But for this Sunday's Raiders game against the Cincinnati Bengals, JaMarcus may get his earliest benching of the season. And by "earliest benching of the season," I mean five days before the game is even played.
Raiders coach Tom Cable was asked Monday if he planned to start Russell against Cincinnati, or if he would opt to start backup Bruce Gradkowski. "We haven’t gotten anywhere with that decision," Cable said, in remarks reported on Jerry McDonald's Oakland Tribune blog. "We hoped to be able to talk about it now but we’re not ready to do that."
Nothing says "You stink" quite like being benched for a one-NFL-start-in-the-last-three-seasons career journeyman like Bruce Gradkowski.
Gradkowski has earned a 44.2 rating in relief of Russell this season. He hasn't exactly been the second coming of Kenny Stabler, nor has he even been the second coming of Andrew Walter.
Raiders fans should be forgiven for banging their foreheads against walls as they read this. The Raiders had four-time Pro Bowler and Bay Area fan favorite Jeff Garcia on their roster in training camp. And they cut Garcia, specifically because of their supposed commitment to starting JaMarcus Russell, through thick or thin.
Well, the results have been thin. And JaMarcus has remained thick. So now the Raiders are considering handing the starting job to a backup, after dismissing one of the best backups in the league.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks Al Davis needs to send Jeff Garcia a letter of apology, a muffin basket, and a plane ticket to Oakland International Airport.