Elephant in the room is Russell


There’s an elephant in the room at the NFL scouting combine, and it’s name is JaMarcus Russell.

The top quarterback in this year’s draft doesn’t figure to get the kind of money Russell received in 2007 once a rookie wage scale is in place within a new collective bargaining agreement.

But quarterback is a substantial investment, but a growing number of coaches and general managers are talking up work ethic, decision making and leadership skills _ all areas which Russell failed miserably, lasting three years and costing the Raiders $39 million.

The Raiders won’t be looking for a quarterback early in the draft, but one of their former quarterbacks, Rich Gannon, invoked Russell’s name when assessing Auburn’s Cam Newton for a story which will post later tonight and run in Sunday’s Bay Area News Group papers.

Newton raised eyebrows earlier this week when he talked about being not just a football player, but an “entertainer and an icon.”

You can imagine how that went over with Gannon.

“People are going to make the obvious comparison. A lot of people were in love with JaMarcus Russell. But I think there’s so much more to playing the position than pure skill. If you put Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in shorts and put him out there with some of these guys, it’d be embarrassing. They’d get clobbered,” Gannon said.

“But put them in a small space, in a system, these guys are like surgeons. From the shoulders up, how much professional football does this guy understand? Punts and coverages and pressure packages and can he get in and out of plays and audibles. It’s a process for a lot of young guys. Certainly the kid doesn’t lack confidence.”

Understanding the NFL will take countless hours and Gannon wonders if Newton is mature enough to be ready to put in the time.

“I’ve got to tell you, what’s really a concern for me is some of the comments he’s made, his conduct since the end of the season. A month before the combine, to have a workout in California for media only was a mistake,” Gannon said. “I think is comment about coming out and being an entertainer and an icon. That’s not the kind of guy I want in my building. I’m not looking for a guy on Tuesdays that’s doing commercials and signing autographs at the mall. I want a guy that’s in the building. I think he you turn a lot of people off when you make those kinds of comments.”

Newton acquited himself fairly well at his press conference. He talked about being dedicated and football being his top priority, and said his “entertainer and icon” quote had to do with promoting an endorsement deal with Under Armour.

Virtually all the quarterbacks talked up the preparation aspect, having been well-schooled by their agents.

The quarterback taking the worst beating at present is Arkansas Ryan Mallett, who declined to confront rumors of drug use (a denial would have been a good thing if he was in a position to deny it). Should Mallett fall far enough, he could find one fan by the name of Al Davis in Oakland based on this one quote alone:

Q: How far can you throw a ball?

Mallett: I can throw it 80-plus.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Just Fire Baby

    Thurman Thomas on twitter:

    If u guys think Cam Newton is better than Fitz right now, U need a drug test

  • Just Fire Baby

    I can’t think of anyone else that played well for such a short period of time never won the big game & gets a pass like he does.


    I can think of someone.

    Mike Vick.

  • CanuckRaider

    Oh yeah; Gruden knowing our offense inside-out didn’t help either.
    As for Newton: He didn’t impress me one bit in his bowl game. The o-line and running game won it.

  • RaiderSam

    # RaiderDebo Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Easy for Rich Gannon to sit on his high horse and pass judgement. He had two HOF WRs, one of which was named the best PLAYER of all time by the NFL Network. Try throwing to DHB and Murphy as rookies with no pass pro, run game or defense. Rich Gannon needs to STFU! I’d take Mallett or Newton on my team any day.
    Gannon is right, but what good is it, questioning Newton nationally? Let the kid run his mouth and do his thing at the combine, what does saying he made a mistake have to do with anything? Gannon isnt a GM. Or a head coach, a VP or anything else. Yes, he’s the ONLY QB who has provided stable success … he should ease up on the commentary, though.

  • CanuckRaider

    Haven’t watched one second of the combine and I haven’t missed anything. You want to draft winners? Look at their play in big games and interview them to see where their head’s at. All the combine’s good for is checking out late round “athletic” prospects.

