Raiders Set to Release Russell

After surprising the football world and putting together what appears to be a logical draft class last weekend, it seems certain that the Raiders will make another practical roster move and release quarterback JaMarcus Russell.  However, with crazy Al Davis at the helm of the Raiders organization, there is no such thing as a certainty.  ESPN is reporting that the team is ready to release Russell and has spent time figuring out ways in which they can do it without losing an incredible amount of money.  The team is now awaiting the final word from owner Al Davis before they can proceed.

I don’t expect Davis to stop this from happening, but if I’ve learned one thing about the Raiders over the years it’s to expect the unexpected from Weird Al.  JaMarcus Russell was a bad fit for the Raiders — then again it seems everyone they’ve gone after the past decade or so has been.  The last thing an Oakland organization in peril needed was a college quarterback who seemed to generate the most buzz about himself when he showed he could throw a football 60 yards from one knee.  Is Russell talented?  Absolutely.  What he accomplished at LSU — playing in the powerhouse SEC — is not to be overlooked.

The problem with JaMarcus is he just doesn’t care.  His teammates know it.  His coaches know it.  The fans know it.  LBS knew it years ago.  Al Davis might even know it, and it takes a lot to get that guy to understand important concepts.  The only thing that would stop Davis from giving the team the go-ahead to release Russell would be a hesitancy to admit another colossal mistake for his organization — one that will have cost him $39 million in exchange some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL.  Maybe it’s being in Oakland that makes Russell not want to try.  Randy Moss can certainly relate to that feeling.

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JaMarcus Russell Spends More Time in the Jewelry Store than the Film Room

Last week on TNT, the Suns broke their 18-game TNT losing streak by coming back to beat the Mavericks. The Inside the NBA show after the game was every bit as good as the actual game, as always. Not only did they have clips of Cheryl Miller and Reggie Miller dancing, but they also showed Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell in attendance. Rather, they showed pictures of Russell’s jewelry which could probably pay off the entire state of California’s deficit. What I didn’t realize was that announcer Kevin Harlan got in some nice shots during the actual telecast. Check it out via Jimmy Traina’s Extra Mustard at SI and Thunder Treats:

Let me just point something out: you wouldn’t be a target to be robbed if you weren’t advertising that you had millions of dollars and half your signing bonus hanging on your neck. That’s something Javon Walker and Floyd Mayweather Jr. had to learn the hard way. Hopefully JaMarcus doesn’t have to learn that lesson but it’s pretty clear his interests lie in the wrong places. It will be a shame to see all his talent go to waste.

Justin Fargas Takes Underlying Swipe at JaMarcus Russell’s Lack of Passion?

JaMarcus RussellIt took 10 weeks before the Raiders finally decided it was time to bench JaMarcus Russell in favor of a new quarterback. If you saw last week’s game against the Chiefs, you’ll know it doesn’t matter who’s throwing passes for Oakland because the receivers can’t catch them anyways. Regardless, the Raiders have decided to go with Bruce Gradkowski as their starter on Sunday either as an attempt to jump-start their offense or light a fire under JaMarcus’ ass, or both. When asked about what Gradkowski offers the team, running back Justin Fargas seemed to take a subtle shot at Russell when describing Gradkowski’s strong points:

“A passion for the game. A love for the game that he shows in the way he plays, the way he calls plays. The way he works on details of plays with players, in between. He’s just uh, I think that’s the main thing I’m seeing with him. It’s just, he’s a get-after-it type of guy.”

“You want to make a play for your quarterback but when he shows that type of passion for the game, obviously guys are going to feed off it and try to give him that same effort.”

If you read between the lines of the comments it’s easy to see that he’s talking about something the players want to do for Bruce that they weren’t inspired to do by their previous quarterback. That’s constantly been a knock against Russell — he’s just not motivated and driven to succeed, that he lacks the passion to be great. While Fargas’ comment doesn’t excuse the receivers from dropping half of Russell’s passes last week, it’s undeniable that JaMarcus isn’t getting the most out of his teammates. Now if we’re talking about Darrius Heyward-Bey, the guy’s equal opportunity; he’ll drop a Gradkowski pass the same way he would a JaMarcus toss.