- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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We’ve been somewhat expecting this decision since Monday.
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.