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Russell never had a chance

Let’s dispense with the obvious.

JaMarcus Russell bears much of the blame for his demise as an NFL quarterback. By most accounts, he didn’t work hard enough, didn’t care enough, didn’t love football, and had a schedule of extracurricular activities that would make even the young Charles Woodson envious.

He entered the realm of professionals without ever committing to be a professional.

If you want to get sanctimonious about it, Russell is what’s wrong with so many of today’s young athletes. A huge sense of entitlement. A me-first way of thinking. One wonders what he’s going to do with that diamond encrusted figurine of himself in a Raiders uniform with the words “The Chosen One.”

Change it to “The Released One,” perhaps?

Russell got $39 million from the Raiders, he doesn’t need our sympathy, nor does he deserve our scorn.

That belongs to the organization that decided to write the checks.

Let’s see if we can devise a diabolical plan to ruin the future of a No. 1 draft pick. (I choose the word diabolical because it’s an Al Davis favorite _ one he applied to the now defunct Oakland Football Marketing Association in the early days of Raiders blackouts):

– Make sure Russell holds out and misses the entire preseason, and in fact signs a contract after the regular season has already begun.

It’s an especially great idea for a guy who showed himself as a junior, had a minimal amount of college starts and really had only one lights-out game _ against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

Davis said the reason for the holdout wasn’t his fault, and there is some reason to believe him because the Raiders seldom have holdouts. But the reason he gave was “forfeiture” and making the pick accountable.

As it turned out, the contract was supposed to have a $30 to $32 million guarantee and Russell will walk away with $39 to $40 million for three years of sub-standard play. The whole contract impasse was a waste of time.

– Have Russell walk in to a budding firefight between the owner and coach.

Davis later made it public that Lane Kiffin didn’t want Russell. Those kinds of things go on all the time behind closed doors, but eventually a unified front is presented. You think Jon Gruden loved every draft pick Davis ever made? He hated some of them, but never said it in public. And some of those he hated he learned to love. It’s part of the game.

Russell’s holdout gave Kiffin a year to keep the quarterback on the bench, breaking him in gently at the end of the season. But Davis was upset after a 4-12 year, and wanted more of Russell. The animosity between coach and owner grew, and both of them were at fault for a rift which was destructive to the entire team _ and also served to stunt the development of the supposed franchise quarterback.

– Make sure Russell has plenty of different voices in his head.

First, there was Kiffin as play-caller, with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. When Kiffin was fired in part because he couldn’t “get over” Russell, Knapp became the play-caller. Tom Cable, with the offensive struggling, stripped Knapp of his duties and called plays himself _ with Russell leading the Raiders to a pair of wins at the end of the 2008 season.

The next season Cable again called plays, but with a new quarterbacks coach in Paul Hackett and a passing game coordinator in Ted Tollner.

Schizophrenics don’t hear as many voices as Russell did in his three years as a Raider.

– Give Russell no guidance in terms of dealing with all the outside issues that go with a being an NFL quarterback, such as dealing with the media.

Here’s how it’s done for any team with a clue in the NFL. Your quarterback stops by his locker to talk on Monday, even if he has a bad game. Especially if he has a bad game.

That way, he hashes over Sunday, takes responsibility, and the focus shifts to the following week. Instead, Russell, unlike Rich Gannon, Kerry Collins, Josh McCown and even Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter, went into hiding.

By doing that, Russell’s teammates were asked questions about Russell. Since Russell didn’t make himself available until Thursday, much of the week was spent dealing with what was wrong with Russell _ with the quarterback finally answering questions for Friday’s papers (Thursday on the Internet) and the storyline went on all week when it could have been over on Monday.

A team with a clue about how to deal with media relations understands this. Gannon, Collins and other veteran quarterbacks knew it through previous experience. Russell needed to be told. And no one was there to tell him.

There’s every possibility that if the Raiders had provided all the support Russell needed, he still would have been a washout. That he never would have cared enough or dedicated himself enough to succeed.

Yet there are coaches in his background in high school and at LSU that suggest otherwise. They think Russell was an immature talent in need of some guidance, hit a few bumps in the road and went horribly off course.

In that scenario, it would be up to the Raiders to get their investment back on track.

