Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's Draft Season Everybody!

This time, Chris Low goes down on Jamarcus Russell.

The enormity of it all has yet to sink in, and those who've known him since he was old enough to grip a football aren't a bit surprised.

But, hey, that's vintage JaMarcus Russell.

I, for one, think it's great that Chris Low has such a special, special relationship with JaMarcus Russell. I am sure that Mr. Low will abuse his special relationship to find a fitting definition to the term "vintage JaMarcus Russell" which he will share with us in this piece. I am not completely wasting my time by reading this because this is not going to be just another JaMarcus Russell puff piece.


Down two touchdowns or up two touchdowns, he's the same quarterback. Sitting in the pocket with all kinds of time or throwing with guys hanging all over him, he is convinced that his next play will be his best play. Soaking up a record-setting day or suffering through a forgettable day, he still wants the ball at the end.

Basically he does...what every other draft eligible QB does. Good, because for a second there...

"I've always believed that you measure a quarterback on his bad days, not his good days," said Jimbo Fisher

You're going to get some real shitty numbers if you do that, Jimbo.

"When you're not having your best day, how do you respond? Can you stay into it and manage the game? JaMarcus knew he was a great player with great ability -- and he also knew, if something went wrong or if he messed something up, that he would usually get another chance.

"If he got that ball at the end of the game, he was going to beat your tail -- and he knew it."

Most QBs strive to lock that game up before that last drive so that they can take a knee. But not JaMarcus Russell. He's got a method already.

Similarly, Russell doesn't flinch at the thought of being the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft. The Oakland Raiders are eyeing him closely with that first selection. Russell has been in Arizona training with some of the best receivers in the draft, including former teammate Dwyane Bowe, Tennessee's Robert Meachem and Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett.

I have a sinking feeling that the Raiders no longer eye anyone closely. Because if they did, they probably wouldn't be looking at JaMarcus Russell. But I didn't know he was working out in Arizona with a bunch of other draft prospects! This changes everything!

His take on the whole process?

"I'm just going to chill," said Russell, whose cool demeanor has been mistaken for nonchalance more than a few times during his career.

This is the single greatest piece of information I have ever read.

Never a big talker, Russell really doesn't need to. His teammates say there is a quiet confidence about him that is infectious.

"You just learn to trust that he's going to make big plays," said Bowe, who jokes that his hands are still swollen from catching 95 mph fastballs from the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Russell. "He never talked a whole lot about it. He just went out there and did it. That's why so many respected him. When he's out there, there's no doubt in your mind that we were going to win the game."

You play for LSU. You are going to win the game most of the time because you are almost always the best team on the field. JaMarcus Russell was a part of this equation, but not the entire reason for your success.

Also, way to sneak in a comment about how great his arm is, Chris Low. You'd thought you'd slide that one by us. You dog.

Russell, 25-4 as a starter at LSU, engineered eight comeback victories in the fourth quarter during his career. He capped a scintillating close to the 2006 season by outplaying Brady Quinn and passing for a career-high 332 yards in a 41-14 drubbing of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

1) That was one game. I don't care if it was the Sugar Bowl. One game out of 29 starts (remember this figure, I promise to explain it's significance).

2) Notre Dame's defense blew in 2006. LSU's defense was dominant. JaMarcus Russell should have had the better game. It was to be expected. If Quinn had had the better game, there would have been an upset and JaMarcus Russell would be a 4th round pick right now.

3) The Sugar Bowl was nothing if not a home game for LSU

4) 41-14 is how the game ended, but does not tell the whole story. It was a one TD game at half, tied late in the first half.

The Sugar Bowl is not a great argument as to why JaMarcus Russell should be the first pick in April's draft.

Suddenly, Russell was the most coveted quarterback out there, and the questions about his decision-making and his tendency to rely on his big right arm had been reduced to a murmur.

"What a great QB that Russell is. Look at how he manipulates Terrail Lambert to fall down and Chiedum Ndukwe to completely forget his assignment." Look, he makes one read and throws a touchdown. What decision making! A lot of guys would have passed up that easy touchdown, but not this guy!"

"It's always been my dream to go high in the draft. But to be the first pick in the draft, that's crazy. I still won't believe it until it happens."

You and me both, JaMarcus. You and me both.

1 comment:

Robocats said...

If anyone is curious, Jamarcus was not in the top 1000 names for 1985. However, by the time Jamarcus Russell was three, it had risen to 910th, showing the same upside and determination of the quarterback to which it refers.