Carson Palmer vs. Jason Campbell: Who Gives the Raiders Best Chance To Win?

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IOctober 26, 2011

Carson Palmer vs. Jason Campbell: Who Gives the Raiders Best Chance To Win?

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    Raider Nation was as excited as ever to get Carson Palmer to play quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. Three interceptions in the second half from Palmer in a 28-0 loss later, the trade for him was a mistake.

    The nation now wants Campbell back as he was the last Raiders quarterback to win a game for the Raiders.  People said things like, "A first and second-round pick for this! What was Hue Jackson thinking? Carson Palmer is horrible!"

    After one poor performance, this is already a trade bust for the Raiders to many in Raider Nation. I don't see how a man can come in from the streets and actually be judged by one game after being thrown in after four practices.

    Many in Raider Nation are unclear as to which of these quarterbacks give the Raiders the best chance to win?

    Turn the page for a closer look.

Career Jason Campbell

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    Sometimes, to really know who a quarterback is, you have to look at his career numbers. So we will look at both quarterbacks career numbers and we will start with Campbell.

    In six years, Campbell is 31-of-39, thrown for 14,117 yards, 74 touchdowns and 50 interceptions. His career quarterback rating stands at 82.8 while his completion percentage is 60.8.

    Campbell has thrown for 20 touchdowns only once in his career and never threw for more the 13 otherwise. He has no seasons throwing for 4,000 yards or more and has never been to the playoffs.

    This year was supposed to be his Cinderella year. 

Career Carson Palmer

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    In eight years, Carson Palmer is 46-of-51, has thrown for 22,810 yards, 154 touchdowns and 103 interceptions. His career quarterback rating stands at 86.3 while his career completion percentage is 62.8.

    Palmer has thrown for 4,000 yards or over twice with twice near misses. He's thrown for 20 touchdowns or more four times—including one season with 32 touchdown passes.

    Palmer has been to the playoffs twice in his career—seeming to turn his franchise around briefly in his second year as a starter. Neither quarterback turned their first respective franchises into perennial contenders, but Palmer has at least seen the post-season.

    Advantage Palmer.  

Recent History: Jason Campbell

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    Campbell arrived in Raider Nation last year and was called the next Jim Plunkett by deceased owner Al Davis. Campbell struggled mightily out of the gate and was benched, then he was able to play some good football and rally the Raiders to 8-8 last year.

    In the process, he threw for 2,387 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions with completion percentage of 59 percent in 12 games. You can project that over 16 games to 3,183 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 84.2.

    It was nothing spectacular but he was 7-5—managing the game well when he's on.  

Recent History: Carson Palmer

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    Palmer, on a bum elbow, threw for 3,970 yards, 26 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 82.4. He had a partial tear to his that bum elbow and was 30 yards short of 4,000 yards!

    The Bengals were 4-12 that year, but teams win games as Cedric Benson, who is no Darren McFadden, had a not-so-good year for himself. The last time Palmer had a running game to work with, (2009) threw for just under 3,100 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

    In the process, he won the vaunted AFC North division.

    The Raiders had only 18 touchdown passes against 16 interceptions as a team in 2010. They could have used eight more touchdown passes as they lost five games by eight points or fewer.

    Eight more touchdown passes might have given the Raiders some wins outside the division—getting the Raiders in the playoffs. But the most recent history for Palmer was last Sunday, where he threw three interceptions in the second half.

    Sure, it can be argued that he wasn't ready to play yet, but he played.

    Advantage Campbell. 


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    Campbell showed a lot of leadership this offseason by having his receivers at his home to put in some extra work. He also helped host a players only minicamp with defensive tackle Richard Seymour this offseason.

    Campbell has shown the leadership and work ethic the Raiders need, but I'm not sure about the rest of his intangibles. If Campbell is off early, he shows it in his body language and rarely makes his way back into a game.

    He's also a bit sensitive, which is why the Raiders got rid of fan-favorite Bruce Gradkowski, and he might have won yesterday's game. I thought that Campbell should have been the starter, but Gradkowksi is always good for a game or two a year.

    Palmer on the other hand, is a dog with plenty of poise—never letting anything get to him. While having the worst game of his entire NFL career, he kept his head up and plugged away with the same confidence he entered the game with.

    That's the kind of quarterback the offensive players need to see.

    Advantage Palmer.

Game Manager

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    Everyone wants to talk about how terrific a game manager Campbell is for his play in Raider Nation. Palmer can manage a game with the best of them when he has the running game and defense to do so.

    Palmer managed the game behind the running of Cedric Benson in 2009 and won the AFC North doing so. Campbell had the mercurial Darren McFadden in the backfield in 2010 in the AFC West and got nowhere.