It didn’t happen, and the fact that Russell was cut Thursday was evidence Davis had finally gotten over the fact that it never would.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 7th, 2010 at 7:45 am
    BSJ: I don’t get why you’re so bitter about DMAC.

    you know he’ll eventually get hurt

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

    Because we play Ryan Clady twice a year.

  • Stabler76

    Kirk Says:
    May 7th, 2010 at 6:31 am
    I will be glad when we stop talking about Russell and start talking about Campbell, Mclain, and Bush.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Looking forward to a lot of big hits by our new MLB

    and a whole lot of rushing TD’s from Bush

  • RaiderRockstar

    we play Ryan Clady twice a year.

    ***

    thanks for the reminder. *puke*

    Fargas, Jordan, Rhodes, Bush, Echemandu.

    we drafted a RB ???

    WHAT?

    thats water under the bridge though imo. He’s a Raider. those other cats are gone (except Bush) and i’m rooting for him!

  • the_big_one_of_83

    my guess is if one RB goes down we will try westbrook

  • RaiderRockstar

    We need a FB before another HB imo. y’know, run a little, catch a few, BLOCK…

    ***

    couldn’t agree more.

    sign Brad Hoover!

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

    Choke on this McFadden haters! Now that Russell is out and Campbell is in, and Cable is out and Jackson is in, and Fargas’ nut sucking is out of the way expect much more of this from McFadden and Bush:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKDfPjRTqso

  • the_big_one_of_83

    we should pick up a blocking TE and make him a FB

  • RaiderRockstar

    Brian Westbrook was injured last year, but in 2008 he had 1338 total yards & 14 TD’s …

    However, he’s 30 years old (when most RB’s start heading downhill) and had multiple concussions last year

    it’s a risky bet for sure, but if the price is right and he stays healthy theres no question he could help this football team!

  • BigTed707

    Kyle Boller is a “don’t mess it up for the Defense” QB who knows Hue from BAL. We should keep him and cut Frye.

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

    Doesn’t that video get you guys excited to see what Hue can do with those two talented RBs? Yeah baby! Now if we can just get some decent o-line play….

  • RaiderRockstar

    we should pick up a blocking TE and make him a FB

    ***

    83: we have 2 on the roster, Brandon Myers and John Owens …

    Myers – 24 years old. 6’4″ 250 lbs

    Owens – 30 years old. 6’3″ 255 lbs

    Lawton, Reece, Moline & Tonga all weigh 240 lbs or less!

  • the_big_one_of_83

    well meyers needs to play FB cause he can catch as well

  • http://atm Raider O

    Good Morning Nation.

    RR,

    I like Hendeson too, and I do want us to add another DT, but it’s not that important IMHO.
    We have:
    LDE: Houston, Richardson, and Scott/ Groves on passing downs.
    DT: Seymour, Des Bryant, Joseph/ Heard.
    DT: TK, Bryant, Joseph/ Heard.
    RDE: Matt S, Groves, ?

    That’s a good DL IMHO, but we can always improve to a great DL.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    that was a great clip dakota but i see nobody has that breakaway speed

  • RaiderRockstar

    is Seymour the highest paid defensive player in the NFL yet?

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Obama in Ann Arbor Saturday:

    “It is great to be here in the Big House, so may I say, ‘Go Blue!”

    Glorious.

  • RaiderRockstar

    his 4 sacks and our 29th ranked run defense merit a huge pay increase.

    probably more than Julius Peppers …

  • the_big_one_of_83

    we need a guy who gets in the open then he is gone not hawked from behind that causes fumbles

  • RaiderRockstar

    Obama in Ann Arbor Saturday:

    “It is great to be here in the Big House

    ***

    he belongs in the big house …

  • the_big_one_of_83

    is Seymour the highest paid defensive player in the NFL yet?

    he said he looks forward to being a leader and turning this franchise around

  • http://atm Raider O

    Great Video Dakota.

    Thunder & lightning!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    he said he looks forward to being a leader and turning this franchise around

    ***

    he did a great job of that last year, didn’t he?

  • the_big_one_of_83

    he belongs in the big house …

    thats only if bush(W) is in the hole and we get to take his oil companys over f these dumb ass people who blame the clean up man i knew this would happen blame the 1ST black pres for a coke snorting pres mistakes but its cool cuz i stayed ready for this

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I said this before and I was a big JaDavis critic…this is not a GREAT DAY for the Raider Nation….a necessary day…but not a great day.

