Quarterback JaMarcus Russell must have been watching closely to see how Tom Cable managed to remain coach of the Raiders.
As rumors swirled about Cable’s impending demise in the wake of a 5-11 season during which the Raiders never won back-to-back games, punctuated by bad publicity arising from the Randy Hanson and alleged domestic violence issues, the coach stuck to a simple philosophy.
Cable had no idea if he was going to get another year. Given the Raiders history, he surely had his doubts. So he showed up to work and kept showing up until told otherwise. The bad news never came.
Fast forward to Thursday.
“My thing is to keep coming out to work until they tell me not to,” Russell said. “I’m going to keep coming out to compete for the job and work my tail off.”
Russell had at least three other variations on the same theme. Questions regarding his weight and contract status were cut off by Eddie Anderson, the former Raiders safety whose job it is to watch over a nearly $40 million investment which hasn’t paid dividends.
Nobody would say what Russell weighed, but it sure didn’t look like he weighed 300 pounds, and to me at least, he looked better than he did at any time last season. There was a dramatic difference in the way Russell threw the ball compared to last year’s mandatory minicamp, when even the most simple passes were taking nose-dives into the ground.
That’s not to say Russell was great or approaching great. He was OK in a non-contact practice. He wasn’t awful, and given the way last season went, that’s a significant upgrade.
The Russell storyline will continue to play itself out and be determined in large measure by economics.
Russell did say there hadn’t been any talk of re-working his deal before Anderson stepped in. Remaining with the Raiders rests with Russell’s willingness to take something far less than the $9.45 million.
Cable wasn’t getting into specifics.
“I think first of all, I think he’s handling all that’s going on very well,” Cable said. “That’s to his credit. I think it shows some maturity on his part. He’s dealing with it and he went out and worked, just like everybody else did.”
Said Russell about his future: It’s a business. I don’t really have anything to do with that. That’s a higher level than me. I just keep coming to compete every day.”