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.

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • DMAC

    Vegas,
    What about big Tyson??

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

    SteveAlford21 Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    A decent RB looks All-Pro behind a great line

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

    I am a big stats guy, so I don’t believe fully in this.

    Look year in and year out at the top rushers in the league. All 1st rounders, and often times the first or second RB off the board in their respective drafts.

    Last year, in the top 10 was 7 first-rounders and two 2nd rounders. The only non-oneofthose, was Ryan Grant, and is O-line was considered the weak spot of the offense.

    So I think you need top-flight guys carrying the rock, unless you have a DOMINANT O-line. And really how many of those year in and year out are there? A handful at best? I guarantee the Jets run-game goes down with the loss of Thomas Jones.

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

    NE Raider,

    Heck if I know…I rarely spotted Mitchell on the field except in goal line situations where the field was compressed and you could see the safeties on the tv screen.

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

    DMAC,

    Didn’t see Tyson as much, kind of came from nowhere this year it seemed.

    Very active, kind of light, and probably will be a better pass-rusher than run blocker.

    A Rod Coleman type.

  • severeraiderz

    Steve

    with any other MLB I’d be with you and say we take Davis, Campbell or trade back for Dan or trent williams, but McClain is no regular MLB. I just think the dude is special and has the type of infectious personality that builds chemistry and lifts a unit. He is the best LB prospect since Willis and was the leader of the best defense, on the best team, in the toughest conference in all of collegiate football. I say we take him OT Ducasse in the second, DT Cam Thomas in the third, and hopefully Javier Arenas or Jacoby Ford are availabe in the 4th. Or we could take Trindon Holliday in the 6th to be our return specialist and address other needs in the 4th

  • new englandraider

    dakota
    no problem. lol. you’re right mitchell didnt play a lot. therefore making it extremely difficult for him to play a part in giving up most of the passing td’s the defense allowed.

  • DMAC

    That’s what I was thinking. Definately too loight for the DT position in the NFL, but could be used as an end on passing downs.

  • DMAC

    light

  • inonewordraider

    we gotta go Williams w/ 1st pick because there’s no guarantee Cody will be there in round 2 and with no NT to replace Warren our run D will be the worst in the league. Our OL is bad but Henderson will be better, Gallery will be healthy (and hopefully stay that way) Satele got better, we’ll get a replacement for Carlisle, and Barnes is an upgrade over Green and we can get comp for him in another round

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

    Curiously it is about 50/50 with top-flight run D’s and early draft picks at DT.

    I know the Vikings invested in them, but don’t know where their run D finished. The Steelers have Hampton as well, but also 1st rounders at LB as well.

    Packers, Ravens, Jets, Cowboys have late rounders and even undrafted guys in the middle, and 1st rounders at LB.

    Point being, the Raiders need to fix BOTH DT and LB. If they only upgrade one of the other, and the offense still blows, don’t expect a whole lot better results.

  • SteveAlford21

    Vegas,

    I’m basically saying that we need to BUILD a dominant OL. It won’t happen overnight and I am okay with spending all draft picks for 2 or 3 years solely on OL and DL.

    Emmitt Smith was NOT a great RB. He was an average back with a dominant line. Terrell Davis was NOT a great RB. He was an average back with a dominant line. Do you know who WAS a great back? Barry Sanders. A team with horrible line play (like the Raiders) had the best RB in the game… and it got them NOTHING. Drafting great skill players when you suck in the trenches is a waste of an NFL career… just ask Barry Sanders.

    We have to fix the trenches FIRST.

  • DKnight007

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:35 pm
    Chance to draft him in the 2nd?

    ^^^^^^^^
    Chance to draft who in the 2nd?

    Spoon? No way….

    Spikes should be there in Round 2….he will fall much like Maualuga did last year and instead of the Raiders not being aggressive enough to get Maualuga, if Spikes is there in Round 2, they should get him.

    Then go DT in Round 3 or look at RT/RG prospect Kyle Calloway in Round 3 or maybe Arenas.

  • http://tada Florida Pete

    Get Breaking News Alerts
    Share
    Comments 27

    Esquire has posted its 64 candidates for the title of “Sexiest Woman Alive,” and readers are afforded the opportunity to vote for the most deserving entrants. The slate is set up in the same style as the NCAA tournament, with the 64 contestants given seeds ranging from 1 to 16.