  • CanuckRaider

    The combine is like the Oscars…A crock of doodoo.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    your not making any sense. Why would you bring up vick in a discussion about Gannon? Maybe because you can’t refute the case I have laid out. Gannon was a nobody before he came here, & ultimatley a failure that flames out when it mattered most.

    To all other Gannon worshipers on this board, the fact that he was better than any qb we have had since ( maybe), doesn’t change the point of this topic. He is a guy that has no superbowls & was terrible for 3/4 of his career. He is a silver medalist, & a brides maid.

    Let’s be real & call it what it is, a nice little run that means nothing.

  • Just Fire Baby


    I brought up Vick because you asked a rhetorical question, and I answered it.

    As far as “being real and calling it what it is”, please let’s do that.

    I am a 31 year old die-hard Oakland Raiders fan. In my 23 or so years watching every game passionately, I have seen my team make 3 conference championship games. Only 3.

    One we almost lost by 50 points in Buffalo. Another we lost to Baltimore, and another I got to watch from my season tickets up on Mt. Davis, in which we beat the Titans and went to the Bowl. Gannon had ridiculous numbers in that game.

    So until another QB in Silver and Black wins a conference championship game in my lifetime, I will place Gannon on that pedalstool.

    If he is “failure” (your words) during his time here, I am curious what you would call the other 10 years before and after Rich Gannon.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    The reaction to newtons comments are really ridiculous. The word icon is often used in sports as it refers to a player that is one of the all time greats. Why should anyone have a problem with cam wanting to become one of the all time greats?

    Last I checked pro sports is entertainment business, & it follows that athletes are entertainers. Athletes want to do well on game day & put on a show for the fans. More often than not guys get endorsements as their stock rises based on performance. The best players get commercials.

    These comments don’t tell me he wants to be a rapper or anything other than an NFL qb. Peyton manning does the most commercials, does this mean he isn’t serious about playing qb? Does anyone believe that manning is in commmercials against his will? No he wants to be an entertainer, it’s called cross over & we see it every day from entertainment biz.

    People don’t like cam because they think he broke rules & went unpunished. But let’s get rid of this double standard. It’s tired & unfounded.

  • Ryan mallett has skills..but does he have. Work ethic leadership an good decision making skills.

    Kapernick looks to have skils as well

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Jfb it’s simple, if you don’t win the superbowl it’s failure. Especially in gannons case where for 3 years our team was good enough to win it all & he couldn’t get it done. Flopping in the playoffs & the worst performance in super bowl history, absolute failure.

    The NFL is not little league darts where everyone gets a trophy, it’s all or nothing. Gannon isn’t even Jim Kelly or tarkenton fours or marino guys that never won but played at a high level year after year.

    Gannon is boomer esioson, not even worth a spell check when typing his name. A qb that had a few good years went to one superbowl and lost. Boomer at least played well when he got there. Gannon wasn’t even on gradkowskis level in that superbowl.

  • Gruden was written all over that lost in the SB
    Gannon face the guy who knew him best an he trained his defense on how to stop him
    as well as told his QB where woodson would jump a play
    gruden is y we lost. Cannons play was just a part of it all

  • Just Fire Baby

    Exactly, the NFL is all or nothing.

    Raiders in my lifetime have only came close to winning it once, and that was when Gannon was here.

    That’s a Raiders problem, not a Gannon problem.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Jfb you have low standards because you didn’t see snake & plunk. Sorry runner up is never good enough.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    So that’s what it is? My raiders are not your raiders. I clearly remember when we were the best, & it was sweet. As a result I will never accept gannons failure. His numbers as a raider were nice, but give me plunk & snake all day long. They won the big games, Gannon choked like he had a fish bone in his wind pipe!

    Gannon….. What a joke

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    February 27th, 2011 at 8:14 am
    People can make all the excuses they want for bich Gannon but it doesn’t change the facts. He was the worst super bowl qb of all time! 5 ints & 2 for pick 6!?!?!? Putrid!

    Let’s forget that super bowl for a second ( I have been trying to forget for years ), he failed in his other play off runs with the raiders as well.

