Al Davis shares equal blame for the JaMarcus Russell debacle

Russell and Davis were a doomed formula from the beginning. (Photo:

You can lead a horse to water. But you can’t make him drink.

What happens if the person leading that horse was chasing an oasis in the desert?

In that case, the dehydrated donkey is as confused as the foolish caballero.

In other words, Al Davis is as much to blame for the JaMarcus Russell debacle as Russell is himself. No excuses needed for JaMarcus. He made his own bed and his lethargic legacy is going to sleep in it until Tim Tebow jerseys become the most useless rags since Silver and Black #2 shirts.

Russell never took football serious. This wasn’t a job for him. This was a paid vacation with occasional costume parties on Sunday afternoons.

It takes something special to be great, something that can’t be quantified but most certainly can be personified. The one thing that all great athletes of the modern era have in common is a tireless work ethic and an unquenchable thirst to improve.

Don’t take my word for it, just look around the sports world and see for yourself.

Sure, it took Tiger Woods seeing pictures of his skanks plastered across magazine covers at the supermarket checkout line to get his priorities in order. Make no mistake that golf always took priority though. His game speaks for itself.

Floyd Mayweather spends a lot of time bragging about his millions. However he spends a lot more time training to ensure those millions keep coming in. His game speaks for itself.

Alexander Ovechkin parties like a sailor on shore leave. But he also knows when to leave that drunken shipman on drydock and clock in. His game speaks for itself.

Nobody’s perfect but that doesn’t mean it’s pointless to pursue perfection.

JaMarcus Russell has a million dollar paycheck and a penniless work rate. His game more than spoke for itself.

And how Al Davis could fall so head over heels for a McLaren F1 with a 50cc 2-stroke scooter engine under the hood is as sad a commentary on his own selfish pride as it is on JaMarcus Russell. Davis enabled Russell through every fateful twist of his downward spiral.

When Russell was reporting to camp as if he’d been training to take down Joey Chestnut, Davis turned a blind eye. Davis even went as far as to defend Russell while simultaneously comparing him to Jim Plunkett and Ken Stabler.

Let’s be clear about something. On the spectrum of quarterbacks in Raiders history, Stabler and Plunett are on one end and JaMarcus is at the other end toiling in darkness with the likes of Todd Marinovich and Andrew Walter.

When Russell was clearly not ready to be given the keys to the Cadillac, Davis let him take the wheel on a road trip to Vegas. Almost literally as Uncle Al covered for his favorite nephew when he skipped out on his teammates to get a head start on the off-season.

In addition to making excuses for the $39-million mistake, Davis didn’t do Russell any favors on the field either. When a young QB needed stability, Davis fired up the projector. When the inaccurate Russell needed a dependable target, Davis drafted a receiver with questionable hands. When JaMarcus should have been sitting and learning, Davis ensured he would have the best view in the house for all those three and outs at the Oakland Coliseum.

Even I’ve done my fare share of defending Russell. At some point it became more than obvious that the 25-watt bulb under his Raider beanie was never going to light up. Even at that point, Davis still stuck to his young gun.

Nothing is promised these days. Contracts that take months to negotiate can be voided in a matter of minutes. JaMarcus wasn’t paying much attention to how fast DeAngelo Hall blew in and out of the East Bay. Russell underestimated the one thing which Mr. Davis values over speed – his profit margin.

Even the stubborn pride of Al Davis wouldn’t stand back and watch another year of dwindling ticket sales.

Do the math.

$39-million for 31 games, 25 starts, 25 fumbles, 23 interceptions, 18 touchdowns, 18 losses, 7 wins and 0 300-yards passing games.

You don’t need a degree from Cal Tech to know what kind of a return you’re going to see on your money with those figures.

So feel free to curse JaMarcus for eternity. Burn every #2 item in your possession. Just know that were it not for Al Davis getting a Viagara induced reaction for a strong armed loafer, you’d have never coughed up the cash for your now worthless authentic jersey. 

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured JaMarcus Russell

  • Ramon

    Not equal blame…… ALL the blame

  • Miss Rice

    Raiders suck….go Chargers

  • Miss Rice

    Although I have to say the Chargers were stupid with Ryan Leaf draft, but still the Raiders still suck and the Howie Long days are forever gone. The Raiders will never be as good as a team when Howie and the boys where playing.

  • YoYoMa

    everything about oakland sucks, especially your lazy, fat @ss, has-been-that-never-was, ex-quarterback.

