- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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OAKLAND -- OK, the Raiders just made it very difficult for JaMarcus Russell to become a productive quarterback the rest of the season.
Oakland benched Russell for the second time in three weeks Sunday against Kansas City,
The major difference between Sundays’s benching against the Chiefs and the benching against the Jets was that Sunday’s game was still in question when he was taken out. The Raiders were trailing 13-10 when Russell was taken out late in the third quarter.
It was a sign that Oakland doesn’t think Russell can help it win.
Now what? Will be given the starting job back next week against Cincinnati or will Bruce Gradkowski become the starter? Gradkowski led a late rally before rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey let a ball bounce out of his hands and into the hands of Kansas City safety Mike Brown to end the game.
How can Russell's uncertain status not have an adverse mental affect on him?
Russell was clearly upset when he was benched.
He wasn’t terrible Sunday. He had seven dropped passes. Russell was 9 of 24 for 67 yards. He threw back-to-back excellent deep balls in the second quarter, but he was the victim of a drop and a penalty.
Russell seemed to make strides.
But Oakland didn’t think so.
Now, it will have to decide if it thinks he can quarterback the team anymore as the team enters a stretch in which it plays Cincinnati, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
The Raiders may be 2-7, but once again the intrigue continues.
For Kansas City, the Chiefs took advantage of a porous Oakland team and they made more plays than the Raiders.
The Chiefs are making small strides and they reached the 2-7 mark. But unlike Oakland, at least the Chiefs are sticking with their players as they move forward.
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