JaMarcus Russell


I love JaMarcus Russell. I love his size. I love his arm. Mostly, I love how absolutely, positively terrible he is.

Wait. Let me explain. I never root for athletes to fail. But it is, to be frank, entertaining. I was alive and kicking during Ryan Leaf‘s brief rise and monumental fall. I’ve seen Tampa Bay try to get some juice out of Jack (Thowin’ Samoan) Thompson. I’ve witnessed the horror that was Mike Pagel, the dread that was David Klingler, the nightmare that was Babe Laufenberg starting the last two games of the 1990 season for the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve seen Browning Nagle‘s throws die in the wind and Marc Wilson get blitzed mercilessly. I rooted on Heath Shuler as he crumbled and I laughed as Dave Brown (I was a Jets fan) threw a ridiculous string of picks. From Bobby Douglass as a Bear to Todd Blackledge as a Chief to Mark Malone as a Steeler and a Charger to Mike Hohensee as a Washington Federal (USFL), I’ve been honored to watch and cringe with the worst professional quarterbacks of all time.

Russell, however, is a new low.

By all accounts, he doesn’t work hard. His field vision is terrible, his attitude questionable, his grasping of NFL defenses atrocious. He throws into double coverage all the time, rarely looks off receivers and holds onto the ball waaaay too long.

And yet, despite it all, I don’t blame JaMarcus Russell himself. This is, without question, the fault of the Oakland Raiders, who wisely selected the gifted LSU Tiger with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 Draft, then surrounded him with the biggest mess since Starr Jones’ wedding party. Coaches come and go; offenses are predictable; drafts are wasted on semi-OK prospects praised for their speed (at the expense of, say, good hands). Had Russell been allowed to learn from, say, a Mike Tomlin or Marvin Lewis or Mike Shanahan, things might be drastically different. Maybe he’s on the bench, taking notes. Maybe he’s gradually groomed.

But now, in 2009, he simply looks like a bust. A very big bust.

12 thoughts on “JaMarcus Russell”

  1. I think this photo of Jamarkus Russell pretty much sums up my thoughts on most professional athletes….that’s probably not fair. How about most “high-profile” professional athletes?

    What really bothers me is here’s a guy that can throw a ball really far while down on one knee. So he’s making millions of dollars and he’s been terrible in the process.

    Meanwhile, four posts below your Jamarkus Russell blog is a terrible story about a 13-year old, who already lost one sibling to Cancer, now battling the disease himself.

    How many Oakland (or is it L.A.?) Raiders fans that were at the Raiders last home game, at what, $50 bucks per pop minimum, would donate $10 to this kid and his family or to any other person in need?

    This is what I don’t understand about us, Americans.

    We’ll continue to spend our hard earned money to fill the pockets of guys like Jamarkus Russell and Pac Man Jones and Lenny Dykstra, but when our neighbors need help, it’s “screw ’em, get a job.”

    Today my oncologist informed me the tests on my spleen came back negative. I’m officially in remission.

    I can’t be happy about that. Not when I read the story about the 13-year old, and I know others who are struggling through their disease.

    Life just isn’t fair sometimes. If only we all could rifle the ball 70 yards from one knee.

  2. “When can we all get our priorities straight?”

    Why does one have to choose between helping someone with cancer and not liking (or liking, I suppose) JaMarcus Russell?

    I’m not sure why you can assume that if someone spends $50 for a Raider ticket than that person hasn’t given money to a charity or helped a person in need.

    I think that if you look back at national tragedies like Katrina or 9/11 you’ll be surprised at how much Americans have given.

    Also, if you look at what every day Americans have given to cancer, leukemia, diabetes, AIDs and other research it might make you take a less harsh view of your countrymen.

    Don’t begrudge someone their outlet for escape from their everyday world. Some people use sports, others television, still others music or the arts.

    I think that most people have their priorities straight–though they just don’t need you to tell them.

  3. I’m not asking anyone to choose. It’s America, they can do whatever it is that makes them happy.

    But, I don’t want to hear people complain when their taxes go up or gas prices rise.

    As long as we have 70,000 people every Sunday willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to pad Jamarkus Russell’s pockets, there’s no shortage of cash laying around.

