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Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell looses a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of their NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. Russell was pulled in favor of second-string quarterback Bruce Gradkowski in the third quarter. The Chiefs won, 16-10. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

JaMarcus Russell remains the starting quarterback for the Raiders, at least for the time being. Coach Tom Cable said a hamstring injury suffered by Bruce Gradkowski complicates the decision of who will start against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Cable wants to meet with his quarterbacks, go over the plan for Sunday and the rest of the season, and put that plan in motion. That's going to take more time than expected.

"We haven't gotten anywhere with that decision," Cable said Monday at his weekly news conference. "We hoped to be able to talk about it now, but we're not ready to do that."

The discussions will be among Cable and his quarterbacks, with managing general partner Al Davis not influencing the decision, Cable said. Charlie Frye also is a viable option, Cable added.

Cable said he removed Russell from the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday for missing too many open receivers and poor management of the offense.

"If he remains the starter, he's got to understand the responsibility that comes with that position," Cable said. "You can't go out time and time again and consistently be that inaccurate, not have command like you need to in this league. That's a very critical position in the NFL. It has to be great, or at least close to it, all the time."

Russell is the least accurate and lowest-rated NFL passer among quarterbacks who began the season as starters. He completed just 8 of 23 passes for 64 yards before being removed in the third quarter of a 16-10 loss.


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Gradkowski said it's imperative that he and his teammates know who the starter is so that they can be as prepared as possible for the Bengals.

"It's key for the guys around me to know who the guy is," Gradkowski said. "If I'm the starter, they get used to my cadence, the kind of way I throw, my rhythm."

Russell was unavailable for comment Monday. He said after Sunday's game that he was surprised about Cable's decision to remove him for the second time in three games.

  • Oakland's ongoing struggles in the passing game can't be pinned only on Russell's inaccuracy and the frequent drops by receivers, Cable said.

    Still, rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey also is in danger of losing his starting job. He has six catches for 96 yards and no touchdowns through nine games.

    On Sunday, he dropped a pass that would have netted 52 yards to the Chiefs 5-yard line and mishandled a pass that would have given the Raiders a first down inside the Chiefs 10 with 30 seconds or so to play. Chiefs safety Mike Brown snared the bobbled ball for a game-clinching interception.

    "I would say it's confidence," Cable said of Heyward-Bey's struggles. "He makes the great play the play before that on the sideline, a tremendous catch, and then not that (final) one."

    Heyward-Bey wasn't available for comment Sunday or Monday. Cable said the player selected No. 7 in this year's NFL draft is pressing too much.

    "He feels the pressure of being the first-round pick and what everyone has said and on and on and on," Cable said. "And rightly so. He hasn't backed it up yet. I see that kid being a real good pro, I really do."

  • Linebacker Ricky Brown (ankle) and receiver/kick returner Nick Miller (shin) won't play Sunday, Cable said. Free safety Michael Huff (foot) and Gradkowski are questionable.