Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders doing Russell no favors

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 8:54 am in Oakland Raiders, Regular Season (2005).

JaMarcus Russell was back in town. Sleek, dedicated, ready to play.

Hey, if Greg Papa can tell from a video that Russell’s face is thinner, who are we to disagree?

That’s what Papa gleaned from the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area “exclusive” in which poor Kate Longworth and a camera man were reduced to chasing alongside Russell to sneak in a few questions about his first offseason conditioning session.

This came a day after Willie Brown talked about the quarterback’s “significant” weight loss and newfound dedication after a difficult 2009.

The Raiders official company line?

No comment. Russell won’t be made available for the team for anything substantial until minicamp.

Seems to me if you’re convinced Russell is a new man, you waste no time shouting it from the rooftops, arranging interviews and photo opportunities to placate a fan base that voiced their displeasure in the form of boos a year ago. Some of these people are on the fence about renewing their season tickets and a little off-season optimism might push them back in the direction of the Coliseum.

There are only two reasons why the Raiders keep Russell under wraps:

1) They’re not convinced. Russell has a lot to make up for, and dropping a few pounds is only just a start. Let him win back his teammates for a few weeks and demonstrate something beyond merely showing up.

This story will play out over time and Russell needs to prove himself before he opens his mouth, although the Longworth interview had worthwhile comic elements.

2) To hell with the media, a longstanding Al Davis tradition. You cover the Raiders long enough, you get to know a lot of former employees in and around the media relations department who are eager to tell you how their hands were tied by a team philosophy. Don’t do anything to help them do the media do their jobs.

As a media member, you get used to it and work around it. But there are times when it does a disservice to the players.

If scenario No. 1 is the reason for keeping Russell away from public view, then why would Brown be on Comcast SportsNet with Papa, who serves as both the team’s voice and pro-Al mouthpiece?

The second scenario is the one that hurts a player like Russell whose public image in the Bay Area in particular could use some shrewd handling.

Take, for example, Russell’s disastrous 2009 season and how it was dealt with.

If it seemed that every game was preceded by a week-long examination of the quarterback position and it’s failings, part of it has to do with the routine of an NFL season and how the the Raiders failed to understand how it works.

Every season I’ve covered the Raiders, quarterbacks have seemed to have an understanding on how to best deal with the publicity demands of the position.

Especially after a bad game, every one of them _ without exception _ would plant themselves in front of their locker on Monday and take questions.

Although he didn’t lose that often, Rich Gannon’s expression was almost defiant, as if to say, `Here I am. Take your best shot.”

Kerry Collins did it, as did Josh McCown, Andrew Walter, Bruce Gradkowski and whoever else had the job.

It wasn’t because they wanted to relive the experience.

They did it because they learned at previous stops that the best way to put a bad game to bed was to be done with it on Monday.

By doing so, their midweek press commitment (usually on Wednesday) became about looking ahead, rather than behind.

Russell almost never talks on Mondays, and decided to hold his weekly press conference in Thursday.

By doing so, after a poor game, the coverage took a familiar tone. On Monday, Russell’s teammates talk about the poor play at quarterback. The player’s day off on Tuesday has residual notes on the same subject. Wednesday might have something different, but on Thursday, Russell finally spoke and the whole issue is dredged up all over again.

Keeping in mind that for print purposes, Monday is for Tuesday, Tuesday is for Wednesday, etc., that means quarterback play becomes a primary focus for nearly the entire week simply because Russell hides out on Monday and doesn’t speak until Thursday.

No one with any clout has sat Russell down and told him how it works.

The Raiders take the position that they don’t owe the media (and by extension, their fans) anything, and operate in a cone of silence, and it’s as painfully inept as the the one The Chief and Maxwell Smart utilized on“Get Smart.”

Which, of course, doesn’t stop the Raiders from feeling persecuted about how the message is conveyed even though they make no professional attempt in conveying it.

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  • Silver-n-Smac

    SteveAlford21 Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Paying for a ticket to the ‘09 Raiders is like paying a stripper to put on a parka and punch you in the face.

    *****************************************

    That was damn funny!

