During a stop in Oakland, a young ventriloquist performs in front of a small crowd at a local club when he notices a VIP in the audience. "WOW, we've got a special guest this evening. Everyone, please welcome JaMarcus Russell from the Oakland Raiders!" The room breaks out in applause and the ventriloquist goes back to his skit, but this time he modifies his routine to include Russell.
With the dummy on the man's knee, he asks "What do you get when you put the girlfriends of JaMarcus Russell in one room?" The man shrugs and the dummy says "A full set of teeth!" The club laughs and Russell puts his fork down and stops eating his dinner.
The dummy then asks the ventriloquist "Why is JaMarcus Russell like a possum?" Once again the man shrugs and the dummy says "Because he plays dead at home and gets killed on the road". The club breaks out in boisterous laughter once again, but this time JaMarcus stands up angrily.
"That's enough! I didn't pay good money to listen to you rip on me. You have no idea how hard it is to be an NFL quarterback. None of you understand what it's like to be me, so please save your jokes for someone else!"
Knowing that he went too far, the ventriloquist starts to apologize, when Russell yells "Stay out of this man. This is between me and that little guy!"
Obviously the story above is made up, but can't you just picture it happening? If you are a fantasy owner who had the misfortune of having to use him last year, you're probably laughing out loud right now.
I couldn't stop laughing after reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding Russell's apparent weight gain during today's practice. Russell's stated playing weight is 270 pounds and the reporter quotes Russell as saying "right now ... a little heavy but I am not 300 pounds like ya'll said the last time." Seriously? Did he plan on slimming down and getting back in shape during training camp? Does he think this is JV football? When you're given his salary and have a guy like Jeff Garcia itching to play, don't you think you'd take your physical condition seriously enough to show up prepared and ready to go?
JaMarcus Russell should not be drafted in any league, regardless of how deep it is or how many points a passing TD is worth.
I know that I've warned fantasy owners about him before so I took a look at some of my blog postings and I was surprised how often I've mentioned him.
Here's one from December 20, 2008: "I can't let my last analysis of the season go without mentioning JaMarcus Russell who edges out Ken Dorsey for the #32 ranking. Russell shouldn't even be in this category. Here's a New Year's resolution for the execs in Oakland: convince Bo Jackson to come out of retirement and play QB for the Raiders. Bo Knows Football (am I dating myself?) and he'll do a better job than Russell in bringing some shine back to that organization."
From December 7th, 2008: "Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was scheduled to do in interview with the NFL Network before the team's game on Thursday, but blew it off, much to the dismay of head coach Tom Cable, according to the San Francisco Chronicle."I think it's a big deal and it does concern me," Cable said.
A former No. 1 overall pick, Russell has performed like anything but. He has no fantasy value now, and it's difficult to see where he will anytime soon."
Here's a recent one from May 21st, 2009: "Garcia's in Oakland. I hope this puts an exclamation mark on JaMarcus Russell's career, because he's been a solid question mark. He was perhaps the best drop I made last year. A complete waste of a late, late, late draft pick. I would have rather had Mickey Mouse on my team, because at least Mickey wouldn't have given me negative points. Good luck to Garcia. This could be the last go'round."
Here's my favorite from November 4th, 2008: "JaMarcus Russell: You are on my immediate drop list. I went against the Nerd on this one and paid for it. Contrary to the experts, I was sure that you would put up respectable numbers against Atlanta's poor secondary. WOW, was I wrong!! 6 for 19 for a total of 31 yards (let me repeat that: 31 YARDS) with 1 interception and 2 fumbles (1 lost). The Raiders didn't even get a first down until the 3rd quarter. You are neither a leader nor a starting QB. Do you know that you have 8 fumbles on the year with 5 lost? Good riddance."
So what's with the rant against JaMarcus Russell you ask? Well...it's pretty rare that I get disappointed in the Nerd rankings, but the Nerd sees Russell as the 28th-ranked QB and the 191st overall best player. Maybe it's because guys like Sage Rosenfels, Kerry Collins, Daunte Culpepper, Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, and Derek Anderson deserve to be ranked higher (even if they don't play). Maybe it's because he's so inarticulate when speaking (see video below). Maybe it's the fact that he had so much hype and failed so miserably. Maybe it's because he started and played in 15 games last year and gave the Raiders 8 INT's, 31 sacks (for a loss of 210 yards), and fumbled the ball 12 times (losing it 7 times). He started one game in 2007 but played in 4. Guess how many fumbles he had that year. Four. Maybe it's because he's so consistently bad.
Maybe, just maybe, it's because he seems to take for granted the incredible opportunity he has to play for one of the storied franchises in football and has wasted his time there. He appeared to be taking a leadership role with his receivers camp last month, but how does that explain his appearance today? He was overweight and out of shape last year and his numbers showed it. He's overweight and out of shape this year. What's the definition of stupid? It's doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result.
JaMarcus Russell - you're in a league of your own.
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