Will The Real JaMarcus Please Stand Up

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 18, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

     Since the NFL draft of 2007, JaMarcus Russell has been portrayed as a perfect fit and a misfit for the Oakland Raiders.  Upon being drafted 1st overall, Russell was loved by the Raider Nation and we couldn't wait to see him play.  Then the tide turned. Within 2 years, most (not all) of us wanted to see Russell benched. 

     Russell was benched for being: out of shape, poor pocket awareness, turnovers, poor work ethic, or to sum it all up...he was bad.  What happened to the man who the Raiders handed $32 million to?  Where is the man who was supposed to save the Raiders?  Where is the man we couldn't wait to see?

     It was hard to believe that Russell was playing so bad in 2009 after his respectable finish to 2008. 

     Russell seemed like he didn't care either.  He would brush away the negatives of his games and say after the game that "I think I played OK."  He seemed like he was satisfied by just getting a paycheck.

     Now, the tide turns again, this time in Russell's favor.  First, Willie Brown came out and said that Russell lost "a significant amount of weight" and that message was repeated by several players after Tuesday workouts. 

     Most Raiders fans have an opinion of Russell.  They love him or they hate him.  There is one writer who I think pleasures himself to Russell.  Anyway, it is hard to pick a side in this arguement.  Do you give the man a break for being drafted into the mess that is the Raiders or do you say enough with this poor play and lets go win like Gradkowski did.

     Some Raiders fans are giving Russell another chance but I am skeptical.  Russell lost weight which I know is hard to do myself, so maybe he has some work ethic inside.  But losing weight isn't helping his throwing accuracy.  Russell might just be making himself more injury prone.  Losing weight doesn't give him a better understanding of the playbook either. 

     Is Russell beginning a comeback greater than that of Jim Plunkett or is Russell going to continue to be jeered in Oakland as he surpasses Ryan Leaf for the worse QB in NFL history?  Will the real JaMarcus please stand up!