JaMarcus Russell Is Not the Problem in Oakland

Ramone BrownSenior Writer IOctober 8, 2009

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Lately, it has become obvious that the Raiders have big problems. Many people are placing that blame squarely on the Raiders' big-armed QB JaMarcus Russell, but I gotta disagree. I would put that blame elsewhere, mainly on the coaching staff.

I've sat back and watched while other fans claim that we have the best passing-oriented coaching staff in all of football in Paul Hacket and Ted Tollner. 

Some claim Hacket is some sort of genius guru quarterback coach responsible for developing the likes of Joe Montana, Steve Young, Rich Gannon, and Jeff Garcia. And some say Tollner is an offensive mastermind.

Well, if you believe that last two sentences, then it is time for you to put down the kool-aid and take off the black-and-silver glasses.

And if you do believe that, please explain to me how JaMarcus Russell has regressed under their coaching.

I will tell you how their credentials are grossly overrated.

Hackett, in reality, had nothing to do with the development of those four players.

He coached Montana for three years in the middle of his career when he was already good. As a QB, who wouldn't have looked good coaching Montana?

Steve Young...Sorry to break it to you, but while Hackett coached for the 49ers, Young wasn't even on the team; he was in Tampa Bay.

Rich Gannon...Is that some sort of a joke? Gannon never even passed for 2000 yards under Hackett. Gannon also had better years both before and after the years Hackett coached at Kansas City, 93-97. If anything, Gannon, like Russell, regressed under Hackett only to later succeed in his absence.

Jeff Garcia...What? Another joke? By the time Hackett got to Garcia he was already a good QB, and if anything, he was on the downside of his career. And Hackett worked with him for two years, in which he barely passed for 5000 yards.

Then there's Ted Tollner.

If anything, he is a has-been. He hasn't coached for a relevant offense since the mid-'90s. Most recently, he was an offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, only to be demoted midseason to tight end coach. And over the last few years he's been an assistant offensive coach with the 49ers.

Yes, that's right, not offensive coordinator but assistant offensive coach for a team that's been nearly as bad as the Raiders the last few years. Pretty much irrelevant.

Then there's Coach Tom Cable. I've said it before, he is a good motivator and had the team behind him. But look at his credentials; he was a good O-line coach in the NFL, but before that, he was a horrible head coach at the college level.

Why would you expect him to do any better in the NFL?

As an O-line coach, he was part of a coaching offensive coaching staff that led the league in rushing. But c'mon. How hard is it to do that when your QB rushes for 1200 yards?

Cable may be a good head coach, but he's a horrible playcaller. A few Raiders have even openly criticized his playcalling, including Justin Fargas, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Sam Williams

With all the talent the Raiders have accumulated over the years, there is no reason they should be getting blown out for two weeks in a row.

As for JaMarcus Russell, many have questioned his work ethic, but that is not the problem.

Both Keith Davis and Jeff Garcia have said he's a workout warrior who can out-play anyone on the practice field.

You don't get called a workout warrior by two players who openly oppose you starting without putting in the work.

The thing that Garcia and Davis questioned was Russell's experience and ability to lead an NFL team. Garcia also said too much responsibility is being placed upon Russell.

If you know you have young, inexperienced players in the passing game at both QB and WR, why give up on the running game so early?

I admit I am taking a side and defending Russell. But if he truly isn't capable of performing at an NFL level, then the coaching staff should have made that assessment months ago.

Same with the wide receivers. They are really the best players on the field. But if not, then it's the Raider coaching staff who has failed; not JaMarcus Russell and his receivers.