JaMarcus Russell Has Potential for Oakland Raiders

Mike Miller@@mykeymillerContributor IIOctober 29, 2009

What we know about JaMarcus Russell

Russell has physical gifts. He’s big, strong, has a strong arm, and is athletic.

He’s also overweight; how overweight I am not sure, but most NFL quarterbacks don’t have a gut.

Russell seems to be immature and unprofessional. I watched his post-game interview following the Eagles game. He showed up in a T-shirt wearing all his jewelry, including earrings (the ones he always has on under his helmet), a diamond bracelet, and some chains. He sports a faux hawk and generally looks sloppy.

He doesn’t seem to care about his physical appearance at all. 

He did answer a few questions but generally doesn’t seem like the leader of a once proud NFL franchise. 

I don’t attend practices, so it’s hard for me to comment on his work ethic. I don’t know what time he gets to work or what time he leaves. I don’t know if he studies film or not. 

I am limited to what my eyes see on the field on Sundays. He does not seem like he’s prepared to play based on his results. 

The play calling seems fairly simple. The formations are simple, and the rumor is the coaches have really dumbed down the playbook to take pressure off Russell. 

I don’t know this for sure, but the schemes the Raiders run seem fairly basic. They are generally running a two wide receiver set with a tight end. They are not running exotic four and five wide receiver formations like New England or New Orleans will run—the alleged reason is Russell isn’t comfortable with them.

A friend asked me what I would do if it were up to me. My first response was it’s not up to me. My second response was I don’t know. 

When a kid is rated highly, all the experts say he’s the right choice. It seemed like the Raiders made the right decision at the time. When that same kid fails to meet expectations, everyone starts to look around and place blame. 

There are a lot of people responsible here. There seem to be a lot of people taking accountability and one glaring person who seems to be dodging it. 

Now that I’ve thought about it, I’ve come up with my response.


What I would do if I could fix Russell

I would have a sit-down with Russell. I would set up some rules by which he needs to live. He is the face of the Raiders. It’s time he started actually representing them.

1) Dress Code: He needs to become more professional. He needs to represent himself and the Raiders in a more professional manner. Wear a suit or at least a Raiders polo for post-game interviews.

2) Speech coach: Have you ever seen Bull Durham when Crash is coaching Nuke? He gives him specific responses to use. That’s what Russell needs. He needs to speak in a manner that people understand and present himself more intelligently. His intelligence is constantly questioned. 

Get a speech coach if you need one. It’s time to start speaking more fluently and clearly. This will help his image.

3) Lose the earrings under the helmet. We get it. You're rich. Leave them in your G-ride or locker. 

4) Lead by example. Hit the gym, mix in a salad. Lose the gut. I am 6’7” and here to tell you he is easily 300 pound. Spend some time hitting the weights. Hell, I’m sure there’s a 24 Hour Fitness in his area.

5) When a game doesn’t go well, stand up and take responsibility. Take a page from Mark Sanchez when he threw a bunch of picks against the Bills

Afterwords in the press conference, he stood up there and said, “I lost this game." He blamed no one but himself. 

Sadly, the Raiders got the frustration of that loss taken out on them the following Sunday.

6) After a drive doesn’t do go so well, don’t run back to the bench, yank your helmet, put your hat back on, and not pay attention. Talk to your offensive coordinator or line and discuss what went wrong and what you are going to do next series. 

Be a leader—I can’t say this enough. If you don’t do it as the leader of the offense, why should anyone else?


Like I said before, the blame for the Raiders' performance falls at many peoples' feet. 


A letter to Russell

JaMarcus, you have the talent to be one of the all-time greats. You are your own person, and everyone gets that. If you want to be the best, maybe it’s time you start mirroring what the best have done. 

When you think of Brady, Manning (either of them), Brees, or any other current Pro Bowl quarterback, a few things come to mind: hard work, leadership, preparation, and physical talent. 

JaMarcus, currently you’ve only displayed talent. That talent is really being over shadowed by the perception that you don’t work hard, you are not a leader, and you don’t prepare. 

Your results seem to be backing this up.

I am a season ticket holder who sits in the black hole and cheers loudly and proudly for this team. I will never stop. I am proud of the past and look forward to the return to greatness in the future. JaMarcus, I hope you want to be part of it.

If you do, change who you are and become the quarterback Mr. Davis saw when he drafted you.


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