Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Russell Signs The Dotted Line

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The long and trying holdout of JaMarcus Russell is finally over. The splinter in the brain of the Raider Nation has been successfully removed. After waiting nearly 6 months for our #1 pick to put the pen to the paper, this is a major relief.

Russell's contract guarantees him a record $29 million in his six-year $61 million deal with additional $3 million if he reaches minimal playing time incentives.

"Once I signed the contract I did drop a few tears just to know that I'm a blessed person," he said. "Very blessed to be in the place I am today and worked hard for it and I can't wait to go out there and work even harder and just to get it."

Russell's impact on 2007 will be very severely limited since he missed training camp, 4 exhibition games, 1 regular season game, and most importantly, countless practice reps. At least by securing him now, Russell will get his feet wet with being a professional team member and minimize the learning curve for 2008.

"He's at a definite disadvantage," Kiffin said. "You're talking about hundreds and hundreds of reps in preseason and being in games. We can't simulate what he missed. That's put him in a tough situation."

I am hopeful that Russell will take the unique challenges facing him in 2007 head on. He has a wonderful opportunity to build a rapport & bond with Head Coach Lane Kiffin and the rest of his 52 teammates. More importantly, he has an awe inspiring opportunity to become the franchise QB and set the course for future Raider glory. In my humble opinion, Russell & Kiffin are joined at the hip in terms of the long term success of the franchise. In order for this franchise to have long term, sustained success, stability needs to be established by the 2 alpha dog leaders of any team ... the QB & Head Coach.

Russell's work ethic, talent, leadership, and performance on the field will determine whether or not he eventually earns the long lasting respect of the Raider Nation. #2 has a bright future ahead of him. Do the right things JaMarcus and you will be mentioned in the same breath as Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett, and Gannon. Failure to seize the opportunity and you will be lumped into the trash barrel with Wilson, Marinovich, George, and Brooks.

Welcome to the House of Thrills, JaMarcus!


Blogger Jerious Norwood said...

I gotta say that this whole 'ordeal' has been nothing of the sort. Unless, you were worried that he wouldn't sign at all. And that just wasn't gonna happen. He's a rookie QB... he should sit the whole first year anyway. Where's this 'ordeal'? I don't get it.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

That is one way of looking at it Jerious.

I'm not opposed to Russell sitting out the 1st year like Carson Palmer did. The difference is that Palmer didn't miss a single practice, film session, or preseason game before sitting out the year. Palmer was immersed in the Bengal playbook from day 1.

My view is that if Russell signed a few months earlier he would have had an excellent chance to start 7+ games this year.

Because of the long holdout, Russell missed out on the most important time for a rookie QB which is training camp practices, meetings, film sessions & preseason games. This is a key time for a rookie QBs development. He missed out on taking 1000's of reps, learning the playbook, and his overall career development was severely hampered.

I wouldn't call it an "ordeal" but I would call it a MAJOR setback. Just read Kiffin's quote that I posted. I'm not suggesting that Russell won't eventually get up to speed. What I am suggesting is that he made the learning curve steeper and the challenges that much more difficult.

I am hopeful that he will work his tail off and be ready to take the reins in 2008. Whatever playing time he gets in 2007 is a bonus.

8:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home