So the Raiders have (finally?) made the decision to bench JaMarcus Russell.
Now, many of us saw this coming when the Raiders signed Jeff Garcia, but after Garcia's departure, it's hard to believe that the Raiders are actually making this decision, and mark my words; it is the wrong one.
I hate it when hopeless teams bench developing players in favor of players with no chance at ever developing. I know that Russell has been bad, really bad. But why start Gradkowski? Why not give Russell the job for the rest of the year and let the guy actually start and finish a season for the first time in his three year career? Why start a QB with a career rating of 58.7 instead of the player your drafted #1 overall in 2007?
A lot of people think that the 2009 Raiders are a mess, but to be honest they're really not. This is a team that is talented enough to make a run at the playoffs in 2010. They just need a quarterback. Gradkowski won't be that guy, JaMarcus could have been that guy, but now he probably won't be, not as a Raider.
So what now for Oakland? Draft a QB in 2010? Great, now you're set back another year as a franchise.
This is why the Raiders have been a mess since 2002, not because of a lack of talent, but because of a constant turnover in identity. I understand benching Russell in week three if you think this team has a shot to go to the playoffs and make a run, but week 11?
Russell's numbers for 2009 include a 2 to 9 TD to INT ratio and 47.7 QB rating, but honestly can you blame him? In his short three year career he's had a different coach every season. That's a recipe for QB development disaster.
And a disaster is what JaMarcus Russell's career has been thus far, and that career with the Raiders looks to be over.
Congratulations Raider fans, your team is going to be bad well into the 2010's now.