The Future is Now
With JaMarcus Russell firmly rooted as the starting QB in 2008 and beyond, the Raiders have a very bright future in front of them. Watching Russell perform against the Titans gave me a sense that he could become one of the elite QBs in the NFL.
What really struck me was the combination of his athletic prowess, poise, and overall leadership abilities. His body language oozes with confidence and a positive vibe. It is hard to describe in words but the feeling I get when I watch him play is that he has that indefinable "it" quality about him.
The commentators before the game discussed and compared Vince Young with JaMarcus Russell. Both Young and Russell are indisputably both great athletes. The biggest difference between the 2 is in their abilities as passers. JaMarcus Russell is more polished and mechanically more sound than Young.
There will be a few big keys to whether or not the Raiders can establish a dynamic, potent passing attack. First and foremost is the pass protection provided by LT Kwame Harris and RT Cornell Green. Both performed admirably against 2 of the better pass rushers in the NFL in Jeavon Kearse and Kyle Vander Bosch. It will be critical for some of the new additions to the offense to get in sync with Russell and contribute to the passing attack. Both McFadden and Bush have big play potential in the passing game. WR Drew Carter needs to become a reliable 3rd receiver. At this point in time, big money free agent Javon Walker is a wild card as the #1 WR. The Raiders can count on Ronald Curry being a solid possession WR. It also looks like TE Zach Miller had developed into a trusted go to receiver for Russell.
With Russell watching and learning for most of the 2007 season and now getting a full training camp under his belt, it will be exciting to watch him blossom before our eyes. Having one of the best rushing attacks in the entire NFL, Russell will need to orchestrate a productive passing attack to balance out the offensive firepower. Is that asking too much of a 2nd year QB? Normally I would say "yes" but with Kiffin's handling of the play calling and the special traits that Russell possesses, I firmly believe the Raiders have a very bright future.