Jason Campbell: Were Oakland Raiders Fans Too Quick to Give Up On Him?

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst INovember 10, 2010

Jason Campbell: Were Oakland Raiders Fans Too Quick to Give Up On Him?

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    The 2010 off season for the Oakland Raiders was highlighted by the acquisition of Jason Campbell. Raider owner Al Davis immediately deemed him as the next Jim Plunkett.

    Raider Nation was then sold and the Campbell immediately had high expectations. However, these expectations were hardly fair as Campbell is a new man on a new team.

    Still, the expectations were on him and he struggled out of the gate. Many in Raider Nation including myself considered Campbell to be another bust of a free agent move.

    Many clamoured for Bruce Gradkowski.

    After he didn't get it done, I was ready to see Kyle Boller.

    Did we give up on Campbell too soon?

    Recent history indicates that we might have.

    Turn the page to see how.

Expectations Too High

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    The expectations were much too high on Campbell right away.

    It was if we expected the Raiders to be undefeated at this point with Campbell having 3,000 yards at this point. That's usually what happens when your owner compares someone to a two time Super Bowl winner right away.

    No wonder why he was pressing at the beginning.

    What he and the rest of us must realize is that Plunkett wasn't very good when he was first put in for the injured Dan Pastorini.

    Plunkett went on to throw five interceptions in the game.

    It was from that point that the Raiders won six straight behind Plunkett and made history. 

New Offense and New Players

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    Campbell has yet another offense to learn this off season.

    But this time, he had to put "learn new personnel" on the to do list.

    This is not an excuse for Campbell as the Raiders are very talented in other areas that needed to learn how to play together. We have to realize that is the biggest difference in the Raiders then and now.

    The Raider's run defense is better.

    The offensive line pass blocks better.

    Campbell is finding his receivers

    It's all a result of the units playing together longer.

    I started to think that Gradkowski gave the Raiders the best chance to win in the beginning because he's played with the guys longer. After looking at it, the Raiders had no better chance of winning with him.

    You can't say a guy with no wins this season gives you a better chance to win.

Play the Percentages

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    There are times not to but the way for any coach at any sport to succeed is to play the percentages. Playing the percentages is what gives coaches the best chance to win.

    That's why the percentages are there.

    Bad start and all this year, Campbell is the best quarterback on the roster. He is better in every statistical category than fan favorite Bruce Gradkowski and has a better win percentage over their careers.

    He also has the pedigree of winning a National Championship in college.

    More importantly, he is better in every statistical category and has a better win percentage as a Raider. We really shouldn't have panicked after his 10.7 rating against the 49ers that he had a lot of help attaining.

    He then played lights out for a few games after and has his quarterback rating for the year back to the low 80s. That is right on par with his career quarterback rating that is also in the low 80s.

    It is also in Campbell's "percentages" to improve as he has in every year he's played in the NFL.

    That in itself tells us that he will eventually get it right.

Fit For the Offense

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    Al Davis has been in love with the vertical game since he first started in the game of football. Hue Jackson is an offensive coordinator that likes to feature the vertical attack himself.

    That's a match.

    Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford are all world class sprinters.

    That's another match.

    So you can see why Davis traded for Campbell to get it deep to the speedsters.

    Even the out route is much deeper in the Raider offense.

    Campbell can simply make throws Gradkowski can't. 

The Myth of Gradkowsi: His Fire Is Better for the Team

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    Many like to talk about how Gradkowski is "firey" and like a spark plug in the huddle. That's perfect for a back up quarterback coming in to wake up a sluggish offense but a spark isn't long term.

    Campbell has been maligned for keeping a poker face on during the game.

    Unfortunately, the biggest draft bust in Raider and NFL history didn't show a lot of emotion. That's what reminded Raider Nation of Jamarcus Russell when Campbell didn't play well.

    Being firey is only good when you make throws and not showing emotion is only bad when you don't.

    A quarterback has to be who he is.

    We've seen the "firey" guys like Dan Marino become a legend and not win Super Bowls.

    We've seen the calm and cool of Joe Montana become a legend while winning four Super Bowls.

    The formula to be a good quarterback is to make throws.

The Myth of Gradkowski: He's Moble While Campbell Is a Statue

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    Many say that with the offensive line the way it is, Gradkowski is better for the Raiders because he is more mobile. The truth is the offensive line was horrible and Campbell was waiting for the deep routes to break open.

    When Gradkowski is in the game, the Raiders throw deep a lot less but Gradkowski was still sacked his fair share. Campbell actually has a higher yards per carry average and a longer run this season.

    He actually completed some clutch passes while on the run.

    Campbell also knows how to get out of bounds to prevent injury.

    This isn't to say Campbell is more mobile but he doesn't have to take a back seat in that category.

Accuracy

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    Even the biggest Gradkowski fans have to admitt that Campbell is the much more accurate passer of the two. Now it's easy to remember the misses Campbell had in the first half when he wasn't playing well.

    But Gradkowski isn't very accurate while he's playing  well.

    All you have to do is look at their stats.

    Campbell's career completion percentage is 61 percent while Gradkowski's is 53. This year, Campbell is at 57 percent with Gradkowski at 53 percent.

    The numbers don't lie.

The Sealer: Ability to Comeback While Not Playing Well

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    Raider Nation finally saw what they needed to see in a quarterback starting the game. Campbell had a rough first half then went on to throw for 210 of his 229 yards in the second half.

    That shows the ability to pull through when faced with adversity.

    Both quarterbacks have shown the ability to clean up the other guy's mess but never their own. Maybe now Cable won't be so quick to pull Campbell the next time he can't get it done right away.

    That's mental toughness that I didn't expect from Campbell 

The Boss

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    There's nothing like having the support of the boss.

    I think it's funny how Cable suddenly says, "We've won four out of five games with the same guy in there. Why would I want to change that now?" 

    Is this the same guy that said Gradkowski is the clear cut starter when healthy?

    Come on man!

    We all know that Al Davis is behind the decision to leave Campbell in as the starter. Cable's original stance was very firm about Gradkowski as the starter no mater how well Campbell plays.

    Campbell's second half performance after a poor first half may have given Campbell a longer leash too. I don't think Davis will allow Cable to pull the plug on Campbell so quick as he did in the Ram game now.

    Rumor out of Raider Nation is that Davis is pleased with Campbell's accuracy and deep balls. And now Davis knows that Campbell can adapt to make a come back when things don't start out too well.

    Davis' man is winning so he will win out.

In Closing

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    Campbell's even keel demeanor may be what's necessary after all for this young Raider team full of ups and downs. It certainly looks as if he has won over the locker room with his performance in the last few games.

    In the Denver and Seattle games, he didn't leave plays on the field. Sunday in Kansas City, he showed the mental toughness to make plays late after not making them early.

    That is what prompted Davis to Cable what the plan is.

    And to think I was ready to give up on him a little while ago.

    I believe he and the team will keep it up now with their newly found belief in each other.

    Plus the Raiders should have a lot of help coming back after the bye week.

    I hope you enjoyed the slide show.