JaMarcus Russell: How Much Does he Miss Chaz Schilens?

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst ISeptember 23, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Chaz Schilens #81 of the Oakland Raiders catches a pass over Courtney Brown #27 of the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 13, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

There is no doubt that the loss of Chaz Schilens was a huge blow to the Oakland Raiders. But it seems as though his loss is lost when factoring in the play of the top overall pick from the 2007 NFL draft, JaMarcus Russell.

I have heard many people say that JaMarcus Russell can't hit the broad side of a barn if it was 10 feet away. I have heard nobody say that perhaps these rookie wide receivers are not seeing the field the same way as the third year pro quarterback.

What are the odds? Well, actually, the odds are good because when things aren't going right, you blame the coach, and you blame the quarterback. You do not blame the wide receivers, even if they are both rookies, right?

Look at people in Dallas, and for that matter across the country, who are calling for Tony Romo's head. Is Romo throwing to rookie wideouts? No, but his team is losing, and that makes him look as bad as the signal caller.

Chaz is an impact player. His abilities are unmatched on the roster in Oakland. DHB is not someone who JaMarcus can put his full confidence in. Louis Murphy may be helped out by the fact that he attended JaMarcus' private workout in Alabama. Still, he is new to the quarterback.

Coach Cable does not yet have full confidence in Javon Walker. Johnnie Lee Higgins was hurt last game, and was thrown to five times in the San Diego game, resulting in zero catches.

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Zach Miller is a reliable pass catcher. JaMarcus Russell knows if he puts it anywhere near this guy, he is going to make a play on the ball, and will likely catch it. Zach Miller is an impact player.

Chaz Schilens made a spectacular play on a ball that was severely underthrown in the first preseason game of 2009. His play at the ball was so convincing that he garnered a pass interference call in his favor. Chaz Schilens is an impact player.

I did a breakdown in response to a comment on someone else's article. I said if you say that the receivers dropped three balls which should've been caught, then JaMarcus' stats in the San Diego game would've been 15-30. Those three drops are two by DHB, and one by DMC that was a little high, but should've been caught.

If you subtract the last interception on the Hail Mary, they would be 15-29. Now, you add the questionable Louis Murphy touchdown pass, which was thrown right on the money. 16-29.

Many people have said that the first interception of that game was a poor route ran by Louis Murphy. So, let us subtract that pass as well. 16-28, which is 57.1 percent with 227 yards and two touchdowns.

Lots of if's, I know, but maybe it was not entirely on the quarterback. Again, if Louis ran the route wrong on that play, who is to say that more routes weren't run wrong?

In the KC game, part of the Chiefs' game plan was to take away Zach Miller. Miller said, "They were paying extra attention to me, a little bit of bracket coverage, making sure a guy was trying to jam me or wall me, that kind of thing. They made sure that I wasn’t too involved."

Why? Because they know that it is crazy to start two rookie wide receivers. Nobody has ever done it before. And who takes the blame when the passing game suffers? The quarterback does.

So what happens when Schilens comes back, and the defense pays extra attention to Zach Miller?

What will happen when Louis Murphy can be the third or fourth option in the passing game instead of the first or second? What happens when the team worries about two impact players instead of one who is a tight end?

How much is the injury of Chaz Schilens affecting the passing game? I say he is the difference btween 35 percent and 60 percent completions. I say that Chaz adds a whole different element to the passing game.

I say that Chaz Schilens is a more experienced wide receiver who knows how to read coverage's better than two rookies. He knows how to find lanes for JaMarcus to throw the ball. He knows how to re-direct his route to get in open spaces.

He knows how to get into a position to fight for the ball. JaMarcus Russell knows he can count on the big receiver. He knows if Miller is covered, then Schilens is another option...another element.

Chaz Schilens will impact the passing game tremendously. Until his return, unfortunately Raider Nation, you will have to suffer the growing pains of a developing passing game, instead of a passing game that can have an impact on a game.

The good news is that while the passing game struggles, the running game and the defense should keep us in a good position. JaMarcus has lead two consecutive touchdown drives with less than three minutes left in both of the first two games.

The last time a Raiders quarterback led a touchdown drive with less than three minutes to play was Kerry Collins in 2005. The raiders lost the game on a last second Larry Johnson touchdown run.

Before the last two games this year, it has been done that one time in the last 128 games. Take a minute to swallow that pill, and then tell me if you still think JaMarcus is a bust.

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