Sunday, August 9, 2009
JaMarcus Russell, you poor bastard
Ugh. This time of year has become pretty damn predictable. It's like that sense of uneasiness you feel when you first wake up the night after drinking a ton of cheap whiskey. You carefully get yourself out of bed and begin trying to gently step your way to the bathroom knowing full well that the slightest misstep will result in a colon full of runny shit exploding out of your asshole. Like a ninja you navigate your way down the hallway, making sure that each step is true. And then, just as the bathroom door comes into sight your heart fills with joy as you see a beacon of hope. A split second later you slip on some Legos your kid left on the floor, fall to the ground and shit your pants. This is what the Raiders preseason has become for me.
Everything about this season hinges on JaMarcus Russell and his scud missile of a right arm. Last year he did an OK job of being a caretaker QB. He gets run down a lot for his accuracy and rightfully so. He overthrows wide open receivers regularly and also has a nice habit of throwing two hoppers on short routes. Completing passes is kind of, you know, IMPORTANT when you're playing QB in the NFL and that is a huge area of concern. Believe it or not, JaMarcus wasn't entirely bad last season. His numbers weren't really as bad as the team's record indicates. When your defense is a sieve and you have literally zero reliable receivers on the roster, well, you simply won't win a whole lot. His stats were actually comparable to those of Kerry Collins, who backed his way into a Pro Bowl appearance after leading the Titans to the playoffs. Granted, Kerry got sacked 23 times fewer than JaMarcus, but that wasn't entirely his doing either. He had a certain turnstile known as Kwame Harris watching his blind side and, well, you see where I'm headed here. The team is expecting big things from Mario Henderson, and that should tell you all you need to know about how this season is going to go. Henderson made some real strides in his second season, but he's not exactly someone you'd trust to keep your franchise QB from getting merked. Not yet, at least. It also didn't help that he was throwing balls to the withered corpse of Javon Walker(when healthy), Ashley Lelie, Ronald Curry(when not benched) and so on. I probably shouldn't be so hard on Lelie since of the three wideouts I mentioned he was by far the least offensive. Walker STILL isn't healthy and Curry is now a Ram. That leaves the explosive Johnnie Lee Higgins, emerging Chaz Schillens and "epic bust in the making" Darrius Heyward-Bey. Zack Miller is a good security blanket for him, and Darren McFadden gives him a versatile weapon out of the backfield if he can actually stay on the field. So basically I should have the slightest bit of hope for some improvement next year, but instead I have the feeling that "Russell to Heyward-Bey" will become a new age version of "Akili Smith to Renaldo Nehemiah", only somehow worse. Fuck my life.