The Oakland Raiders offense improved drastically from 2009 to 2010, doubling its scoring output and re-establishing itself as one of the best running teams in the NFL. However, despite the improvements, the Raiders offense still has a long way to go before it becomes an elite offense capable of going deep into the playoffs.
That being said, I believe the Raiders are really only two players away from having one of the better offenses in the NFL. The Raiders still need to find an offensive lineman to shore up the right side of their line and a quarterback that can play with more consistency than the Raiders have seen at the position in recent years.
The Raiders may already have their answer to one of those positions in the body of Bruce Campbell. Campbell was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 draft as a tackle out of Maryland. However, Tom Cable immediately moved him to the guard position, where he had a much higher chance of succeeding in the NFL. Campbell barely got any playing time in 2010, so it's hard to tell how much he improved throughout the season. If he is ready to step into a starting role, he would surely be an upgrade over current right guard Cooper Carlisle.
The only position left now is the quarterback.
Many Raider fans thought they had found their answer to the quarterback position this past off season when the Raiders made some moves. The Raiders cut the failure of a human being known as JaMarcus Russell and traded a fourth round draft pick to get Jason Campbell.
However, as Campbell struggled to find consistency this season, I quickly learned why Washington Redskins commonly referred to Campbell as "Captain Check-down". Campbell has a serious problem with thinking too much and not just going out and playing. This often resulted in Campbell holding onto the ball for way too long and many plays to check-down options for minimal gains.
In addition, Campbell had serious issues committing to scrambling. Campbell is an athletic quarterback who can hurt a teams defense with his legs, but when watching him play you would swear he thinks that the boogie man lives on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Too often Campbell would hesitate, throw up five pump fakes, then run to gain only a yard or two.
These issues have led most Raider fans to realize that Campbell is nothing more than a stop gap option until the Raiders can find a more consistent quarterback. But the question remains: where do they find one?
I don't think there is a single fan in the Raider Nation that wants to see the Raiders draft another quarterback after the disaster of JaMarcus Russell. That leaves the free agent market and trades.
There are very few trade options out there, with the primary option being Kevin Kolb in Philadelphia. However, Kolb still has a large contract and has not played consistently enough to justify what the Eagles will likely be asking for him.
What should the Raiders do about the quarterback position?
With the Bengals stating the Carson Palmer will return as their quarterback next season, the free agent market became just as bare as the trade market.
Then the Titans announced that Vince Young will not be on their roster next season, despite the fact that Young is coming off a decent year statistically. In limited time, Young finished the season with a 98.6 quarterback rating, throwing ten touchdowns and only three interceptions.
Young is typically thought of as a monster of an athlete who has some maturity issues. I know, I know, it sounds a lot like JaMarcus Russell right? Well, he isn't.
Young is a much harder worker with much more talent than Russell. Additionally, Young dealt with the exact opposite situation in Tennessee as Russell did in Oakland: while Russell was given far too many opportunities to succeed, Young was yanked from any game that he looked shaky in.
Young was never able to get comfortable and adjust to play in the NFL because every time he faced adversity, he was benched rather than given a chance to fight through it.
If Al Davis likes Vince Young, we all know Young will not have to look over his shoulder much because Davis will ensure that he gets every opportunity to succeed. In addition, the Raiders have much better receiving options than Young ever had in Tennessee and a running game that is more consistent than Chris Johnson was in Tennessee last season.
Without a first round draft pick this season and a lot of holes to fill, the Raiders need to seriously consider picking up experienced talent wherever they can find it. Signing a player with as much upside and talent as Vince Young will allow the Raiders to spend their remaining draft picks on positions that have more success transitioning to the NFL than quarterbacks do.