JaMarcus Russell : Too Much Too Soon?

One Oakland Raider said ,"That's a horror show." Another starter said "don't hold your breath." These were a few quotes bandied about in the Raiders offices when quarterback JaMarcus Russell failed to show up for the first day of voluntary work-outs.

He showed up the second day 11 pounds over his listed playing weight of 260, but was reportedly still in good shape. It is almost hard to believe the 24 year old Russell is already entering his fourth year of a career. Critics are trying to label him a bust after being the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.

While his rookie year was mostly riding the bench, starting once in four appearances, he was handed the starting job his sophomore year and the strong armed youngster threw 13 touchdowns against eight interceptions.Though it was a positive year for a 23 year old kid, fans wanted more. Unfortunately this was not the case his third year, as he tossed 13 interceptions against 3 touchdowns in a year he lost his starting job to journeyman Bruce Gradkowski.

Now there is a growing sentiment in Raiders Nation that Russell is a failure and Gradkowski should stay atop the depth chart. Yet there is other fears that Russell was perhaps thrown into the fray before he was mentally ready, retarding his growth as a NFL quarterback.

There was a time in the NFL it almost seemed mandatory a quarterback sat a few years before playing. Raiders fans know this from maybe the franchises greatest quarterback, Ken "Snake" Stabler, who rode the pine four years before getting his shot. Stabler responded with the first of his four Pro Bowl years in that 1973 season, and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl win by 1976.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is full of quarterbacks who had to ride the bench for several years, learning the game before given their chance to display their progress. Len Dawson floated from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Cleveland Browns to the Dallas Texans/ Kansas ...

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