While the Raiders await the arrival of their first round draft choice and the number one pick in the draft – QB JaMarcus Russell, the team is still not ready to make a choice on who will be the first to line up under center Saturday night vs the Cardinals in their preseason opener. The choices are newly signed QB Daunte Culpepper, former Lions QB Josh McCown, or sometime starter last season – Andrew Walter.
The team did release a depth chart on Tuesday, and all three QB’s are listed together, meaning that for now, no chocie has been made as to who will take the first snaps against Arizona. As for Russell, he sits back at his mother’s house in Mobile, Alabama, as his holdout from the Raiders becomes uglier and uglier. The two sides are still not close, and as of now, there are rumblings that he won’t wear the silver and black until sometime in September, already into the regular season.
New coach Lane Kiffin has been speaking to Russell thoughout the negotiations, but also thinks that there will not be a signing anytime soon. “I wouldn’t use the word close, no,” Kiffin said. “Every day hurts him. Every (missed) practice just puts him that far behind. We just talked about how hard it is for Daunte to catch up and he’s been playing in this league for a while. Here’s somebody who’s never taken a snap in the league, so every day that he misses hurts his chances.”
As for the QB’s that could take the field on Saturday night, the most interesting of the three is by far Culpepper, who many want to see what he has to offer. He was signed by the Raiders after being released by the Dolphins after a feud with them. He says he is ready to go off the nasty knee injury suffered two seasons ago, and has shown some good things in camp so far with his new team. McCown has not thrown a pass in a regular season game since 2005, and was Jon Kitna’s backup all last season.
As for Walter, he was downright awful last season, going 2-6 as a starter, but was the lowest rated QB in the league after throwing 13 picks and had a completion percentage of just 55.8. He had offseason surgery on his right knee, and was not able to take part in much until team camp opened. Meaning that right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to who Kiffin will turn to. I am sure that behind the scenes the guy he wants is sitting on a couch in Alabama. But unitl Russell and the Raiders can come to terms, I would say Daunte is the man, at least that is who appears to have the best chance of leading the Raiders anywhere in 2007.