Friday, December 4, 2009

11 comments A Busted List of Busts

Chris Chase has gotten together a list of the 10 biggest busts in the decade of the 2000's in the NFL Draft. In reality, this list is pretty easy to compile since there are a bunch of names that just leap off the tongue who were busts, like David Carr, Joey Harrington, Gerard Warren, David Terrell, Travis Taylor, Courtney Brown, etc. So off the bat, I want to give Chase props for going away a little bit from those names that may seem so obvious and doing a little thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, many times when a person starts thinking outside of the box in making a list, it means they run a greater risk of being wrong about some of the names on the list. That is the problem Chris Chase runs into here.

Compiling a list of the top 10 busts of all-time in the NFL is based purely on opinion, but the problem starts when the list contains players that aren't busts or weren't even close to being as big of a bust as another player. It's nice to think outside the box, but when listing the Top 10 busts for a decade it doesn't make sense to leave guys off the list who were bigger busts than those put on the list. Chris Chase limits this list to players drafted in the 2000's so I won't compare his list to players who weren't drafted in that decade (obviously), but I will use players drafted before the 2000 NFL Draft as examples when necessary.

What makes a draft bust?

If a player is drafted highly in the first round and that player turns out to be nowhere worthy of being drafted anywhere near that position in the draft. Cade McNown would be a great example of this.

Is draft position alone the determining factor? How much does one have to fail? Could a bust have an otherwise fine career, aside from the massive expectations that accompanied him into the league? What role do injuries play in the whole thing? Does bad luck equal bust?

No, draft position is alone not the determining factor, but it plays a major part in the determination.

A player has to fail to the point he is out of the league in a few years because he has no obvious talent that would make him useful to an NFL team. Vinny Testeverde was not a bust and really neither was a guy like Damione Lewis because he has proven a useful, but not a great player.

A bust should not be judged by the expectations others have put on him because of his draft position. For example, Darrius Heyward-Bey is not considered a huge bust by me because he wasn't expected to be drafted that high by the Raiders. I even hesitate to call Mike Mamula a bust (though I would) because he was drafted too high but not based on football talent. A player like Joey Harrington would be considered a bust because he played well in college and his performance there set the expectations for what he could do in the pros.

Injuries play a role in whether a player is a bust, but I don't think a player can be excused for being a bust due to injury. This can be easily debated though and it depends on each individual situation.

Bad luck really shouldn't have much to do with being a bust, but it does. Would a better situation for a player like Ryan Leaf have made a huge difference? Probably not. How about for a player like Heath Shuler? Who really knows? We should look at bad luck when it comes time to determine whether a player is a bust or not, but I don't think it should stop a player from being considered a bust.

There are no right answers, hence the following list fraught with contradictions.

Yes, there are right answers. For example, a guy like Kerry Collins was not a bust. Simply because a player underachieved or didn't meet all the expectations he had set for him by the media or the fact his performance in the NFL isn't worthy of his draft position doesn't necessarily mean that player is a bust. I will get to this more later, but the right answer is to list a player who is actually a bust. Guys who perform well but didn't quite meet the expectation of their draft position should not be considered busts in my opinion.

There are no right answers, hence the following list fraught with contradictions. You'll find complete flops next to guys who could play a decade in the league.

If a guy played an entire decade in the NFL then he is not a bust. I don't know how I can make that clearer other than to just say it. If the player was in the NFL for a decade (at a decently high level) or more then that means he got 2-3 contracts which means he had some value to an NFL team and should not be considered a bust.

And some of the names you don't see might be as surprising as those you do see. For instance, David Carr or Alex Smith on this list, even though their names frequently pop-up on such rankings.

I would actually agree with the David Carr assertion that he is not a major bust because he had very little chance to excel with some of those Texans teams and I semi-agree with the Alex Smith assertion because he hasn't shown himself to be completely incompetent at playing quarterback in the NFL, though he has come close. Players who are busts are players who are out of the NFL for one reason or another within a couple of years of being drafted.

For example, Cade McNown is a bust because he only stuck with the Bears for two years and no team wanted him after that. If Alex Smith got cut today, don't you think a team would take a chance of him after that and give him a realistic chance to start? It's very possible. Ryan Leaf is still a bust even though he was given second chances, but he was only given another chance because he was a high draft pick and not because of his on-the-field performance...while Alex Smith would be given a second chance because he hasn't been absolutely horrible in the NFL.

