Tom Cable did come out and call JaMarcus Russell lazy.
But he's making it clear he expects more from his third-year quarterback.
Cable said as much in his comments at the NFL Owners Meetings in Dana Point on Tuesday.
He told reporters this about Russell:
"If he can accept the responsibility of being an NFL quarterback, I think that's working more, working harder, working longer than everybody else, accepting the responsibility that his teammates look to him as the face of the organization, that he has to go above and beyond almost on a daily basis, I think that comes with that position, whether that's right or wrong, that's what it is, if he can accept that and become that, he'll be fine. He'll be great, I think. Has he done that? I think during the last six weeks he started to, during the season. I think thus far in the offseason he's been around more than ever. He was never around like this on his own, just watching tape, studying, so that's a step in the right direction. I think he has to embrace that, though, for him to be what he should be."
When Cable talks about "responsibility" that's not limited to his teammates. Russell doesn't like media interviews. They're mandated by the NFL because he's the starting quarterback.
But Russell is more comfortable in a one-on-one interview or not talking at all. The several cameras in his face deal doesn't work well for him.
But it's part of the job. So rather than avoid the media, Russell has to learn to accept the repsonsiblity.
That includes the television production meetings he also doesn't like. He was criticized for missing an NFL Network meeting last December and it wasn't the first time the team had trouble getting him to a television meeting.
Following the NFL Network incident, Russell was much more accessible and quite a good interview toward the end of the season.
Cable also mentioned Russell needed to do more extra work toward the end of last season, so it's obviously an area he's concerned with.
Russell is irked by talk he's not working hard enough, but who can show him there way?
There's no veteran quarterback on the roster Russell could lean on. The closest is Andrew Walter, who wants off the team. Much of that burden will fall on quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett.
Russell knows he will only silence critics by winning games. And the work toward those wins starts in the classroom.
Expect Cable to keep reminding Russell of that.