Yes, thats an exclamation mark, because yes, I'm excited!
A few months ago when it was made clear that Culpepper was not going to be returning with the Miami Dolphins, I told anyone who would listen that I would love to see Daunte in a Raiders jersey, and I thought that it was an absolutely perfect fit.
To quote my buddy Jonathan Roberts, "Damn man, you must really be sick about that whole ducks winning the cup thing to think Daunte would be a good Raider"
True, I was pretty sick. But I haven't been this excited by a Raider move in a while.
I'm still not in panic mode over Jamarcus Russell not having signed. I'm assuming he'll be in a Raiders jersey come opening day. So lets see here...
Who would you rather have mentoring a quarterback the size of a house with a rocket arm and mobility?
A 6-4, 215 lb career back-up with an average arm, who has 3 career rushing TDs, 1 rush over 20 yards, and 25 rushing 1st downs...
A 6-4, 265 lb career starter with a powerful arm, who has 30 rushing TDs, 13 rushes over 20 yards, and 187 rushing 1st downs?
It isn't like this is rocket science. Go check out NFL.com's draft profile on Jamarcus Russell (http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2007/russell_jamarcus). If you scroll down a bit...
"Compares To: Daunte Culpepper, Miami Dolphins … Russell has a defensive lineman's build with quick feet for a player his size … He has one of the strongest arms in the game and showed better patience waiting for his targets to get open … He did a better job with his reads to improve his overall accuracy as a junior … He is a perfect prospect for a vertical passing attack … Unlike most big quarterbacks, he doesn't have a windmill-type release and can throw the ball almost the length of the field."
The Raiders just signed the guy that our number one overall pick compares closest to as a mentor! Does it get any better than that?
Plus, theres just no way that Josh McCown lasts the full season as a starter. As soon as the Raiders got off to a bad start (and is there any question about that?), fans would be pressuring the team to start Russell and look for a Vince Young-like surge. Please. Most young QBs that get tossed in there too early take a huge hit to their development process. With a proven starter now aboard, there is no reason to force Jamarcus to take the ball - unless, of course, Culpepper gets injured. Which of course isn't all that unlikely, but all indications are that he is healthy after the long layout and good to go.
Looking past all of the positives involved around Jamarcus Russell, lets not forget that in his last healthy season in 2004; just 2 seasons removed; Culpepper led the league in passing yards with 4717, and finished second in TDs (39) and QB Rating (110.9), finishing only behind Peyton Manning's 49 and 121.1.
And in 2003, Culpepper had the league's 3rd best passer rating at 96.1. He finished 9th in yardage and 6th in TDs with 25... despite missing 2 games. Kitna, Hasselback, and Brad Johnson all finished ahead of him with 26 each, and all 3 played all 16 games. Culpepper would have easily finished 3rd in the league in TDs that year.
But in a "what have you done for me lately?" league like the NFL, it is easy to forget that Culpepper was once considered one of the top QBs in the game. Am I saying he is a lock to return to form? Of course not. Even at his finest I'm not saying he's necessarily a top 5 QB. But how many teams have the luxury of having one of those? (Well, 5 I guess). I am saying that if he is healthy, and in a 1 year deal where he is playing to prove himself, there is no reason to believe that he can't put together a solid season.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the Raiders will be playoff bound or anything like that. But with a young crop of players, many of which have been around only for the bulk of the last 4 seasons going 15 - 47... you can't tell me that a 7 or 8 win season wouldn't be a HUGE confidence boost and a big step in the right direction.
Daunte Culpepper gives you a better chance of making that happen, while at the same time being a perfect match for Jamarcus Russell.
Was I the only one that saw this coming?