    And that happens in NFL cities across the country; NBA and MLB cities too.

    Our teachers make next to nothing, but parents are willing to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars each year to get little Jimmy extra lessons with a hitting coach or quarterback coach to inch him closer to that lucrative shoe deal.

    I’m not begrudging people for choosing their release from everyday life. But, spending hundreds of dollars on a professional sports game, then complaining that you don’t have enough money to pay taxes, health insurance, gas, etc., that’s insane.

    And that’s happening all over the place.

  4. “But, spending hundreds of dollars on a professional sports game, then complaining that you don’t have enough money to pay taxes, health insurance, gas, etc., that’s insane.”

    Who is doing this though? I think that you’re creating a straw man.

    Jack Nicholson gets paid tens of millions of dollars to chew scenery. Jim Carrey gets the same amount to do the same thing. Madonna gets 100s of millions of dollars to sing off key and the Rolling Stones get that much to wheel on stage and wheeze through their greatest hits.

    Americans pay a lot of money to be entertained. Just because you think it’s “insane” to spend money going to the movies or going to a Raiders game doesn’t make it so.

    I’m just not sure what your point is because you keep jumping from one thing to another trying to juxtapose one example of an overpaid person to an unfortunate circumstance.

    What’s your point? Do you think that all entertainers should be capped a certain amount of money? If every athlete, actor and musician was paid $60,000 a year there is still going to be cancer, disease, poverty, etc. What does that accomplish?

    Do you think that people should not be entertained at all? Or just athletes — because you picked an odd blog to make that statement. Pearlman would lose a lot of money if that happened.

    I’m not trying to be obtuse here, but I don’t see what the point of your last three posts were.

  5. Byron…I’m sorry if I’m jumping around.

    Several of Jeff’s recent topics have covered the health care debate.

    I’m picking up where some of that talk left off.

    There’s no straw man. There are plenty of people I know fit the bill.

    I have a family member that has season tickets to watch the Cleveland Indians–yikes, who would pay for that?–yet he complains about taxes being raised to support the local school district.

    I’m not just picking on pro athletes. I think it’s ridiculous actors are paid what they are too…and the same for musicians, etc.

    This country has its priorities screwed up.

    Going back to what I said about parents spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to get their kid a private quarterback coach, meanwhile the kid barely carries a high enough GPA to play high school football.

    Why is there so much emphasis put on entertainment and so little on academics?

    We’re a nation of morons.

  6. I never was impressed with JaMarcus Russell as the top pick in the draft. I didn’t think he had the discipline or the mental skills to succeed as an NFL quarterback. He does have the physical size and skills, but that is not enough. He’s a multi-million-dollar bust that I predicted three years ago.
    He will never be any better than he is right now unless he gets a coach who can teach him discipline, hard work, and how to succeed against a cover-two.

  7. awwww the best player in the history of my old high school a great asu player and his parents lived across the street from me , why’d you have to diss mike pagel?

  8. I laugh at all current articles like this about Russell. As an extremely die-hard LSU fan, I witnessed this guy for a few seasons at the collegiate level. To keep things brief, I will agree with the two sentence paragraph in the middle by Mr. Pearlman.

    I was amazed leading up to him being drafted how he was suddenly being considered a 1st round option. He excelled at LSU because of raw ability over weaker collegiate competition. He excelled at LSU because he had several NFL quality linemen (Andrew Whitworth, etc) blocking for him, NFL quality tailbacks in his backfield (Jacob Hester, etc), and a number of NFL quality recievers catching his passes (Dewayne Bowe, Early Doucet).

    LSU fans clamoured often for this clowns backup (Matt Flynn) over the years. And as soon as the Raiders saved us from Russell, LSU won a championship. Coincidence? No.

  9. Of course it’s “the Raiders fault”. This oversized piece of shark had no choice but to fail. He could not chose to work hard. He himself could not put extra effort in learning the playbook. The Raiders wouldn’t allow it. PLEASE! You are a fool if you believe that. JaMeatloaf didn’t care, and doesn’t care. He got paid. He CHOSE to fail. Period. Jeff, you chose to write that idiotic statement.

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