    Gannon has to look in the mirror & admit he wasn’t that good. He became a good system qb when Davis / gruden saved him & surrounded him with legends & probowlers. Nothing more.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Oops the mods are Gannon fans

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Ryan mallet?!?? You can’t be serious! Mallet is a terrible pick in any round, he is a poor mans Ryan leaf, & I mean a piss poor mans Ryan leaf

  • RaiderDebo

    Mistic is making great points. If Gannon would get off his high horse and show some humility, I’d be more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as a Raider legend. But since he keeps popping off, his career here deserves more scrutiny. With him as QB, we never had a chance against Baltimore in the AFC Championship. The next season, we had 3 or 4 chances to lock up home field advantage at the end of the season, but lost every game. That’s why we ended up in NE in the snow. And we don’t even have to talk about the Super Bowl. We were favored to win that game. Terrible, terrible game. No more free passes for that one. Gannon needs to STFU! He didn’t have a good enough career to be so judgemental. He’s totally ignoring Newton’s accomplishments and talking about him in a condescending manner. That really posses me off.

  • Strange story emerges from Chiefs-Raiders game in November

    Posted by Mike Florio on February 27, 2011, 8:48 AM EST

    The Kansas City Chiefs worked overtime on November 7 in Oakland before emerging with a 23-20 loss. After the game, the Chiefs worked overtime in an effort to get out of town.

    Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Transportation Safety Agencies detained the Chiefs’ buses by three hours after the game, based on a belief by a TSA agent that she saw a bag of white powder fall out of the jacket of a Chiefs player. The powder was believed to be cocaine.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Gannon is paid to be judgemental.

    The moment he stops being judgemental will be the moment he stops receiving paychecks.

    And since when does a comentators career matter into how judgemental they can be?

    Ron Pitts, Charles Davis, Mike Mayock, Tim Hasselback, Andre Ware……these guys were all stiffs in the league.

    So can Tim Hasselback not be as judgemental as Dan Marino? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!!!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Name to watch on the Raiders radar from this combine.

    Edmund Gates.

    He leads WR’s in almost every event out here.

    Late-round pick potential from Abilene Christian.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 27th, 2011 at 8:43 am
    Ryan mallet?!?? You can’t be serious! Mallet is a terrible pick in any round, he is a poor mans Ryan leaf, & I mean a piss poor mans Ryan leaf


    Hell…to the NO!!

    Homeboy be sippin on that sizzurp!!
    Heard it through the grapvine that him and the Elephant Man be sizzurin it up!

  • Just Fire Baby

    BTW, Herm Edwards said all the exact same things as Rich Gannon did on ESPN on Friday.

    He told Cam to shut his mouth and worry about playing football.

    Since he might have had a better overall career than Gannon, and was a HC, does he have the right to be judgemental?

  • Just Fire Baby

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 27th, 2011 at 8:18 am
    Jfb you have low standards because you didn’t see snake & plunk. Sorry runner up is never good enough.


    I don’t deny this.

    The Raiders have mostly sucked in my lifetime.

    The only time they were relevant was with Gannon, and my appreciation probably compounds with the fact that I held season tickets from 99-03.

    Some of the best days of my life.

    They start winning some Super Bowls, I will certainly knock Gannon down a few levels, but until than, he had the best 4 year run of any Raider player I ever watched at any position.

  • Cam Newton runs a 4.6 @ the Combine.
    Locker 4.52
    Gabbert 4.61

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    I agree with Debo, Gannon is off base on newton.

    Everyone wants to lump cam in with Russel & young & it’s dead wrong. Newton is a winner & on the field his team rally around him. He handles adversity & comes through in the clutch like a champ. In fact he comes through AS the champ.

    He is a much better player than vy coming out of college, & doesn’t get the credit for his passing game.

    He is a dedicated hard worker who took it upon himself to work out with Warren moon to improve his game, yet he gets knocked.


  • Just Fire Baby

    Mayock shot down the comparisions between Cam and Jamarcus.

    Said basically Cam is a chiseled freak and prepared for the combine while Jamarcus showed up 20 pounds overweight.

