In frank and candid terms, Raiders coach Tom Cable addressed on Monday the decision to yank quarterback JaMarcus Russell from Sunday’s loss to the Jets for Bruce Gradkowski, per David White of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The basic problem? Failure of execution.
On the team’s first play from scrimmage, Cable dialed up a deep ball. And Cable said that, despite days of preparation, Russell didn’t get the offense lined up properly, he ignored the check-down option when the deep routes were covered, he took a sack, and he fumbled the ball.
“You wouldn’t expect to have that kind of mental error on the first play of the game,” Cable said.
Cable also called out Russell for his two interceptions. As to the first one, Cable said “[t]here wasn’t anybody there to throw the ball to.”
On the second, Russell seemed to blame receiver Todd Watkins for failing to catch a ball thrown behind him.
“It’s not up for the coach and the quarterback to debate this in the media,” Cable said, “but when you see it on film, it’s pretty obvious that would have been a tough play for Superman.”
And . . . ouch.
Russell’s side of the story has not been told publicly; he’s scheduled to address the media on Thursday. But it’s clear that the Raiders are taking a new approach with the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.
If public humiliation generated by his head coach won’t force the light to finally come on, then it’s fair to conclude that there’s simply no switch.