Part of the Bay Area News Group

Elephant in the room is Russell

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, February 26th, 2011 at 5:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.

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.

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  • phatcable

    1st

  • phatcable

    A lot of people were in love with JaMarcus Russell. including realmaddenraider

  • phatcable

    Arkansas Ryan Mallett reminds me of jim plunkett bwahaaaaaaaaa!

  • JB

    If we can get Mallett in the 4th or 5th round, he be worth the pick. He would need to ride the pine while learning about his team’s offensive system, how professional NFL QB’s must commit to learning and demonstrate those commitments for at least two years. JCampbell will be our starter, barring injury, for the next 2 or 3 years minimum. By then, if all the above happened we might be well off QB-wise for the next decade.

  • RaiderDebo

    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.

  • YoungAmerican

    OG John Moffitt has looked pretty solid at the Combine thus far, and he was a guy who wasn’t supposed to be all that impressive in drills.

  • http://build-a-bully 909RaiderLifer

    JaMarcus is the elephant in the room, in any building he walks into…ba da bing!….

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Rich Gannon?!?!?! Please go away, nobody cares what you think. Who does this dude think he is? That sb performance was the worst I have ever seen. Neil odonnel & Tony eason think Gannon stunk it up. Gannon couldn’t carry newton’s jock in an 18 wheeler!

  • Guy

    How about Marcus Cannon in the 2nd? I know his 5.2 at 350+ impressed Davis.

  • YoungAmerican

    Chris Landry NFL Scout on FSR: “JaMarcus Russell is still out of shape and hasn’t shown teams he’s motivated to play in NFL.”

  • DKnight007

    Yeah, this years QB class is nothing special.

    Gabbard was a system QB and so is Newton. Newton just relied on his atheletic ability but he will wind up being another Vince Young IMO.

    Mallett is doesn’t have good footwork and pocket awareness and he is a big stiff in the pocket. Plus he has problems in the head just like Newton.

  • DKnight007

    Raiders need to take a hard look at TCU OL Marcus Cannon in Round 2.

    He can play RG or RT and is a mauler with long arms and good footwork.

    If Hue wants the O-Line to turn into some nasty bullies, than Cannon would be a good pick in Round 2….IF he is there.

  • Nnamdi21

    We could take Mallet with a 3rd rounder and I’d be ok with that.

    Not a bad spot for a project if he falls that far.

  • Nnamdi21

    GoodOle00 Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    33. After Marinovich and He who shall not be named I wouldn’t worry about Oakland trying to draft Cam Newtron

    ================

    Netron. Ha!

  • YoungAmerican

    Next year’s QB class is going to be far better than this year’s. No way should the Raiders take Mallett any higher than the 5th or 6th, and that’s only if no one else is there.

  • BadMoodGuy

    So how many years was Gannon a failure before he was in the right system with the right coach? If he wouldn’t have been brought in, the Raiders wouldn’t have been as good but he would have gone down as a total failure. He needs to give every other player the same time to succeed or fail as it took him. Hypocrite.

    How many other players have missed out?

    Kind of like the trolls here, how much better would their lives have been if Davis hadn’t pissed in their Cheetoes? Then again, haters gotta hate so they would have just been complaining about something else, somewhere.

    BAN THE TROLLS or add in user up/down moderation with a level filter.

  • RaiderDebo

    Chris Landry is on the local Tampa Buc’s radio station every Friday and gives this on Russel and Quinn

    http://www.620wdae.com/main.html

    Russell

    * refuses to learn how to break down film

    * turned off scouts and FO personnel with his statement at the combine “prefer to go to whatever team pays me the most’ and being out of shape

    Brady Quinn

    tutored by best offensive mind in the NFL will be very successful.

    Also on this station various agents have reported that Russel will not be successful.

    ( don’t kill the messenger)
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    This POS lives near LSU and has been bashing JR since his college days. Wonder what he thinks of Brady Quinn now? Out of shape? Yeah, just like he was 300 pounds before last year’s minicamp. We’ll see.

  • RaiderDebo

    Gabbard was a system QB and so is Newton. Newton just relied on his atheletic ability but he will wind up being another Vince Young IMO.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Rooki of the Year? 30-17 as a starter? A Pro Bowl? Think I’d be happy with that if I were him.

  • YoungAmerican

    Russell is not going to be playing in the NFL again. Especially not for the Oakland Raiders.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Who is rich Gannon without rice, brown gruden & Al Davis? Rusty Hilger maybe, probably not even that good

  • RaiderDebo

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 6:53 pm
    Who is rich Gannon without rice, brown gruden & Al Davis? Rusty Hilger maybe, probably not even that good
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Agreed. You should have heard the guy make every excuse in the book for Carson Palmer the other day on Sirius. He said having a rookie TE, dealing with T.O./Ochocinco and a bad defense affected his performance, but that he’s still a franchise guy. He’s never mentioned one thing about JR’s supporting cast in 2009. It’s to the point when I hear him on the radio, I change the station.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Debo we all know Gannon is a hater that was upset that Davis wouldn’t take him back after his neck injury. What a loser.

  • irishraiderfan

    I see Mallet as a Derek Anderson type. Good arm, throws to many picks. Don’t see him having successful NFL carreer. K

  • irishraiderfan

    The Raiders have been very important to me ever since Bo ran into the tunnel on that Monday in Seattle. I was 8 at the tine and have no memory of us winning Super Bowls. Since that time Gannon has been the best QB we’ve had. The only QB who had given us multiple playoff victories. When you here him speak you can tell he likes the Raiders and wants to see them do well. Don’t understand the team or any fans having a problem with this guy

  • Carl Weathers

    Al Davis is the Rooster.