    Most of the names are unsurprising: Megan Fox, Blake Lively and Christina Hendricks are a small sampling of the contenders. One name, however, stands out: Lane Kiffin, the 34-year-old male USC football coach who infuriated all of Tennessee when he bolted after just one year to take the job at Southern Cal.

    Should Kiffin win the prestigious honor?

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    i alvays knew he vas a girly-man…

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

    Emmit Smith is the Florida HS all-time leader in rushing (and the second most of ANY HS RB EVER IN ANY STATE), left as the all-time leader in rushing at the University of Florida (even though he only played 3 years), and was a first-round pick.

    Who are you to say he was not a great RB?

  • inonewordraider

    Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis were average? wow… LT had a pretty good OL but didn’t do sh with it last two years and he isn’t gna do anything in NY

  • DMAC

    LT had Neal. He didn’t do schit w/out him.

  • DKnight007

    Chiefs: The team announced the signing of free agent left guard Ryan Lilja, a 59-game starter for the Indianapolis Colts who was claimed off waivers from Kansas City in 2004. Terms were not disclosed.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Good move by the queefs….a move the Raiders should have made of course.

    Sheesh…

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

    Emmit Smith already led the league in rushing twice before Larry Allen came aboard.

    And Tuinei and Newton were around a good 5 years before Emmitt came aboard, and were the starters for a 1-15 team.

    I believe Hershel Walker had the same O-line that Emmitt had his first few years. Walker is in the HOF and didn’t have the same production that Emmitt had.

  • inonewordraider

    So LT wasn’t great either? guy had speed could break tackles could block could catch out of the backfield just got worn down like all Rb’s do and if he’s average then he should look great on the Jets as a previous poster suggests but he won’t because he’s done

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

    ESPN’s take on Emmitt (from their 100 greatest players segment):

    “(Smith) darted, slithered and followed his blockers, and squeezed yard after yard out of plays that didn’t have any yards in them. He didn’t look especially fast or powerful or blindingly deceptive, yet he couldn’t be stopped.”[9] “Smith was noted for being a very durable back with excellent vision, tremendous leg strength, and great balance, and was known as one of the best second-effort runners ever.”

  • Pingback: Jerry McD: Raiders doing Russell no favors - Oakland Raiders Forum | Message Board - Where the Raider Nation lives!

  • mistic1

    I know im late but I have to chime in on this one. This is great news about no.2. He seemed to slip into a depression last year with the deaths in hid family, his poor play, and his weight. Now that he is at least able to cope with his loss, and appears to be on the right track when it comes to diet and exercise, he is free to let his game and talent come to the surface. I love the idea of prepared meals and a former raider, as his shadow. I think all of you that have hated on no.2 to this point are in for a shock, and those that have supported him will be pleased. i think the kid is getting it, and is continuing the maturation process that started for him last year after being benched.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Nathan Vasher, anyone?

    Derek Anderon & Richie Incognito are off the market …

    Panthers gave Tyler Brayton a new 3 year deal

    RG Shawn Andrews (if he can stay healthy) is certainly an upgrade over Cooper Carlisle!

  • SteveAlford21

    I will NOT cheat Emmitt out of his leg strength and drive. One thing that I will say is that his feet NEVER stopped moving until his whole body was on the ground and I have always wanted that characteristic in a back more than any other. However, I don’t think he’d have 2/3 as many yards behind a line that wasn’t dominant. Behind an average line, he would have had 10k, tops. Behind the current Raiders line, he’d have gotten 8k for his career. I wouldn’t put Emmitt in the top 10 RBs of all-time (taking out production and other factors that depend on how well the line blocked), but that’s MY opinion. Over half of Emmitt’s yards came BEFORE contact because that line just manhandled opposing defenders.

  • Pingback: The RaiderCast | Raiders doing Russell no favors

  • DMAC

    Hey RR,
    I thought Andrews played T.

  • mistic1

    Nathan Vasher is a good db, how good will he be in a press man package? The bears run a lot of zone. As we know to play db for the raiders, you must have a unique ability to cover bump and run, and tackle in the run game.

  • RaiderRockstar

    DMAC:

    his brother Stacy Andrews plays tackle …

  • bcz24

    Nathan Vasher would be a much better slot guy the routt. Might even be able to start over CJ

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

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:27 pm
    Hey RR,
    I thought Andrews played T.
    +++++++++

    He was the RG until last season when they were going to move him to RT to replace Runyan…but he never played a down at RT, hurt all year.

