“One of the toughest decisions we had last year early was dealing with the temptation to play him before he was ready,” Fisher said. “. But we saw things throughout the late OTA’s, through camp and the preseason games, but more importantly in the practice sessions. He was grasping the information.”
Young did not play in the Titans first three games but with the offense struggling, Fisher made the call for a change in Week 4. Tennessee went 8-5 after that and Young went to the Pro Bowl. Now he’s one of the most recognizable faces in the league and a dangerous talent who is set to return to the lineup after sitting out last week’s win over Houston.
The Raiders so far have resisted the urge to play their own rookie quarterback, JaMarcus Russell, even though -- like the Titans did a year ago -- Oakland has struggled offensively.
But Fisher says the timing has to be right for a change to be made and defends the Raiders’ decision to sit on Russell for now.
“I think you have to be careful,” Fisher said. “You have to give them a chance to be successful. The number one thing that you have to have as you’re developing a young quarterback, that’s the running game.
“Certainly you’re not going to put someone out there without an effective understanding of the offense. I think as coaches, our responsibility is to make sure we’re not asking players to do things they can’t do. There’s a number of reasons for that. They may be deficient in ability, their skill level, or they just may not have a complete understanding of what you’re asking them to do at some point. If a player’s got skill and talent and understands what he’s doing, I think as coaches we can put them in a position to be successful.”
Russell spent Thursday taking reps with Oakland’s scout team while Daunte Culpepper and Josh McCown ran the starting offense. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin again refused to name a starter for Sunday’s game in Tennessee but acknowledged again that Russell is getting close.
“He’s at the point where … if he went in there, there’s some things we can do,” Kiffin said. “
-- DT Gerard Warren did not practice and is listed as doubtful to play in Tennessee due to his lingering thigh injury.
-- LB Sam Williams (shoulder) was limited in practice, as was kick returner/defensive back Chris Carr.
-- RB Justin Fargas and DT Josh Shaw got into a brief altercation at practice Thursday before teammates separated the two. Fargas is a back-up to LaMont Jordan while Shaw is on the Raiders’ practice squad.