    And tragic indeed!

  • bcz24

    They will be less leary of taking the best G in the first round then say the 4th or 5th best T… GB and Pit need oline help almost as bad as we do.

  • inonewordraider

    round 1 -Iupati
    round 2 -Cody

    Henderson Gallery Satele Iupati Barnes -OL
    Shaughnessey Cody Kelly Seymour -DL

  • coraiderfan

    the draft should be simple we need to improve at O-line, D-line and Linebacker.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    Steve Hutchinson was a G taken in the first round and he may be in the HOF when it is all said and done.

    It’s all about a system fit, and Iupati fits very well with us, and is a huge position of need.

    I would support taking him at #8. A reach yes, but that’s what we do.

  • new englandraider

    rockstar
    you see how you twist things up. you said he played a part in giving up most of the touchdowns. right? yes you did. i already told you he didnt make any plays in coverage because he didn’t cover much.

    rockstar the statement i asked you to back up was “MOST OF THE TOUCHDOWNS”
    not mm=dg.

    do you follow me?
    stop saying i said to back up the statement of mm=dg.

    i said to give me one td other than washington.

    am i speaking the english?

  • bcz24

    Iupati at 8 is like reaching to the other end of the couch for the remote, DHB at 7 is like reaching across the Grand Canyon for the remote…

  • RaiderRockstar

    NE: avoid the tough questions

    I like your style.

    don’t want to be vulnerable on an internet blog?

    I gotcha.

    like to see what evidence you produced on Mitchell’s coverage ability or your above draft comments. stay classy

  • new englandraider

    what do u want me to answer?

  • new englandraider

    did you even ask a question?

  • bcz24

    When they announced DHB as our pick last year I could do nothing but laugh. DHB wasnt even the 7th best WR available. If we took Iupati, I would be satisfied, I think we would be better served to get a Tackle, but I would be satisfied with a Guard.

  • RaiderRockstar

    i already told you he didnt make any plays in coverage because he didn’t cover much.

    ***

    then how can you say he’s a solid cover safety?

    if it’s an unknown in your book, then why don’t you just say that instead of getting up excited over 1 or 2 comments I made over 3 weeks ago?

  • DMAC

    Vegas,
    You think Spikes could fall into an early 3rd rounder?

    Florida ILB Brandon Spikes was unable to break 5.0 seconds in the forty-yard dash at the Gators’ Wednesday Pro Day.

  • SteveAlford21

    Vegas,

    I have said from the start that I think we should take the best available DT, OT, or G available at #8, regardless of position. If Iupati is there when we pick, but the top 2 DTs are gone (without doubt, they will be), and the top 2 OTs are gone (without doubt, they SHOULD be), then I say take Iupati. I’d rather have 1st round Guard talent than REALLY REACH for bottom of 1st/any of 2nd round OT talent. People don’t realize that the dropoff really IS significant. A 1st round G is never a reach with any pick after 5, but a late 1st round T is a reach if you take him earlier than 10.

    Having the top player at his position is better than having the fourth-best tackle and then having to wait to fill guard with a later-round pick. Sadly, no one seems to realize how much taking Arenas or McClain or any non-OT/DT/G with #8 would hurt us… it pushes the level of OT/DT/G talent that we can get down one round per pick. That’s a HUGE drop… all to get a player that doesn’t fill a position of MOST need (yes, MLB is a need, but not more than the trenches, IMO).

  • new englandraider

    now i said he’s a solid cover? show me that post.

    FOR THE LAST TIME ROCKSTAR, YOU SAID MITCHELL HAD A PART IN GIVING UP MOST OF THE TOUCHDOWNS. I SAID NO. JUST ONE VS WASHINGTON. NO OTHERS. WHEN DID I SAY HE WAS SOLID IN COVERAGE?

    AGAIN ROCKSTAR, SHOW ME THE POST IN WHICH I SAID ANYTHING CLOSE TO HE IS SOLID IN COVERAGE.
    AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, FIND MY ANOTHER TD HE GAVE UP. IM SURE YOU’LL FIND THAT, AND THE POST IN WHICH I SAID MM IS SOLID IN COVERAGE.