Now that I have thoroughly confused everyone as to the criteria I use, let's move on...

Just because they went No. 1 doesn't mean that, outside of a two-month stretch in the spring of the year they were drafted, most people ever thought they'd be great.

It's a little dangerous to use other people's expectations to judge some of these NFL busts. Simply because the media and other people hyped them up, does not mean that player is a bust if he didn't meet those expectations. I think we should base a player being a bust on draft position, performance in college as compared to the NFL (if a guy didn't play well in college and got drafted high, would it surprise anyone he didn't play well in the NFL? Probably not), and how long it took before that player was out of the NFL due to being a useless player.

10. Mike Williams, WR, Detroit Lions, No. 10, 2005

I agree with this choice. Williams was a player who played well in college, stunk in the pros, was out of the league quickly and never was a valuable receiver in the NFL. I wanted to point this out as a good example of a bust...Mike Williams very rightly should be #10 on this list.

Let's just use as a general rule that if a player comes out of college as a highly drafted wide receiver and at some point teams are looking to transition him into a tight end and he DOESN'T have to gain weight for this position switch, that player could be really close to being a bust. I think that is a good rule for wide receivers.

Mike Williams was the reason Dwayne Jarrett was drafted in the 2nd round in 2007. Of course Jarrett currently can't beat out a 36 year old possession receiver with bad hamstrings for the #2 wide receiver spot on a team where the #2 wide receiver ALWAYS faces single coverage...so he is pretty close to being a bust himself. The lesson learned? Don't draft USC wide receivers who are tall and don't have a lot of foot speed.

9. Robert Gallery, T, Oakland Raiders, No. 3, 2004

Absolutely not. While Gallery is not the left tackle that everyone thought he could be, he is still a solid and usable guard. There is no way that I would consider Gallery a bust large enough to be #9 of the 2000's. Maybe he is an underachiever, but not a bust. Just like Leonard Davis is not a bust, Robert Gallery is not a bust. Mike Williams should be placed far ahead of Robert Gallery if we are talking offensive linemen who were busts in the NFL. Otherwise DeWayne Robertson, Jerome McDougle or Reggie Williams would have been great choices in this spot.

Sports Illustrated called him "the best lineman to come out of college in years". He was supposed to dominate the left tackle position for "10 to 15 years".

So we are basing Gallery being a bust on high expectations that others unfairly put on him and not his actual performance in the NFL? That seems completely unfair. If Sports Illustrated says that Drew Bledsoe is going to be voted in the Hall of Fame unanimously when he retires and he only went on to have the career he ended up having in real life, does that mean he is a bust?

But he went from that marquee offensive line position to right tackle to left guard, on the Raiders no less. He's an adequate NFL player, but far from the "next Tony Boselli".

There should never be a guy who is an adequate NFL player put on a list of NFL busts when there are many other busts that can be chosen from the decade like Michael Huff or Ryan Sims.

7. LaVar Arrington, LB, Washington Redskins, No. 2, 2000

Injuries should be taken into account when determining whether a player is a bust or not, but this is just a simply retarded choice. LaVar Arrington made three Pro Bowls and only retired because of injuries. I don't put a whole heck of a lot of stock in Pro Bowl appearances by a player, but the fact Arrington was able to even sniff a Pro Bowl shows that he wasn't any type of bust.

Two Penn State defenders went with top two picks in the first draft of the decade. Neither have played in the league since 2006

To just make a blanket statement say Arrington hasn't played in the NFL since 2006 and that is what makes him a bust is completely unfair. Arrington ruptured his Achilles tendon after signing a huge contract with the New York Giants. After rehabbing that injury, and deciding whether to return to the NFL or not, he got in a serious motorcycle accident. Arrington is in NO WAY a bust and was in fact a very good defensive player who may not have earned his draft position, but would potentially be taken in the first round if the draft was done over again. He had proven he was a good NFL player before he got injured, so he's not a bust.

I don't know how anyone in their right mind can label Arrington a bust. He was no worse than David Pollack, Jamal Reynolds, Ryan Sims or Wendell Bryant. In fact he was much better than those players.

