AFC West: JP Losman

The 411 on Oakland's two new QBs

December, 16, 2009
I caught up with two people with intimate knowledge of the two new quarterbacks in Oakland.

The Raiders are starting No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye on Sunday at Denver ahead of former starter JaMarcus Russell with Bruce Gradkowski out with a knee injury. The Raiders also signed former Buffalo top pick JP Losman this week. He could be in the mix later in the season.

To breakdown Frye, we enlisted the help of Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. Williamson was with Fyre at Akron:

“Charlie is one of the favorite people and players I’ve ever been around. I’m really excited for him. Charlie is a hard worker. He really cares. He really tries. He is a leader and he is a winner. But he is backup in the NFL. Still, when Bruce took over, I thought Charlie would be a better choice, so maybe Charlie can have the same success Bruce did.

“But Charlie doesn’t have a strong arm, so that worries me. Despite everything he has going for him, he has limitations. But he’s an upgrade over JaMarcus, who is horrible. So, maybe Charlie can help Oakland.”

To breakdown Losman, I caught up with former NFL coach Jim Fassel. He coached Losman in the United Football League for the Las Vegas franchise. The two won the league championship together:

“JP is a winning NFL quarterback. I think he really has learned from his previous experiences. He really works at the game. This is a quarterback who wants to be good. He understands the game. He has a NFL-quality arm. I think he will succeed in the NFL given another chance. I really think Oakland is a good fit for JP. I see him having future success.”
We’ve been somewhat expecting this decision since Monday.

[+] EnlargeCharlie Frye
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesCharlie Frye has started just two games over the last three seasons.
Still, it was shocking to hear the official news: The Oakland Raiders have chosen quarterback Charlie Frye to start over JaMarcus Russell.

Just when we thought Russell’s career couldn’t plummet any further, Russell’s standing in Oakland has taken another plunge.

Folks, not only is it official that Frye will start Sunday at Denver, but it’s official that the Raiders have given up on Russell. The team clearly feels like it cannot compete with him. So there goes the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Frye has started just two games in the past three years. Let’s face it: Frye wasn’t selected to start because of his ability. He was selected because he’s not Russell. The Raiders don’t want any piece of Russell. Frye is a third-stringer and still, he is considered a better option in Oakland. That’s all you need to know about how the Raiders feel about Russell.

When he announced the decision to the Denver media in a conference call, coach Tom Cable declined to talk about Russell in much detail. This has to be a sign that the team will look elsewhere in 2010.

There is basically no salvaging Russell's career in Oakland now.

Russell may have sealed his fate in Oakland by playing horribly in the second half of a 34-13 loss to Washington on Sunday after Bruce Gradkowski, who played well in four starts after replacing Russell, hurt both knees. Russell had no spark and the rest of offense lost its momentum when he came into the game. Russell was sacked six times in a half.

The coaching staff and Oakland owner Al Davis clearly decided that the offense doesn’t respond to Russell. Perhaps Frye will give the team a chance to compete in the final three games if Gradkowski can’t return.

Don’t discount the idea of J.P. Losman getting a chance to play down the stretch. He just signed with Oakland. At the very least, Losman will get a chance to show Oakland what he can do heading toward 2010.

Thus, one day into his Raiders tenure, Losman seems to have a better future in Oakland than Russell. Russell, who has disappointed the team with his lack of work ethic before, said last week he would not consider taking a pay cut to stay in Oakland.

After Wednesday’s decision by the team, it appears it won’t be Russell’s choice.