No `breakthrough’ in sight for JaMarcus


News, notes and quotes Wednesday following the Raiders’ open locker room session and post-practice press briefing with coach Tom Cable:

— Perhaps JaMarcus Russell isn’t at the end of the road with the Raiders, but he’s getting close enough to see the street sign marked “dead end.”

Over the past month, Russell, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft, has been overtaken by Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye, neither of whom was a lock to be on anyone’s roster this season.

As Cable went over his reasons for keeping the one-time future of the franchise on the bench, what he said about Frye and Gradkowski told you all you need to know about the perceived shortcomings with Russell.

“(Charlie) and Bruce are similar in a lot of ways,” Cable said. “They have great command, they study all the time, they work, they’re ultra-prepared. Charlie was here all day yesterday before we even talked about what we were going to do, which is typical of him.

“He got the plan last night and it was bang, bang, bang. He was having a conversation with his coach, understands what we’re doing, understands Denver and how we have to attack them to be successful.”

In Cable’s eyes, the Redskins attacked Russell the same way in the second half as they did Gradkowski in the first. It was a “rush to cover” scheme, meaning any defender who was assinged to an eligible receiver held in to block became a blitzer.

“You just want to be able to see us go out and continue to manage,” Cable said. “I think Bruce at the end of the first half was well on his way to another 300-yard game.”

Russell? He had 74 yards passing and the Raiders had 39 yards of total offense.

— Cable deflected any talk of what bypassing Russell for the starting job suggests about his future with the franchise with three years left on his contract.

“It’s too early for all that. Right now we want to find a way to win these last three games,” Cable said. “At this point, this is what we feel, that I feel is the best thing for us.”

— Asked if the coaching staff had done all it can with Russell, with the quarterback being responsible for more, Cable said, “I think both as a staff, as a coach, as a team, I think everybody is working to try and help him get better all the time. He’s certainly giving back to that, as best he can, and at some point you hope to have a breakthrough and move forward.”

The key words: “As best he can.”

I take that to mean there’s an entirely different level of dedication and preparation Russell has yet to achieve.

Like Frye, for instance.

“He’s always around. Charlie is so much like a coach. In Charlie Frye’s world there is no off day,” Cable said. “He’s always here. He’s here early, he’s here late. He’s in and around, seeing what’s going on, giving thought. I think it’s good to have that kind of input from players, whether it’s Charlie Frye or anyone else.”

— OK, then how come Frye wasn’t the backup to Gradkowski against Washington?

“I don’t think we were ready for that,” Cable said. “Based on the decision that was made, it was the right thing.”

— Cable said Russell has remained even-keel but is certain he is subject to the same emotions as everyone else, and that the way he shrugs off the poor performances are construed as a negative when his team is losing.

“I think that’s the whole point here. His struggles are out there. It’s on film and in the game and those sort of things,” Cable said. “He’s a young guy that still has room to grow and room to develop, and I think we need to keep sight of that.”

We pause for some Russell free news . . .

— Tight end Zach Miller did not practice and will need to pass baseline tests before returning the practice field after his second concussion since Oct. 4.

— Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is “doubtful” and likely to miss his third straight game.

— Cable, like Gradkowski, is holding out hope that his quarterback can rehab sufficiently from MCL tears in both knees to face Cleveland next week.

— Free safety Michael Huff (stinger) practiced without limitations. Defensive end Greg Ellis (knee) did not practice but rates a good chance to face Denver, while wide receiver Nick Miller ran on the grass Tuesday and was too sore to practice Wednesday. If he makes the field this season, it’ll be an upset bigger than the win over the Eagles.

— Cable’s assessment of newly signed QB J.P. Losman:

“Very athletic guy. Strong arm, threw the ball good yesterday in his workout,” Cable said. “A guy that’s got some experience in the league, so he kind of fits for us to have an emergency guy in here. He’s familiar with a little bit of how we call things. So he’ll help in that area.

Raiders lineman Langston Walker, who played with Losman in Buffalo, said he’s sure the quarterback is enjoying the weather.

“He’s a fiery guy and he’s a California kid, so he likes warm weather and shorts and flip-flops,” Walker said. “I think we were both a little bit out of our element in the cold of Buffalo. But he’s definitely a good player. He’s a leader and I think he’ll step in here and do a good job and do what
he’s asked to do.”

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels told Bay Area reporters by conference call he worked out Frye for the Patriots before the draft.

“He’s a mobile quarterback, not unlike Gradkowski in terms of his ability to get away a little bit and create some plays with his legs, or keep some plays alive by moving out of the pocket,” McDaniels said. “So, we’re definitely going to be ready for both, a pocket passer and a guy that can move and do some things with his legs.”

— Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said the biggest difference in Mike Nolan’s defense is he has often shadowed the other team’s best receiver, something he hasn’t done in past years. Cable didn’t rule out having Nnamdi Asomugha do the same with Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught an NFL record 21 passes against Indianapolis.

“I certainly think those two guys will be matched up a little bit,” Cable said.

— Roy Schuening, the guard/center who was waived to make room Losman on the roster, was claimed to the 53-man roster of the Detroit Lions beofre the Raiders had a chance to sign him to their practice squad.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Jhill


  • jhill


    If we have ANY chance at winning this game, it will come from the defense. If Denver scores 17 pts or more, we have NO chance.

    Gallery’s out, and we have a 3rd string QB starting.

  • ohioraider

    At this time I would like to announce the categories for this year’s Inside the Oakland Raiders blog awards.

    Best Username of the Year
    Worst Username of the Year
    Al Davis Toady of the Year
    Most Mindlessly Repetitive Poster of the Year
    Angriest Poster of the Year
    Worst Prognosticator of the Year
    Best Prognosticator of the Year
    Most Prolific Username Aliases of the Year
    Most Creative Bastardization of JMR Name of the Year
    Best Billboard of the Year
    Tom Cable Hater of the Year
    Most Pointless Postings About Fixing the Raiders Through Better Talent of the Year Award
    Most Pointless Posting About Yearly Awards of the Year

    Please submit your nominations to this board by December 28. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • 4evaRaider


  • True that… Lets Go D!

  • Angriest Poster of the Year <————- all of us…

  • 4evaRaider


  • weaselbit

    Of course we’re still making fun of Jafatso. He ruined last week’s game! If you have a bad line, you get a mobile qb and bring lineman in.And get him out of the pocket. Man, when Elway or Bradshaw scrambled, THAT’S when I got worried. Gannon scrambled well when he needed to.Let our young receivers develop. You bring in cocky veterans or high draft picks and it never works. Good weight trainer is what they need. Best teams are the strongest teams. Even an average player will be way better when he’s strong. Best players are like animals. They live in the weight room. Steelers do it. Cardinals started doing it and look how they turned their team around. Gotta play mean, strong, and smart. That’s the game. Kinda helps if you have a genius OC as well.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Go Lakers!
    Gasol 78 rebounds in 4 games and 22 rbs last night.

  • 4evaRaider

    B.Marshall,wonder if he has a let-down after his record setting preformance?

  • Raiderbuck

    JaMarinovich the second coming is out. He’s had his chances and he blew it it’s that simple. Time to look to the future. Everyone seems to think the last three games are Cables future – no way he’s winning all three, I’ll give him one win out of the next three. He’s done also – bring on the next low rent people to work this team into the dirt Al, we’re tired of looking at this ring in the circus, we need a new one.

  • 4evaRaider

    RAIDERS-BRONCOS SERIES: The Raiders lead the series 55-41-2 over the Broncos in regular season play since the teams first met in 1960. The teams are 1-1 in the postseason.

  • 4evaRaider

    from Raiders web-site

  • r8eray

    OhioRaider:Where do we submit entries?

  • “Tom Cable Hater of the Year”

    I’ll just take the award right now thank you very much.

  • hey 4eva why is ur boy the mod deleting comments again?? 😛

  • 4evaRaider

    because I’m telling him too thats why

  • r8eray

    “JaMarcus Russell Hater of the Year”
    Thank you….Thank you very much!

  • 4evaRaider

    Yeah Dakota in a land-slide on that 1 =)

  • r8eray

    This is not a good way to start this morning! Knowing we are not gonna get Jon “Chucky” Gruden as our next head coach!

  • see what happens when you dont pay your bills..


  • 4evaRaider

    new post

  • Silver-n-Smac

    • jhill Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Is there ANYONE in here who actually believes this isn’t about Tom Cable?

    Do you really think this isn’t Cable auditioning for next year? If he loses this weekend, isn’t he gone?
    Do you think AL is getting rid of the coach and the QB?


    Jhill –

    First off – good morning!

    Hey man – what does this mean? Of course Cable is doing everything he can to win. He owes it to himself and the other 52 guys in that locker room.

    Look, it made total, absolute sense to play JaMarcus the majority (if not all) of this season. The Raiders HAD to find out if the kid is ready or not. As all of you love to mention, they paid the kid a ton of money. So we had to find out. It’s not a case of Cable being a puppet or not.

    But, you also have to move on when it’s crystal clear that the kid is not ready yet. And that’s what Cable did. Why does he get all this shiot around here for what he’s doing now? Al wanted JaMarcus given every opportunity to succeed and Cable did that. And now it’s time to move on for these remaining games.

