Fassel: Losman Can Thrive With Raiders
Losman, whose signing with the shorthanded Raiders became official Wednesday, may get that chance if the pattern of injury and ineffectiveness from Oakland's quarterbacks continues.
Fassel is coach of the newly-crowned UFL champion Las Vegas Locomotives, with whom Losman was the starting quarterback this fall. The veteran coach believes that the strong-armed quarterback has what it takes to return to form in the NFL.
"J.P. is a solid guy and talented quarterback," Fassel told FanHouse in a phone interview Wednesday night. "He is certainly battle-tested. Most of all, though, I'm very impressed with his work ethic, desire to be good and really work at his trade and be better."
Fassel also admitted that three teams were ready to sign Losman if the Raiders did not but declined to specify which ones.
Oakland needed to ink Losman, who will be the Raiders' third quarterback behind starter Charlie Frye and former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell, according to the Associated Press.
Bruce Gradkowski, the starter in Oakland's last four games, tore ligaments in both his knees during his team's 34-13 loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday. He had resuscitated Oakland's dormant offense after taking over for the struggling Russell.
Fassel suggested that the Raiders will have to rely on Frye and Russell in Sunday's road game against the Denver Broncos. It will take Losman some time to pick up the system.
"It will take a couple of weeks to at least learn," Fassel said. "I think he will do well there, though. I know [Raiders owner] Al Davis has always liked him."
Known for tutoring quarterbacks, Fassel coached in the NFL from 1991-2006, during which time he was an offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and head coach. His lone head coaching job was with the Giants from 1997-2003, guiding the club to the Super Bowl after the 2000 season.
While Fassel's team lost that Super Bowl, his Locomotives were able to secure the UFL's first-ever championship with a 20-17 overtime win over the Florida Tuskers in the title game on Nov. 27. Fassel believes that Losman -- and others who played in the UFL -- made a wise decision by taking advantage of playing time in the alternative league instead of watching on an NFL sideline.
"A type of guy that really will achieve is a guy that wants to play," the coach said. "Practice squads in the NFL, nobody gets to see you."
Fassel, though, refused to give any advice as to how the Raiders' coaches should integrate Losman into the offense in order to get him ready quicker.
"They are good coaches. I know [Oakland quarterbacks coach] Paul Hackett and the Raider coaches," Fassel said. "Whatever they deem necessary."
For his part, Fassel insists that he is happy with his gig in the UFL, saying that he will stay with the league "as long as it progresses." He also said that he has never taken a job with a springboard mentality, preferring to focus on the job at hand rather than what it will lead to.
Losman's performance in the UFL has led to a return to the NFL, where he spent five years with the Buffalo Bills. The 28-year-old former first-round pick played in 42 games over that span, starting 33 of them and throwing for 6,211 yards with 33 TDs and 34 interceptions.