Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell Showing Signs of Leadership
According to Steve Corkran of the Oakland Tribune, Russell is organizing a special minicamp for the Raiders' quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends at an undisclosed location sometime before training camp begins on July 30. The fact that Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, is taking this upon himself is seen as a sign that he is trying to show the kind of leadership expected of an NFL quarterback. This in turn is seen as good for the Raiders and good for Russell, who will enter training camp with veteran backup Jeff Garcia breathing down his substantial neck.
From Corkran's story:
"It's a big step," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "It's kind of what we've been talking about all along, and to hear about that is, obviously, a positive from a coach's standpoint. It will be good to hear how that goes and what his plan is."
There's never been any doubt about Russell's physical ability, but since before that 2007 draft there were questions about how, whether and when that ability would translate into NFL success. It's conceivable that Russell is just following a traditional quarterback development path, in which his third or fourth year is the one in which he gets it and takes a big step forward. It's possible that the addition of Garcia has shaken him up and made him realize he's not guaranteed the starter's job. It's possible Cable suggested this idea to him and he's just running with it so everything looks good.
Whatever it is, if you're a Raiders fan looking for that aforementioned sign that there's at least a slim chance that your team might not be a total embarrassment this season, you can go ahead and cling to this. The Raiders play in a division that will include a poor Kansas City team and a Denver team that might go into the tank once it gets done trading away all of its good offensive players. If something bizarre happened, like Russell suddenly emerging as a good NFL quarterback...jeez, the Raiders might be able to win a couple of games.
Who's he going to throw to? How good can their defense be? Hey, those are August questions. Right now, it's June. It's time for dreaming.