Walker: Patience in passing game needed

During his first few days as the Raiders interim head coach, Tom Cable was adamant about opening up the passing game and taking the training wheels off second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Javon Walker isn't so sure that's a good idea.

While the veteran wide receiver has read the criticisms and heard the boos, he insists forcing Russell to throw more isn't the answer, at least not yet.

"You gotta be patient," Walker said. "(Russell) has to grow and the only way you grow is through time. He's a young guy and quarterback is one of the hardest positions. You just try to be there to grow with him."

Walker was signed to a $55 million contract in the offseason ostensibly with the idea that he would be the cornerstone of an Oakland receiving corps that was thin on experience and without much proven talent at the NFL level.

Through the first five games of the season, however, Walker has had as much impact as a glass of water in the Sahara desert. Heading into the Oct. 19 game against the New York Jets Walker had just five catches for 59 yards. He had yet to make it into the end zone and has been an easy target for an unhappy and increasingly disenchanted fan base which expected Walker to help Oakland's passing game take flight.

With Ronald Curry being benched in favor of Chaz Schilens, Walker could start to feel the heat, too.

Cable, who made it clear during his first day on the job he wanted the Raiders to throw the ball in an effort to be more balanced overall on offense, agrees Walker has underachieved but believes it's too easy to blame him for all of Oakland's passing problems.

"I don't know that I would single out Javon more than I would single out anyone else," Cable said. "I think we're all responsible for it. Are we getting out of him what we expected? Not yet. But I think I understand what he's capable of and we're putting him in those situations and we'll give him more opportunity to do that."

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