But, now that JaMarcus is on the streets — just like any other free agent — should we expect him to find a new job anytime soon?
I have no issues labeling Russell as a colossal bust in the NFL. A No. 1 overall pick out of LSU — who gained draft hype from a private workout and a big night against an average Notre Dame secondary in the Sugar Bowl — who did nothing to live up to the price tag that came with each one of his game checks.
But, there are plenty of offensive coaches in this league who tend to be ego-driven and have no issue with taking a player off of the street, because they believe that their system, their coaching and their knowledge of the game can turn a player’s career around. We see it happen every offseason after a big-money guy is cut after he didn’t live up to expectations. Second chances are a part of the NFL when it comes to first round picks.
However, the issue with Russell isn’t the poor numbers, the lack of wins or his raw talent that never developed in Oakland. Instead, it has been and always will be his effort and his lack of dedication as a pro quarterback.
That is the major issue and that should keep him on the streets for a while.
How can you justify signing this guy? Any team that brings him in for a workout this summer before camp would have every right to be enamored by his ability to throw the football in shorts. The velocity he can put on the ball and the overall big arm are what every club in this league wants. A player who looks the part, passes the "workout test."
But, he isn’t a leader and doesn’t fit the mold of what you want in your huddle. That is what wins.
Talent? Sure, it always gets your foot in the door when it comes to the NFL because that is the first step. However, the ability to act mature, study tape, know the playbook and be the one guy on the entire roster who does everything the right way is what allows QBs to be successful and stay in this league.
I saw it myself with guys like Mark Brunell in Washington. Quarterbacks who don’t have the talent of a JaMarcus Russell but are always prepared and can put the ball in the end zone, win in crucial situations and act like a pro. And, quarterbacks that the locker room will compete for at all costs.
That is why I wouldn’t even bother with JaMarcus. He just isn’t worth the time anymore—despite the big talent.
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