"Every industry has experts; those sages that dispense wisdom and truth from atop the mountain. In philosophy these learned men wear long, flowing robes and an equally lengthy beard is required. In fantasy football, a backwards ball cap, clipboard of notes, and half empty bottle of Coors Light is more likely. But are these guys truly experts? Do they know any better than the rest of us schmucks? Each week Analyzing the Experts will take aim at one or more of these so-called oracles and find out…"
Many people have been talking about the shortcomings of Donovan McNabb, but look at the bright side: he is not JaMarcus Russell. Lets take a look at the tragically shortened career of JaMarcus Russell, who made a living for three years with his ludicrous impersonation of an NFL quarterback. Seldom has a professional football player made me laugh as much as JaMarcus. It is a gift few athletes learn to embrace so fully. This weekend was a bit drearier, not having the Oakland QB’s antics to watch. Its easy to watch Peyton Manning light up a secondary or grab some wings while Chris Johnson rolled over another team’s front seven. But I’ve seen all that and something a little bit different both breaks the monotony and makes one appreciate the skill of the NFL’s superstars.
Which brings us back to JaMarcus. This was his third season of entertaining us and he did an amazing job. Who can’t laugh at his fourteen turnovers with only two touchdowns this year? There wasn’t another quarterback in the league that looked so hopelessly out of place and completely lost. And that was part of his charm. We all knew he was junk and the only reason he wasn’t serving Whoppers and fries in some small American town was the ingenuity of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. There aren’t many teams willing to drive their fan base even deeper into the depths of suicidal depression just for entertainment value, but how else can their league-worst starting receivers and curious head coaching decisions be explained?
Will there ever be another third-year QB who can only run a fraction of the playbook since he can only read a portion of the field? There have certainly been numerous first overall draft pick busts, especially at the quarterback position. However, the Russell debacle has to rank pretty high on the disaster scale. Oakland did not exactly set him up to succeed considering the lack of talent around him; but he did nothing to help his case either. My favorite JaMarcus memories have to be his postgame interviews earlier this year. After a 38-0 Week Seven spanking by the Jets in which he went 6-11 for 61 yards and turned the ball over three times, JaMarcus said, “I don’t think it’s me personally. I really don’t. Do you?” After another loss to San Diego the following week, in which the Oakland signal caller went 14-22 for 109 yards with one interception, five sacks, and no scores, JaMarcus set the record straight. “I did a pretty good job.” How can the genius of Tom Brady or Drew Brees compete with that?
Even though the JaMarcus era seems to have ended in Oakland, there is still hope. Al Davis loves him and a new coaching regime will likely be installed next season. Will the Russell comedy act be renewed? I certainly hope so. It has to be better television viewing that watching the Cowboys squeak by the Redskins in a 7-6 snooze-fest. Until then, I still have the Cleveland Browns to laugh at.
So all of the Donovan McNabb haters in Philly, count your blessings.