    And as for our previous conversation: Are you seriously telling me there’s something about Jim Caldwell (sp?) in Indy that really impresses you over Cable? You really are enamored with his coaching? Could it have anything to do with good QB play. . . and good play by players in general?

    How can you say things like “Cable just got lucky in Cincy?”. Come on man – give credit when credit is due – the entire team deserves credit when they win, and that includes the coach.

    As I keep saying, when Cable’s gotten good QB play, we’ve won almost every time. Problem is that we’ve rarely had good QB play in his tenure. The common link? JaMarcus Russell. As much as I’ve supported him, he’s sucked – and as a result – Cable has suffered the consequences.

    Look no further than the Washington game. First half – Raiders are dominating the game (regardless of the score). If the normally-reliable Zach Miller makes that catch at the 15 yard line (perfect throw, perfect play-call), we’re going into half-time up 17-10.

    Second half – horrible QB play, coupled with team basically laying down – result? Loss. How can you put that on Cable? A coach cannot be asked to make a guy show inner pride & heart. That’s on the player. The team basically conceded defeat when Russell came in the game.

    How can you blame the coach when you lose 38-0 at home? JaMarcus comes in and immediately spots the Jets 14 points and the rest of the team lays down for the remainder of the game.

    This is a mentally weak football team. Sure, not a good play call by Cable to ask J-Russ to throw deep from his own goal line. But come on man – does that warrant a total team collapse? Give me a break.

    Some of you fellas put WAY too much emphasis on the impact of a coach on an NFL game. Coaches can make a difference when you have a marginally good team. When you have either a mentally weak team, or horrible QB play – there’s only so much a coach can do.\

    Never has that been more evident than in the play of the Raiders this year:

    Good QB play = success. Bad QB play = failure.

    The coaches success or lack thereof is a direct result of that.

  • ohioraider

    Please submit your nominations to this board. Thank you.

  • ohioraider

    Cable could be a decent coach if he was left alone. The team could return to glory with a diminished role for Al. The system screws up everything.

  • RaiderSam

    # SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    The Raiders are the WORST FRANCHISE IN the NFL!

    With that said:

    Cut JaMarcus Russell RIGHT NOW


    Fire Tom Cable
    Fire the entire coaching staff
    Cut Cornell Green
    Cut Cooper Carlisle
    Cut Samson Satele
    Cut Darius Heyward Bey
    Cut Gerard Warren
    Cut Tommy Kelly

    Restructure or Cut:
    Michael Huff
    Justin Fargas


    ok….Who replaces them via draft and/or free agency?

    and how did they beat Pittsburgh, Philly and Cincy, “fan”?

  • kenw

    You know what I was really beginnig to think that the Raider fans were not seeing the big picture. Some people just talk to be talking and some people talk with some intelegence. J Russel has his faults but the team sucked before his arrival. There has to be a reason for that. I have read some very good comments here and I agree that Russell has not had the same good hands people in the line up during the losing streak. This was due to injuries to a number of offensive players. A lot of players have come thru here and they leave to play for other teams and there play is spectacular. People keep talking about Russells weight and they don’t know how much the man weighs they just want to be talking. I’ll cut this short Russel looked good in the first game of the season and we should have beaten San Diego if the defense had not got caught slipping. He threw the touchdown pass to beat KC and he was quarterbacking when we be Philly. So his record this season has 2 wins just like the great Gradkawski. The players may not like russell but that is not a reason for them not to play thier best. Let Frye start and that O-line is going to get another qb down and out. The oline is the key to success. The fans that are focussing on Russel should take a good look around the supporting cast to see what is really going on. Thats my opinion.

  • My first log, so what up Nation? I been a fan all my life and I truly believe Mr Davis has truly seen the light as far as JRs ability to lead his team. Never in all my life did I see a team have so little confidence in its QB as the Raiders showed Sun. They have determined that if JR plays, they have absolutely no chance to win. And the fact that the Raiders beat 3 good teams with only decent QB play speaks volumes as to the inherent quality of most of the players on this team.The fact is, a lot of players cant go from high school to college, alot of great college players cant cut it in the pros. No shame, JR was the consensus #1 QB in the draft and all agreed Oakland would be fools not to pick him. Well, I believe this expensive experiment has gne on long enough, and since JR won’t restructure his contract because he has no faith in his own ability,that Mr. Davis will cut his losses and release him. AD has tried to bring in some players(Seymour, Ellis) he thought could help, and I dont think he wants to leave this legacy, this current state of affairs to history. I think AD will man up before his passing and right the ship, or at least try.

  • sensacion7

    Good Bye Off The Marcus Russel ! U R A Biger Bust Than Akili Smith Was !