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A chance for JaMarcus Russell comes down to talent, ego

Jamarcus Russell Getty Images

The fact JaMarcus Russell’s getting a workout with the Bears today while Tim Tebow can’t get a sniff still seems odd.

But ultimately, the difference comes down to physical talent, and to an extent, the ego of those making decisions for teams.

Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com found an unnamed league source to take a shot at Tebow, which frankly isn’t all that hard.

But a quote with a name on it from a former scout may hold the real reason Russell’s getting another opportunity.

“There is some belief around scouting circles that you can maximize a person’s character — his attitude and work ethic, all that — with the right situation around him,” said Dan Hatman, a former NFL scout. “And when you look at Russell from a physical talent perspective, there was never a question about JaMarcus Russell. He can throw the football. With Tim, unfortunately, you’re talking about a different kind of arm.”

Tebow’s arm isn’t strong. But the backlash created by the surrounding circus might be the thing that’s keeping him out of the league at the moment. Fixing his mechanics would take time and energy. Apparently, some think fixing Russell’s attitude can be done by force of will.

To break out the broad brush, coaches don’t like being told what to do (such as playing a popular-but-flawed backup), but love few things better than out-smarting the other guys in the room.

And nothing would prove a coach’s acumen more than fixing the unfixable, which many assumed Russell was, and what he might still be.

We’ll find out later if the Bears think Russell can still be a viable NFL player, or whether they’ve just convinced themselves they’re the ones who can make it work.

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43 Responses to “A chance for JaMarcus Russell comes down to talent, ego”
  1. gbmickey says: Jun 7, 2013 12:29 PM

    Come on Chicago sign him!

  2. minnesotablizzard says: Jun 7, 2013 12:34 PM

    Jamarcus Russel is an ego melting mushroom trip away from getting another NFL shot. The times they are a changin’

  3. sowcrates says: Jun 7, 2013 12:39 PM

    Well before we declare that Marc Trestman has brought JaMarcus Russell back from the brink to fix the unfixable and thereby flipping the bird to the NFL for not giving him a chance to be a head coach sooner, let’s remember that they brought him in to try out alongside Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer.

    Josh McCown is still where he is because he’s apparently a good fit for the team on the sideline, with the clipboard or in the film room. Something about his presence is making somebody’s life easier, be it Cutler or the coaches.

    After the failures of Hanie and Campbell to be suitable backups, Chicago will probably keep McCown as gameday #2, will fill in if Cutler gets hurt in-game, then activate whoever their #3 is if Cutler can’t start the next week/games after that. Enter one of these old guys to supplant whoever Chicago has as their current #3

  4. snarcasms says: Jun 7, 2013 12:40 PM

    If you could put Tebow’s heart in Russell’s body you’d have a hell of a QB.

  5. rayguyreturns says: Jun 7, 2013 12:43 PM

    Give me Tebow over Russell any time, any day. You can’t play without a heart. Russell has none.

  6. eatitfanboy says: Jun 7, 2013 12:49 PM

    Given the choice between those two, I would sign Jeff George.

  7. psunick says: Jun 7, 2013 12:51 PM

    I thought everyone said that Tebow was the one who is unfixable?

  8. mazblast says: Jun 7, 2013 12:53 PM

    rayguyreturns, I have to disagree, respectfully of course. Russell is a grade-A talent who previously had a grade-Z attitude and work ethic. The latter can be worked on, if the athlete is willing. The fact that he’s willing to try out for a shot at being a #3 QB is a step in the right direction.

    Tebow is a grade-A young man who in the NFL simply can’t play the position he’s played before (that run with the Broncos was fueled by the defense, not him) at the required level and won’t move. He doesn’t have the tools to play QB in this league–and you can’t teach that.

    Add to that the circus that accompanies Tebow wherever he goes, and you can see why teams don’t want him as a backup QB.

  9. durangokidii says: Jun 7, 2013 12:55 PM

    Understood, but right this second, if you could only have either Tim or Jamarcus to win one football game, no coach in their right might would take Jamarcus.

  10. bigbluefan11 says: Jun 7, 2013 12:56 PM

    Tebow can’t get a look for two reasons… First, they media circus that follow him everywhere he goes. Second, his inability to resist every microphone and camera he sees. The two issues are interrelated. Solving the second would solve the first and someone would give him a chance to compete for a backup spot on their roster. He’s at least as talented as Caleb Hanie.

  11. mcconnellrules says: Jun 7, 2013 12:57 PM

    Solution: Transfer Tebows brain into Jamarcus Russells body. Throw away Jamarcus Russells brain. Donate Tebow body to Christian faith as write off.

  12. spideysdog says: Jun 7, 2013 12:57 PM

    rayguyreturns,

    I hate to challenge your beautiful soliloquy about Russell and Tebow, but I beg to differ….

    after 19 years of soliciting 32 teams to give me 8 figures for my big heart, I STILL find myself working a 9 to 5.

    I don’t give a damn if you make Rocky look like a quivering school girl, if you ain’t got skills and physical talent, you CAN’T play in the NFL.

    for gawds sake, when will you Tebow fans get it?