  • raidertay

    The Raiders should consider drafting a backup QB. Hopefully they are able to keep Bruce as a back-up QB.

  • phatcable

    Guy Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 6:11 pm
    How about Marcus Cannon in the 2nd? I know his 5.2 at 350+ impressed Davis.
    ……………….reminds me of jim plunkett

  • phatcable

    jim plunkett reminds me of jim plunkett

  • Just Fire Baby

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 6:07 pm
    Rich Gannon?!?!?! Please go away, nobody cares what you think.

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

    Actually, he gets paid very well by two of the biggest NFL media networks (CBS and Sirius) to tell people what he thinks, and is pretty well-regarded in the industry.

    He is not going away anytime soon, in fact his media presence continues to grow every year, because PEOPLE CARE WHAT HE THINKS.

  • J Hill

    Should I even be watching the combine?

    Just saw young Wisnewski run the 40. Wasn’t too impressed, lol.

  • phatcable

    what movie was jim plunkett in?

  • J Hill

    Combine …

    Pro Days …

    Team workouts ….

    Seems like a bit much.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Just drove home and ESPN radio is reporting Cam Newton is floudering in the individual team meetings.

    Reports that he stole from this teammates lockers while at Florida are coming up as well.

  • phatcable

    does cam newton have a lot of bling?

  • phatcable

    we need too play like a team this year ,theres no I in raiders.

  • Kirk

    The people here putting down Gannon are idiots.

    Gannon is one of the brightest guys in the league.

    And he was one helluva quarterback.

    He completed 42 out of 63 passes to beat the Steelers. He threw for over 4,000 yards and was the league MVP.

    When was the last time a Raider quarterback did that?

  • Just Fire Baby

    JB Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    I’m amazed at all the people in here worried about what AD spends on a player. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY. It’s technically his

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

    No offense JB, but this take is the dumbest and most childish thing anyone can say.

    Of course it is not my money. But it is my favorite team, and when they spend money unwisely (Javon Walker, Hall, Larry Brown, etc.) if effects their ability to win games, which is all we want as fans.

    What are you going to tell me next, that I don’t actually own the team, so I shouldn’t get too mad or happy when they win or lose?

  • J Hill

    What are you going to tell me next, that I don’t actually own the team, so I shouldn’t get too mad or happy when they win or lose?

    —————————————————–

    Yup!

  • J Hill

    No offense JB, but this take is the dumbest and most childish thing anyone can say.

    ——————————————————

    What does “no offense” mean?

  • GoodOle00

    16. NEVER! Down with censorship!

    Heres one sure way to ditch the trolls. IGNORE THEM…

  • phatcable

    phatcable Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 8:36 pm
    what movie was jim plunkett in?
    airport 75

  • hendu

    post 30 and when double OO ran his 40,no one cared.My point is,you cant measure HEART,the young man comes from a FOOTBALL family,lets take a look at the package, RAIDERS!!!!!

  • GoodOle00

    The way those SB runs ended destroyed Gannons well earned legacy.

    If not for fat Siragusa, the tuck rule and Callahan Gannon could’ve been remembered as an alltime Raider great instead many try to forget and worse many completely discount those years altogether going as far to claim the Raiders haven’t had a winning record since the 80′s.

    Watch any of those games from that era and yiu’ll see a masterful QB operating a system at the highest possible level.

    Really too bad…

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    To all posters, Gannon is a joke. Everyone acts as if this dude was special, he wasn’t. He came to Oakland & became a star, thanks to Davis, the talent & coaches Davis gave him. He is clearly a raider hater, stop excusing him.

    If you aren’t old enough to remember our glory too bad for you, that doesn’t mean I or anyone else should accept his bs.

    Gannon was a bench warming nobody. He had a good run for a quick minute, that is all. The superbowl should have shown you his true colors. He sucked!

  • GoodOle00

    35.phatcable Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 8:48 pm
    we need too play like a team this year ,theres no I in raiders.

    ===============

    Uh, yeah, there kinda is…

  • GoodOle00

    44. Just look at his numbers and the way he led. That team functioned because of Gannon.

    He knew everyones job on every play and made that team the Super Bowl contending machine that it was. If anyone gets too much credit its Chucky

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Gannon never won the big games,. Davis put the talent & coaches in place to win it all. Gannon couldn’t deliver. I still remember his 5 picks, with 2 pick 6 in the superbowl. Worst superbowl performance in history. Face it he didn’t get it done, yet he has the nerve to speak as if he was Joe Montana!

    Gannon…. Comical

  • hendu

    POST44,cant agree with ya that Gannon was a nobody,if that was true,sign ME UP!He did a great job for the RAIDERS as a QB,period! Gruden knew the OFFENSE,not a friggin chance for the Raiders that SB,unless you are aware of something Im not.That said,RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Hendu who was he before the raiders? Answer bench warming nobody. Check out the qb he backed up; grbac, Salisbury, kramer. Garbage!

  • hendu

    Mistic1,all I can tell ya is he/players/Gruden led the Raiders to 3 years of winning,PERIOD!!!!!!!Lets see now,GARBAGE got the Silver and Black to the SB? Dont think so