Banner Day In Raider Nation

By Ann Killion
Updated: December 3, 2007

OAKLANDWhat a day in Raider Nation! JaMarcus Russell finally played! The Raiders won their second consecutive game!

Of course, one thing had nothing to do with the other. Russell only played 16 snaps and the hero of the day was beleaguered Josh McCown, who led the Raiders on three touchdown drives, to secure the 34-20 win over the loathed Denver Broncos.

Nope, one thing had absolutely nothing to do with the other. Or did it?

In truth, Russell’s much-anticipated debut and the Raiders much-needed victory were part of the same feel-good package. There is suddenly a cool vibe happening with the Raiders. A positive feeling. In fact, you could argue that there was more palpable hope and honest-to-Al optimism in Oakland on Sunday then there had been since the Super Bowl season of 2002.

Under the direction of young Lane Kiffin, the Raiders are heading in the right direction. “The change came the day they hired the man,” Warren Sapp said. “Players are buying in. The sky is the limit for this ballclub.”

Sunday was the Raiders best overall game of the season, perhaps their best outing since the AFC Championship game in January of 2003.

Sunday, the Raiders scored on the opening drive to get the Coliseum rocking. Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick and the Raiders future, debuted in the second quarter to a raucous ovation. He completed his first pass, to Jerry Porter. He played two series and showed the arm and the ability that have everyone so excited, What a day in Raider Nation! JaMarcus Russell finally played! The Raiders won their second consecutive game!

Of course, one thing had nothing to do with the other. Russell only played 16 snaps and the hero of the day was beleaguered Josh McCown, who led the Raiders on three touchdown drives, to secure the 34-20 win over the loathed Denver Broncos.

Nope, one thing had absolutely nothing to do with the other. Or did it?

In truth, Russell’s much-anticipated debut and the Raiders much-needed victory were part of the same feel-good package. There is suddenly a cool vibe happening with the Raiders. A positive feeling. In fact, you could argue that there was more palpable hope and honest-to-Al optimism in Oakland on Sunday then there had been since the Super Bowl season of 2002.

Under the direction of young Lane Kiffin, the Raiders are heading in the right direction. “The change came the day they hired the man,” Warren Sapp said. “Players are buying in. The sky is the limit for this ballclub.”

Sunday was the Raiders best overall game of the season, perhaps their best outing since the AFC Championship game in January of 2003.

Sunday, the Raiders scored on the opening drive to get the Coliseum rocking. Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick and the Raiders future, debuted in the second quarter to a raucous ovation. He completed his first pass, to Jerry Porter. He played two series and showed the arm and the ability that have everyone so excited, What a day in Raider Nation! JaMarcus Russell finally played! The Raiders won their second consecutive game!

Of course, one thing had nothing to do with the other. Russell only played 16 snaps and the hero of the day was beleaguered Josh McCown, who led the Raiders on three touchdown drives, to secure the 34-20 win over the loathed Denver Broncos.

Nope, one thing had absolutely nothing to do with the other. Or did it?

In truth, Russell’s much-anticipated debut and the Raiders much-needed victory were part of the same feel-good package. There is suddenly a cool vibe happening with the Raiders. A positive feeling. In fact, you could argue that there was more palpable hope and honest-to-Al optimism in Oakland on Sunday then there had been since the Super Bowl season of 2002.

Under the direction of young Lane Kiffin, the Raiders are heading in the right direction. “The change came the day they hired the man,” Warren Sapp said. “Players are buying in. The sky is the limit for this ballclub.”

Sunday was the Raiders best overall game of the season, perhaps their best outing since the AFC Championship game in January of 2003.

Sunday, the Raiders scored on the opening drive to get the Coliseum rocking. Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick and the Raiders future, debuted in the second quarter to a raucous ovation. He completed his first pass, to Jerry Porter. He played two series and showed the arm and the ability that have everyone so excited, as well as the inexperience that made Kiffin nervous about playing the rookie.

“He’s got it,” Sapp said. “Not all the mental aspects, but the general traits of being quarterback. He’s a monster.”

Russell hadn’t played in a game since LSU played Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl almost a year ago. He was the No. 2 quarterback Sunday due to an injury that kept Daunte Culpepper from being active for the game. It’s all part of Kiffin’s master plan to ease Russell along. Kiffin won’t say when Russell will play again – but with Culpepper 3/8s performance last week in Kansas City and McCown’s solid outing on Sunday, it’s not a matter of urgency.

“I’m tickled for JaMarcus,” McCown said. “I thought he was great. It was great for a team. He brought a great energy level.”

McCown was arguably the star of the show Sunday. But even he knew that what was really on display wasn’t a particular player but something bigger.

“He,” McCown said of Russell, “is the future.”

And the Raiders’ future – finally – looks like a sunny, happy place.