JaMarcus’ Back Foot—One Big, Baby Step

UPDATED:  I started writing this after the win in Denver.  After the Baltimore game, I made a few updates and figured I'd still put it up.  But now the news of JaMarcus going to Vegas after skipping the last team meeting has put a damper on the little bit of optimism I had left for the guy.  I try to put something positive about him out there, something different, and look what happens.  The Raiders have excused him and claim there is a team representative with him.   So I'll still put this up and hope there's a good reason for him to be there.

It's finally over.  The Raiders' seventh straight double-digit-loss season has ended, and it's time to get the off-season review underway.  The coaching staff has a lot of ground to cover, and of course there are rumors that this current staff will not perform that review.

One major area to evaluate is if JaMarcus Russell made any progress during his benching.  Amongst his myriad of flaws, it's hard to find something good about his performances, but I actually saw something he improved on – his footwork.  It's one of his most readily discernible flaws.  If only his mental and work-ethic issues were as obvious on film.  Though holding the ball as long as he does gives us a hint of how unfamiliar with the offense he still is.  His lack of huddle command can also be seen.  Hey, it's hard to relay a play to your teammates with authority when you're not completely sure what to do on it yourself. 

Yes, he's been atrocious.   Russell's passes missed wide-open receivers all year long when he would jump as he threw, was up on his toes, or completely on his back foot slinging the ball, depending too much on his strong arm.  But there have been streaks of improvement post benching.  For one series in Denver, and for the most part in the finale against Baltimore, he put his back foot in the ground, shifted his weight forward, and the football started hitting receivers...

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