Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
We had a shutout in this week’s “you pick it” feature.
The unanimous winner was Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell struggling for the third straight week. The other candidates were San Diego center Nick Hardwick being out for about two months with an ankle injury and Kansas City trading former starting quarterback Tyler Thigpen to Miami for a future draft pick.
I usually base my decision on how long a story will have an effect. The Hardwick story qualifies. However, I’m going with the Russell story along with our readers.
This may be the beginning of the end for Russell in Oakland and that would be a huge story. So, I agree with the readers. Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Jason from Placerville, Ca: Topic has to be Russell not performing well. This to me as a die hard Raider fan is huge toward our future. If he can't get it together soon he needs to be benched. I know its really only year two for him but we fans are sick and tired of losing and losing bad. When we lose it seems it's always a rout. Monday opener looking like a fluke. From what i hear he does'nt take the extra time to read coverges on the sidelines. Almost like he's got no drive like the great ones. Too bad!
Josh from Santa Clarita, Ca: Do you really have to ask the question? We all know it's all about JaMarcus Russell. I hate to say it but he's already looking like a bust in just his 2nd full season. How possibly do you have a passer rating of 22.3???He looked like Ryan Leaf in his prime. They say Hackett is the best QB coach in the league, which makes me think Russell is just can't be coached. I know it's not his personality, but I'd like to see some kind of fire lit under him. I hate to say this, but JaMarcus Russell is quickly becoming a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf because there's so much money invested in Russell.
TJ Gaither from Cleveland, North Carolina: I think the story is definitely Jamarcus Russell. No individual player is holding this team back, it's Al Davis and Tom Cable(which he doesn't have much choice). They simply are not playing the best players and because of that we will continue to struggle as a franchise and specifically in the win/loss column. I was all for starting Russell entering this season he performed well down the stretch last season, but they should have at least let Garcia know if Russell struggled he had a chance. I was ok with McFadden starting initially as well, but it's time for him to come in as a change of pace and play some out wide or in the slot, because Bush is doing much better consistently going forward and not losing yardage and appears to be the better every down back, plus he doesn't fumble. DHB has no place out there it is at least two options better than him at this point probably 3, those being JLH, Walker, and Watkins. They all have proven more than he has and need to get an opportunity. I don't blame Russell, McFadden, or DHB it's not their fault that they are in the situations that they are in, I blame it on Al and Cable they are trying to prove a point and it's hurting the rest of the team and killing the fans spirit, at least mine.
Henry from Fairbanks, AK: JaMarcus Russell's very poor play tops them all. 109 passing yards in the last two games. Couldn't changes temporarily benefit his long term development? They aren't going to make the playoffs the way things are headed so why not let him sit for a few weeks to see if things can turn around and take a little pressure off him. The defense has got to be tired of three and outs. Couldn't this lead quickly to a divided locker room and Cable losing the team? At what point does the team's hopeless play greatly affect revenue because no one is buying tickets? I think I can speak for a lot of long term, devoted Raiders fans -- we feel hopeless about our future.
Paul Matijevich from Las Vegas, NV: The storyline of the week has to be Russell. SD losing Hardwick is a big blow for them but they are a talented team that can play through his injury. Being a lifetime Bronco fan, there is nothing that would satisfy me more than to watch the Raiders continue with him as quarterback. However, from a pure football perspective, how can they not make a move in another direction? At least go the Vince Young route and let him learn from the sidelines for a year. It doesn't look like he cares about getting better. To his defense, he has had several coaching changes, but he doesn't seem to do the work that is required to be a top notch QB. He is out of shape and looks like a high school player with his accuracy and decision making. But more to the point, off the field, he looks completely overwhelmed with all that being a QB requires, and after three years there has been no progress, none at all. This is what would disturb me the most, if I was a Raider fan.
Ty from Springfield,. MO: JaMarcus Russell playing so poorly is the story of the week (this is coming from a Chiefs fan who agreed with Tony Gonzalez that Thigpen should have had a shot to win the starting job this year). The reason is this; if Russell plays poorly for 1 or 2 more weeks I expect the Raiders to bring back Garcia to try to save the season. Thigpen is gone, Hardwick is injured, that's the end of those stories but something will happen if Russell continues playing this bad.