I know what you are thinking. "Here we go again Elias, let it go."
Let me start off by saying that I believe JaMarcus Russell will not be the Raiders' starter in 2010. To clarify any confusion, I am an Oakland Raider fan first, before any player in the league.
I love Nnamdi Asomugha, but if he went to the Broncos next year, it'd be over between us. As I mentioned, I think Russell could be cut because most of the reports going around are saying it's not of matter of if, but when.
As a Raider fan I am fine with that, though I would have loved it if Russell had succeeded because he does have great physical ability. The addition of Jason Campbell solidifies our quarterback position and I believe he will be our starter.
Though Russell hasn't been playing his best football with the Raiders, there are some small facts that may seem very hard to believe. No quarterback since Rich Gannon has been able to win more games in a season than JaMarcus Russell.
In 2008, when Russell threw only eight interceptions in 15 games it was the lowest interception total for a quarterback to play 15 games in a season as a Raider in the past 15 or more years.
Now, that doesn't mean he is a superstar or going to a Pro Bowl anytime soon, but it should give you an idea of how long it has been since the Raiders have had a solid quarterback other than Rich Gannon.
Tom Cable has said that Russell is expected to be at mini camp this weekend, and Adam Schefter recently reported that he will be at camp.
While Russell struggled last year, he did okay in his first year as a starter. Russell has been working out all offseason with a Raiders representative in Arizona and has been working out with the team in California.
Campbell was brought in to be the starter in 2010 according to Campbell, and I believe it. If you ask Cable, he will say there is no clear-cut starter at the moment and there will be a competition.
Campbell was only signed through 2011. That means he was only extended one year from his original contract. In two years, Campbell will be 30 years old and Russell will only be 26. It is possible that Al Davis wants Russell to stay with the team and learn behind a proven veteran quarterback.
Davis has not been shy about defending his No. 1 pick—maybe because he used Russell as a reason as to why Lane Kiffen should be fired. He's also made comments about patience with Russell.
"JaMarcus, he's got to do better," Davis said. "Forget the cast around him. He knows it. But we've got to fight through it with him," he told Jarrett Bell of USA Today.
Davis has a lot riding on Russell, and it appears that he isn't willing to give up on him just yet. The only way I can see Russell staying is if he reworks his deal with the team. The team has given him enough; now it's time for him to give back.
If Russell learns on the sidelines for a couple years, he will only be a distant memory to the Raider Nation. Davis is the guy with the final say in this situation, and this may be his hardest decision. Davis doesn't like to be proven wrong, especially when he has laid so much on the line for Russell.
As for me, I want whoever our starting quarterback is to succeed. I believe Campbell will be our guy this year and maybe next. As for beyond 2011 I really don't know, but I know Russell is the only guy with a contract beyond 2011.
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