Shutdown Corner - NFL

Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell(notes), despite four games this season with a QB rating under 50, had somehow managed not to get benched.

For some reason, though, Tom Cable decided that today was the day. JaMarcus, after three turnovers, finally got the hook. Bruce Gradkowski(notes) entered the game, and while he wasn't the world beater you'd expect him to be, he wasn't JaMarcus-awful. He managed to throw 19 passes without being intercepted (though he did cough up a fumble) and he led the Raiders down to the Jets' 1-yard-line. Sadly, no score.

Unfortunately, any improvement that was gained by Gradkowski's insertion will be short-lived. Head coach Tom Cable announced after the game that the job still belonged to JaMarcus. As a fan of the team that plays the Raiders play next week, allow me to say, "Thank you, Tom Cable."

I kid. I don't think there's any way this is really Cable's decision. That's because Cable is a head football coach in the National Football League, which means he occasionally watches and studies football, which means he knows that Russell isn't helping anyone win right now.

I've got to believe -- and this is pure speculation on my part -- that the decision to stick with JaMarcus comes from somewhere higher in the organization. Somewhere older and more delusional, with less of an idea of how the Raiders might get better in 2009.

Anyway, after the fits that the Raiders gave the Chargers back in Week 1, it's definitely not a game I'd take for granted. I will say, though, that knowing JaMarcus will be under center provides a measure of comfort.

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