Jumping the Gun in Oakland: Don't Write Off JaMarcus Russell Just Yet

Raider Card Addict@RaidercardadictSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders sets to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Judging by the last couple of articles on the subject, there are some fans who would throw away JaMarcus Russell faster than a Todd Marinovich jersey.

Some think the guy should get a chance to prove himself.  After all, Russell has only started 16 games in his short career.

Looking at the Raiders more generally, there have been both good things, and not-so-good things, that have come out of waiting and watching.

Our first candidate was drafted by the team hoping to make a new start.  An older quarterback had just left, and a couple older QBs were on the roster, yet within three years, he would be starting for the Raiders.

Meet Marc Wilson.

Marc, for all his blundering, was not horrible, but not a long-term solution.  In and out of the lineup, he would come and go, either injured, ineffective, or the fans simply hated him.  He was playing with a tremendously gifted running back, a great tight end, and a defense—that while aging—still went to two Super Bowls in the 1980's.

Wilson never played in either game.

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He finished his career with the Raiders at 31-19, spending most of it watching Jim Plunkett, seven years his elder, lead the team to its brightest moments.

Could Marc Wilson have done better if the Raiders had forced Jim Plunkett to sit on the bench in 1981?  Could Marc Wilson have done it all in 1983?  The doubters say no...  I do too, because seeing him play; he sometimes looked lost out there.

Our second quarterback came to the Raiders from a good school, holding a national title, and was a second-round pick in the late 60's.  Playing for a team that contained the greats of Daryle Lamonica and George Blanda in front of him, he must have wondered when he would get his shot.

In three seasons, from 1970 to 1972, he had a 1-1 record, with five touchdowns and eight interceptions.  The team stuck with him though, watching him play as a team assembled around him.  By 1973, he started 11 games and went 8-2-1.

Ken Stabler had arrived in the NFL.  Lamonica, at age 32 was in his second to last season with the club, effectively setting Stabler in as the face for the Silver and Black.

Now, what would have happened if the team had decided Stabler was not good enough to lead the team in 1973?  What if they would have cut him loose and tried to draft someone else?  What if the Raiders had that Lamonica had another three-to-five years?

For all we know, they might had tried to bring Cotton Davidson out of the mothballs one more time, as bad as he was for the franchise.

The primary thing with a QB is giving the player a chance to perform.  Allowing him to steady for several seasons will be the only way to know if he is going to succeed, fail or if the Raiders must do more to help him.

As good as the Raiders were in the 1970s, it is anyone's guess if Lamonica stayed healthy if he could have gotten a ring in 1976.  As well, most people feel Marc Wilson was too green to play in 1980, let alone lead the team to the Super Bowl.

With Russell, the team has not been the best the last six years, which is why we were able to draft him.  I think as the team improves, you will get a chance to watch what he can really do for the team.

Give the J-Russ his chance.