By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 1:46 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, quizzed about his accuracy problems in his weekly meeting with the media Wednesday, said timing has been a problem with his young receivers.
Through two games, Russell is 19-for-54, a league-low 35.2 percent. No other NFL starter is below 50 percent _ a figure Russell would need 16 consecutive completions to reach.
“On my behalf, sometimes extra-hitching it, the drop-step, when you’re expecting a guy to be a certaind depth,” Russell said. “Things like that happen. Just move on from it and look forward to the next game.”
Asked about the youth in the offense, Russell said, “That’s a part of it. Most of them are learning on the move. Most of them learning every day, the things we do with them. We try to get everybody on the same page.”
Russell described the issues of the passing game as not one thing but a lot of little things that will “get that ball going different ways.” He said he’s not always sure where receivers are going to be depending on the route.
“I know where the guys are going to be, but at the same time, once you look there, they’re not quite there yet,” Russell said. “Things sort of… you know… we worked on that, things that they should know and I should know . . . sometimes you have a guy get in your way so you’re not going to make your next step.”
That’s a word-for-word transcription, by the way, exhibiting that sometimes it’s as hard to see where Russell is going with an answer as where his pass is going on any given play.
Russell downplayed having a “breakout” game, saying, “I just see a complete game coming. I wouldn’t know what you want to call a breakout. But something we can go in there and just continue to do it on a consistent basis.”
Then there’s the loss of a wide receiver Russell trusted in Chaz Schilens.
“Chaz, he’s a big guy that you can miss at times,” Russell said. “He started off, was making some big plays. The guy can go up and attack the ball. He’s one that we can say that we miss. But at the same time, that’s why we have guys to step up in that spot for. Just work those guys.
“Don’t know when Chaz will be back. Hopefully he’ll be back soon. It is a guy that we miss out there.”
It could be all the function of having a great punter. When it doubt, throw it out of bounds and let Shane Lechler do his job.
“With the punter we have, you know, all-world Shane Lechler, go to the sideline, look at again, come back out again, let’s do it again,” Russell said.
Gannon on Russell
During his show on Sirius Satellite Radio, Gannon gave a thorough breakdown of Russell’s game as only he can. Gannon will be the color analyst Sunday in Oakland.
Among his observations:
– “I’ve talked to personnel people around the league. I’ve talked to people who have been at the games and there’s a lot of concern right now about JaMarcus Russell and his accuracy, his completion percentage. So I went back and did a study. I looked at his 21 starts, he’s completing just over 51 percent of his passes. And then this season, you look at his first two weeks, he’s completing around 35 percent of his passes. That obviously is not very good. I just think he’s missing too many opportunities and he’s holding back this offense right now.
“So what I did was I broke down every pass attempt from the first two weeks. I looked at whether he was under center or in the shotgun. I looked at the personnel on the field. I looked at whether it was a three-step drop, a five step drop, a seven-step drop, whether it was play action, whether he was rolling, and I really tried to break it down.”
– “There’s a number of things that you need to take into consideration. First and foremost, he’s had a number of different coaches, a number of different play-callers, a number of different coordinators, different QB coaches, in just his three short years in the league. That, I think, has had an impact on him, a negative impact. The second thing is the inexperience and lack of production at the wide receiver position has hurt him as well. Finally, after looking at all the film, I am convinced that all the things that he is struggling with can be corrected. So that’s a positive.”
– “A couple of things are very glaring. I think, you see a lot of times he falls away from throws. He seems to bail. I think a rush up inside bothers him. He needs to get more bend in his knees when he throws. He’s very upright and not a lot of bend in his knees. It may have something to do with his weight. He seems to be more comfortable operating out of shotgun than he does under center. He doesn’t do a very good job seeing out in front of throws and I think that comes with experience, really understanding and anticipating coverages. So that’s not something he does. When you look at the offensive game plan, the passing game, I think they’ve condensed the plan. It’s not very complicated. Fundamentally, right now, he is not very sound. His mechanics, his footwork, it’s inconsistent.”
– “He is much better, his completion percentage is much better, when he’s throwing to the tight end in that offense. Clearly, there’s a comfort level there with Zach Miller.”
– “I think sometimes he predetermines where he’s going to go with the ball. You can see that he makes up his mind very early in his drop. And the other thing is he misses a number of throws, almost a majority of his throws if you go back and look at it, they’re high which tells you that more of that weight is not on the front foot, that he’s leaning back, he’s throwing off of his back foot. These are some things that really jump out at me.”
– “Let me say this in terms of the coaching. He may have the premier (quarterbacks) coach in the National Football League when it comes to footwork, when it comes to preparing a quarterback in terms of the mechanics. Paul Hackett was my QB coach in Kansas City and was one of the big reasons why I was able to go on and have success in Oakland. He is a phenomenal coach. He coached Joe Montana. He’s coached a lot of great players in this league. I know he’s got a good coach there in Paul Hackett, his quarterbacks coach, a guy that I have the utmost respect for, and I know these are not the types of things, when I look at (Russell’s) footwork, that he’s coaching.”