Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is JR Busting out, or just Busting

I should be the last person to criticize someone for being a little out of shape, I’m not obese, but I sure could stand some time in the gym. But what I should do, and what I will do are two different things. So why not blast JaMarcus Russell for being a fat ass.

Yeah, that was the aptly nicknamed JaDummy telling reporters after the 1st day of practice “I am a little heavy, but I am not 300 pounds like you all said the last time.” Well congratulations JaMarcus, you aren’t pushing for the starting LT spot this season; that is quite an accomplishment.

I know what the Russell apologists will say, this is only the 1st day of camp, there is plenty of time to get into shape. Problem is, this was the same thing they said when those party pictures showed up a couple months back, same thing they said last season, same thing they said when he was drafted.

It is becoming increasingly clear that JR just doesn’t get it. His coach, Tom Cable, publicly called him out a couple times during the off-season, and he missed the 1st week and a half of OTA’s. Now I know his mother had surgery, but how many of you would miss a week and a half of work due to a preplanned surgery for a relative.

He made the gesture of inviting his WR’s to come down to Louisiana to work with him for a week, a move that was generally praised throughout the Raider Nation as a sign that he was turning the corner. But whatever credit he would have gained with this writer was more than negated by the reports that after doing so, Russell cut out of OTA’s a day early.

Not that that should have come as a surprise to those who follow the Raiders closely. Thomas Howard was interviewed in the middle of OTA’s by Sirius NFL radio and refused to comment on how often JaMarcus was attending. Not something you do if your team leader is there every day.

Sure there have been some positive quotes as well, as Michael Bush has stated that JR has much better control of the huddle, and Lewis Murphy has compared Russell’s on field demeanor in practice to Tim Tebow. But unfortunately the news coming out of Russell’s passing camp send a different message.

At this time, it appears that only 4 WR’s attended Russell’s camp, of them, only Murphy appears to have a chance to make the team. Now Walker and DHB had health issues, but of the remaining players projected to make the roster (Higgens, Schilens, Miller etc…) no one seemed to be able to make the time to work with their anointed leader. Hell, Schilens was able to make the time to go play catch with Jeff Garcia, but not Russell.

Now this could say something about the dedication of those players, and how serious they are about winning as Raiders, but I think it says more about how Russell is seen by his teammates. To me it says that Russell has lost the respect of a good portion of this team, if he ever had it to begin with.

Look around the league, the premier quarterbacks all seem to get in extra work with their receivers, be it McNabb bringing everyone down to Arizona, or the Mannings spending extra time in their respective cities. What is the difference between these guys and JR? When they say lets get together, their teammates jump. When JaMarcus says it, they are free to ask, why weren’t the OTA’s a good time to get this work done?

That to me is the worst news to come out of this off-season for the Raiders, if JaMarcus has lost the attention of this team, it will take a hell of a lot of effort and dedication for him to get it back. Problem is, JaMarcus has always seemed content to get by on his incredible physical ability going back to college. Dedication and effort seem to be a foreign concept to him.

A man once said “Fat, Drunk and Stupid is no way to go through life”, and while I may try to prove this wrong, it is not the moto that I want to see the starting quarterback of the team I live and die with in the Fall try to prove wrong.

Other Stuff

OH NO, DHB dropped the 1st ball thrown to him in camp, THE SKY IS FALLING.

Damn, some people are so eager to label this guy a bust, lets let this guy get his feet wet before we crucify him. Take a look back at some of the great receivers (Rice and Brown would be a good start) few light up the league from day 1. I’m not saying that DHB is hall of fame bound, but it is a little early for the Troy Williamson comparisons.

Cutting a 6th round pick

Sure cutting Stryker Sulak before camp even opened was a little strange. And wasting any pick pisses me off a bit. But I have a feeling that more draft picks than normal will not make their team’s final 53, the Raiders just started the process earlier than most.

The thing is, most teams have plenty of Cap room this offseason. Where in past years a vet would get the ax before a rookie for financial reasons, team will be able to have more experienced players make up the back end of their roster now. It should make for better special teams play across the league, which is a good thing for football fans.

Goodbye Andrew Walter

I’ve always felt a little bad about the way Walter’s career with the Raiders has gone down. From being thrown out to the wolves under Shell, to being relegated to back-up behind Culpepper and McCown, even if he looked better to me on the field. It seems like he just never got a fair shake.

Well, with DHB signing, the Raiders made the long awaited roster move of cutting Walter. Why this couldn’t have been done months ago, when he could have gotten a full off-season in with his new team, is beyond me, and a black mark on the Raiders. I hope he catches on somewhere else and does well, at least when he isn’t facing the Raiders.

My guess is that he hooks back up with his old College coach, Dirk Cutter, in Jacksonville, and puts some real pressure on David Garrard.

HOF here I come

I’m sure it will be a couple years until I am inducted into the media wing for my outstanding writing, but I will be making my 1st visit to the Hall of Fame this weekend. That’s what the lovely Mrs. Brick gets for leaving the planning of our weekend up to me.

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