5. Maurice Clarett, RB, Denver Broncos, No. 101, 2005

Raise your hand if anyone else thought Maurice Clarett was going to be a good NFL player.

(No one is raising their hand)

There is a reason that the Broncos were mocked for taking the obviously overweight Clarett in the 3rd round in 2005 and that reason is because he was never considered to be a good player for the NFL. There is no way Clarett is a bust because he was just an untalented, unmotivated guy who got drafted too high...in the 3rd round.

I would like to also mention Chris Chase just went from #7 to #5. His list doesn't have a #6, but two #5's. It's a very interesting way to count.

Not a bust in the traditional sense,

Or at all.

it was thought that Maurice Clarett could be a good gamble for the Broncos.

I am sure there was one person who thought this, but the overwhelming reaction was that Shanahan had reached for Clarett in the 3rd round (remember my questions about Shanahan's ability to evaluate talent a few weeks ago? Exhibit A is Maurice Clarett).

Gary Horton, Scouts Inc. on why a team would draft Clarett in the 3rd round when he was projected to be a late round pick:

Obviously Denver has had great success with RBs in the middle to late rounds, so it's hard to criticize them. But you certainly had the feeling Clarett was going to be there until the fifth or sixth...No question, it is a surprise pick, and a roll of the dice.

Randy Mueller on the same issue:

I'm very surprised, just from a character standpoint. You can't challenge Denver Coach Mike Shanahan, but I'm really surprised. I'll be shocked if Clarett steps in like the other guys. I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid. I thought he would be a sixth- or seventh-round pick, at best. The 40 times, the character issues, all those concerns. I just didn't see him going this early. This guy has issues.

So we have a guy who had no substantial track record of great performance in college, wasn't expected to go as high as he did, and then pretty much did exactly what many expected him to do in the NFL...sounds like a guy who isn't the 6th biggest bust of all-time.

5. Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals, No. 10, 2006

Leinart is the 2nd highest quarterback bust on the so-called list of all-time busts. That would mean Chris Chase thinks Leinart is the 2nd biggest bust of the 2000's when it comes to quarterbacks. I would argue this is not true because David Carr, Joey Harrington, or even Kellen Clemens were bigger busts than Matt Leinart has been. We can't just limit these busts to first round quarterbacks. I am not trying to make excuses for Leinart, but he hasn't gotten a good opportunity to show what he can do in the NFL because he has been stuck behind the completely rejuvenated Kurt Warner.

How about Drew Stanton or John Beck, both of whom were high 2nd round draft choices who are not even good enough to be backup quarterbacks just three years after they got drafted? These are guys who are busts, quarterbacks who were drafted highly in the 2nd round and now are 3rd string quarterbacks.

Why Leinart and not Carr or Smith? Leinart was the USC golden boy, the Heisman Trophy winner who became the toast of L.A. and could have been the No. 1 pick in 2005 before coming back and getting his game nitpicked by scouts.

Here we go again with judging players based on other's expectations of them coming out of college and not necessarily basing it on reality. Simply because Leinart had more hype coming out of USC doesn't necessarily mean he is a bigger bust. Hype doesn't equal talent. Sure, Leinart played in a much more higher profile program than Harrington, Akili Smith or David Carr, but that doesn't mean he is a bigger bust because of that.

What kind of logic is that to use to say he won the Heisman Trophy and people at his college loved him, so that makes him a bigger bust? To reason that Leinart is a bigger bust because he was more celebrated than Smith or Carr coming out of college and completely ignoring how the players performed in the NFL is not reasonable. There is no way Matt Leinart is the 5th biggest bust of the 2000's.

4. Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints, No. 2, 2006

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Reggie Bush is in no way a bust. I have been hard on Reggie Bush in the past, but he is not now, nor does it ever appear he will be, a bust. Even if he were a bust, he wouldn't be the biggest running back bust for the decade of the 2000's, which is where Chris Chase has him on this list.

Check out Bush's numbers, compare them to another running back bust (William Green/Darren McFadden) and try to tell me I am wrong. Bush is a productive running back, maybe not a traditional back, but a productive back nonetheless.

All of the flaws that are readily apparent in Bush's game today weren't so obvious three years ago.

