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
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
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.