    Both quarterbacks were supported by a strong running game for four seasons in their respective careers. Campbell's average quarterback rating during such years was 82.7 while Palmer's was 90.

    Palmer has yet to play with the guy like McFadden too.

    Advantage Palmer.

Skill Set

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    Both quarterbacks have tremendous arms, but there's a way to distinguish Palmer's arm from Campbell's. Campbell can throw a football as hard as he wants to, then Palmer can throw his ball afterward and Palmer's ball will hit Campbell's ball in mid-flight.

    Palmer has more velocity and much more touch and accuracy while throwing the ball down the field. Campbell is usually off target on his deep balls and his ball stays in the air much longer with throwing a deep out, dig, or comeback.

    Campbell, in a way, is like receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey—having all that speed but better underneath than in deep routes. Campbell, for his part, has a big arm but isn't accurate or confident throwing deep balls—earning him the name "Captain Check-down."

    When healthy form 2004-2007, Palmer was around 40 percent in passes thrown over 20 yards. That dropped 10 percent since Palmer was injured in 2008 but was still better than Campbell at around 20 percent.

    Even while playing badly, he showed the ability to drill a football into some small windows. Those throws were in the 15 to 20 yards down the field range too—throws that most quarterbacks can't make.

    Palmer's arm is now healthy as his deep ball accuracy is a better fit for the Raiders' vertical game.

    Advantage Palmer.

In the Clutch

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    If you want to be a great Raiders quarterback, you must be able to perform in clutch situations. Legends like Daryl Lamonica, Ken Stabler, Rich Gannon and Jim Plunkett all had a knack for coming up big in the clutch.

    Campbell has seven fourth-quarter comebacks and 10 game-winning drives on his resume. His signature moment to me was in last year's Charger game with he relieved Bruce Gradkowski in the second half to rally the Raiders to a 35-27 win—engineering the game winning drive to put the Raiders up 28-27 with 3:39 left.

    Safety Tyvon Branch quelled the Chargers comeback with a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

    Palmer has 11 fourth-quarter comebacks and 17 game-winning drives. He had two signature moments in 2009—throwing a touchdown pass to beat the Ravens with :22 left and another to beat the Steelers with :14 left.

    Advantage Palmer.

Experience: Jason Campbell

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    After being drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round in 2005, Campbell did nothing to reverse the fortunes of the Redskins. But after getting traded to the Raiders in 2010, Campbell went 7-5 to help the Raiders make a three-game improvement to finish 8-8.

    In doing so, he swept the AFC West—going 6-0 to give Raiders fans something to brag about after having seven straight losing seasons. His game management skills appeared to have the Raiders on the way to the playoffs this year until he was injured.

    But as it is now, Campbell has never won a division title or seen the playoffs in person.

Experience: Carson Palmer

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    After Palmer was drafted No. 1 over all by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003, he did what a quarterback picked in his spot is supposed to do. Two years later, he led the 2005 Bengals in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years out of the ever-so-tough AFC North.

    Palmer blew out his knee in the playoffs that year and that changed the complexion of the game. Palmer was off to as hot with his first pass going for a 66-yard completion to deceased Bengals receiver Chris Henry.

    Palmer came back and threw for over 4,000 yards two times in a row after that but didn't make the playoffs. In 2008, it got even worse for Palmer as he partially tore a ligament in his throwing elbow—ending his season.

    Not fully recovered yet, Palmer led his Bengals to another AFC North title.  

    Advantage Palmer. 


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    Only a fool would judge Palmer on the horrible game that he had last Sunday. He never got a chance to get any sort of timing down, and his receivers didn't try to get to the ball to prevent a clean look at an interception.

    One of those interceptions came on a ball that hit his receiver right in between the numbers at that. With his arm strength, accuracy and deep-ball accuracy, Palmer is a better fit for Jackson's vertical offense anyway.

    As for managing the game, Palmer did it with an injured elbow to go to the playoffs while Campbell hasn't been. Palmer did so with a not-as-good-McFadden running back—winning the best division in the NFL.

    I can't believe that I even have to write this article as most of the same people that clamour of Campbell wanted Gradkowksi last year. But you have to love a nation that is as loyal as Raider Nation is to its players.

    For those dwelling on Palmer's 17.3 quarterback rating Sunday, Campbell had a rating of 10.7 in Week 6 after having a full offseason and training camp. For goodness sake, Palmer wasn't even a Raider for a week yet and was thrown in to try to come back from a 21-0 deficit!

    When he is in sync with his receivers, the Raiders will be getting the 2004-2007 version of Palmer. He gives this team the best chance to go to the playoffs and beyond because he's healthy now.

    Give him a chance to get comfortable.