Why Jason Campbell Will Return Oakland Raiders to Legitimacy

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Why Jason Campbell Will Return Oakland Raiders to Legitimacy
Larry French/Getty Images

Okay, so perhaps we in Raider Nation have merely had our hopes inflated this past weekend.

Merely because Al Davis did not take that mysterious player named "Mark Skywalker" that haunts my dreams each year around the draft.

In the dream, even Mel Kiper Jr. doesn't know who he is.

Or perhaps, 2010 will be the draft remembered as the weekend in which the Raiders finally returned from the NFL doldrums.

I dare to say that Jason Campbell was the best acquisition over the weekend and could be a steal remembered for years to come.

I say that because when you look at Campbell's numbers in Washington, the numbers are better than you might think. 

Even at 4-12 in 2009, the Skins lost quite a few games by less than three points.  Seven games were lost by three points or less and two by eight points or less.  Before that, Campbell led the Skins to records of 8-8 (2008) and 6-7 (2007).

In 2009, Campbell was without All-Pro tackle Chris Samuels and Pro Bowl halfback Clinton Portis for much of the season. 

Moreover, the defense didn't help much, ranking 18th overall in the league. On top of that, it became apparent early in 2009 that coach Jim Zorn would not last past the season and had been dis-empowered as coach. 

Furthermore, the Skins play in a division that is historically the toughest in the NFC and arguably the toughest in the National Football League.

The more I research, the more that Campbell looks like the complete opposite of JaMarcus Russell.  Campbell has had eight different offensive coordinators in 10 years (going back to college).  Yet, Campbell has improved his totals in touchdowns, passing yards, and completion percentage in each season and has never thrown more picks than touchdowns.

In Washington, Campbell's favorite targets were tight ends Chris Cooley and Fred Davis, while Santana Moss has been a decent deep threat.  Right now, Oakland's best pass catcher is tight end Zach Miller.

The numbers might not be gaudy, but they have been efficient.

In the AFC West, Campbell will now face the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.  Granted, neither team is a pushover, but they're nowhere near the level of the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, and even the New York Giants.

Campbell is also no stranger to an over-bearing owner, yet Campbell has continued to improve regardless of frequent turnover.

On paper, the Raiders can win eight just from talent and 10 wins because of schedule.  The key for the Raiders will be to implement a functional running game and solidify the defense, which was addressed in the draft.

Even with the potential of two rookies on the offensive line, the Raiders can still succeed.  For example, look at what Bruce Gradkowski did with Cooper Carlisle and Cornell Green on the line.

I'd like to see a veteran center added, say Kevin Mawae, but overall I think the offensive line will improve (but that's relative).

Obviously, the Raiders need to take everything one step at a time, but I think we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

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