    I AM GUESSING YOU’LL FIND BOTH IN YOUR IMAGINATION

    PLEASE TELL ME WHEN I SAID HE WAS SOLID IN COVERAGE

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    DMAC,

    I think a 3rd round slot would be a huge drop for Spikes, I don’t know if he would go that far.

    But with that forty time he could fall to the 33rd round and Al probably wouldn’t take him.

  • new englandraider

    KHTK says russell in great shape

    also texas rangers manager ron washington is a cocaine freak

  • DMAC

    That 40 is going to hurt him.

  • new englandraider

    rockstar
    buddy. the post in which i said mm is solid in coverage please.

  • RaiderRockstar

    new englandraider

    ok man. lets start from scratch since you keep changing your mind and debating with me about every post under the sun.

    Mike Mitchell. what are your thoughts on his coverage ability?

  • DMAC

    Vegas,
    check out post 134^^^^^^^

  • new englandraider

    or is my statement of him not giving up “most of the td’s” synonymous with he’s solid in coverage. but you dont twist things around do you?

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    SteveAlford21 Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Having the top player at his position is better than having the fourth-best tackle

    ******************************

    I agree 110%. I call it “value”. But I would say McClain is also the top ILB in the draft, so I would put him in the mix as well.

    He may not be as fast as some ILB, but he is fast enough. Besides, I would sacrifice some speed for some stoutness as this stage.

    You look at every top defense, and they have either one, or more, 1st round pick and/or some high-priced FA at LB. We need to fix the D-line, what don’t we need to fix (?), but MLB may be one of our weakest spots on the whole team, IMO.

  • Toyz

    What about picking up Andrews, Shawn the philly cut him but he was a pro bolwer and we can use all the help we can get on the OL

  • RaiderRockstar

    NE: if you don’t think MM is solid in coverage, why do you keep arguing with me when I say that he isn’t?

    because you don’t know? you’re not sure? haven’t made up your mind yet? just like to argue?

  • SteveAlford21

    Oh, and for the record (even though I’ve said it MANY times before):

    Four picks in 1st three rounds (one 3rd is gone now, but might get it back for Morrison, and I’m going to hope we do and base this on that hope). All four picks have to be on OT/DT/G unless Spikes is there in Rd 2. That is the ONLY way I’m okay with picking a non-trench player in the first three rounds. Sadly, we didn’t get Dansby, but we still might get a veteran MLB through trade… I just would rather have a vet at MLB than a rookie, especially McClain (he’s not a true 4-3 MLB and rookies generally can’t LEAD in that position or play it up to speed, especially trying to become MLB when they’re used to being ILB… similar position, big difference).

  • new englandraider

    rockstar
    you posted 5 minutes ago, that i said he was solid in coverage. didn’t you?
    show me where i said that

  • new englandraider

    can someone help this guy out. please.
    i am arguing with you about mike mitchell because you said “HE GAVE UP MOST OF THE TD”S
    should i agree with that. it is not true.

  • SteveAlford21

    I am totally against using #8 for McClain when the trenches need more shoring. Spikes isn’t worth #8, but if he is there at #40, I say take him and I’ll be fine with that. I trust a rookie who knows a 4-3 system and is used to it more than a rookie who has to learn it anew. Speed has nothing to do with it, as I’m fine with McClain’s speed… it’s all about fitting into the system for me.

  • new englandraider

    by sayng your statement is not correct, means im saying he’s solid in coverage. where do you come up with this stuff bro?

  • DMAC

    What the hell!!!!
    What about Lebron James as our MLB????????

  • RaiderRockstar

    i am arguing with you about mike mitchell because you said “HE GAVE UP MOST OF THE TD”S

    ***

    thats all you’re debating now? are you sure?

    well then post that entire comment I made 3 weeks ago and we’ll go over it again for you, ok pal?

  • raiders22

    i was typing that same question as i read your post toyz, even if he’s got a back issue hes still better than carlisle lol. definitely would be a gd sign imo. although a shaky back isnt gd for the zbs.

