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Friday, June 26, 2009
You pick it responses

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The runaway winner in this week's "You pick it" feature was the news that Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell will work with the team's receivers during the team's break before training camp to maintain their timing.

The other candidates for the AFC West story of the week were, 1) Denver re-signing Pro Bowl center Casey Wiegmann to a two-year contract extension, and 2)  Denver cutting linebacker Boss Bailey after one season in town. The release cost Denver about $3.5 million in salary-cap room.

Personally, I think the Wiegmann story was the most newsworthy of the three candidates. Denver stepped up to keep Wiegmann happy and the team did it after he participated in the team's offseason programs. It was a clear message to receiver Brandon Marshall. He too wants a new deal, but he is staying away from the team. Any time a Pro Bowl player is talked out of retiring it is big news.

However, I can see why readers chose the Russell story. The Raiders were begging for Russell to show some leadership in his third NFL season. This was a move made by someone wanting to be a leader. It is significant.

Here is some of what the readers had to say. Thanks to those who participated:

Ryan from Lincoln, Neb.: The story of the week has to Russell's commitment to work with his receivers during the summer. With how critical Cable has been of him this entire offseason I think it's got people thinking that either the quarterback will have to shed some of his ego or Jeff Garcia will get another shot at managing an offense for a season. If Russell's mental approach to the game can be more leadership oriented and his decision making improves he leaves Garcia holding the clipboard because his arm and athleticism outweigh Garcia's ability to hold on to the football and play it safe every down. Jeff Garcia is a fierce competitor and is a fundamentally sound quarterback but he doesn't have much of an arm and he's aging. Garcia's game doesn't have any kind of pinache and he doesn't make spectacular plays like Russell most likely would if he could get his head in the right place. With a great stable of running backs and a little improvement in the receiving corps the Raiders' offense would be on the up-and-up if Jamarcus finally came into his own to be their franchise quarterback.

Kevin from San Jose: Obviously the story is Jamarcus Russell finally showing leadership and perhaps maturing into an elite starting NFL quarterback. However, I would not expect him to breakout this year considering the young receiving corps we have.

Jason from Placerville, Calif.: It has to be Jamarcus going the extra mile to get his timing tuned up. This is the key to how the Raiders will do this season. There was alot of plays last year that could have changed games if his timing was right then. GO RAIDERS!!!!