  13. iowamiah says: Jun 7, 2013 12:59 PM

    We’re talking about a back up here. If he can come in and beat out Josh McCown for the number 2 spot, why not?

    I assume that he can’t be asking for too much cash here. If he can play better than McCown (which honestly shouldn’t be too hard) or at least give a different option….again, why not?

    I feel it’s a solid move by the Bears.

  14. vikingsvoice says: Jun 7, 2013 1:00 PM

    Kids do grow up, typically. Time will tell if that’s the case for Jamarcus. But I’m sure quite a few readers here didn’t make the best choices when they were in their early twenties.

  15. firestarter0728 says: Jun 7, 2013 1:02 PM

    And if JaMarcus can’t hook on with an NFL team, he can always fall back on his second career as a brain surgeon. Except that the hours are longer and the pay is much lower.

  16. cluelessdufus says: Jun 7, 2013 1:10 PM

    Mayzblast I disagree his defense ranked 26th in pass defense and 23rd against the run. Tebow has always been a winner something not all QBs have.

  17. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 7, 2013 1:18 PM

    Yeah great move by the Bears if they can get him to work. They need to be looking for places where they can create value, especially at the QB position. They have wasted a lot more on Cutler than they ever possibly could with Jamarcus, and if they can figure out how to coach up JR while nobody else can, then that’s a pretty nice thing.

  18. larryboodry says: Jun 7, 2013 1:21 PM

    “…right this second, if you could only have either Tim or Jamarcus to win one football game…”

    …I’d end up congratulating the other HC on a great victory.

  19. heisthejuan says: Jun 7, 2013 1:23 PM

    “Tebow’s arm isn’t strong. But the backlash created by the surrounding circus might be the thing that’s keeping him out of the league at the moment. Fixing his mechanics would take time and energy.”

    Tebow has been working on improving his throwing mechanics for over three years now. He’s NEVER going to to have an NFL arm.

  20. snarcasms says: Jun 7, 2013 1:23 PM

    It’s not Russell’s brain that needs fixing, it’s his heart and desire to work. He’s not a dummy like Mike Vick, and Tebow isn’t exactly a cum laude QB.

    If Russell had Tebow’s desire, heart and work ethic he’d be off the charts.

  21. twilson962 says: Jun 7, 2013 1:27 PM

    Best of luck.

  22. stlunatik says: Jun 7, 2013 1:28 PM

    Cutler goes down in game one, Russell leads the Bears to the Super Bowl, where he loses to the Raiders. HAHAHA

  23. icestationzebraassociates says: Jun 7, 2013 1:29 PM

    It’s a darn shame Jamarcus didn’t save enough of his absurd rookie contract fortunes to be able to forget about all this football nonsense he never seemed all that interested in anyway and instead pursue his true life’s passion: aspiring to grow significantly fatter than the obese Buster Douglass on a motorcycle Sports Illustrated cover photo shortly after the Tyson fight…

  24. larryboodry says: Jun 7, 2013 1:30 PM

    Do the Bears really need two underachieving guys named J(a)’Marcus on their roster?

  25. bigharold says: Jun 7, 2013 1:30 PM

    I’ve been supervising people most of my career and the one thing I’m 100% certain about is you can train for knowledge, execution, process and performance. It is possible to take someone with limited ability and make them better if they are willing. You can’t train for attitude or work ethic, .. that comes from within. I would take someone with lesser ability and the right attitude then someone with far greater ability and a poor attitude every time without exception.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean Tebow will or even should get another shot at a starting QB position. The NFL is an apex results orientated endeavor. No “degree of difficulty” points. No bonus pints for trying hard. There are a lot of guys that have his attitude and much better skills but they for whatever reason are not note worthy. But, if it came down to Russell or Tebow, .. it’s Tebow. He may well fail but you can rest assured that he will give it everything he’s got. Russell, .. I don’t get the feeling you will ever get everything he’s got.

  26. larryboodry says: Jun 7, 2013 1:44 PM

    I remember when the Bears and Hanie lost to Tebow in Denver a couple years back…Marion Barber pissed that game away by stepping out of bounds at the end of regulation, then dropping a long, potentially game-winning pass in OT.

    But in typical fashion, the press once again embraced the circus and reported how the Bears got ‘Tebowed.’

  27. evilfrasiercrane says: Jun 7, 2013 1:46 PM

    Tebow is probably a great human being, but he is NOT an NFL caliber qb. I mean, have you actually watched him play. Russell probably has enough talent to play qb, but he is NOT smart enough to lead a team. I mean, have you actually followed any of his “pro” career. Both were successful in college, but so was Ryan Leaf. The NFL is a completely different game and these guys just don’t have it.

  28. bearsfan39 says: Jun 7, 2013 1:47 PM

    Do the Bears really need two underachieving guys named J(a)’Marcus on their roster?

    -In what world is a 7th round pick with 44 careers starts considered underachieving?

  29. ftomasic1961 says: Jun 7, 2013 1:59 PM

    werent the vaunted defensive jaugernaut defensive machine 1-4 or something like that when tebow took over?

