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

  • 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.

  • As far as Gannon’s poor SB performance goes? Rich giveth and Rich taketh. If Rich Gannon is not the starting QB of the 2002 Raiders, they’re not a playoff team, possibly not even an 8 win team.

  • Rich Gannon is in any sane person’s Raider hall of fame. You take his same contributions to any franchise other than the Raiders, and his number is retired, not necessarily for his feats, but his pivotal role in resurrecting the franchise from ridicule. It is common knowledge around the NFL that in the late 1990s, Jon Gruden and Rich Gannon made the Raiders respectable again. If you were to ask any expert, reporter, league official, former player, former coach, current coach, or even fan around the NFL who the two most pivotal people were in bringing the Raiders back to playoff contention in 2000, at least 90% of them would almost immediately sound off with “Gruden and Gannon”.

  • priesttj

    Gannon is a self promoting ingrate what would hadn’t play with all those great players Mr Davis allowed him to play with. Yet he wants everyone to think HE knows better than anyone in this organization. He’s never done anything of significance in this league without that supporting caste he enjoyed here.

    When he actually does something of note wake me up!!

  • hendu

    Hey MR,did someone drop somethin in youre adult beverage? At this moment,proud of my fellow Raider fan.Now how far back do you go as a RAIDER fan? You may say BO I may say Marcus,I say Clem Daniels,hb, and you say? Talkin RBs,of course if you wish to comment

  • hendu

    tj,when the mornin comes,read post 54, and lets debate those years of WINNING,and the QB was ???? Gannon

  • priesttj

    Not sure I understand what you want me to.

  • These pine sitters are trying to drive their financial status up by being as outragious as the punks from, where ever. Who cares about a hoe from Jersey? The thinking of these young players is I’m in it for me? Hey ME, you haven’t done a thing, you are not elite, you were picked, deliver! Not in my lifetime, just a faithful fan sinc 64. I hope they break these punks down to their production numbers in the NFL! Aint’t got any? Earn them! New NFL concept! Ticket prices go down! People show up……..Sad

  • priesttj Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Gannon is a self promoting ingrate


    Laughable, coming from an Al Davis supporter.

  • Hendu, Gannon came into a TEAM that needed a QB, not the other way around, now he’s a hero, not!

  • Night people.

  • GoodOle00

    I LOVE how the Nation can have completely opposite views of the very same thing and still all love the Raiders.

    We are the best.

    We are Raider Nation!

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Gannons 4 years were nice but no hardware. I don’t care about his coleco vision techno bowl numbers he failed. Trent dilfer won, jim mc Mahon won , with average numbers. Gannon was given a dream job in Oakland & he loused it up. Maybe some of you are happy with runner up status so you champion Gannon. In raider land second place is unacceptable. You probably loved cables 8-8 too. Gannons years in Oakland are underachievment, I could have won the super bowl with brown rice & gruden!

    Gannon stinks on ice & should just disappear.

  • hendu

    post 62 simply said, RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • phatcable

    Owner Jerry Jones had a curious response Friday when asked if the Cowboys would release any players before next week’s March 3 deadline. “No,” he said. “No. “There could be one exception, but I probably won’t do that. Jones refused to mention the player, joking it was the media’s “job to figure it out.” You can figure out he’s talking about running back Marion Barber, who receives a $500,000 roster bonus if he’s on the roster after March 3.

  • Al Davis’s spinmeisters can try to bring Gannon down all they want to, but they simply can not put up an effective argument against Gannon being the Raiders’ most valuable player since Bo Jackson. They can put up weak arguments, using anecdotal evidence, and that’s about it. It’s just one of those scenarios where the Davis minions are shooting their pygmy darts at an unstoppable giant. And the unstoppable giant is Rich Gannon’s legacy as an Oakland Raider. He was a great Raider, the greatest since Bo Jackson. It wouldn’t be a stretch to even say that it’s common knowledge at this point to pretty much everyone outside of Al Davis’s loyal following.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Gannons 4 years were nice but no hardware. I don’t care about his coleco vision techno bowl numbers he failed.


