Jamarcus Struggles;What's In a Name?
There is a grumbling in the Nation.
And no, the source is not Khalif Barnes stomach as he contemplates the best spot for a hamburger instead of focusing on being a starter in the NFL.
That noise comes deep within the Black Hole and revibrates across the great Raiders Nation. This ear-drum splitting noise calls out one man's incompetence on the football field.
Nevermind the sloppy play of the Raiders DT's, slow-to-react LB's, archiac defensive schemes or an oversized OL that can't move a pile of infield dirt.
No, this noise is directed to Public Enemy Number One. The guy wearing #2 and a stupid knitted hat, with it on he looks like a fat Elmer Fudd.
This enemy within, this unholy is the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders Nation is correct in voicing their opinion. "JRuss" has been ineffective as a quarterback. His QB rating of 39.8 ranks a mere .8 points above the rookie season QB rating of the infamous first-round bust, Ryan Leaf.
Since the second-half of the Chargers game, opposing defenses crowd the line of scrimmage with 9 players, taunting Russell to throw the ball. His inability to connect with his WR's and the talent-in-waiting Zach Miller has taken away the strongest asset of the offense, the Bush/MacFadden/Fargus attack.
But this article is not about the player who has chosen to wear as a jersey number the universal numerical signal for bowel movements.
This article is about the Raiders Nation's voices.
A great indicator to how players, or teams, are playing is the nickname bestowed upon them. Legendary nicknames like "The Purple People Eaters" or "The Assassin" label a particular team or player with a recognition they are executing above and beyond the call of duty.
So what is in a nickname?
Orginally, the Raiders Nation ceremoniously dubbed Russell, "JaMoney", and why not? He was the first-round future of the Raiders organization. His huge salary was going to match the statistics he was going to mount with that big arm.
Then in his first career start, on his first NFL big-money throw he tosses an interception.
Murmers from the Nation arose. Nicknames such as "JaBust" or "JaBustus" began to earnestly trickle out only to find such blasphemy stomped out by the Raiders faithful.
After a shakey first season and a 55.9 QB rating, reports that Russell was over-weight began to surface on by media, oh so reliable, sources. Claims that he was over 300 lbs before training camps were pushed away by both Raiders brass and Nation. Somewhere a faint whisper was heard, "JaLardass". Other cries were gaining in volume as "JaPorkus" was heard among the faithful.
Questions about Russell's off-season work ethic also began to surface and a new moniker of "JaDumbass" was applied to Russell.
But Al Davis, armed with his secret weapon overhead projector, forced a precocious "Lance" Kiffen out the door and implemented Tom "The Cable Guy" as head coach. With this, Coach Cable plugged "JaPorky" into the lineup and Russell went 2-0 in his last two games and ending his 2008 campaign with a 77.1 QB rating.
Armed with a two game winning streak, optimism abounded with the Nation as hopes that "JRuss" will emerge into a great QB in 2009. With his "Three Headed Monster" running attack and speed to burn, Russell was ready to heed the call of the elite.
Or was that the pizza delivery guy?
Despite an effective first half against a shakey San Diego defense, "JRuss" has been getting progressively worse in the 2009 season. His QB rating has gone from 47.6 to 46, against the Chiefs, to a low 22.6 against the Broncos.
Responsively, the nicknames have been getting progressively worst.
The Nation has been voicing it loud and clear. Several variations of his weight have been incorporated into nicknames including "JaHamhock" or applying the appropiate bovine jab of "JaMeatloaf" and "JaMeatball".
One of my "JaHilarious" favorites has been "JaWalrus".
So the Raiders Nation is speaking. They are speaking out on the poor play of their franchise QB.
Its a frustrating time to be a fan of this once proud organization. An organization that once prided itself on nicknames like "The Mad Bomber" and "The Assissin."
The frustration show with the harsh nicknames and it is spreading. Fans are now giving nicknames to other first round selections with murmers of "McFumbles" and Heyward-"Gay" being heard.
Perhaps the Nation can sum it up with one exact nickname.
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