JaMarcus Russell’s Lion Heart

When it comes to the Raiders QB competition you keep hearing that Bruce Gradkowski has the heart to be the starting QB. You also hear that JaMarcus Russell lacks heart, and the work ethic, and the ability to read defenses.

Sometimes I wonder what the definition of having heart really means, and why people like to say that Russell lacks heart. From what I have seen the last three years, Russell has shown that he has more heart than he is given credit for.

Before Russell became the full time starter in 2008, the Raiders had a five-year streak of losing 11 games or more. They had no direction on the offensive side of the ball, and Russell was coming into an empty offense with no O-line.

Darren McFadden was drafted to help Russell in 2008. Russell was also given a big-play receiver in Javon Walker, and a solid tackle in Kwame Harris. In 2009 the Raiders drafted raw talent Darrius Heyward-Bey, and the need for an O-line was ignored once again.

The first two seasons of his career were slow, but Russell turned it on during the last half of his second season. He entered his third season with a heavy heart after losing two father figures during the offseason.

The season couldn't have gone any worse for Russell. As the season grew worse for the Raiders, the fans starting turning on Russell, as if he was the sole reason for the Raiders losing ways.

It almost appeared as if the frustration built up in the last seven years was all let out on Russell. He was booed and chastised every time he made a bad throw or took a sack. Fans cheered once Russell was benched.

So where is his heart? Let's look at it from this point of view for a second.

Gradkowski was unable to finish the season due to injuries, and Charlie Frye was never able to finish a game due to injury.

Every time Russell stepped in for the injured starter he was booed in his own stad...

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