The Future of the Oakland Raiders, JaMarcus Russell, and Bruce Gradkowski

Big AL FanContributor IDecember 12, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 28:  (R-L) JaMarcus Russell receives a kiss from his mother Zina after an interview with NFL legend and commentator Deon Sanders, after Russell was chosen first overall by the Oakland Raiders at the 2007 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall April 28, 2007 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

In my opinion, there are some who really pay attention to what goes on around the QB position. All the little things that must go right to simply execute a single play:

A) A good play must be called
B) Receiver(s) must run routes correctly
C) The O-line must give the time to throw to the first read if open
D) RB's and O-line must pick up blitzes
E) The QB must deliver a catchable ball
F) The reciever must catch the ball

Yes, JaMarcus did throw a handful of bad balls during games but the reason why he is on the bench right now is because (A, B, C, D, F) did not happen when he was in there.

Then there are some folks who only base their opinions on results (Stats, Completions, Rating, Wins) or take the even easier route of repeating what some idiot wrote in the daily paper. They do not fairly take all things in to account (see A-F).

For those who cant see or understand, there is no changing their opinion, they are bottom-line people and there is no penetrating their mind-set. They often directly quote the latest popular media opinions about JaMarcus. (He is not dedicated—lazy, he is inaccurate, he does not fire his team up, etc.)

Instead of acknowledging the fact that Russell had no time to throw, they will say he had no pocket awareness. Instead of admitting that the young receivers didn't start getting open and catching balls til a few weeks ago, they will put that all on JaMarcus. Rather than bringing up the fact that we were the only team in the NFL to start two rookie WR's, who both struggled and pretty much defined our season, they will say JaMarcus should have found a way.

Let me give you a good example of where I am coming from.

If Bruce G started against Pittsburgh in Week Five, where we had two O-Linemen out and started two rookie WR's with four games experience (DHB and L. Murphy). I can guarantee you that we would have been smoked by Pittsburgh. No, we would have been annihilated.

The reason why Bruce G. has had success:

* The offense as a whole is getting used to this new system (installed this year).
* He can scramble for his life when our O-line Collapses.
* He has had a healthier O-line.
* He has a better grasp of the offense (more familiar with Hacket/Tolner's Offense).
* Chaz Schillens is back (Higgins also started against Pitt).
* Rookie WR's now have 12 games expedience.
* The most important: The receivers are finally coming around (catching and getting open).
* He has heart and will (Yes, I believe JaMarcus does, too).

Throughout the season, everyone would say idiotic stuff like, "JaMarcus has regressed," "He has no pocket awareness," without acknowledging that these rookie WR's are being sent on deep routes and the O-Line is collapsing. Play after play after play after poorly drafted play. When JaMarcus was given a fist read to a shorter route, it almost always worked out. Hmmm, I wonder why???

What I say to you is, give JaMarcus an O-line like (Dallas) and two experienced (WR's) and he would be on top of the league at least in yardage and TD's.

With all this said, we very much appreciate the job Bruce G. has done. Given our current personnel, it would have been very difficult for JaMarcus to win the game Bruce won at Pitt. Simply because of Bruce's escapability to keep drives alive. If Bruce continues to improve and wins, he will have a long and prosperous NFL career.

The throws? JaMarcus can make all those throws. The ability to get away from pressure and run, JaMarcus needs to work on this. Unfortunately, JaMarcus will need to add this to his game if he want to extend his time to throw—given our O-line.

I would focus on this, JRUSS. Get lean, and run a lot during the offseason. Run sprints until your legs fall off.

Forget about everything else, the focus in the draft should be Offensive linemen. Whatever we need to do, trade a good player, trade up or down in the draft, we need to solidify the O-line to achieve pass protection.

Of course, with great linemen should come a great run game. People can talk Defense all they want. The bottom line is, our defense is good enough to keep us in games. Our O-line is not.

As far as demeanor goes, did you ever see the Snake get fired up? If you don't know the Snake, then go back to Raider school. The Snake was the coolest, most poised QB I have ever seen. He never got too high and never too low but always got it done.

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I loved this approach and the same goes for JaMarcus. Some lead with fire, some lead with poise.

JaMarcus, don't go letting any fool change who you are. You don't have to turn into a Rah!, Rah! guy to appease these idiots.

In closing, to all the Raider Fans who have not given JaMarcus a fair shake, your ignorance has contributed to this year's demise of our soon-to-be-star QB.

JaMarcus, you have to know this. Many of us have your back. Keep fighting.