  • bcz24

    Speaking of Andrews… I will be DVR’ing Dancing with the Stars until Erin Andrews gets eliminated.

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

    Emmitt Smith was the best back in whatever league he played in, and amonst his peers, from when he was 14 until he was about 33.

    Tough to put him out of top 10, IMO.

    True he had a good O-line, great in the middle of his career, and it certainly helped. Tough to say how much it helped and all that. But he broke a lot of tackles, and nobody turned a 2 yard gain into a 5 yard gain better than Emmitt Smith.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Mistic: Vasher can’t be a worse nickel corner than Routt imo

    worth a look anyways, but might not have the height/weight/speed Al Davis looks for in a DB

    I’d give former first rounder Tye Hill a call too

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

    Are we going to re-sign Langston Walker…maybe move him to RG?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  • bcz24

    We could have gotten McAllister and McKenzie last year, but ignored them, they went to NO and made Tom Brady play possibly the worst game of his pro career. Al LOVES Routt and doesnt think we need anyone else beyond him.

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

    Call me cynical, but I need visual evidence taken by an independent third party entity before I believe Russell has slimmed down one ounce.

  • DMAC

    IMO, Walker looked good at LG last year. Wouldn’t mind him getting signed for depth.

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

    This is the last picture I can find of Russell…as King whatever, which wasn’t that long ago and he still has a fat neck and the man boobs and pot belly show right through his uniform:

    http://media.al.com/live/photo/jamarcus-russell-mardi-gras1jpg-e1d57f0c204afe9c.jpg

  • DMAC

    ESPN’s Todd McShay expects Florida ILB Brandon Spikes to fall to the third round after running in the 5.0 range at Wednesday’s Pro Day.

    1st round-Williams
    2nd round-Price
    3rd round-Spikes
    What do you guys think???

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

    bcz24 Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    Speaking of Andrews… I will be DVR’ing Dancing with the Stars until Erin Andrews gets eliminated.
    ++++++

    No doubt…and with the outfits those dancers wear, well, we can see what that peeping Tom wanted to see from the comfort of our living rooms, with no threat of prosecution whatsoever….she is a looker:

    http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carls064/freealonzo/erin.jpg

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

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    ESPN’s Todd McShay expects Florida ILB Brandon Spikes to fall to the third round after running in the 5.0 range at Wednesday’s Pro Day.
    ++++++++++

    Probably just a ploy to avoid ending up in Oakland!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Walker looked good at LG last year. Wouldn’t mind him getting signed for depth.

    ***

    Ditto.

  • DMAC

    I wonder what Andrew Walter is up ot these days????

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    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.
    ————————————————
    Exactly, more Al Davis counter-productive obstinance.

  • DMAC

    to

  • DKnight007

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    ESPN’s Todd McShay expects Florida ILB Brandon Spikes to fall to the third round after running in the 5.0 range at Wednesday’s Pro Day.

    1st round-Williams
    2nd round-Price
    3rd round-Spikes
    What do you guys think???

    ^^^^^^^^
    Who knows….he may fall to the 3rd….if he is in round 3…take him.

    Straight line 40 times are OVERRATED…remember that folks!

  • DMAC

    Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews ran in the mid-4.4 range at the Bulldogs’ Wednesday Pro Day.

    Raider speed?????????????

  • DKnight007

    Dakota Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:48 pm
    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    ESPN’s Todd McShay expects Florida ILB Brandon Spikes to fall to the third round after running in the 5.0 range at Wednesday’s Pro Day.
    ++++++++++

    Probably just a ploy to avoid ending up in Oakland!

    ^^^^^^^^
    Exactly! If Spikes is there in Round 2….the Raiders should snatch him up!

    Go OT/DT with the #8 pick!

  • DKnight007

    DMAC Says:
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:52 pm
    Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews ran in the mid-4.4 range at the Bulldogs’ Wednesday Pro Day.

    Raider speed?????????????

    ^^^^^^^^
    Mathews style reminds a little of AP’s style.

    He going to be a solid pro IMO and lets hope the Dis-Chargers don’t get him!

  • DMAC

    Hopefully the Texans snatch him up before the Chokers.