What did Lane Kiffin know about JaMarcus Russell that Al Davis didn't know or didn't want to realize?
It was obvious once Lane Kiffin became coach of the Oakland Raiders he didn't want to draft JaMarcus Russell and this led to his eventual dismissal, among other things. I despise Kiffin for the way he worked his out of Oakland by using the media to get Al to dismiss him. He was definitely a liar. Al Davis gave him a major opportunity to learn under Al and become a great coach down the road. At the tender age of 31, Al didn't expect this kid to immediately start looking for ways to get out. Anyone who takes a job with Al must understand the expectations and the power control before they even take the position and understand that if they ever want power they are going to have to earn it.
However much I despise the guy this article's only about his opinion on drafting JaMarcus Russell. I don't believe Kiffin wanted him and I've often wondered why. People have often stated since Kiffin didn't want him, he wasn't going to work with him and this reduced his development. I believe that's absolute horse .... but that another article to write about. Here's something I believe he actually was right about and this has nothing to do with Russell's development. Lane Kiffin did his best with Russell but Russell refused to do the extra work to really learn the offense.
The more I think about why he didn't want Jamarcus Russell makes me wonder if Kiffin was actually right about him? Kiffin must've known the guy had a poor work ethic because talent and potential wise he's off the charts. Some coaches run from these players because it's like trying to get blood out of turnip and it takes more work. Kiffin knew Russell was smart based on a pre-draft visit and a conversation about the exact same plays a month after the draft. Kiffin knew Russell has a cannon and a very accurate arm. He knew based on his size he can see over any lineman and he should rarely have a pass batted down. He knew even though he's a big guy, he ran a 4.83 40 which is fast for a QB, but really fast for a big guy and able to scramble when necessary. Because of his size it often would take 3 players to get him down and often he'd still get the ball out by throwing a 30 yard rope via a wrist sling motion. he also knew that character wise he's a high character guy willing to help anyone out. Why in the hell didn't Kiffin want Russell? Why wouldn't anyone want him?
It certainly wasn't just the Notre Dame Sugar Bowl win as many often point to. Russell was already on his way to becoming a first round pick based on play against the SEC over the previous two years and the Capital One Bowl game against Iowa his freshman year when he nearly led them to a remarkable come from behind win if not for a lucky last play by Iowa to win it.
The only reason that Kiffin didn't want Russell has to be because of work ethic. Coaches all know each other and if a player has a poor work ethic other coaches will find out, simply based on frustration and having to talk to others. It's been obvious over the past 3 years because simply based on talent and potential, Russell should be leading this team like a solid QB and behind a dominant rushing attack, with a couple of decent receivers and an awesome former Arizona State TE. Instead it seems like he's entering his rookie year and still hoping to develop because of his talent.
It's a make or break year for Russell to prove Lane Kiffin and others they were wrong about him. He either gets his act together and takes charge of the Raiders, or he continues his act he's had the past 3 seasons and gets released after the 2010 season.
I apologize for the horrible picture. It was difficult writing the article and having to look at his ugly, traitor mug.