(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
What can I say that every single NFL fan in the world, including myself, hasn't already said?
We simply expected more. Did we expect too much? No. But he hasn't delivered. Improvement: Nope. Dedication: Nope. Commitment: Nope. Regression: Yep.
After showing well toward the end of last season, it seemed that Russell was ready to unleash his tantalizing potential on a consistent basis this season. Sadly, that has been as far from the truth as the Raiders are to moving the ball on offense right now.
The whispers of his poor work habits and dedication have grown to roars after CBS Analyst Boomer Esiason went on record criticizing Russell and stating that he's been heavily fined for weight issues as well as blowing off mandatory team meetings.
That is the most disappointing thing of all. We can all forgive a young player as he matures, especially one who has had as much turmoil and strife to deal with as Russell has in his short tenure as an NFL QB.
Much of Russell's stunted development can be blamed on himself though. When drafted, he held out until after the regular season had started, missing all of training camp and hindering his development. He then showed up out of shape and didn't take his job very seriously.
Still, he showed flashes of talent, and the coaching staff began to be encouraged by what he was accomplishing toward the end of last season. Then, this offseason, steady questions about his dedication and work ethic began to become common discussion.
It seems as if those worries are true. Nobody can know how hard Russell is really working behind the scenes, but his performance and seeming regression speak volumes as to what seems to be the truth.
That's disappointing, as this team needs a leader in the worst way. Unfortunately, right now, Russell is their leader, and that's what kind of way he is leading.