Frye gets nod over Russell as Raiders QB


Charlie Frye< waited more than a year for another

opportunity to start in the NFL. JaMarcus Russell may find himself

in a similar boat.

Frye was picked to start at quarterback over former top

overall draft pick Russell when the Oakland Raiders visit the

Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Coach Tom Cable said Wednesday that Russell will be his No. 2

quarterback, with the newly signed J.P. Losman third.

“As the coach I want to do what I think is best for this

team, and that’s Charlie Frye,” Cable said. “It gives us the best

opportunity to win. You watch Charlie every day and his

preparation, he just certainly deserves the opportunity.”

Frye has not played this year and worked strictly with

Oakland’s scout team. His last start was for Seattle on Oct. 12,

2008, against Green Bay when he threw for 84 yards and two


Since then, Frye has been trying to revive his career,

signing with the Raiders in the offseason and serving as the team’s

emergency quarterback through the first 13 games.

“It will be good to get back out there with the offense and

run some plays that aren’t on cards,” Frye joked. “I’ve got a lot

of fire in me. I’ve been that crutch and that supportive guy all

season, so now it’s my turn to be the fiery leader.”

The move raises serious questions about Russell, who started

the first nine games of the season before being benched in favor of

Bruce Gradkowski before Oakland’s Nov. 22 home game against


Gradkowski led the Raiders to a pair of stirring fourth

quarter comebacks against the Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers but

tore the MCL in both of his knees last week against Washington.

After replacing Gradkowski in the second half against the

Redskins, Russell passed for just 74 yards and failed to move the

offense consistently while being booed by the crowd at the Oakland


“I think that’s the whole point here, his struggles are out

there,” Cable said. “It’s on film and in the game and those sort of

things. Everybody is working to try and help him get better all the

time. He’s certainly giving back to that, as best he can, and at

some point you hope to, as I always say, have a breakthrough and

move forward.”

Russell was unavailable for comment but said before the game

against the Redskins that he still feels he is the Raiders

quarterback of the future.

But after getting skipped over in favor of Frye, there’s

increasing speculation Oakland may be looking to sever its ties

with Russell, who signed a six-year contract in 2006 that included

more than $30 million in guarantees.

“It’s too early for all that,” Cable said. “Right now we want

to find a way to win these last three games. At this point, this is

what we feel, that I feel, is the best thing for us.”

Frye impressed Oakland’s coaches with attention to detail in

meetings and practice. Cable said Frye is comparable to Gradkowski

in terms of mobility and style.

“They have great command, they study all the time, they work,

they’re ultra-prepared,” Cable said. “He was here all day

yesterday, even before we talked about what we were going to do.

That’s typical of him. In Charlie Frye’s world there is no off


Oakland chose not to put Gradkowski on injured reserve and is

hopeful he can return to the starting lineup soon.

“It’s basically day to day, week to week, but I’m definitely

trying to get back for the Cleveland game (on Dec. 27),” Gradkowski

said. “That’s in my mind, and we’ll work hard this week and try to

get well.”

The Raiders signed free agent Losman, who is a former

first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills and most recently led the Las

Vegas Locomotives to the first United Football League championship.

NOTE: TE Zach Miller, who suffered his second concussion this

season after getting hit by Washington linebacker, did not practice

and is questionable.