Who's The Man?
There is no doubt in my mind that Jason Campbell is a more talented quarterback than Bruce Gradkowski. He has prototype size, a stronger arm and has put up much better numbers in his career than Gradkowski.
One could also argue that Campbell has not been given much of a chance to get acclimated with a team and another new system, an annual occurrence for Campbell.
Another problem for Campbell is the fact that as a classic drop-back passer he needs protection to succeed in a vertical passing game. That's not going to happen until the line gets much better!
These are both valid points to consider. The problem I have, so far, is that Campbell doesn't pass the eye test for me.
When Jason is on the field the team, both offensively and defensively, does not seem to be giving maximum effort. The same as last year when anyone not named Gradkowski was lining up under center.
For whatever reason this team team believes in Bruce Gradkowski.
I'm not sure why that is or how it came to be, but it's abundantly clear this is a different team when the "Polish Rocket" is on the field.
Gradkowski is the rare player whose numbers can be thrown out the window when judging his impact on the game. How can numbers be quantified to show his impact on the entire team?
They can't, except in wins and losses.
When Bruce stepped on the field last Sunday I could tell from the body language of the team that Oakland would win the game. The offense took the ball down the field and put points on the board. Then it was the defense's turn to show their belief in "Bruce Almighty".
The whole first half they were getting abused by Steven Jackson, both in the run and short passing game. They looked like a totally different unit forcing a quick three and out, a unit consumed by the buzz in the stands and on the sidelines of "The Gradkowski Effect".
So what do we root for Raider Nation?
Do we want to see Jason Campbell go through some growing pains in a new system, with a bad line, in hopes that his talent will eventually win out in making the Raiders a better team?
Or do we want to embrace the Bruce Gradkowski era? An era where you know that it will never, ever be pretty but you've always got a chance!
I'm still on the fence. It's just my nature. I was one of the last in Raider Nation to give up on JaMarcus Russell, you know.
Don't believe me? Check my archive, wait a minute, don't do that!
So with the fact being that I fully embraced Jason Campbell after he was acquired, I can't just quickly give up on his chances of being a successful quarterback for the Raiders.
So I'll just see how this plays out and hope for the best.
One thing is for sure though, whatever happens there will never be a dull moment, but hey, if we wanted dull we wouldn't be Raiders fans in the first place!