    How on earth you can consider taking a guy #1 overall who shows up for his biggest job interview 20 pounds overweight, is beyond me.

  • SnB Production

    JFB and Mysitc both bringing up good points on Gannon.

    Gannon is not in the same league as Plunkett, Snake because he didn’t get it done. Also, Gannon was a flash in pan in that he was only here for a few years.

    However, its undeniable that Gannon was very effective in his brief time in Oakland. He is also the best QB to play in Oakland in 25 years….its not even close.

    If not for Gannon and Gruden, Davis’ 25 year record would be an undisputed laughingstock


    Gannon – Fabulous field general, limited by a noodle for an arm. Gruden’s dink and dunk offense and a solid supporting cast contributed greatly to his success, but he was a helluva leader and a guy that could move the chains. Still, will always be remembered for his SB meltdown.

    JaMoron – If JaMoron is the elephant in the room, then the elephant’s name is Dumbo. Jamoron is an incoherent, incomprehensible, blathering idiot. Bottom line on JaMoron – doesn’t matter how motivated or what kind of shape he gets into, he’s too stupid to play in the NFL.

    Mallet – Cannon for an arm but is helpless if he has to move and throw. Possible he could be coached up, but I strongly doubt it. Almost a certain NFL bust.

    Kim Newton – Has character issues and comes off as a pompous prick, but his physical ability is off the charts. Despite his checkered backgound, he is NOT an idiot like JaMoron. At least he can put together a coherent sentence. Unlike Vince Young, has a nice throwing motion and a powerful arm. Looked like a man amongst boys last year. Don’t think there’s middle ground with Kim – it’s gonna be boom or bust. Not certain which one it’s gonna be, but if I had to choose – I’d say boom. 10 times better than Tebow, which is why he’ll go in the top 10 and should be the first QB drafted.

    JaJason – sucks.

  • Just Fire Baby

    The biggest knock on Cam is he only threw 250 passes in college, and everyone one of them was from the shotgun.

    He’s like a one and done guy in College Basketball.

    Could be great, but could have some flaws that weren’t noticed due to the small sample size.

    SEC DC’s never got a year to watch film on him, so who knows. He didn’t look all that great in the championship game, with a costly turnover at the end of the game that almost lost the game (Mistic1’s favorite in-game analysis from the STL game this year; the “almost cost us the game” category) and a brutal INT that was off target by close to 10 yards.

    I still don’t think he will slip past #15, but I can’t remember a 1st round pick at QB who didn’t play 15 games in his career.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    I think cam will come in with a chip on his shoulder eager to prove people wrong. He won’t be like no.2 or vy that had a since of entitlement, he has had to scrap & fight just to get his shot. This is why he is at the combine.

    I think it’s a little strange that gabbert is considered a better prospect by some & doesn’t have on field success that newton had. If you took newton off that auburn team they probably don’t win mmore than 5-6 games.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Cam showed plenty of guts dealing with the off the field adversity. Deserves credit for that.

    But didn’t experience a lot of on-the field adversity.

    What if he gets drafted by the Bills or the Bengals? He will lose more games in the first few months than he probably has his whole life.

  • YoungAmerican

    I only have one question about Newton – can he read an NFL defense? Thing is, it’s a pretty big question. JaMarcus could have been a Mormon Harvard graduate, but if he couldn’t read an NFL defense the end result would have been the same.

    Some guys just can’t do it. No one questions Alex Smith’s intelligence or work ethic, but five years into his career he still struggles reading defenses.

  • SnB Production

    Raiders have no business drafting any young QBs. Al Davis doesn’t build the environment or have the consistency in coaching to allow a young QB to succeed.

    Plus the substandard talent at wide receiver, offensive line means instant failure for a young QB here.

    Gotta go with the ole vets…guys like JC…

  • YoungAmerican

    Newton is throwing for the WR drills, and the WR coach told him to throw it outside… Newton throws it inside…

  • SnB Production

    Newton won’t be a Raider anyway. Just look for the receiver running the sub 4.4

  • YoungAmerican

    Strange that Lockette hasn’t been in any drills since running a disappointing 40. Wonder if he tweaked a hammy or something.

