Russell makes early impression on Raiders Print
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Friday, 04 May 2007 13:08
NFL Headline News

 ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -JaMarcus Russell dropped back and fired a pass though tight coverage that hit fellow rookie Johnathan Holland between the 1 and the 8 on his jersey.
The top pick with the rocket arm made an immediate impression on the Oakland Raiders in his first practice Friday.
``I think that kid, 18, is in there getting a rubdown,'' defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. ``Caught that square-in, I bet he's got some markings on his chest. If nothing else, we're going to learn to catch with our hands or somebody's going to the hospital for some trauma. That kid's got a live arm so let's have some fun with it.''
rget on some shorter throws.
Even though he didn't get a chance to heave the ball 80 yards like he supposedly is able, Russell's strong arm was the talk of the day among his new teammates.
``It looks like someone hired a JUGS machine and put a jersey on it,'' Porter said. ``Man, he can throw the ball. I see why he's the first overall.''
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding Russell's arrival, the Raiders are planning to bring him along gradually and they had him working behind Andrew Walter and Josh McCown in most drills. After almost every throw, one of his coaches or McCown pulled Russell aside to give him a quick piece of advice.
``That speaks to his character. He's a kid who wants to learn,'' McCown said. ``When you get special players like that who have the talent and the will to learn, that's when you get greatness. The sky's the limit for him if he maintains this attitude and continues to learn and be open to grow. I think you'll see him develop rather quickly.''
McCown is the most experienced quarterback on the Raiders' roster, having made 22 career starts before being acquired in a draft-day trade from Detroit last weekend. Walter struggled in his first season, going 2-6 as a starter and committing 22 turnovers while throwing just three touchdown passes.
But the two know they are just keeping the starting seat warm until Russell is ready to take over.
``He's special. He's gifted, no question about it,'' McCown said. ``Now it's just about honing his skills. ... We need to help him hone those skills and help him develop into a big-time quarterback because the skills are all there. The arm is unbelievable. He's a terrific kid and he's fun to be around. I look forward to working with him.''
Russell went 25-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, capping his career by throwing for 332 yards and two TDs in a 41-14 Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame. He finished his career with the Tigers by throwing the second most touchdown passes (52) and having the second highest completion percentage (61.9 percent) in school history.
That success combined with a 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame and a rocket arm made Russell the Raiders' choice with the No. 1 pick last week. The Raiders are building their future around the 21-year-old quarterback, hoping he will help transform an offense that scored just 12 touchdowns last season on the way to a 2-14 record.
But his teammates are tempering expectations.
``I think we'll have to have realistic goals for the guy. Everyone else is going to put a lot of pressure on him,'' receiver Ronald Curry said. ``It's just the first day. The playbook is small for everybody. It's tailored down. I don't think you can get a true indication of what he can do right now.''
 

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