    The stats I posted weren’t video game numbers. They were actual NFL stats. I know as someone who doesn’t like Gannon, you can’t be much of a fan of NFL stats, either. They don’t do your arguments much justice.

  • And I love it. It was a team effort, created by Al Davis, where Gannon was just a spoke in the wheel…yet when it comes to the Super Bowl loss, it was all on Gannon. LOL. Fair enough, then. Let’s stick with that logic. If the SB was all on Gannon, then that means ALL OF THE SUCCESS between 2000 and 2002 was on Gannon. Have it your way.

  • phatcable

    al was dead on about kiffin

  • hendu

    Post 60,not sure Im getting youre point, but Ive never thought of Gannon as a HERO,just a heck of a QB!

  • # phatcable Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    al was dead on about kiffin


    Where he said that Kiffin couldn’t be trusted, or that he was the better than Jon Gruden?

  • djohnnyg

    I don’t get the criticism of Gannon. Heck, he was an MVP of the league with Oakland and won some big time games. I remember that beautiful pass to Tim Brown in OT against SF as one of my favorites.

    He was a winner with us plain and simple and a great Raider QB. I don’t know about retiring his number 12, but he was big time with the Raiders.

  • I’ll say it. Gannon was a hero. I think stats back that up convincingly.

  • phatcable

    Al is all about the team,team owner,there is no I in davis!!!

  • djohnnyg

    I blame that SB loss more on not “counter game planning” against Gruden than anything else, although admittedly Gannon did suck that game. Our D was horrendous too and put Gannon in a spot where he had to pass and take some risky shots to try to get us back in it.

    Barrett Robbins’ Tijuana meltdown didn’t help either, but there was much more to that SB disaster than just Gannon for sure.


    Comparing JaMarcus Russell to an elephant is an insult to elephants throughout the world.

  • djohnnyg

    76.ELWAYs TEETH Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    Comparing JaMarcus Russell to an elephant is an insult to elephants throughout the world.

    Ha. That’s the truth.

    Maybe Russell would’ve done a little better with another coaching staff, maybe not, but I don’t see how coaches can be blamed when Russell was falling asleep at meetings, always last getting to the next drill in practice, and always out of shape as if he just didn’t give a crap.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Sorry 4 years of stats & no trophies doesn’t make greatness. Qb’s that don’t win siperbowls must be great throughout their career like marino. Had Gannon won it would be different, as it stands now he is just an also ran that nobody outside of Oakland even knows.

    Gannon should change his name to dannon. At least then he would have a reason to be fruity.

  • I think the better team won Super Bowl 37. I think Tampa’s defense was better than our offense. I think they had the better coach. They simply had the better team. Losing a Super Bowl is tough, but being in denial of the clean and obvious reason for it isn’t going to help.

  • hendu

    mr,in my opinion,a hero is men and women fighting in Two Wars,I give them the hero tag before any football,baseball,basketball player,PERIOD! Understand youre point,but it bothers me when some refer to players as special,young 22 year olds,when our finest are 18 and up!DH,prior service,Yes


    He didn’t have to care, he already had his money. He didn’t do anything he didn’t have to do, and he didn’t get any better. What a waste….

  • It’s not Gannon’s fault that his mere 4 good years with the Raiders makes him the second best passer in Raider history.

  • Hendu, we’re discussing heroes within the context of sports. I was under the assumption everyone here was smart enough to understand that.

  • Al got hustled by a top draft pick? Boo hoo. Couldn’t have happened to a better man. There’s a few former employees of the Raiders, who gave their hearts and souls to the franchise only for Al to screw them, smiling. That’s for certain.

  • hendu

    Post 83,by the way,jackass,YOU brought up the word HERO,Im simply pointing out that IMO 18 and up in the military are the BEST of US,that deserve being called HERO,that are on the front lines,risking all.Bottom line,if you arent wise enough ,thats youre problem,mrs

  • Oh, shut up. Anyone with a brain knows I was speaking in the context of sports. Let it go, drama queen.

  • Anyhow, goodnight. Interesting convo about Gannon until some drunk moron started a fight where there wasn’t one. I’ll close with this: RICH GANNON IS A HERO! Goodnight, all.

