JaMarcus Russell Says "We're on Our Way," Oakland Loves Where Accuracy Is Going

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 27, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders is grabbed by Linebacker Shaun Philips #95 of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on December 4, 2008 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Talk about a big quarterback. Fellow Raider Jeff Garcia called him "the biggest one I've ever seen."

JaMarcus Russell is listed at 6'6" and 260 pounds. In reality, he is probably like 270-275, but he is on the hush regarding his weight.

It's not a beer belly; he is an athlete. It's just the way his momma raised him—around these parts, we call it the cornbread diet.

Shaun Phillips, the San Diego Chargers linebacker, tried to pull him down last year in this picture and got nothing but a large portion of JaMarcus' jersey.

JaMarcus has been on point this week in practice, prompting Raiders reporter Jerry McDonald to give the Raiders offense a "passing grade" on their last padded practice in Napa, Calif. It was their longest practice of the year, lasting two-and-a-half hours.

McDonald said, "JaMarcus Russell was extremely accurate."

Far be it from me to say, but how do you like that, naysayers?

Jerry also said, "The JaMarcus Russell over the last two days bears no resemblance to the Russell who left footballs strewn all over the field during OTAs and minicamps, or even the Russell of last week who kept finding Nate Clements instead of his own teammates.

"There was Russell hitting a completion to Michael Bush against Napoleon Harris, Russell finding Louis Murphy wide open over the middle, or throwing a dart into the corner of the end zone to Darrius Heyward-Bey against Justin Miller."

Russell wouldn't take full credit, giving props to his teammates for his performance. "You have guys that are attacking the ball and making the catch look easy," Russell said. “We’re getting there. It’s a process and we’re going through it together. It’s not like it’s one person’s job. Everybody’s job has to be done in order to get there. We’re on our way.”

On your way...well that, sir, is an unfinished sentence. You are on your way to what, chemistry? Perhaps synchronization?

Russell failed to drive the offense down the field in a non-contact two-minute drill today, but did hit a nice pass to tight end Zach Miller—a 30-yard gainer—that took the team to the 50-yard line.

In the simulation, the score was 10-7 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter. After the Miller pass, JaMarcus had two incomplete tosses and a third-down run of five yards. Not for nothing, but I’d say from the opponents' 45-yard line, with the right wind, Sebastian Janikowski could probably clear the crossbar by 10 yards or so.

So, I’ll leave it to you, the readers of this article. Leave what to you? I’m so glad you asked.

I’ll leave this: In the offseason, and even now, most of the criticism of JaMarcus Russell—the talented, cannon-armed quarterback of the Oakland Raiders—regarded his issues with accuracy. So, if JaMarcus has fixed or even improved his accuracy woes, what does that mean?

I’d say that 6-of-9 in the first game and 7-of-11 in the second game show a tremendous transformation from the JaMarcus Russell we saw at the beginning of last season.

Especially when you factor in that, for the second game, his “go-to guy” Chaz Schilens was out with a broken foot.

JaMarcus is making great reads and hitting his targets accurately. There have been some throws this preseason that made me say “wow!” out loud because they had so much zip on them. Very nice, tight spirals, and thrown where you want to see them if you are Oakland quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett.

I’m just saying is all, if JaMarcus Russell “needs to get better,” what happens if he does—rapidly?

Vote and you tell me what you think.