Make no mistake, Raiders coach Tom Cable was pleased that JaMarcus Russell pulled out a 20-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
But he wasn't so overcome with euphoria that Russell was immediately reinstated as the starting quarterback.
At his weekly news conference Monday, Cable was holding out hope that Bruce Gradkowski could return from ligament tears to each of his knees. Charlie Frye will have to be cleared medically after suffering a concussion against the Broncos. After the game, Cable said Frye would start this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns if healthy.
That puts Russell at no better than No. 3, assuming J.P. Losman hasn't mastered the Raiders offense in less than a week.
"Right now, I'd say it's 50-50 at best," Cable said about the possibility of Gradkowski starting at Cleveland. "All of that will be decided Wednesday. We'll know more then."
Cable stopped well short of declaring Russell had "arrived" by virtue of the last drive against Denver.
"There were some things in that game that he could have taken advantage of before that last couple of throws that would, in my mind, (allow you) to make that kind of statement," Cable said.
Cable said it was a step in the right direction for Russell in terms of support from his teammates.
Defensive end Greg Ellis said it was too soon to determine if Russell had turned things around but compared him to Tennessee's Vince Young, who regained his starting
"It's in JaMarcus' hands to say what he's going to do," Ellis said. "He showed what he can do yesterday."
Frye was unimpressive statistically (9-for-17, 68 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, 38.4 passer rating), but Cable gave him a "B" grade, saying Frye managed the game well and made the correct reads on two deep throws that nearly connected.
"I'm feeling better every day but still not where I want to be," Miller said.
He said shutting it down for the season has not been discussed. Also being tested this week after suffering concussions were Frye and rookie tight end Brandon Myers.
Bush, who ran for 133 yards on 18 carries, owns the last three 100-yard games by a Raiders running back dating to last year's season finale in Tampa. He had only four carries for 9 yards in the three previous games.
"We've gotten ourselves in a turnover issue (or fallen) behind and it's taken us away from that," Cable said regarding Bush's lack of use.
Bush's use dropped off dramatically after a lost fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 22, but Cable said that was not a factor.
"Someone said something to me that Michael feels like he's in the doghouse," Cable said. "Nobody's in the doghouse."
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