Those numbers won't make anyone forget Tom Brady, but Russell remains the player who gives the Raiders the best chance for a turnaround. Veteran wideout Jerry Porter says Russell's arm is the strongest he's ever seen. More than that, teammates speak about his maturity. McCown points to Russell's private work with a position coach on Mondays and Tuesdays. "Those are your days off," McCown said. "So if you're not taking those, you're looking at seven-day workweeks. That's a tough thing to do for anybody in any profession. That's what makes him a joy to be around. He understands that he's the future. He understands that he's the guy. He understands that the foundation is being laid now for how he's going to play later."
For his part, Russell isn't in position to demand the ball, and he knows it—he trusts Kiffin to make the right decision. "I'm a very confident guy," Russell says. "At times you can get a little down on yourself and things, but I recover very fast."
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