    It represents a massive failure on the organization and set it back tremendously in that we passed up on players in the draft or salary cap reasons…..also, the franchise will be known forever as having drafted the worst pro athlete in PROFESSIONAL SPORTS HISTORY.

    Not something to celebrate…necessary…but not something to celebrate….

    My opinion anyway..

  • the_big_one_of_83

    he did a great job of that last year, didn’t he?

    the d took 70% of the game on the feild so u would suck to if u were tired from all the 3 and outs

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    W was a coke fiend? And a drunk?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Seymour moved around last year to create mismatches and only finished the season with 4 sacks. 3 fewer than old man Ellis and undersized DE Trevor Scott, who moved to WLB towards the end of the season … and the run defense was atrocious

    Cable said Kelly & Bryant can play NT and everybody yelled a collective “WHAT?”. But others said not to worry because Little Richard will start there and be double teamed all day.

    this team still doesn’t have a nose tackle on the roster, unless you count undrafted player Kellen Heard. We will not stuff the run unless we add a starter quality NT or Kellen Heard proves to be that guy after Mike Waufle coaches him up.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    after this yr say something about big rich

  • BigTed707

    I dont know if I like J Campbell that much. I kinda thought he sucked in WASH. I know the stats say he improves every year in the NFL, which is great. But, the ‘skins finished 4-12 last year – can he be a winner?

  • RaiderRockstar

    this is not a GREAT DAY for the Raider Nation….

    ***

    would you rather have JaScholarship starting at QB again with Bruce & Charlie the only backups?

    cutting your losses with all the players from last year who didn’t “get it” according to the coaching staff and rest of the locker room breaths life and fresh air into what had been a terrible situation for everybody envolved. Russell was just another one of those players. Walker, Warren, Fargas, Green, etc. even my boys Ellis & Morrison!

  • Damn They Suck

    any news on Seymour?

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

    Cutting Russell is a reason for celebration. Yes it means that we tanked the #1 overall pick, however the part that deserves celebration is that we mitigated our damages by cutting him thereby lifting his dead weight off of the back of the franchise!

    Now if we could only do the same thing with Cable and Al Davis!!!!!

  • the_big_one_of_83

    Seymour moved around last year to create mismatches and only finished the season with 4 sacks. 3 fewer than old man Ellis and undersized DE Trevor Scott, who moved to WLB towards the end of the season … and the run defense was atrocious

    who do u think got doubled when other teams seen the SD game when he had 2 sacks i was there to see that they new seymour was a problem and doubled him alot and like we all know the NT sucked cuz he got one on one most of the way and alot of runs went away from seymour and the great #21

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Rockstar,

    To me, the Russell situation is like having to fire an employee…..sure, the company is better off, but the process, lost time etc…..still takes away from it all.

    Make no mistake, they should have done this when he started skipping meetings and I support this 100%.

    So I am pleased the move was made….not exactly exuberant about it….we are talking about Raider players, draft picks and money after all.

    But a new day is here and we have a real QB to lead the team for the 1st time in almost a decade!

    Looking forward to hearing real news reports and not warmed over propoganda about camp.

    This is a new team for sure

  • RaiderRockstar

    the ’skins finished 4-12 last year – can he be a winner?

    ***

    the Redskins had a worse running game than we did last year and compare Campbell’s stats to all 3 Oakland QB’s combined last year. definate upgrade.

    we thought Tom Cable’s seat at HC was hot? Jim Zorn was basically a lame duck HC since Week 5 last year!

    Sherman Lewis went from bingo to NFL play caller. Thats almost as bad as running a bed & breakfast, no?

  • RaiderfanNY

    to paraphrase – there are five possible outcomes from giving the ball to DMc and only one of them is okay.

    1) he’ll fall down on his own
    2) he’ll go down at an opponent’s first contact
    3) he’ll cough up the ball
    4) he’ll get injured
    5) he’ll gain 3.4 yards

    ****

    Right on. You nailed it.

    McFadden just isn’t right.

