Put yourself in the shoes of JaMarcus Russell, and tell me how would you handle this level of adversity?
In the 2007 NFL drafts, quarterback JaMarcus Russell was pick first overall by the Oakland Raiders, hopefully to turn things around in Raider Nation. This has been challenged to no prevail, by several proven NFL quarterbacks since the Rich Gannon era ended after a disappointing super bowl lost to the Tampa Buccaneers.
Coming into the fourth year of his contract and his fourth offensive coordinator, JaMarcus Russell will have to compete with Bruce Gradkowski for the starting job.
Bruce Gradkowski manage to pull off some impressive late game comebacks against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which have majority of the fanbase thinking he could be the next Rich Gannon.
With those two wins Bruce Gradkowski grab the spotlight. It has been said he brought leadership to the table that gave this offense a spark, I admit when Gradkowski number was called he perform well, but I credit alot of his success to the healthy offensive line and more experience at the receiver position.
After Russell had been taking a beating nine consecutive weeks, verbally from the Raider fans, and physically from the opponents. Gradkowski took over at quarterback after Cable benched Russell, which look to me as job saving bail out plan for Cable. Gradkowski took over with four returning starters coming back from injury.
Head Coach Tom Cable made it clear that there will be a full quarterback competition come here July at Camp Cable. Keep in mind Hue Jackson has been name offensive coordinator, and Al Davis has snatch the play calling duties from Cable in favor of the more qualified Hue Jackson.
Russell has been often criticized about his work ethic, which has improve tremendously this off-season. Showing up at off-season workouts already in good football shape. Alot of the blame from for Russell terrible numbers in 2009, from the fans perspective, was his weight gain and him not being in good football shape. Despite the fact that injuries rip this offensive line apart, two rookie wide receivers that didn't understand how to get open, and a play caller that didn't have a clue.
There's is no doubt, it was impossible for the Russell to live up to the hype in the first half of his contract without a supporting cast, and with more of the peices of the puzzle in place he will have no problem performing better.
I'm at the point where I'm questioning who call is it to make? I mean, the winner of the quarterback competition. This could either go two ways, Russell talent out doing Gradkowski by far, or this being a really close race. With Hue Jackson taking over as offensive coordinator, and Al Davis signing checks, and Tom Cable making it clear its his decision to make, I say at the end of the day men lie, women lie, but money don't. Russell is due to make 9.45 million dollars this year going into the second half of his contracts, besides if you know Al Davis, then you know his money will be under center come here season opener.