Russell continues to draw criticism in Oakland

By Brad Wilbricht  |   Monday, June 29, 2009  |  Comments( 9 )

Oakland Raiders
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Although he was drafted into one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the NFL, Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell continues to draw adverse reviews. Russell’s long-term future remains uncertain, but continuous remarks regarding his poor work ethic are becoming redundant. Russell has risen above several factors working against him and should be given a clean slate entering just his third season in Oakland.

Considering the adversity Russell has already faced during his young career in the Bay Area, the former first overall pick’s progression could be considered remarkable. Like almost all rookies, Russell struggled during his initial campaign in the league but showed flashes of brilliance a year ago. Now entering his third season with the Raiders, Russell has demonstrated many of the qualities that make for a successful starter in the NFL.

With Tom Cable now at the helm, Russell is already on his second head coach and is still in the process of learning the team’s offense. Russell was a part of the Lane Kiffin debacle which resulted in turmoil and embarrassment for all parties involved. Given what transpired under Kiffin’s watch, Russell was bound to fail but now has a much more stable platform to work on with the current coaching staff and players around him.

Russell has also been working with a lackluster group of wide receivers, but Oakland hopes to have addressed that void in this year’s draft. Russell has developed an excellent rapport with tight end Zach Miller, but the additions of rookie wideouts Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy should help boast the Raiders’ vertical passing game. Russell’s arm strength is one of his best attributes and must be utilized properly.

Oakland has struggled to just nine wins in the past two seasons combined and has provided its young players, including Russell, with little hope for success. However, Cable has managed to change the culture of the team in a very short period of time. Cable’s ability to connect with all facets of the organization is even more impressive given the situation he inherited last season.

Outside of demonstrating a work ethic comparable to the top players in the professional ranks, Russell has done everything asked of him and has shown improvement in the process. Russell has already overcome several obstacles while maintaining a sufficient level of play. With a new mentality in Oakland, things are looking up for the first time in years and Russell could be the biggest beneficiary of the Raiders’ new state of mind.
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About Brad Wilbricht

Brad Wilbricht covers numerous sporting events including the NFL, NFL Draft and college football. His analysis is simulcast through several media outlets across the country. Additionally, Brad is a regular guest on a variety of talk radio shows and can be frequently heard on the airwaves. To...
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