The Case For Campbell

Every team and coach dreams of having two great quarterbacks and being forced to decide between them.

It isn’t unprecedented. The Falcons once had Michael Vick and Matt Schaub. The Falcons chose unwisely, but they still had two franchise signal callers on the roster. History seemingly repeats itself, now Kevin Kolb finds himself as the backup to Vick in Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, seldom are quarterback changes a good thing. More often quarterbacks are changed early when the offense is struggling and the team isn’t performing.

What kind of quarterback controversy does Al Davis and Tom Cable have on their hands?

Prized acquisition Jason Campbell went from the quarterback that could lead the franchise to the playoffs to the backup in six quarters and Bruce Gradkowski went from backup to favorite to start in two.

Did Campbell have enough time to prove himself as the starter?

Did Gradkowski do anything more impressive he did last season?

The answer to both questions is quite simply, “no.”

Jason Campbell needs more time to get comfortable with the receivers and the porous offensive line in front of him. Gradkowski did exactly what he did last season last Sunday, yet the Raiders still named Jason Campbell the starter before training camp.

Many will say health was the reason, but Gradkowski was basically healthy during training camp and there would have been no harm in leaving the competition open.

Campbell is a solid quarterback who got off to a rocky start. Much of that because of the vertical offense that was designed around him. A poor offensive line, deep routes, a pedestrian ground game and mistake prone defense have been the standard for most of Campbell’s six quarters as the Raiders starting quarterback.

Gradkowski has been the benefactor of better play from the team. The defense stepped up their game and the ground game got rolling behind Darren McFadden. The play calling also changed, or so it seemed. The Raiders went to shorter timing routes and away from longer routes which require addition pass protection.

Can’t Campbell also deliver on short timing routes? Isn’t that basically what he did in Washington? It isn’t as good of a fit for him, but no one is saying the Raiders need to become one dimensional. Use the shorter passes to get Campbell comfortable.

Campbell missed on a couple long throws against St. Louis, but if he connects on them next time for two long touchdowns am I even writing this?

Gradkowski came in and did a great job, no denying it. He is fiery and high strung and probably gets little bit more out of the offensive line. However, it’s the responsibility of the coaches to patch the leaky offensive line.

Tom Cable has to ask himself these questions, because this could be the defining moment in his coaching career.

If Bruce Gradkowski is the starter:

Can I bench Jason Campbell without backlash from the owner?
Can Bruce Gradkowski get this team to at least eight wins to save my job?
If Gradkowski falters or is hurt will I be able to trust Campbell after benching him?

If Jason Campbell is the starter:

How long do I give Campbell to gel before I am forced to make a change?
Can Jason Campbell get this team to at least eight wins?
If Campbell falters will I be able to trust Gradkowski after benching him?

The best choice for Tom Cable is to stick with Jason Campbell a bit longer. Give him four more quarters to work out some of his issues and to get the offensive line to block a little bit.

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  • Greg

    McFadden Runs work only when the passing game is a threat. The Defense must change schemes when playing a mobile QB. I don't mind either way who starts But I do care if we lose and have the same stale results.