    We still need a RB.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    Well,good morning all.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    BigTed707 Says:
    May 7th, 2010 at 8:33 am
    I dont know if I like J Campbell that much. I kinda thought he sucked in WASH. I know the stats say he improves every year in the NFL, which is great. But, the ’skins finished 4-12 last year – can he be a winner?
    ======================================================
    I’ll tell you what,m he completes 65% of his passes in Oakland…you won’t have to worry about is he a winner..at least not until sometime deep into January.

    He throws 65% with a run 1st offense and moves the doggone chains…we win more than we lose….hell, won 5 games with nothing.

    I want an accurate QB! Not rocket arm JaDavis or the spunky popgun who razzle dazzle here and there…but don’t complete passes.

    I want boring….just give me a guy that moves the chains on 3rd down…a guy the cornerbacks have to at least PAY ATTENTION too…..

    Campbell was by far the best QB avaailable and is probably an average QB now….hell, Punkett and Gannon came in with less of a reputation….Campbell could very well follow in their footsteps because he works hard, studies hard, is grounded and doesn’t complain.

    The Raiders are lucky to have this kid!

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    This is a sad day.

    We have every college player to choose from and we take one who doesn’t last three years.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    dont know if I like J Campbell that much. I kinda thought he sucked in WASH. I know the stats say he improves every year in the NFL, which is great. But, the ’skins finished 4-12 last year – can he be a winner?

    this guys offense had injury problems like the line and his only tru weapon was S. moss they lacked offenseive talent at skill positions just like us if chaz doesnt step up and b the vet we need him to be and all the running backs were hurt remember

  • RaiderRockstar

    we are talking about Raider players, draft picks and money after all.

    ***

    exactly. it’s not our money, not our draft picks and he’s no longer our player …

    funny thing is, 2006 blame should have went to Shell, Walsh, Slater, Eatman and the O-Line.

    Instead we drafted Russell to replace Brooks & Walter. big mistake. compare thier situation to Russells, WAY different. If Kiffin wanted Randy Moss gone, drafting Calvin Johnson should have been a no brainer

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

    Hey the_big_one_of_83,

    Take some advice, put a line between the words you wrote and the words someone else wrote in your comment…it helps keep trak of what you are saying vs what others said.

    Thanks!
    ++++++++++++++++++

    the_big_one_of_83 Says:
    May 7th, 2010 at 8:43 am
    dont know if I like J Campbell that much. I kinda thought he sucked in WASH. I know the stats say he improves every year in the NFL, which is great. But, the ’skins finished 4-12 last year – can he be a winner?

    this guys offense had injury problems like the line and his only tru weapon was S. moss they lacked offenseive talent at skill positions just like us if chaz doesnt step up and b the vet we need him to be and all the running backs were hurt remember

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

    New post up!

  • RaiderRockstar

    NEW POST!

  • Dmoney

    Chris in NY – I respect your opinion but to say there was no evidence that JaMarcus was a bad pick because the majority of analyst and fans wanted him is not true. I got blasted on this blog going against the pick because when you looked at Jamarcus numbers coming out of college he had one great game against an outclassed ND team in the Sugar bowl. All his games against good SEC teams were sub-par at best. This is what I wrote on this blog before the 2007 draft:

    The two best quarterbacks in the NFL (Peyton and Brady) spend endless hours honing their craft. That is what makes the great athletes like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, etc. The unlimited talent or the POTENTIAL is always labeled with guys like Jeff George, Ryan Leaf, Michael Vick for their physical attributes.

    Being a great athlete takes more than just the measurables but also the desire and determination, hard-work, and unlimited passion to be the best. Russell has the unlimited talent but people are questioning his work-ethic and passion. It is said at one point he was 300 lbs. If that is the case than what happens when he is a multi-millionaire? This guy has BUST written all over him. I watched Russell play in the Tennenesse game and he threw 3 picks and one was in the red zone. Against Florida he threw 1 TD with 3 picks. That is not good numbers against quality opponents. Calvin Johnson on the other hand seems to have the key ingredients which make great athletes: talent, character, work-ethic. No top athletes ever run at the combine but this guy put it all on the line which shows confidence. Raiders should take the best player when drafting that high – Johnson. Get a Beck,Stanton or Edwards in the later rounds. Get vet QB after draft. Start Walter. Have faith that the new scheme and coaching will make a HUGH difference for the O-line but draft some in 3-6 rounds.