  30. SparkyGump says: Jun 7, 2013 2:09 PM

    All Jamarcus has to do is get a little tape of him making plays and he’ll be on somebody’s roster when the NFL inevitably goes to an 18 game schedule sooner rather than later and teams start needing two starting caliber quaterbacks. Just keep him away from the drank.

  31. larryboodry says: Jun 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    @bearsfan39:

    The only reason Webb has 44 career starts is because, before this year, the Bears had no one better to play LT.

  32. egomaniac247 says: Jun 7, 2013 2:18 PM

    I don’t understand why it’s universally accepted that JaMarcus has the skillset that Tebow doesn’t.

    Tebow had a better college career…..and Russell didn’t exactly show any moments of brilliance on the NFL field either.

    Not saying Tim is NFL-ready, just saying it’s not a given that if Russell just “gets his head right” he’ll be a good QB either.

  33. bla bla bla says: Jun 7, 2013 2:18 PM

    I hate the Bears with all the hatred I can muster, but even I have to admit that giving Russell a look is a brilliant move on their part. The risk:reward is ALL on the side of the Bears.

    1. If he doesn’t make the team at all, Bears fans will say “Yeah, we knew he’d never make it but ya gotta give credit to the new coach/gm for at least trying to upgrade the backup QB position.”

    2. If Russell makes the team and then stinks when it counts, the Bears fans will say “Yeah, he stinks but he’s no worse than (insert name here) was, and ya gotta give credit to the new regime for at least taking a shot, especially since Russell was so cheap.”

    3. If Russell makes the team and plays well when needed, especially at what will probably be relatively low money, the new regime will look like absolute geniuses.

    There’s no way they lose in this deal.

  34. granadafan says: Jun 7, 2013 2:19 PM

    I wouldn’t want either Tebow or Jamarcus on my team.

  35. mz1394 says: Jun 7, 2013 3:05 PM

    Forget all this Tebow’s heart or brain in Russell’s body I would like to see Russell’s love for the purple drank in Tebow

  36. nmking26 says: Jun 7, 2013 3:32 PM

    It’s the NFL. Talent overrules all. I’d take Russell over Tebow too. I’d rather take a chance on fixing someones attitude than trying to change someone into something he’s not.

    Russell with hard work could change into someone who cares about the game and has good work ethic.

    Tebow, no matter how hard he tries will NEVER have the physical talent to make it in the league. Heart and work ethic be damned.

  37. usmutts says: Jun 7, 2013 3:59 PM

    While it can’t be denied that Russell should accept the majority of the blame for his flame out with the Raiders, I can’t help but wonder how much of his attitude and failure to develop should be laid at the feet of the inept, disorganized and dysfunctional Raiders organization at the time. Certainly the sinking ship that was the Raiders didn’t help the sinking ship that was Russell.

    Perhaps a better run NFL team will help him learn his trade. Perhaps he’s more mature now and can see the light. After all, losing 50 pounds takes will power he didn’t show in Oakland. He’s physically gifted. He won a national championship in college. He doesn’t need the money.

    Maybe it’s his time.

  38. raideralex99 says: Jun 7, 2013 4:23 PM

    Usmutts … Seriously STOP blaming the Raiders … After benching JaMarcus … how come the Raiders started winning.
    Yes they went 8-8 … you people make me laugh.

  39. cuda1234 says: Jun 7, 2013 4:36 PM

    It’s highly unlikely that Tebow’s career will come anywhere near Josh McCown’s.

    And I can’t believe people are still playing the “winner” card. Tebow played more than six games in Denver. He went 0-3 as a rookie, closed out his “great” regular season 1-4 as the Broncos backed into the playoff at 8-8 then got Denver blown out of the playoffs. The truth is he’s never been on a winning team in his 3-year NFL career.

    Plus two of his three season as the Gators starter, UF won… NOTHING.

    Look it up.

  40. tformation says: Jun 7, 2013 5:11 PM

    I’d like to see Tebow’s tongue in Jamarcus’ mouth.

    Not figuratively either.

    Yeah, I went there.

  41. ricardocabeza says: Jun 7, 2013 8:44 PM

    I cannot say I am a long standing Tebow fan, I am a Bears fan.I I think the Bears are crazy not to take a look at Tebow. He is desperate for a shot, bring him in with the idea he is their as a tight end with the potential of backup qb status. The bears are weak at tight end and Tebow can run, block and drive players downfield. Like Tebow or not, he has consistent done what he has set his mind to. He would come in at a bargain salary and the medial circus is going to die eventually. Having Tebow around would give Jay Cutler a rest from people who bust on him incessantly (yes, including you Florio). I have a hard time seeing a downside to it. Jamarcus “tiny” Russell, where is there not a downside???

  42. trippymane says: Jun 8, 2013 12:11 AM

    Why can’t they just combine Tim Tebow and Jamarcus Russell Talent + Work Ethic + leader + clutch GENE + strong arm = franchise QB

  43. jjbadd385 says: Jun 8, 2013 5:59 AM

    1 fact that is often ignored or either some people cant see the forest for the trees….When you say Tebow won because of the defense, its the same defense Orton had but couldn’t win with ? Not to mention, right before his first start, Denver traded their top receiver away [Lloyd]…a

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