  • new englandraider

    princess jamila at mlb?

  • new englandraider

    rockstar
    you’re softer than a wet jelly donut bro

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    Steve,

    We need help at almost all positions. In the first 3 rounds, the only thing we shouldn’t draft is a TE, S or Kickers. Everything else should be at least on the table.

    We need a T, a G and C is debatable. We need depth there as well. We still may not have a QB, and you can never have enough good RB’s.

    We definatelly need a DT, a MLB, and you can never have enough pass-rushers. We could also use a nickle corner and a Kick-returner could really help our offense with field position, since 80 yard drives aren’t really our thing.

    Agree?

  • RaiderRockstar

    by sayng your statement is not correct, means im saying he’s solid in coverage.

    ***

    AGAIN- we’ll start from scratch if you like

    Mike Mitchell. what are your thoughts on his coverage ability?

  • new englandraider

    no, im also debating that i said he is solid in coverage too

  • new englandraider

    he has zero ability to cover. that is why he gave up all those td’s

  • RaiderRockstar

    personal insults = you’ve lost the debate

    try again next week.

    then the original comments you’re disputing will only be 4 weeks old. yippee!

  • DMAC

    Vegas,
    We both like Arenas, but what do you think of SyQuan Thompson out of Cal in later rounds? Could play nickel for us.

  • new englandraider

    how can anyone wathing on tv tell you about his ability to cover. he probably gave up in 16 games, about 5 receptions maybe 75 yards tops, and 1 td. he wasn’t asked to cover rockstar. so i wouldn’t say he is good, or bad. we have hardly seen him be asked to cover

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    I don’t think Mike Mitchell played enough last season to really discuss him one way or the other.

  • new englandraider

    rockstar
    dont act like a moron if you don’t want to be called one. just admit that he didnt play a part in giving up most of the td’s. or do you still believe he did?

  • new englandraider

    dakota
    did he play a part in giving up most of the td’s a defense allowed? or was there 1 and only 1 vs washington?

  • SteveAlford21

    Vegas,

    I agree in principle, but not in practice.

    A decent RB looks All-Pro behind a great line. Middle of the pack receivers perform great when the plays have time to develop. Lower-tier QBs have great games when well-protected. Lesser-talent CBs don’t have to cover as long when the DL/LBs create pressure or stuffs runs.

    It is true that there are needs nearly everywhere, but the most important and most glaring needs are in the trenches. I would be content if EVERY pick that we have this year was used on the best available OL/DL player each time we picked. I honestly believe that with average or better line play and a competent MLB, we would be a .500 or better team with the rest of the roster staying the same. I wholeheartedly believe this… and am adamantly and vehemently opposed to drafting outside of OT/DT/G for the first three rounds unless it’s Spikes in the 2nd.

  • DKnight007

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 11:54 am
    Dknight,
    I think I’m convinced on Spoon now, but can he shed blockers?

    ^^^^^^^^
    I think he certainly can because he extremely strong and with his low center of gravity and quickness it would only help him to gain leverage and shed.

    I think he would be a more productive (in the run game) and a better overall LB than Morrison was here.

    Some team in the middle of the 1st Round is gonna be happy once they get this kat.

    I want him to be a Raider badly….having his type of attitude alone on the team would be significant, to go along with his skills to play ALL three LB spots and ALL four downs!

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    DMAC,

    Well being a big Cal homer, I was a big Syd’Quan fan (cool name too).

    Kind of small, and not the KR threat that Arenas is (not even close actually). He always impressed me with his cover skills, and especially ball skills. When the ball is in the air, he is tremendous. The exact opposite of Routt, who for no reason will just grab and hold a guy even though he has great coverage. No ball skills from Routt.

    DB is a very instinctual position, and both Arenas and Thompson have great instincts to off-set their lack of size and ideal speed.

    I think Arenas will come off the board first, but both will be in the 3rd to 4th range, and wouldn’t mind either one.

    The Chargers and Chiefs obviously are going to be wide-open offenses for years, so DB is a need IMO for us.

  • DMAC

    Chance to draft him in the 2nd?

  • DMAC

    DKnight?