Will the real JaMarcus Russell show up in San Diego?


Is he a bust or is he waiting to bust out?

Is he a bust? Is he a prodigy? Is he uncaring? Is he even-keeled? Is he a follower? Is he a leader?

With each passing week, we get more questions than answers about JaMarcus Russell.

His performance thus far in ’09 has given his stock a strong endorsement to sell. However, his coaches and teammates still seem to be buying in.

So, who is the real JaMarcus Russell?

If we’re to believe he is the lazy, unmotivated and overpaid anchor that is weighing down the franchise, then why has his coach stuck behind him this long?

If he’s the guy who’s showing up at 6am to improve on his admitted mistakes, then will is his performance still be wretched?

The truth is that nobody knows who this young man is.

Russell is a quiet recluse in front of the cameras whose sideline demeanor makes Tracy McGrady look passionate. His natural talent is undeniable. His upside is off the charts. His performance has been unwatchable.

When looking into this conundrum you’ll find that not even the Hindu deity Shiva has enough fingers to point blame. 

The facts are frightening when one considers that this is supposed to be the face of the franchise: He missed most of his rookie season because of a long contract hold out. His original coach didn’t even want him on the roster. He’s never had a strong veteran presence to study under (Jeff Garcia doesn’t count. If you think that guy cared about helping anything other than his ego then you’ve also got to believe that Stephen Jackson is just misunderstood). He played the best football of his pro career to conclude 2008, yet has regressed in 2009. In a crucial year in his development, he lost his best wide receiver to injury and was given two rookies who are struggling to adjust to life in the NFL.

Yet still, we don’t really know if he is as bad as advertised or is as good as those close to him think he can be.

Getting behind the steel curtain in Oakland is an impossible task. The CIA would be hard pressed to get an inside source. Therefore, knowing what type of professional Russell really is becomes even more difficult.

It’s not like a coach sticking with a struggling quarterback is anything new. Matt Cassel isn’t exactly earning his eight-figure paycheck in Arrowhead, but he has yet to see the pine. JaMarcus got his first taste of humble pie last Sunday and one can only assume that he didn’t like the taste.

Truthfully though, we’ll never really know what goes on in Alameda from Monday to Saturday. All we see is the end product on Sunday.

Boomer Esiason seems to be the only human being privy to Russell’s supposed tardiness and lessened checkbook. It seems odd that nobody else corroborated Norman’s findings until Russell himself finally owned up to being fined. Of course, Russell said he was fined for his weight and not his attendance. 

According to those in the know, during the off-season it was rare not to see JaMarcus around the team facility daily. This is hardly the stuff of which lazy quarterbacks are comprised.

None the less, his Sundays make his work week look like he’s sleeping through film sessions.

So which JaMarcus will make the trip to San Diego Sunday?

He’s still the starter one week after being benched. He’s still the future of the franchise despite his prospects looking as dim as a black hole in the abyss of space. He’s still the biggest question mark in pro football.

Is his time now or is it never to be?

We just don’t know and those who think they do don’t seem to have much of a finger on the pulse either.

I guess we’ll just have to watch again with that nervous feeling in our stomachs and that blind faith in our hearts. If Russell is the future, then he’d better call Doc Brown now. This franchise is one DeLorean that is running out of real estate as the hands on the clock tower near midnight.


Subscribe to JBB

Follow JBB on Twitter

Next Raiders Game View full schedule »
Friday, Aug 2222 Aug7:00at Green Bay PackersBuy Tickets

Tags: Boomer Esiason Doc Brown JaMarcus Russell Matt Cassel Stephen Jackson Tracy McGrady

  • Kate

    Record and production are the only barometers for which to judge a QB. Russell’s is dismal on both counts. Maturity, commitment, intelligence, physique, accuracy, courage, touch, instincts have ALL been questioned both prior to and now after the draft. What light does anyone really expect to go on now or in the near or distant future with this waste of space?

    Incidentally, the answer to the query of what are we to make of the coach’s steadfast support of him is: the head coach is a boorish dumbass who would never be a head coach but for the fact that no one with legitimate credentials would work for Al Davis.

  • Big Kev

    Jamarcus will be fine. The offensive schemes are embarrasing and the leadership from the Coach to the owner is confused at best. I saw him play last year against Houston and the key to his good performance was having Justin Fargas gaining consistent yardage which helped keep the Houston defense off-balance. The running game hasn’t been there this year. Let’s give him until the end of the season before hanging the bust tag on him.

  • RaidersFanDude

    He had bust written all over him before the draft, and nothing has changed. I couldn’t believe it when we took him. I was pissed off to say the least. When a team drafts a QB, they should do so for his smarts, determination, and knowledge of the game. Not for his potential and raw talent in hopes that he may someday grow into the position. You could tell Russell was, and still is, a rather dense person. If you don’t have a bright mind, you will not succeed at being a QB at the NFL level. JaMarcus doesn’t have a bright mind. Nobody with a name that begins with “Ja” before their proper name will ever succeed at being an NFL QB. (I don’t mean for that to come across as racist, but sometimes the truth needs to be told.) The guy wasn’t even all that great in college.

  • Boise Raider

    I didn’t necessarily dislike the pick when it was made. I was concerned because his workouts didn’t really show he could make all the throws required at this level. But all the QBs available in that draft had question marks, so I figured the upside was worth the risk.

    I’m sorry to say this kid is done. He does not have the intellect nor the desire to be successful at this level.

    And as much as I dislike Cable, he isn’t to blame for this mess. He’s doing everything he can to balance coaching this team and doing what Davis wants him to do. The run game and schemes he’s employing are suffering BECAUSE of Russell. Try running the football consistently when you get 8-9 guys in the box every down. Nobody is threatened by the pass game, so they just focus on stopping the run.

    Until Russell is done and starts off on his journey into the annals of NFL history as the biggest bust of a number 1 pick ever, this football team won’t win consistently. And really, until Davis is gone, the bad decision making on player personnel will continue, so even Russell’s absence won’t dramatically improve things. That’s all there is to it.

  • Raids

    The dude was a bust at LSU… I still can’t believe we left PETERSON on the board,then try and make up for that mistake and draft McFumble in the first round.. AL is the real cancer on this team and has been for 25 years!!!! Bring back Grudog and you will c this team turn around and gert rid of all of these PUPPETS we have coaching now.. Brown-cable-marshall- all need to go.. They are 2 scared to say a bad word about a draft bust and try something that is proven to work..COVER 2 WITH BLITZING !!!!! Gruden was the only coach that had balls and he turned the raids around!!!!