We are happy you are here too, Jason
There's a new sheriff in town for the Oakland Raiders in the form of former Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell.
Based on the (lack of) effort put in by JaMarcus Russell at the QB position the last three years, it is suffice to say this is a very welcome changing of the guard in Oakland.
No matter what he did in Washington, Campbell could never catch a break and was shipped out the door the instant the franchise could get something in return. That they took a mere fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft for a long-term NFL starter tells you all you need to know about Campbell's stock in Washington.
The Raiders finally admitted their mistake and released Russell shortly after acquiring Campbell, ensuring Campbell would be the unquestioned starter for Oakland going into the 2010 season.
But how did it come about? Let's see.
Campbell showing his athleticism with the Tigers
Campbell was a hot commodity coming out of Auburn, having shown excellent passing skills and mobility while leading Auburn to an undefeated season in which they got jobbed out of a National Championship shot.
Washington, needing a quarterback of the future, drafted Campbell with the 25th overall pick in the 2005 draft. The 'Skins thought so much of Campbell that they traded their 2005 third rounder and their first and fourth-round picks in 2006 to move up to select him.
Campbell, the son of a coach and a quick football study, was thrust into the starting lineup in November of his second season.
While he struggled, he was praised for his football intelligence and poise under fire.
Through a revolving door of coaches and offensive coordinators, Campbell improved his statistics every season, always having more touchdowns than interceptions, and playing well for the most part.
In fact, when Jim Zorn was promoted from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to head man in 2008, the 'Skins busted out to a 6-2 record the first half of the season. Campbell was being elevated into the "elite" quarterback discussion on a regular basis.
A 2-6 finish with poor play by Campbell down the stretch quelled that notion, and suddenly Campbell was once again what was wrong with all things Redskin. Not ownership. Not poor coaching. Campbell.
Despite Campbell's continued growth in less than ideal circumstances, the Washington franchise and fan base were never in love with him and were just biding time until he was released or traded.
The franchise spent quite a bit of time trying to publicly replace Campbell with the likes of Todd Collins, Patrick Ramsey, and attempting to acquire Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez after the 2008 season, despite Campbell's growth through adversity.
His days were always numbered, and all it took was a new regime to ensure his ticket was punched.
Russell in his current team uniform
With his size, strength, mobility, and the capacity to throw a football through a Brinks truck, JaMarcus Russell was an intriguing prospect coming out of LSU.
The Raiders, owners of the first overall pick, fell in love with Russell's measurables, and made up their minds to draft him after he had what many pundits called the best pro day ever from a QB prospect.
I will not re-hash the gory details of subsequent events; we are all trying to move on.
By mid 2009 it was abundantly clear that Russell was not the future in Oakland, and due to his own poor work ethic and lack of professionalism he never would be.
Coach Tom Cable benched Russell in favour of journeyman backup Bruce Gradkowski.
Bruce Almighty went on to lead the team to surprise victories over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and showed everyone the Raiders were capable of playing well when they had competent quarterback play.
Russell was given a chance to succeed in the offseason, but showed up to camp out of shape, unprepared and had basically packed it in.
His time in Oakland was through, and he knew it. And acted it in word and deed. His subsequent drug addiction to codeine syrup has now come to light, which can certainly help to explain his behaviour during his Raiders tenure.
Explain does not mean excuse, as he is now out of football.
Bruce Im telling you....my teeth are easily bigger than Elways. Easily.
In 2008, Jim Zorn was promoted to head coach of the 'Skins despite having no head coaching experience at any level. Owner Daniel Snyder endorsed Zorn and heaped effusive praise on his coaching abilities.
It was quickly obvious he was in over his head, despite a strong start to the regime. As mentioned before, the 'Skins busted out of the gates with a 6-2 record as Campbell looked to be coming into his own as an elite quarterback.
By the end of the season, the 'Skins had slumped horribly to drop out of the playoff race at 8-8. Campbell's ability to lead the team was a hot topic in the Nation's capitol, as was Zorn's ability to coach an entire team.
Campbell, though, seemed to be the fall guy for the lost season in debates amongst fans and experts.
