Jim Plunkett offers his wisdom

LOS ANGELES - 1985: Jim Plunkett #16 of the Los Angeles Raiders scrambles out of the pocket against the New York Giants at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The Giants defeated the Raiders 14-9. (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)

Heisman trophy winner, MVP of Super Bowl XV, and two-time Raiders Super Bowl winning QB, Jim Plunkett, sat down with Greg Papa on Comcast Sports’ Chronicle Live recently to talk some Raiders football. Plunkett, who won 66 percent of the games he started from 1978-1986 in Silver and Black, opened up on the release of JaMarcus Russell, what he thinks Jason Campbell brings to the team and his assessment of the offseason.

Plunkett was asked if he was surprised by the release of QB JaMarcus Russell.

“Well, its three years, I don’t think they’ve seen much progress in the young kid,” Plunkett replied. “I like JaMarcus, I think he’s a good, fine young man, but I don’t think they saw the dedication and hard work that you need in today’s game.

“The NFL is not only what you do on the field, but what you do off the field as well; in preparation, film study, being with your teammates. You want to get the feeling that this guy is your leader, your guy, the guy you can put your faith in when it comes down to the last two minutes and they just didn’t see that in him; they didn’t see much progress and for them it was just time to move on.”

He’s right on the mark, JaMarcus showed only a fondness for studying the latest fashion faux-pas and the direction of the nearest Popeyes resteraunt on his vehicle’s navigation system.Being with his teammates was not high on Russell’s priorety list and dedication and hard work probably would’ve had to have been tattooed backwards on his forehead for him to think about it every once in a while.

Papa asked Plunkett if he thought Jason Campbell could be the guy to get the Raiders back to the playoffs.

“I think he’ll certainly be much improved in that position than JaMarcus was,” Plunkett said in a stuttering attempt at political correctness. “He’ll make the Raiders a better football team offensively, he doesn’t make as many mistakes, he had a high percentage, I think it was a little over 65 percent, this year in Washington.

“You know I don’t know him that well, I haven’t been to training camp much this offseason so I really don’t have a real good feel for him, but it’s certainly going to be an improvement. We’re going to be a better football team because of Jason Campbell.”

I couldn’t agree more with Plunkett. Just his completion percentage alone is outstanding compared to Russell’s. Campbell played only one more season than Russell, yet his 55 TD passes dwarf Russell’s 18. In addition, Campbell has thrown for well over 6,000 more yards than Russell did. His career rating mark is nearly 20 points higher and Campbell has started every single one of his last 32 games and had a string of 20 consecutive games startedprior to that. Even if Campbell doesn’t start for the Raiders he will certainly push Bruce Gradkowski for the job and keep Gradkowski working hard to keep his job.

Plunkett offered the following as a closing statement.

“I’m excited about the Raiders chances of being a better football team, getting in the playoff race in the AFC West, and just being better all around,” the former Raiders gunslinger shot. “I like their draft picks this year. I think they got a lot of help. They brought in a linebacker from Alabama who is a stud and he should be able to help us in that middle spot. And overall, I think we’ll be a better football team, coach is back for another year and I think that will add some continuity to this Raiders football team.”

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