By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, October 1st, 2009 at 12:31 pm in Oakland Raiders.
JaMarcus Russell is a bottom feeder among NFL starting quarterbacks in the following statitical categories _ completion percentage (41.3 percent), yards (378), touchdown passes (1), average gain per pass (5.04) and passer rating (39.8).
While there’s no statistical measurement for it, fans at the stadium, as well as on call-in radio and blogs like this would would add he’s also dead last in emotion and body language.
Russell said Thursday to assume he doesn’t care because of the way he looks would be a mistake.
“If you look at it all the time, even though we score a touchdown or two, I clap, go give the guys praise, but you never see me (getting too excited),” Russell said. “My coach in high school always told me to stay on an even keel, that way, nobody will ever read you, they will never know what you’re thinking about, how high you are, how low you are. I think that’s their opinion about how things go on but they really don’t know what’s going on in my mind.”
Russell insists he hasn’t lost confidence.
“Not at all. When things don’t go the way you want them to go, you dig down and go to the fundamentals,” Russell said. “From that (point), you pick yourself up because that’s mostly all it is when things happen like that, you kind of get out of whack and forget your fundamentals.”
Russell said playing fundamental football will bring the offense back on track and eliminate the “pressing” that coach Tom Cable talked about Wednesday.
He appreciates Cable’s public stance that he hasn’t considered changing quarterbacks, but feels he’s earned it.
“I worked to be that guy. If you look at it closely on film, things aren’t as bad as people make ’em out to be. The Denver Broncos are an NFL team. They have some defense to cover some things up, and that’s when you come up with throw away balls . . . I practiced to be that guy, from beginning to end.”
When the Raiders faced Houston last season in Week 16, they came in having lost three straight games and were playing out the string with a 3-11 record.
Seemingly out of nowhere, put together one of their best efforts of the season and beat the Texans 27-16.
The Raiders drove 64 yards in eight plays the first time they had the ball, with Russell hitting Chaz Schilens for a 20-yard touchdown. He was 3-for-3 for 41 yards on the drive. It was the first time in 55 games, dating back to 2005 when Kerry Collins was quarterback, that the Raiders had scored a touchdown on their first possession.
Oakland immediately did one of its patented give-backs, with the Texans marching 71 yards to tie the score, but the first touchdown established a level of confidence that carried throughout the game. By game’s end, Russell was 18 of 25 for 236 yards and two touchdowns and Justin Fargas had 93 yards on 22 carries on a rainy day.
“When you look at it on film, it’s like, everybody’s out there, joyful, going out, there, moving around, flying around to the ball, making things happen,” Russell said.
More to come later . . .