Reports of JaMarcus Russell's Demise in Oakland Are Ridiculously Premature

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Reports of JaMarcus Russell's Demise in Oakland Are Ridiculously Premature
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

62.8% Comp 3348 Yards 32 TD's 11 INT 104 QB Rating

Those are the stats of a random QB on an NFL team playing in 2008. Who wouldn't love a QB that put up numbers like this over the course of a season? Imagine the offensive scheme it would take to put up numbers like that!

Imagine the supporting cast of pro-bowlers and play-makers that certainly must surround this QB!

Alas...If only the Raiders could find a QB that could put up these types of numbers and they weren't stuck with a $60 million 300-pound bust that doesn't show up to the offseason workout program.

Just imagine that if only Al Davis would have hired the young offensive coordinator associated with this QB and we could pair him with next Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco.

So you already know where I'm going with this one: Yes, those are the statistics of JaMarcus Russell taken from the last three weeks of the 2008 season extrapolated over the course of a 16-game season.

During this stretch, JR  went 2-1 vs. the Patriots (L), Texans (W), and Bucs (W) which if you want to extrapolate that winning percentage as well, equates to 10.7 wins per year in a 16 game season.

Why those three games?

First, they were consecutive games from the end of the year and not cherry picked games so that period reflects the most recent point in the developmental curve of Russell.

Second, these were three teams on the cusp of the playoffs and were all favored to beat the Raiders so they were quality opponents.

Third, according to Raiders' linebacker Kirk Morrison, the turning point for this young team was at halftime of the Patriots game in which the Raiders were getting shellacked and they finally bought into then Interim Head Coach Tom Cable's message—play for each other.

According to Morrison, they looked each other in the eyes in that locker room, and the light switch went on. 

Is that a 'good' way to assess Russell's progress?

Scientifically speaking, who knows?!!! But it's a lot better than making up stories about Russell being 300 pounds or not showing up to off season workouts when he was the only guy in the building the last six weeks.

By the way, he missed the last couple of weeks to be with his mother while she underwent surgery, with Head Coach Tom Cable's permission. What is the media harping and what are the comments from Coach Cable about Russell needing to be around more?

Simple. Russell doesn't show up on his one day off a week during the season. For all we know, Russell is studying film at his house, taking a look at the game plan for the next week, or maybe he just needs some time to veg out and recharge the batteries.

The way the media reports Russell's level of dedication, you'd think he was hanging out with Pacman Jones and Vince Young "making it rain" while knocking back tequila shooters (I did see Michael Bust...err Huff... in that picture with Young however) or Matt Leinart doing the same in a hot tub with some co-eds.

Hey, he's never even been caught touching another man's junk n' stuff like Brady Quinn! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Chill...We got this.

Those soon to be prophetic words were uttered by Russell to his teammates in the huddle on the opening play following Tampa Bay taking the lead in the fourth quarter of the last game of the 2008 season.

Russell subsequently led his team to a TD on that drive and come-from-behind victory.

So with all this talk you'd think the guy had been in the league for four years and was putting up numbers that would make Joey Harrington look like Joe Montana.

Frankly, I'm a little disgusted with all of this talk, because JR's development, despite coming out as a Junior, despite missing his first training camp, playing catch up his rookie year, despite being forced into a west coast offense that didn't suit his playing skills, despite going through three play callers and a hostile head-coaching change, despite having the second worst defense in the league, despite having two turnstiles at offensive tackle for most of the year, despite having rookies and second-year players at every skill position, AND despite all the unwarranted criticism, JR pressed on and went 3-3 over his last six games and 2-1 over the last three while putting up pro-bowl caliber numbers.

So Chill...he's got this.

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