ALAMEDA - JaMarcus Russell is no dummy.
He's looking forward to studying under Daunte Culpepper, probably the only quarterback to come through the NFL who compares to him.
Watching Culpepper run the offense, Russell will see someone make plays similar to those he could make and have a better understanding of what he needs to do once he becomes the starting quarterback.
But as he worked out in Atlanta, some suggested he try to force his way to the local team that just lost its supremely talented quarterback.
With negotiations dragging on, one had to wonder if Russell ever thought he just didn't want to be a Raider.
"Nah, people said that about the Michael Vick incident," Russell said. " 'They need a quarterback, you need to go over there.' I was like, 'Nah, I'm going to the Raiders. It's just a matter of time before I get there.' I knew deep down in my heart where I got drafted to and where I wanted to play at and I just couldn't wait to get here."
And he couldn't be in a better situation, having a Pro Bowl quarterback to learn from who has had success on the field.
If he were in Atlanta, he could learn from Joey Harrington.
Russell isn't going to brag about his skills, but he doesn't lack confidence. He believes if he does what he needs to do, he could play this season.
And with Josh McCown nicked up and Andrew Walter likely on his way out in the next couple of weeks (provided he doesn't get a mystery injury and end up on injured reserve), it's not unreasonable to think Russell could play this season.
Ronald Curry had an interesting take on fans booing Josh McCown. He said McCown probably played better than anyone on offense so any criticism of his really was unfair.
Curry is one of the most honest Raiders and one of the smartest in terms of football (I would put Warren Sapp right there among Raiders I've dealt with a lot in terms of game intelligence).
With that, Curry's opinion carries a lot of weight with me. But not everyone gets to talk to him, so I still expect a lot of Culpepper chants when the Raiders play Cleveland at home Week 3.
Jeremy Newberry (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's game at Denver and did not practice. Cornerback Duane Starks (groin) also didn't practice.
By the way, I checked out the NFL's rules on suspended players. Dominic Rhodes is allowed at the facility because he's not suspended for performance-enhancing drugs.
I wondered earlier if he was allowed here and I guess he is. Rhodes just can't practice with the team.
- Jason Jones