DANA POINT, Calif. — It’s pretty clear that Raiders coach Tom Cable thinks that his quarterback, JaMarcus Russell, still has plenty of work to do to live up to his status as a No. 1 overall draft pick.
And most of that work, Cable believes, must be done above the shoulder pads. It must be done to Russell’s general outlook on the natural leadership role that goes with his position.
“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 … he’ll be fine,” Cable said during the AFC coaches-media breakfast at the league meetings. “He’ll be great, I think.”
Cable said he saw evidence of that during the final six weeks of last season, and likes what he has seen from Russell so far during the offseason.
“I think thus far in the offseason he’s been around more than ever,” he said. “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.”
Cable touched on other topics, such as:
- Changing the mentality of a team that has lost the most games in the NFL since 2003: “If you just walk in and make the assumption that it’s, ‘Hey, listen up, fellas, I’m the next head coach in line and let’s do this and let’s do that,’ forget it. No. First, let’s understand why the hell that happened, so we won’t go there again. I think that in order to change this, we better get real about why it’s going on and stop putting band-aids on it and let’s cut to the core and see what the real issue is. And then from there you know where you can go.”
- The additions of tackle Khalif Barnes and center Samson Satele to the offensive line: “I think that’s an area where we have certainly improved.” (Although Cable still views it as a primary area of need in the draft)
- His relationship with owner Al Davis: “Awesome, just awesome. I know all the stories, I’ve heard them. But I’ve been in there two years now, as an assistant and the interim head coach and head coach. The guy is amazing … People say, ‘Here’s this guy who dresses the same all the time and he is arrogant and this and that.’ That’s the perception, but that’s not who he really is. He’s a guy who loves his football team, is passionate about it. He’s a guy who has an unbelievable amount of knowledge. He’s a guy who, if you allow (him to do so) can teach you more than you ever thought possible.”