Continuing struggles on offense in 2009 ensured that both Zorn and Campbell were not long for the Redskins, despite Campbell having the best statistical season of his career.
This past offseason, Zorn was indeed axed for former (and very hated) Broncos coach Mike "The Rat" Shanahan. Shanahan also brought with him Bruce Allen, who was last seen with Jon "Chucky" Gruden orchestrating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after years of building a solid Raider team in Oakland.
Owner Daniel Snyder is notorious for his impatience, and after numerous PR disasters via free agency and coaching hires, wanted to ensure he got two stable experienced football men to run his team.
Shanahan and Allen both bring Super Bowl champion experience to Washington, and they instantly started putting their fingerprints all over what had become an extremely dysfunctional franchise.
Miss playing in Philly? Now THAT is funny!
One of the new regime's first orders of business was to replace Campbell with an older quarterback with more wear on his tires, but more tangible NFL success in Donovan McNabb.
The Redskins traded for McNabb on April 4, 2010, giving up a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and a conditional pick (either third or fourth-round) in the 2011 draft.
Despite his vast success and Pro Bowl play in Philadelphia, much like Campbell the team and the fan base never fully warmed to McNabb. It was interesting to see how happy Eagles fans were when they traded their former face of the franchise. To a division rival, no less.
It's pretty unprecedented for a team to trade a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback to a division rival. Which tells you all you need to know about what Philly thinks of McNabb's abilities at this point. Trading him to a division rival in favour of starting an inexperienced Kevin Kolb says loud and clear that McNabb was not valued in Philly.
With McNabb in Washington as the obvious starter, and Campbell possessing too much talent to be a backup, the Redskins now were in the enviable position of having a proven NFL starter to shop around the league.
Campbell fires a bullet
With McNabb in the fold as of April 4, 2010, the Redskins didn't need Campbell any longer and got rid of him. Basically giving him away to the Oakland Raiders on April 24, 2010.
It's a testament to how little the Washington organization thought of Campbell that the Raiders were able to acquire a viable NFL quarterback for the peanuts of a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Even if Campbell is simply serviceable, and he's capable of much more than that, this is a steal for a Raider team that desperately needed stability and leadership at the quarterback position after the Russell debacle.
As mentioned in his slide, Russell is now out of football. But Russell was still on the roster when Campbell was acquired, and was given a (completely disingenuous) chance to compete for the job.
After Campbell proved to be the quarterback the Raiders thought he was in early practices and OTA's, Russell's Raider career was mercifully euthanized with his release on May 6, 2010.
Although coach Tom Cable preached open competition at all positions, everyone involved with the Raiders and the Raider Nation knew we didn't acquire Campbell to compete for the starting job. He was there to take it.
We love Bruce, and he's great to have as a backup, but if he beat Campbell out as the starter it would've been surprising and a little disappointing, based on expectations.
With Gradkowski struggling with pectoral and hamstring injuries throughout the offseason, the "competition" for starter was a non issue anyhow.
He's now a Raider, and the starter without question.
I'll kill that son of a rat!!
Campbell has looked good this preseason and brings the passion, leadership, and professionalism that this team has been lacking for a while now at quarterback.
His presence, coupled with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's hiring, has rejuvenated the franchise and fan base who are excited to see an actual NFL offense take the field for the first time in about four years.
As much as I hate Ratahan, I have to say that without his hiring in Washington and the subsequent acquisition of McNabb, there is little to no chance that the Raiders would have pilfered Campbell from the 'Skins for so little in return.
Subsequently, the good vibes surrounding the Oakland Raiders this offseason would've been just a little less optimistic. With Campbell behind center and other savvy offseason moves, suddenly Oakland is a team to watch for, and I'm not referring to the blooper reels.
The Raider organization and Raider Nation have every reason to be excited for the upcoming season, and Campbell is a huge part of that excitement.
Unfortunately, in a roundabout way, so is the hated Shanahan. But we stole Campbell due to his incessant need to control everything and do it his way. So that benefits us immensely.
At least he's good for something other than looking mousy and taking undue credit.
Just don't tell Mr. Davis that.
Let me know what you think, Nation. As always all comments, whether good, bad, or ugly are welcome and appreciated.