The Confidence Factor, Raiders Russell Still Has It

Mike WoodsCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders meets fans before his game against the Denver Broncos on September 27, 2009 during an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

It takes not only a smart player, but a confident player to survive as an NFL quarterback. You have to have heart, you have to have guts, lets not forget the all important "It factor".

Its what separates the weak from the strong, the free agents from the starters and the so called "bust" from becoming  budding stars. It takes a player willing to take a fall and learn from it.

Bust stay down, stars get back up and try again.

Interceptions,criticism, demotion..which seems unlikely given coach Cables trust in him, will in time shape the player that Jamarcus Russell will eventually become; if hes willing to learn from it all.

The greats learn from their mistakes, watch film, study other greats, and work on getting better.

When looking at Russell I see Tony Romo, even Tom Brady, a storyline that can be motivation to QBs that come after him.

Both are quarterbacks in the league who started from the bottom and had to climb their way to the top with hardwork. The road was not easy, the red carpet was not laid out, they were virtually unknown. These are stars who took their fair share of criticism and continue to do so today.

With a passer rating of 39.8%, how can I mention Russell in the same breath as these guys? its simple, Tom Brady was not the "Golden Boy" at the start of his career, and Tony Romo was not the Tony Romo we know today.

Even the greats start slow sometimes, but they finish strong.

Tony Romo, despite a college career at Eastern Illinois that included among other awards, the Walter Peyton Award for the top player at the NCAA Division I-AA level, went undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft.

After signing as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, Romo fought his way up from fourth string QB to first over the span of three years, learning from guys such as Vinny Testaverde along the way.

As proven as Romo is today as a three time Pro-Bowl selection, he continues to get criticism for his lack of a killer instinct in big game situations.

Tom Brady, who's name is being mentioned among such greats as Joe Montana, struggled to even get playing time during his college days at Michigan.

Going into the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was selected with the 199th pick. Similar to Romo, Brady also had to work his way up from being a fourth string quarterback, before getting his shot the following year.

In Toms first playoff game, he threw for 312 yards and lead a heroic 10 point deficit comeback to win the game in overtime against non other than the Oakland Raiders.

This is what stars are made of, this is what hardwork looks like. Nothing was given and everything was earned.

If Jamarcus Russell wants to take his game to the next level, he has to embody the confidence and work ethic it will take to get him there.

If there is one thing that remains constant in interviews with Russell, it is his overall confidence in his game and his willingness to get better.

This is what you want to hear from your leader, this is also what gives Raider Nation hope that one day Russell just might get it and turn into a Tony Romo or Tom Brady.

As the number one quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, and the support of his coach, time is on his side; lets see how he uses it.


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