What's Bugging Me is a weekly column on FantasyPros911.com
What's bugging me this week? How about the Oakland Raiders deciding to stick with Quarterback JaMarcus Russell instead of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jeff Garcia.
When Garcia signed with the Raiders in the offseason, it appeared he would compete with Russell for the starting job at quarterback, considering all the success he's seen throughout his 11-year career (he lead three different teams—49ers, Eagles, and Buccaneers—to the playoffs).
Instead, he was released prior to Week One, leaving Russell as the starter for the Raiders at quarterback.
In my opinion, Russell is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the NFL and should not have been the starter over Garcia for the Raiders this season. Perhaps that is not going out on too much of a limb, but he is easily the worst starting quarterback in football, and is not worth the $68 million the team signed him for after holding out all of training camp during his rookie season.
Through the first three games of the 2009 season, Russell has only thrown for 378 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. These statistics are pathetic for a quarterback as highly paid as he is, considering we have seen other players in the league who could equal his totals—if not surpass—in yards and touchdowns in just a single game. Not to mention he has a completion percentage of 41.3 percent—which ranks him 33rd among quarterbacks so far.
If anything, the Raiders should have considered keeping Garcia around for at least one season in case Russell struggled this season—which so far he has. He may not have won the starting job, but Garcia would have made a nice mentor for Russell to learn from or a quarterback to rely on if needed. Instead, the Raiders decided to part ways with the experienced quarterback and stick with the player who they are convinced is the future of their franchise.
Given the history of decision making in their front office, the mere fact that they are willing to go with Russell is evidence enough that he will fail.
They are too inept to hit a home run on such an important decision.
Don't get me wrong; Russell still has plenty of time to develop his game and become the type of player the Raiders have been looking for at quarterback. Don't count on it. However, it's already been three years and his weaknesses continue to bring his value down as an elite quarterback in the NFL.
Russell's passes are about as accurate as the predictions of Nostradamus or a basement dwelling psychic. He constantly fails to find a way to get the ball into the hands of his wide receivers and is constantly overthrowing the ball.
It may only be three games, but it is unacceptable for a quarterback who is making the type of money Russell is to have only one touchdown at this point in the season.
If the Raiders want to turn their franchise around at all in the next couple of years, they need to realize that Russell is not the answer. Otherwise, they will be looking back a few years from now and wonder where that $68 million went.