Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

July 23, 2008
The young vet

Many pundits will classify JaMarcus Russell as a rookie because he missed all of training camp last year and played for extended stretches only twice in four games last season.

While Russell is far from seasoned, calling him a rookie diminishes what he's done since joining the Raiders, particularly in the offseason.

Russell is the leader of the offense. Teammates have grown to respect him and the qualities that made him the No. 1 choice in the 2007 NFL Draft are beginning to show.

Unlike a rookie, Russell has the benefit of a full offseason working with his teammates and the coaching staff. The playbook isn't new. He's not adjusting to living in a new place. And though he played in only four games, those games were more valuable than playing in a preseason game with rookies surrounding him.

So even in his first training camp, Russell should be fairly comfortable, even if he doesn't know his way around the Napa Valley Marriott.

Russell will need to test his growth against live action. That means around the third preseason game (when the regulars tend to play the most) we'll have an idea of how much he's learned.

There will be the bumps that come with being a young quarterback. But I don't expect to see Russell look like he did in Jacksonville last year when he threw interceptions and looked befuddled at times.

After all, he looked like a rookie that day.

Quarterback preview

Russell: Must continue to how maturity in his decisions on the field.

Marques Tuiasosopo: Back with the Raiders after a year in New York. Could supplant Andrew Walter as the No. 2 quarterback if he shows some of the traits that made Lane Kiffin fall for Josh McCown. Tui has the mobility, and might be a better athlete than McCown. And Tui's passes looked good in OTAs. It will also help that he's back in an offense that fits his skills.

Walter: The guy everyone has to feel for. He was a piñata in 2006 and buried on the bench last year except for being thrown on the field in a blowout in Green Bay because Kiffin didn't want to expose Russell to the cold. He would have loved to have been traded last year.

Sam Keller: A "camp arm" that could find his way onto the practice squad. He knows about the West Coast offense after playing at Nebraska under Bill Callahan.

Jeff Otis: Back for a second year as a camp arm.

Wesley on board

The Raiders confirmed the signing of safety Greg Wesley. Receiver Will Buchanon was waived to make room for Wesley on the roster.

No word on what's going on with LaMont Jordan. As of now, he'll be reporting with the rest of the team today.

Players are scheduled to begin arriving about 2 p.m.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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