  • YoungAmerican

    If the Raiders DO take a QB, it should be Josh Portis from California (PA) in the 7th round.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Kapernick did not look good throwing the drills earlier today.

    Was high and outside on more than a few of the throws.

  • YoungAmerican

    Ricardo Lockette and Edmund Gates ran 4.37.

  • YoungAmerican

    I guess Lockette has been in there, I just managed to miss him somehow.

    Either way, would not surprise me to see him or Gates be late-round picks for the Raiders.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    adversity is being down 24-3 to to the defending sec & national champion crimson tide in Tuscaloosa. One of the greatest games I have ever seen a college qb play, all guts & mind boggeling talent.

    Pointing out 2 ints doesn’t even come close to defining his season. He put up very impressive numbers (int / td), was a ferocious competitor & put his team on his back on several occasions.

    Best qb in this draft and it isn’t even close.

  • ohioraider

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Rich Gannon has the most pass completions in Raiders’ franchise history.

    Gannon has the most passing yards in any single season; 4,689 passing yards in 2002.

    Gannon is the second all time passer in Raiders’ history, with 17,585 yards, only second to Ken Stabler.

    I would put Jim Plunkett above Rich Gannon for his two Super Bowl victories, but on any given Sunday, Gannon was a better bet than Plunkett. The numbers don’t lie.

    Gannon is the 3rd best Raider quarterback in franchise history, for all intents and purposes, when you round it all up.

    He is easily the best QB to wear the silver and black since Jim Plunkett, and is arguably the Raiders’ most valuable player since Bo Jackson.
    Amen. But Al az liccing apologists Mystic1 and Priesttj are loathe to give anybody outside their fallen mythical hero credit for the early 2000’s. You guys are fugin pathetic. Gannon singlehandedly whipped that offense into shape, instilled discipline, and willed that team into elite status. There hasn’t been anything close to that much-needed type of leadership since he and Gruden left. Grow up.

  • ohioraider

    As for what did Gannon accomplish, my Al liccing acolytes? How about the American Dream? A stunning late career resurrection against all odds in a league where QB longevity is the exception and not the rule? How about a guy who won by not tolerating the lax atmosphere Davis let rot the culture of the franchise? A guy who retired with all his faculties and transitioned into a lucrative announcer gig?

    A guy who lived long enough to support his family and who’s not afraid to courageously speak his mind about the rotting culture of this franchise?

    No, the question is, why does your pathetic false sense of loyalty to that old coot (unrequited no doubt, unless you’re both ringers) boost your sense of self worth? And, while you’re at, why don’t you tell everybody what you’ve accomplished?

  • djohnnyg

    129.SnB Production Says:
    February 27th, 2011 at 9:24 am
    JFB and Mysitc both bringing up good points on Gannon.

    Gannon is not in the same league as Plunkett, Snake because he didn’t get it done. Also, Gannon was a flash in pan in that he was only here for a few years.

    However, its undeniable that Gannon was very effective in his brief time in Oakland. He is also the best QB to play in Oakland in 25 years….its not even close.

    If not for Gannon and Gruden, Davis’ 25 year record would be an undisputed laughingstock

    Gannon was great, but I hate it when guys point to someone and say “if that guy wasn’t there they wouldn’t have won anything etc.” Well, with that line of thinking:

    -If Brady didn’t go to New England the Pats wouldn’t have won anything.

    -If Jordan had not of gone to the Bulls you wouldn’t be talking 6 titles for Chicago.


    -If not for Rodgers the Packers wouldn’t have even made the playoffs this year.

    Problem is those guys WERE THERE and it is what it is.

    Gruden and Gannon WERE THERE and the Raiders DID have some success, and as much as people hate it, it counts.

  • dcraiderfan

    We shouldn’t throw major money at these rookies any year. You must prove themselves right off the bat. Let’s not repeat the mistake the team made with Russell. With the CBA, incoming players from the draft should make no more $500k for the first year then once proven. They get big money. Given these rookies more than minimum is asking for trouble! DCRaiderfan recommends it!