Cable: Frye, not Russell, as Raiders' starting QB is 'best thing for us'

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Charlie Frye waited more than a year for another opportunity to start in the NFL. JaMarcus Russell might find himself in a similar boat.

Lombardi: The right decision

NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi believes Raiders coach

Tom Cable made the right call in choosing Charlie Frye as the starting QB over JaMarcus Russell.

"Cable would have lost the team if he put Russell back on the field. There's no confidence in the locker room. Before Russell can get his career turned around, he's going to have to win over the locker room first, then the coaching staff.

"Right now, Russell has no one in his corner, including Al Davis, who can't defend him. I don't think there was any choice for Cable." **Watch ...**

Frye was picked to start at quarterback over former No. 1 overall draft pick Russell when the Oakland Raidersvisit the DenverĀ Broncos on Sunday.

Raiders 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 hasn't played this season and strictly worked with the Raiders' scout team. His last start was for the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 12, 2008, against the Green Bay Packers when he threw for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

Since then, Frye has been trying to revive his career, signing with the Raiders during 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 jokingly said. "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 the Raiders' Nov. 22 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gradkowski led the Raiders to two stirring fourth-quarter comebacks against the Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, but he tore the medial collateral ligaments in both of his knees during last Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

After replacing Gradkowski in the second half against the Redskins, Russell passed for just 74 yards and failed to consistently move the offense while being booed by the Coliseum crowd.

"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 move forward."

Russell was unavailable for comment but said before the game against the Redskins that he still believes he's the Raiders' quarterback of the future. But after Russell was skipped over in favor of Frye, there's increasing speculation that the Raiders might be looking to sever their ties with the third-year pro, who signed a six-year contract 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 day."

The Raiders chose not to put Gradkowski on injured reserve and are hopeful that 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 get well."

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: Raiders TE Zach Miller, who suffered his second concussion this season after getting hit by Washington linebacker Rocky McIntosh, didn't practice and is questionable.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.