Oakland Raiders: Have a Seat, JaMarcus

Joseph LopezCorrespondent 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)

When I heard that the Oakland Raiders, the team I've rooted for since the fifth Grade, tried to ban my childhood hero, Rich Gannon from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, my heart stopped.

Not only did they try banning the one person that helped them to a Super Bowl appearance and a string of three straight AFC West Titles, they tried banning my idol.

I couldn't believe that the Raiders would try to do something as asinine as trying to prevent an ex-NFL MVP, with great insight, from entering the Coliseum.

If anyone should be banned from the Coliseum, it should be JaMarcus Russell.

Russell has been absolutely terrible, or as Charles Barkley would say, "turrible". Russell, who without a doubt has been a bust thus far.  He signed a six-year, $61 million deal, that guarantees him $11.5 million for the first three years.

In 2008, his first official year as the starting quarterback, he threw for 2,423 yards, completed 198 of his 368 attempts (53.8%), and had 13 touchdown passes.  Not a great rookie campaign, but I guess it would have to qualify as a decent year.

This season, however, Russell has been terrible.  He's completed only 43 of his 108 pass attempts (39.8%) and has thrown for just one touchdown.  Now, keep in mind, this guy is getting paid $11.5 million for this kind of performance.

Also, take into account that Russell, the "leader" of the offense, is often late to practice, misses meetings, and has come into this season overweight.

Now, ask yourself, what kind of message is that sending to the other players?  Imagine you work your butt off during practice, and you're getting paid league-minimum or close to it, and you see Russell walking in while everyone else is running.

This lack of leadership and commitment isn't helping Oakland, and it's only going to get worse.  The whole Tom Cable incident isn't going away, either.

The Oakland Raiders are a dysfunctional team right now, which is exactly what Rich Gannon was saying.  And once you talk badly about the Raiders, consider yourself an enemy of the Raider Nation...

But honestly, Gannon, who led the Raiders to three straight AFC West Championships and a Super Bowl appearance, isn't an enemy of the Raiders, nor is he "bashing" or "attacking" them.

Raiders Executive John Herrera, who I find to be quite ignorant, said this about Gannon's performance in Super Bowl XXXVII, "I guess it's our fault he threw five interceptions."

No, it was the team's fault.

Regardless of what anyone thinks, football is a team effort.  You either win as a team or lose as a team.

Did Gannon have a bad night?  Yes, of course he did.  He's human.  Was the game entirely his fault?  No, it was the coaching staff's fault for not tinkering the playbook that Gruden knew so well.

The Raiders need to learn how to play as a team.  They need to learn how to not only win as a team, but lose as a team as well.

JaMarcus Russell is still very young, but if you're getting paid top-dollar in the National Football League, and taking it for granted, don't expect to be around for very long.

Russell needs to be benched, or at least punished in some capacity.  The Raiders need a team leader, who isn't afraid to pick up the slack.  They need someone to put in a hard day's work.

Right now, Russell isn't that guy. Hopefully, with time he'll learn the values of team spirit, and hopefully one day he'll develop into a strong leader in the club-house.