Unless you watched college football and noticed that LenDale White got most of the carries between the tackles and Bush was used as more of an outside runner. When he wasn't used as an outside runner exclusively and he did get the ball between the tackles, Bush would often get to the outside as quickly as he could. It was pretty obvious Bush was talented but he may not have had a future as a feature back in the NFL.

Bush is a fine NFL player, but far from the game-changing superstar he was anticipated to be.

Which means he isn't a game-changing player but doesn't make him the biggest bust in the history of the NFL when it comes to running backs...not even close. It's hard for me to take any list that has Reggie Bush as the 4th biggest bust for the 2000's seriously. He is a good change of pace back and a great receiver coming out of the backfield.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders, No. 1, 2007

This blog does have a tag that says, "JaMarcus Russell is the worst athlete in pro sports in out lifetime," so I would have to say I agree with this sentiment. I would be tempted to keep dumping on him and say he should be at #1 on this list, but I won't do that.

1. Charles Rogers, WR, Detroit Lions, No. 2, 2003

I have to agree with this choice because I personally thought Rogers was going to be a game-changing wide receiver. Then not only did he stink in Detroit but he also didn't have any value for all the other teams in the NFL due to drug, discipline and "he sucks so we don't want him on our team" problems. Nobody in the NFL even tried to give a crap about rehabbing him. Heck even Ryan Leaf got second and third chances. Rogers was out of the league so quickly, he probably has to be #1 on any list of busts from the 2000's.

I LOVED Charles Rogers coming out of college. The players I love coming out this year, so go ahead and put them down as busts, are Ndamukong Suh (saying I love him is an understatement, I think he should be considered for the Heisman and will be better than Warren Sapp...I really, really like him), Tony Pike, Golden Tate, and Jerry Hughes. I know these aren't novel guys to like, but are four of my favorite 1st/2nd round guys.

The players I really don't like at this point are Carlos Dunlap and Jevon Snead. I think both players are going to stink in the NFL. Dunlap seems to given an inconsistent effort and I don't trust Snead's decision making all that much. I have a feeling both will go higher than they probably should.

Some of the choices on Chris Chase's list are not horrible, but he lists players who are in no way busts in the NFL for the decade of the 2000's.

In fact, here is a list of players who could have appeared on this list over some of the players that Chris Chase did include:

Travis Taylor
Ron Dayne
Sylvester Morris
Gerard Warren
David Terrell
Jamal Reynolds
Willie Middlebrooks
Freddie Mitchell
Mike Williams
Ryan Sims
Wendell Bryant
William Green
DeWayne Robertson
Johnathan Sullivan
Jimmy Kennedy
Michael Haynes
Jerome McDougle
Reggie Williams
Kenechi Udeze
J.P. Losman
Troy Williamson
Travis Johnson
David Pollack (As commenter HH pointed out, it may be unfair to include Pollack since he had to retire due to a fluke neck injury. I will be fair and leave his name but say he never got a chance to show what he could do. Same thing for Matt Jones. If he wasn't coked up all the time, he could have been an average receiver.)
Erasmus James
Matt Jones
Michael Huff
Tye Hill
Jason Allen
Bobby Carpenter
Gaines Adams
Jamaal Anderson
Justin Harrell
Jarvis Moss
Buster Davis
Drew Stanton
John Beck
Darren McFadden
Vernon Gholston

Those guys, maybe excluding McFadden and Gholston because they haven't played in the NFL long enough to prove they are incredible busts or not, could have easily been on the list that Chris Chase made. Hence, they did not make the list and that is a shame. Many of these players would have been better choices than some of the players on Chase's bust list.

11 comments:

HH said...

Greatest omission by both of you:
With the 31st pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about him:

Woods had 7 catches for 160 yards and 1 touchdown in his rookie season (2004) and spent the 2005 season on injured reserve with torn ligaments in his thumb. In April 2006, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers for cornerback Sammy Davis. In August 2006, he was cut from the San Diego Chargers. On August 3rd 2006 he was claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos but failed his physical and was released. In Dec. of 2006 he worked out with the Minnesota Vikings

HH said...

Also, you may want to exclude David Pollack...yeah, he was a bust for the Bengals, but his career was ended by a fluke neck injury. I don't think you can blame him for that one - it's not like a persistent hamstring injury that keeps Donte Stallworth unable to play or, apparently, rehab.

Bengoodfella said...

