"He was just a little bit more emphatic in his cuts and his decision-making seemed quicker," Coach Bobby Ross said Friday. "He just ran with a little bit more authority, and he's a little bit better receiver."
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Russell, a former first-round draft pick, is with his fourth team in four years. The Chargers signed him as a free agent in the off-season.
Aaron Hayden, who started in the Chargers' final five games last year and was the team's second-leading rusher, was supposed to take over for Natrone Means as the featured back.