  • hendu

    OK,Mrs ,the Queen Bit– of this blog,I wont let it go until YOU admit youre a Niner B and you turn LEFT at all signals! RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lefty12

    I think everyone would know why Mystic doesn’t like Gannon.He doesn’t fit his profile-wink,wink.
    Debo says Gannon should STFU and he’d take Mallet and Newton on his team any time.Right,and you also wish we still had the bust as QB.Your credibility isn’t the greatest.

  • raiderzmaverick

    I really don’t understand all the people here who are hating on Gannon. Maybe they weren’t watching football when he was playing.

    For the past 20 years, he’s the ONLY QB who has provided stable success during the years he was here. Hell, the only other QB who got us into the playoffs during that time I think was Hofstetter.

    I always thought the play calling was a bit conservative with Gannon in, but man, we still moved that ball with all those short slant routs etc. and he was very efficient at executing that. I’d happily have Gannon on our team now if he were in his 30’s again. I’d take him over any QB in the league except for Manning, Brees, Brady, Rodgers and maybe Vick.

  • raiderzmaverick

    # Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Gannons 4 years were nice but no hardware. I don’t care about his coleco vision techno bowl numbers he failed. Trent dilfer won, jim mc Mahon won , with average numbers. Gannon was given a dream job in Oakland & he loused it up. Maybe some of you are happy with runner up status so you champion Gannon. In raider land second place is unacceptable. You probably loved cables 8-8 too. Gannons years in Oakland are underachievment, I could have won the super bowl with brown rice & gruden!

    Gannon stinks on ice & should just disappear.
    Gannon wasn’t given a DREAM JOB in Oakland. Ask ANY of the QBs since him (I think there are about 14 of them)! He came into a team that was 4-12 and helped turn them into a winner. In fact he had the only winning seasons since….gosh it seems like the 80’s it’s been so darned long…

  • jugulator

    Should have put the ball in Wheatley’s hands and let his big ass gash them up like he did at the end of the year before when then they had a better D 45-3 Oakland in that game …….Nice job Bill Callahan..

  • Plunketthead

    You should be 86ed for life for lame arse comments such as this. Barrett barhopping in Mexico, Gannon having his worse game ever, and Callahan = knucklehead but noway were they better then the Oakland Raiders.
    The entire Tampoon bay org was and is a loser. They are wannabee raiders with their pirate boat and their gay as SF logo

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    They simply had the better team.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Mistic1 couldn’t help slobbering all over Mike Vick all last season.

    Curious, because I didn’t see him win anything last year. Rich Gannon was NEVER one and done in the playoffs here.

    But according to him Rich Gannon is a loser, and Mike Vick is the wave of the future and the best QB in the league.


  • Just Fire Baby
  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Lefty I have no clue what your talking about, & you don’t either

  • Just Win Baby

    If, by being such a huge failure, Jamarcuss Russell has inspired owners to stop paying rookies such huge contracts before proving they are capable of success, Jamarcuss Russell has affected this entire league and made it better through his dismal showing. But he still is, and always will be a failure associated with my beloved Oakland Raiders. Loser.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Ricardo Lockette just ran a 4.41

    Not the 4.2 speed he was talking about.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Jfb, don’t try to confuse the issue. Vick has nothing to do with gannons yearly playoff flops. He had probowlers & hall of famers on both sides of the ball on a just add water superbowl ready team & he failed. Four years of good numbers do not eaqual greatness. 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. His numbers are worthless. Had he sustained that kind of performance for 10 years maybe you could call him great, he didn’t.

    Bottom line he couldn’t cut the mustard. I still see him turning the ball over ending playoff runs & yelling at his teammates as if it was their fault.

    4 years no trophies equals a hot streak not greatness

  • CanuckRaider

    The reason the Raiders lost that Superbowl was because our o-line got their butts kicked. Simeon Rice was all over Gannon all day and we couldn’t run against Sapp and co. Robbins’ meltdown contributed too. What QB could win under those conditions? If we had Gannon in his prime last year we would have gone at least 11-5 and made the playoffs. He was far superior to anyone we’ve had since.