Is JaMarcus Russell a bust? Vol. II.

JaMarcus RussellBack in October I questioned whether or not former first overall pick JaMarcus Russell was a bust after the Saints’ routed his Raiders 34-3 in Week 6. And after the San Diego Chargers blasted Oakland 34-7 on Thursday night, I’m proposing the question again.

Russell completed 9 of 13 passes, but he two of his three incompletions were interceptions and he threw for just 68 yards. On top of his poor numbers, he was also carted off the field at halftime with an ankle injury. Andrew Walter replaced him in the second half and was equally atrocious, throwing for 61 yards and a pick himself.

In 12 games (he missed one due to injury), Russell has compiled a 70.1 passing rating, 1,797 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. His completion percentage is a paltry 51.4% and he’s thrown for over 250 yards once this season (Week 4). But perhaps a more telling stat is that he’s been sacked 27 times this year, or 2.25 times a game.

No quarterback, not Brett Favre, Joe Montana or Tom Brady, can do it by himself. I’m not excusing Russell’s play because he has looked absolutely brutal at this season, but how can the Raiders expect this kid to win if they don’t protect him? Furthermore, he doesn’t play in an environment conducive to winning and neither Tom Cable nor Greg Knapp are very good play callers/offensive coordinators. Knapp’s offenses will put you to sleep with their predictability.

Russell needs to show dramatic improvements, but the Raiders front office also has to help him out. Instead of going out and getting a flashy, high-priced free agent wide receiver or drafting another running back, they need to start building an offensive line. Russell will never survive without the big bodies up front to protect him, I don’t care how strong his arm is how or how big he is.

But that’s not Al Davis’s style is it? He wants flash over substance. And that’s why this team is forever doomed with him at the helm. It’s likely Russell will never get a fair shot before being labeled a bust and ushered out of Oakland.

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