  • Dmoney

    Also wrote this back before the Russel draft in ’07:

    For all the Russell backers: these are some of the questions I have with Russell. If anyone has some good answers to these questions then maybe it would change my mind about him.

    1.) How come with LSU having the 3rd ranked defense in college, why were they not playing in the National Championship game with Russell quarterbacking the team?

    2.) Against the best teams Russell played against last year, Florida and Auburn, why did he only throw 1 TD along with 3 Ints combined?

    3.) Russell was not able to beat, Florida or Auburn, in big SEC games. Is that considered not being able to win the big game?

    4.) Is it important to evaluate how Russell did against top defenses like, Florida and Auburn, compared with softer defenses like Notre Dame, Louisiana-Lafayette, Kentucky, Tulane, Arizona, Fresno State, Mississippi?

    5.) If there is a trend were he does very well against the bad teams and not so good against the better teams is there reason for concern?

    6.) Is arm strength the most important characteristic for a QB to have in the NFL compared to decision-making, reading defenses, and strong work-ethic?

    7.) Why is Russell only associated with how he throws the ball 80 yards down the field and not the other attributes you need to be a successful QB like reading defenses, decision-making, strong work ethic, football IQ? Is this reason for concern?

    8.) Why are all the other teams that want to move up covet CJ and not Russell?

    9.) If everyone thinks Russell is going to be a great QB, why aren’t Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington, Detroit (with their far from great QB situations) not offering the world to get Russell?

    10.) Reports Russell once weighed over 300 lbs, are you worried once he is a multi-millionaire that he will not have the self control and discipline to control his weight?

    11.) All the major busts usually are associated with unworldly potential and not on-field production (Manning versus Leaf) – is this comparison reason for concern?

    12.) If you believe that none of the highly regard QBs are in the Peyton Manning, Tom Brady class but you believe that there is a receiver that may be in the Jerry Rice class – would you take the receiver?

    13.) If you don’t take a QB with your first pick is it possible to take a QB in the later rounds where guys like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselback, Jake Delhome, etc. have been found?

    There are more questions but that should suffice. If anyone has an opinion on any of these questions I would like to hear your reply. Thanks.

  • http://mindambition.tumblr.com GhostofDaveCasper

    RaiderRockStar,

    Then you were a better man at 16 than JaMarcus and many other people were at 24. I have a feeling though, that you and JR have different backgrounds, people around you, and levels of intelligence, and that you didn’t have $39 million thrown at you when you were 21 years old. (I’ll avoid the obvious joke about your work ethic given the incredible frequency of your blogging activity on here (I kid! I kid!))

    My only point was that people should put JR’s Oakland flameout in context, that’s all. 85% of it is his own fault. Everyone knows that. No one is absolving him or making excuses for him. All I’m saying is that the dysfunction, coaching turnover, and bad drafting in this organization over the past 7 years didn’t help him and things might have been different if Gruden or someone stable had been leading this team over the past 5 years. If people want to take issue with that and say that the Raiders organization has been a great place for a young quarterback to grow and mature, I think they’re deluded, but go right ahead. Until the Raiders turn things around on the coaching and staffing side, they’d better not be reaching for young, raw, and unproven guys like JR, DHB, and even McF, because they don’t have the luxury, patience, or competence to bring guys like that along and make something of them. It will be a complete waste of time, and we’ll keep watching this team disappoint. It seems that Big Al is finally getting some capable people to run the team now. Hopefully things will change for the better. It’s nice to have some optimism when there was practically rioting on the streets on this blog only eight months ago.

    As for JR, my guess is that he ends up as a third-string QB with the Redskins or Saints and either (a) wakes the F up and saves his career; or (b) keeps on trucking to Ryan Leaf and Art Schlicterland. I’m still willing to bet that it’s “a.” We shall see, won’t we? I’m just glad he’s not on this team anymore and is someone else’s problem.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    well i hope we keep addressing needs before may 18

  • Richard Bentley

    I know that for some reason you’re playing Devil’s Advocate here, Jerry, but players have gone through similar circumstances and showed that they were mentally tough and committed enough to come through them. Campbell is an example right on the team. Washington was chaotic and had no offensive line; he had several offensive coordinators; he held up. Russell does not have the mentality to be an effective pro quarterback. Unfocused, uncaring, lazy, totally uncommitted. He would wash out under any circumstances.

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