Oakland Raiders: Yes, I'm Still Defending JaMarcus Russell
Let me start off by saying that I understand JaMarcus Russell has his flaws: He lacks pocket pressence, ball security and his mechanics are sloppy.
But too many fans and critics say baseless negative things about him, as if they were facts, like:
He is fat and lazy.
He has horrible work ethic and isn't putting in nearly as much time as whats expected.
He's too dumb to be an NFL QB and can't read defenses.
He's too slow and imobile to move in the pocket.
He doesn't care about football anymore now that hes been paid.
And he has a drug and alcohol problem. According to a few hater forums; Russell regularly smokes weed on his front porch. He drinks syrup before going out to the clubs. And he has a problem with alcohol abuse. Yet somehow he has been able to slip through the leagues drug screening program
Making assumtions like these is unfair and completely ignorant. Especially when you have nothing concrete to base them off.
JaMarcus Russell is not dumb. His wonderlic score was pretty much middle of the pack for NFL QBs at 24 and he scored higher than players like Brett Favre, Donavan McNabb, Vince Young, David Carr, Trent Dilfer,and numerous other QBs.
A dumb man would not have made it as far as Russell did, a dumb man doesn't win back to back bowl games, and a dumb man doesn't land a 61 million dollare contract.
Go back and watch any of JaMarcus Russells' LSU Highlights. A dumb man could not run that offense. Though the base formation seemed to be three reciever single back set. It ranged from five wide to power running formations with two tight-ends.
He is not lazy or lacking in work ethic either, atleast no according to Jeff Garcia, Keith Davis and Mario Henderson.
Jeff Garcia and Keith Davis both called him a workout warrior and said he could out-throw anyone on the practice field. Yet both agreed Russell wasn't ready to lead in the NFL and Garcia gave the Raiders a better chance of winning.
Mario Henderson said this about him on his website October 8th:
"I've had reporters coming up to me all week asking about JaMarcus and why he isn't playing better and all this stuff, but I tell them that the guy is doing everything right in order to try and get better. He gets there early, works hard, watches film and leaves later than everybody else. When a team struggles everybody looks at the quarterback, but at the same time we aren't doing much to help him out right now."
Do lazy QBs who don't care; Get there early, watch film, work hard, and leave later than everyone else?
I didn't think so.
Nor is he imobile. Though I admit he lacks Gradkowskis' speed and agility. JaMarcus Russell in his short career has shown great mobility, especially for a QB of his stature.
And as for the other completely baseless acqusations about his personal life. Anyone who fabricates and spreads such lies should be ashamed.
And with all the adversity JaMarcus Russell faced, how can anyone have expected him to succeed.
The Raiders o-line was horrible they gave up 49 sacks, the third most in the NFL. Thats not very good considering they were 26th in passing attempts.
And its not like the blocking magically got better as soon as Gradkowski or Frye stepped on the field, like some delusional fans like to suggest.
Gradkowski was constantly running for his life and taking a beating nearly every time he dropped back to pass. His superior mobility was the only reason he lasted even two and a half games before injuring both knees.
Gradkowski did not show good pocket pressence either. As its hard to remain in the pocket when it collapses so quickly.
And Charlie Frye didn't fair any better behind our o-line. In three starts he finished one game, threw four interceptions and one TDs.
No one can succeed behind that o-line. Take league MVP Peyton Manning for example. He is hardly ever touched by defenders, his team only gave up 13 sacks all season. Thats about a qaurter the sacks the Raiders gave up.
Then theres the recievers. They are young and very athletic. But they are also raw and very inexperienced. Calling them talented, at this point, would be a bit of a stretch.
The closest thing JaMarcus Russell had to a go to reciever was 4th round rookie Louis Murphy.
Chaz Schilens was injured the first eight games of the season and wasn't healthy in any of Russells' starts.
Johnnie Lee Higgins, 2008s leading reciever, wasn't able to find his way to the field until very late in the season, after Russell was benched.
And Darius Heyward-Bey is no more than a project, as he had only 9 receptions starting in 11 games.
Then theres the coaching. The source of the majority of the teams struggles.
If one reciever has trouble catching the ball, then you can blame that individual. But when all recievers have trouble running routes, getting open and catching the ball. Then you blame coaching.
And when it seems like consistant pressure and penalties are coming from one o-linemen in particular, then you can blame that individual. Now that Kwame Harris is gone and consistant pressure and penalties seem to be coming from every direction. Its now time to blame coaching for the o-lines failures.
Then there is the play-calling. I'm not going to get into whether or not Tom Cable is a good head-coach or not. But I will say what can't be denied. Tom Cable is a horrible play-caller and offensive coordinator.
The guy actually had the audacity to suggest that we could have been in the playoffs without Russell.
With who... Gradkowski?
You know one of the guys who couldn't even survive three full games as a Raider. Anyone who thinks Gradkowski would have lasted any longer had he started week one is delusional.
Without Russell were we really that much better?
Was the team magically more motivated with Gradkowski at QB?... No, and if you believe otherwise then you to are delusional.
Our QBs whether it was Russell, Gradkowski or Frye were not given the tools to win and were set up for failure.
Without Russell we won a total of two games. With him we won three.
JaMarcus Russell is still the Raiders QB. Al Davis defended him last year and rightfully so. He isn't about to give up on him now. Thats why he's bringing in Hue Jackson to help the young QB along.
And come next September JaMarcus Russell will be the starting QB for the Raiders.
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