I thought about Rashaun Woods and I should have included him because I included two 2nd round draft picks. More embarrassingly I liked Woods coming out of OSU. I saw him play a fair amount and thought he was going to be pretty good. I am not a good judge of talent.

It's funny that he got traded for Sammy Davis, because he was a 2000's bust for the Chargers. Good catch and I should have included him, if only to make fun of myself.

Ok, I will go easy on David Pollack. I guess if I make excuses for Arrington I can acknowledge that Pollack has neck problems which were flukey and weren't really his fault. I will correct it in red in the post.

Nice Donte Stallworth joke. I always wondered when he hit that pedestrian if it was just a case of his bad hamstrings freezing up on him or something.

rich said...

Other QBs drafted in the 00's that I can think of who were arguably bigger busts than Leinart:

JP Losman (although you could argue no one expected him to do well).
Kyle Boller (ditto)
Patrick Ramsey
Trent Edwards
'Sexy Rexy'

Other notable exceptions:
Peter Warrick
Ron Dayne
RJ Soward (another USC WR)
David Terrell
William Green (sucked and had injury/off the field issues)

And that's just through 2003. I don't know how Robert Gallery, Leinart or Bush can be thought of as being bigger busts than any of those guys. Like you said in the post, if you're a competent, but not great, player, how can you possibly be a bust?

Also taking a risk with a late third round pickto draft a player who hadn't been on a football field in a year (right?) when there was only one year to judge him? BUST! Because we all know players with one good year of college ball taken in the third round when everyone knows it's a "risk" pick are clearly busts b/c they were all over the media.

If this list had been "players the media thought would be awesome, but proved to be not as awesome" then it'd be a good list. However, like you said, bust doesn't equal not meeting expectations.

Bengoodfella said...

RJ Soward was a massive bust for the Jags. Even though he wasn't taken near the top of the 1st round he barely got on the field and had off the field problems. I think Chris Chase and I have different definitions of a bust. If it is like you said, players the media and others thought would be good, but didn't meet those expectations then this list might be accurate.

There is no way Bush and Gallery are bigger busts than any of the players we had listed. I would be open to Leinart more so, but I definitely don't think he is a bust because he has high expectations coming out of college. You have to take what he did on the field. Bush and Gallery are underachieving but that doesn't mean they are busts.

I don't know if you Maurice Clarett was thought highly enough to even bust. As you said, he had one year of college. I think a bust is a player who provides no value and is out of the league. A guy who is competent and provides value to a team in some fashion isn't a bust.

Going through the list of busts for the 2000's was interesting in that there were a lot of players I had forgotten about. David Terrell, now that was a guy who was a bust. He should have made the list.

Chris W said...

I think you have to include hype. I won't necessarily say that Bush was a bust, but don't you have to take into account that NO assumed they were getting a pro bowl every-down back in Bush, and were ecstatic that he fell to #2 (to the surprise of every draft guru everywhere) and instead got a third down back who is probably the 6th most important player in the Saints offense into account?

Ditto with Gallery. Hype played into the pick, the money...and I don't think you pay enough mind to the difference between wasting a #3 pick on a mediocre guard who you thought would be a franchise LT and between wasting a #10 pick (not a really high value pick)

Otherwise, I enjoyed this.

Bengoodfella said...

You include hype in there a little bit, but I don't want to include too much hype because the media tends to create the hype around players and sometimes the hype exceeds the player's skill level (Tim Tebow).

I see what you are saying. Bush is not a bust in my mind but he is definitely underachieving for the pick he was taken at. I just have a heard time calling a useful player like Gallery a bust simply because he didn't live up to all his potential at the LT position.

I see what you are saying though and maybe I didn't pay enough attention whether a player was a #10 pick or a #3 pick. There is a big difference in salary and maybe I didn't take that into account enough. I was focusing too much on the "bust" aspect of the player and not enough whether a player was a bust compared to draft slot than I should have...if that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

JaMarcus Russell has actually had mediocre games last year. I'm pretty sure that it's not a hard task to find first round quarterbacks in the last decade who were actually worse than he was.

