After Week 1 the Raiders looked to be turning their franchise around. They went toe to toe with the powerhouse San Diego Chargers and narrowly missed what would have been the biggest upset of the season. JaMarcus Russell didn’t look great, by any real stretch, but he still was able to hit an open receiver in the clutch for a long touchdown to save a little face. The defense played phenomenal for most of the game and showed that the Raiders had potential to shut down even the best of offenses.

Then came Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. JaMarcus Russell went a horrific 7/24 for 109 yards, and 64 of those yards came within the last two minutes of the game. JaMarcus Russell somehow managed to only complete a little under 30% of his passes and still somehow win. But, even with satisfying feeling of having a win…Raiders fans knew there was trouble on the horizon. The Kansas City Chiefs got 409 yards in that game, about ten penalties, and two turnovers. It wasn’t that Russell and the Raiders were that good…it was just Cassell and the Chiefs being that bad.

So, what can you say about Russell, anyway?

JaMarcus Russell, the highly touted 2007 first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders. Starting head coach at the time, Lane Kiffen, for a majority of 2007 refused to play JaMarcus because he thought him not ready to play at this level. At the time a majority of Raider Nation was calling for Kiffin’s head because there was no sensible reason not to play what looked to be the young stud. They were getting blasted week in and week out and finished the season 4-12, most didn’t see any reason not to see how the young Russell would do in the big league.

Flash Forward to September 27, 2009, Russell went an abysmal 12/21 for 61 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Russell is the ONLY quarterback at the bottom of the barrel with a passer rating UNDER 50, his current passer rating is a terrible joke at 39.8. On a crucial drive for the Broncos the defense managed to stop the Broncos on 4th and Goal to turn the ball over on downs. On the next down, JaMarcus Russell tears all that away and throws an interception. It can be argued that the receiver he was looking for fell down, but even if he didn’t he would have had to make an amazing catch to stop the interception anyway. His second interception was nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, near his receiver. It was almost like Russell forgot what color uniform he was supposed to throw the ball to. Among anyone who has watched a single Raiders game this season, it is common knowledge that a change needs to be made at the quarterback position.

But how? For starters, they had a decent replacement in Garcia until Russell finds himself but they decided to cut him in favor of…Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. There is, for arguments sake, no other option than JaMarcus Russell right now. I’d say you could give Gradkowski a shot but I doubt Tom Cable or Al Davis will allow such an atrocity as someone who can’t throw the ball 90 yards to start a game.

Problem number two; Al Davis. Why was Lane Kiffin really fired? Al Davis couldn’t use him as a mouthpiece to run the team and do a job he isn’t supposed to do. Why was Tom Cable hired? Because he doesn’t care that he only has a job because he does anything and everything Al Davis wants, he just cares that he has a head coaching job that he’d otherwise never receive. So, what happens because of that? Russell suits up when he should probably sit out next week. Russell suits up when one of the other guys, as bad as they may seem, should get a shot at the starting position. Who knows? Maybe that’s what Russell needs. All he hears from the media is about how the Raiders are “his” team and no one is going to take it from him. Maybe if he sees that he can be benched just as easily as anyone else he’ll put the extra effort into improving on his shaudy footwork and maybe be able to hit a receiver. Hell, I’d be happy if he came within twenty feet of an open receiver.

Now, I know for this short blurb I’ve been picking on JaMarcus Russell and rightfully so, given his numbers. However, he isn’t the only weak link in the chain, he just happens to be the more than obvious one. The running game that was so effective last week, which basically saved the win against the Chiefs for them, and put the Chargers against the ropes seemed to take two steps forward and then four steps back. McFadden, the other first round draft pick, got 12 carries to get only 45 yards with three fumbles.

I can’t say I totally blame the defensive line for playing bad simply because of the amount of time they had to be on the field. The offense did literally nothing all day except one of two things; turn the ball over or go three and out. That combination drains even the best of defensive lines and as they are Oakland’s defensive line is nowhere near the best in the league. So, when I hear Cable trying to say they needed their defense to play better I have to cringe a little because there was only so much they could do before Denver smashed them into the ground because of sheer fatigue alone.

So, how can I really sum up the Raiders’ season so far?

Two steps forward, and four steps back.

But even still, remember; Win, Lose, or Tie…RAIDERS TILL I DIE!