So Tom Cable is still the head coach - until further notice, if there is any announcement to be made - and he's rightfully acting like one. The best news to come out of the Combine for Raiders fans, then, is that Cable announced an open competition at quarterback.
Meaning JaMarcus Russell is going to have to work for it and will be handed nothing, as far as Cable is concerned. But as the only QB currently under contract, who will Russell compete against? Well, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, The People's QB Bruce Gradkowski is all but signed-sealed-and-delivered to return to the Raiders. Blanco reported that Cable told Gradkowski's agent at the Combine that the Raiders would place a second-round tender on Gradkowski in advance of Thursday's deadline unless, of course, a long-term deal is agreed upon first.
Should the second-round tender happen, the Raiders then have the right to match any contract offer by any other team or accept a second-round draft pick as compensation for losing Gradkowski. If Gradkowski accepts the tender, he'll earn $1.759 million for 2010 and to compete with Russell for the starting gig.
Good news for fans tired of Russell's lax work ethic - maybe this fires him up? - and in awe of Gradkowski's lunch pail mentality.
The other restricted free agents in a potential uncapped year the Raiders have to make a decision on by Thursday: linebackers Jon Alston, Ricky Brown, Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison, cornerback Stanford Routt, safety Hiram Eugene, offensive linemen Khalif Barnes and Chris Morris, quarterbacks Charlie Frye and J.P. Losman, running back Gary Russell and suspended fullback Luke Lawton.
And some good news for the "traditionalists" amongst you: the Pro Bowl is returning to Hawaii. The catch - it still going to be played the week before the Super Bowl, making the trek from Honolulu to Arlington, Texas for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium a somewhat arduous, albeit, rewarding one.
Television ratings and the accompanying enthusiasm combined with history to make the switch a reality.
"Playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl generated more excitement and interest in the event and also kicked off Super Bowl week in an innovative new way," said Frank Supovitz, the NFL's senior vice president of events. "We are pleased to return to the state of Hawaii, which has embraced the Pro Bowl for 30 years."
Maybe, except that players from the Super Bowl-playing teams won't be involved again.