph into a sullen, spoiled brat when faced with adversity. He’s shown it on the field, in his post-game demeanor, and of late with the news that Josh McDaniels was interested in Matt Cassel.
I believe it was Mel Kiper Jr. who compared Cutler to Jeff George. Not bad.
Russell has some work to do in terms of conditioning and maturity, but he’s rich, young and wealthy and can’t expected to be perfect.
He handled the whole Al Davis-Lane Kiffin situation, as well as the transition to Tom Cable, with an uncommon grace for a quarterback so young. Contrast that with how Cutler is acting now.
As much as San Diego’s Philip Rivers is reviled for his on-field demeanor, he’s a quarterback the home team and home fans can get behind, even if everyone else can’t stand him.
If the Broncos dump Cutler, don’t be surprised if his teammates are on board.
Jumping to more conclusions leading into a non-work related weekend schedule which will leave me away from a computer most of the time:
– The only way McDaniels isn’t mishandiing the situation is if his plan all along was to alienate Cutler to the point where he can start his regime with a new quarterback.
– A thinly veiled attempt at sarcasm during a live chant apparently has some readers thinking I’m of the opinion the Raiders are shopping Russell.
In response to a question about the Raiders doing just that, my two word response was “Real quietly.”
To which I probably should have included (insert sarcasm here).
Considering that earlier in the chat I’d responded to a “bust” question by saying Russell needs three full years (on the field, the contract impasse negates year 1) on the field before you think about applying that tag, and to a later question defending his accuracy over the last several games, I thought it was fairly clear
– The stealth trade talk with Russell has been going on simultaneously with the Raiders’ official request to change uniform colors and negotiations which will culminate with Davis and Kiffin jointly announcing they’ll let bygones be bygones.
– Nnamdi Asomugha is back in the country, and USA Today prepared a lengthy profile on the Raiders cornerback who scored the biggest prize in free agency.
Not much in it we didn’t already know about Asomugha’s character, diversified outside interests and dedication to his craft, but it does nothing but validate the decision of Davis to bring him back at a steep price.
Assuming the Raiders bring Asomugha back for a third year, it makes a lot more sense for Davis to pay him $45.3 million than it does the Washington Redskins to pay $48 million over four years (plus back-end fluff) for injury-prone, driving-challenged Albert Haynesworth.
– Stanford’s center Alex Fletcher won the Big Game “Axe” over Alex Mack in terms of the bench press, pumping 225 pounds 31 times to 20 for the Golden Bear.
If they ever decide to decide a tie game with bench press reps, that’s a big deal.
Reminds me of the time the 49ers took Jim Druckenmiller the year his representatives demonstrated the quarterback’s strength by his ability to wear a harness and tow a car.
All the agility, strength and speed stuff is well and good for purposes of documentation, but the ability to play football and what happens during the interview process is of more importance.
Someone like Mack no doubt scored huge points in the chalk talk and film room with his enthusiasm for technique and love of football. He confessed to reporters it was hurting him to watch Cal teammates going through spring football because he loved playing so much and couldn’t be a part of it.
– If the Raiders are going to make any inquiries regarding Roy Williams, it ought to be soon. The free agent safety visited the Bengals, so he’s looking at teams with losing records and his money demands might be getting somewhere in Oakland’s wheelhouse.
That’s if they want to go down that road. Given the way the Raiders have operated so far, they’re more likely to find a younger player with more tread on the tires.
– I’ve always supported an overtime system that gives a team a chance to score if the opponent scores first. Seems only fair.
But the Player’s Association shot down the idea of changing overtime with the competition committee, so the coin toss will remain a big part of determining winners and losers when regulation play ends in a tie.
– The contract of Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson remains on a milk carton some place. He’s appearing at offseason workout program, both he and his agent have confirmed that he’s signed, and he’s got a deal on file with the NFLPA.
No word in transactions on Raiders.com, nor an announcement of the signing of a key starter _ even though it happened more than a month ago.
But hey, they were quick to get the signing of Jason Horton out there.