  • Phil

    Al Davis gave Russell more chances to be successful than any other team would. Al made little white lies rather than tell the truth about Russell to protect him from the media. Brought in very good QB coaches in Paul Hackett and Ted Tollner to work with Russell. yeah, Rich Gannon and Joe Montana said Hackett is the best in the business. Davis got rid of a coach that didn’t like Russell. What more could have been done for Russell? somebody please tell me? Russell showed up to camp fat and out of shape, fell a sleep in meeting and so on. This is all on Russell, and for people who don’t know that facts should keep their mouths shut. The only blame I put on Al is is he drafted a man child with talent, but to lazy to utilize it. if Davis didn’t draft this lazy kid, another team would have with the same results.

  • Raiders757

    The only blame Al Davis can be considered for, is drafting this kid with the #1 overall pick, knowing there were questions about his dedication and passion for football. The rest falls on Russell’s shoulders. Al gave him some of the best QB coaches the game had to offer, and even they couldn’t do anything with him.

    …and to Miss Rice, your team full chokers are never going to win anything. At least we Raider have something to hang our hats on, even if those days are well behind us. The Chargers can’t even be has beens, because they never were.

  • Howie

    The only blame that Al Davis shares is not listening to cry baby Kiffen who did not want to draft Ja Loser and then not providing him with a solid “O” line.

  • JSpicoli

    you can’t give The Al all the blame or even most of it.

    ANY team with the same needs circumstances, drafting the same spot, would have taken JRuss with their pick. He was no reach. Kiper said he’d be like Elway in 5 years, CLE wanted to trade their whole draft to trade up and get him.

    Would you be blaming another team’s owner if it was another team that made this pick? i thnk not. the hate for the Raiders and and The Al runs deep and runs very ignorant.
    And what pisses me off worse are the weak puke fans who buy into this shiite that is pounded our way in the press. Grow a brain and look at what is really happeneing.

  • Johnny

    Poor Al eh? I’m sure he’s over it. It is the nature of the game. I side with many others who say maybe it will help people to think more carefully about a rookie cap. With the team in such offensive disarray the last many years, it got easier for me to laugh this kind of thing off, it’s not my money. I agree that this kid made way too much money and he wasn’t ready to join this crazy franchise, on another team he may have worked out. I wanted Calvin Johnson and was disappointed like many others but, who cares, it’s over. When the team is back on top, things like missed picks, injuries and losses are very hard to take! I remember back when Marc Wilson was to be our next great QB. Al did what most do when he left Wilson on the bench for a few years to learn the ropes and when he was given the job he turned out to be a huge bust. Then Al spent many draft picks trying to find the next Stabler with guys like Marinovich as you mentioned–and running vanilla offense’s with Art Shell’s first go round…until finally we ended up with the next Plunkett a journeyman named Gannon. Who was there with timely acquisitions of Rod Woodson, Rice, Garner etc? My man Al of course. Now we struggle again for a few years, 5 losses is not much worse than 7 or 8, if you don’t make the playoffs who the hell cares? I’m always optimistic this time of year and now, to Al’s credit, apart from the offensive line being a few proven players away, the team is set for success..anyone paying attention can see that clear as a bell. Tricky part with this game is having many of your players on both sides of the ball & special teams gelling at the same time, when you struggle at one aspect (offense) for several seasons and meanwhile the strong players on D, they age, lose their effectiveness and even motivation, it often takes awhile to get back to the top. With the amount of good young players on this team, we’ll be back on top and everybody can write about that. Say what you will about Al and the Raiders, they are always interesting, wouldn’t have it any other way. Go Raiders!!

  • Tiredof

    Your missing one thing wrong with JBUST..He is DUMB AS HELL!!! Why wont anybody say it??? Its not PC to call a black man dumb???If he were white, dumb as hell from the south,thats all u would here..Dumb ass redneck can’t learn the play book.. WORLD of COWARDS!!!! Cincy tampa or the steelers take a chance on this

  • Tiredof

    Cleveland wanted to trade thier whole draft<any team would have taken him if they needed a QB… nonsense!!! The media told u lies<and kiper said nothing about JR being john elway in 5 years..DUDE U R FECKIN LOST!!!! Al davis is to blame for him ..mccnothin,and DHB..They r all busts<and u can add huff to that one too..ATLEAST gallery starts and can play football

  • Rick Wascher

    I am as disappointed as anyone else about JR but lets stop and think about this. How many QBS have we been through since Rich Gannon. None of them have been good enough to keep the job.In New England they put Brady in and he does fine they put Cassell in and he wins 11 games while not starting in College. Do ya think it could be our system? Those 7 step drops worked when we had pro-bowl offensive linemen back in Art Shell’s day. But not now. Lots of teams are able to change QBs and not miss a beat. Philly is gonna win this year with a new QB.Maybe we need to think about that system, and the offensive line too.