Also, my attitude on Russell is almost entirely based on watching that KC game that turned out to be his last start. Dude is just not as bad as all that, and he was in a completely unreasonable and impossible situation in that game. No quarterback is going to be okay in the head with the quality of play the units around him were giving. The OLine was horrible, the recievers were comedy gold, and he had apparently nags for running backs. Now, I haven't seen his other games, and I certainly do not condone his weight issues and all that, but if you're going to give David Carr a pass, then you have to give JaMarcus Russell the same pass. Dude was just not going to look good no matter what even if he wasn't a young player. Lastly, Russell *will* get another chance, preferably away from that toxic workplace so he isn't technically a bust yet.

Added note, however much Al Davis fell in love with JaMarcus Russell, his coaches did not want him, and considering what the situation was like in Atlanta with Michael Vick and Tom Cable, I have to wonder about the working relationship.

I always keep in mind that black quarterbacks gets tons of shit for things that they can't control. So it's always worth keeping in mind to stay grounded as the people with "issues" yell for their heads.

--shah8

Bengoodfella said...

I see where you are coming from but JaMarcus Russell has been historically bad. Granted, he is in a bad situation and I can acknowledge that. I wouldn't wish for any player to be in the situation that Russell is in. Gradkowski seems to be managing fairly well though in the same situation.

The reason I give Carr a pass is because he wasn't horrible with the Texans behind that porous offensive line. Just looking at Carr's stats (http://www.nfl.com/players/davidcarr/careerstats?id=CAR358385) shows that he wasn't great but he also wasn't bad in Houston.

Russell on the other hand doesn't have great stats (http://www.nfl.com/players/jamarcusrussell/careerstats?id=RUS539462) and I know it is the situation he is in, but even in the dysfunction situation he hasn't matured as a quarterback. That's why I give Carr a semi-pass while I mock Russell. Given the exact same team Gradkowski has done fairly well and I think that shows something. David Carr is by no means a great player or even a decent quarterback but I just don't think he is among the Top 10 busts of the 2000's.

If you argued that Russell was more of a project than Carr and he never got the chance to develop, I think I could accept that argument and take some of the blame off Russell. Otherwise he just seems like a guy who doesn't get it.

I can't blame the Raiders for not wanting him in that draft and I have no doubt Tom Cable is completely mismanaging Russell...which isn't his fault.

I agree with you on the black quarterbacks issue. I think it is ridiculous a guy Tavaris Jackson is buried on a bench somewhere when he never had Percy Harvin to throw the ball to or was given a good chance to start for the Vikings.

Anonymous said...

This is an insightful column about michael vick's issues, from the inside (Tom Cable was involved).

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-notes122106&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

I'm okay with your defense of your pick for bust, with one caveat that Russell is far too young to have bust affixed permanently. We do have to wait for him to fail training camp/on another team first.

Next, on Gradkowski, now I've watched his game at KC in relief and Dallas. Seeing his highlights in Pittsburgh...
1) Gradkowski is one of those people who look good at doing their jobs poorly. He misses close instead of far, for example. However, he is not, nor has he ever been (from looking at previous history) an especially accurate passer. This is Derek Anderson redux waiting to happen.

2) Gradkowski is abolutely not working with the exact same team. Where Murphy once was making plays like
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d81380659/Samuels-1-yd-INT-return

Now he's actually playing much better, largely because of extra effort that T Cable instituted *after* that horrific KC game.

The Oline is healthy at this time, when it wasn't, and often was horrific, when J Russell was playing.

Lastly, the recieving unit has all their players healthy (other than Javon Walker, who's in the dog house) when Russell didn't have some key personal to throw to. The Raiders in the first half of the season most certainly did play like an expansion team.

-shah8

Bengoodfella said...

Actually, I can accept that Russell may not be a permanent bust. If he proves it was just the fact the Raiders suck the life out of players then he can easily be removed from the bust list and the JaMarcus Russell tag will be history.

Gradkowski is not a good quarterback. He proved that in Tampa Bay but he looked pretty competent for a period of time against the Steelers at points. I think he could be a guy who only plays well for a short period of time and then fades back into a backup quarterback spot. You are possibly right about that.

I can also accept your Louis Murphy is improving argument because he is a rookie WR so he may actually be improving. I still can't help but think there has to be a reason Russell didn't have any type of success this year.

So there may be some factors that have helped Gradkowski but the biggest thing Russell needs to do is get out of Oakland. Of course that would displease Darren McFadden because then everyone would notice he has underachieved as well.