Russell ready for rough welcome at home

The last time JaMarcus Russell stepped foot on at the field at the Oakland Coliseum, he was met by a resounding chorus of boos from the hometown fans. Russell doesn't expect things to get any better, either, until the Raiders start winning.

The Raider Nation let JaMarcus Russell have it big-time the last time Oakland played at home. That was three weeks ago and Russell is pretty sure things haven't changed much considering what's happened on the field since then.

Talking to reporters at the team's facilities in Alameda on Thursday, Russell said he was caught off guard by the booing but acknowledged the fans' frustrations over the team's 1-4 start.

"You wish they could be more supportive; we're already down in the dumps and that doesn't make it any better," Russell said. "The best thing for that is just have them come together with us. Who knows? I really don't. It was crazy for me. I had never really been in that situation before you just have to pull out of it.

"A lot of people are fed up over the course of a year but the only thing we can do this week is make some plays and hopefully it will go the other way."

Russell is ranked last in quarterback rating and completion percentage, and has thrown just one touchdown in five games. He fumbled three times in last week's loss to the Giants and was sacked six times.

Not all of the problems have been Russell's but as the team's quarterback, he's the obvious lightning rod for the criticism.

"If they're true football fans, they need to look back at Troy Aikman," defensive end Greg Ellis. "Troy wasn't always the greatest quarterback that ever played football. When he started out, (his) first year they were 1-15, didn't win but one game. Eli Manning, another quarterback who's kind of in the era right now, Eli started out, and they were talking about, ‘Man, did we do the right thing by drafting this guy?' And there are other quarterbacks, I'm pretty sure, that fall in that same category.

"JaMarcus came here with a unique situation. He came here, he wasn't allowed the opportunity to sit down and watch and learn from somebody. That's the way the business works in the NFL right now. So, now what JaMarcus has to do – and JaMarcus is doing it – is to get in there and find out, what does it take to be an NFL quarterback? People may say, ‘Well, can he do that in one night and figure it out?' The answer to that is, obviously, no. You can ask Eli Manning. You can ask any quarterback that's pretty good in this league. Ask them about it. But, he has to continue to be diligent on working on figuring all that stuff out, the coverages out and all that stuff. And if he wants that bad enough, then he'll be a great quarterback in this league."

Russell will get a great litmus test this week against the Eagles, who have one of the most blitz-dominated defenses in the NFL.

According to Stats LLC., Philadelphia has blitzed on 71 of 150 passing plays, including 23 of 43 plays on third down. By comparison, the Raiders have blitzed on just 20 of 153 pass plays _ eight of 41 on third-down plays.

With an injury-riddled offensive line trying to protect him, Russell needs to have his head on a swivel if he wants to survive this week.

"Sometimes blitzing like that can really hurt you if an offense picks it up or even breaks one tackle (because) you have no one back there," Russell said. "Hopefully we can get some big plays like that this week."


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