Jason Campbell: Should Raiders QB Reclaim Starting Job Once He's Healthy?
Guess what, Raider Nation?
Jason Campbell is throwing the ball around a little bit and looking to get back on the field. After going 4-2 as the Raiders' starting quarterback to start the season, he has quite a bit of fanfare.
Despite his limitations, (throwing the deep ball) I hear the better portion of Raider Nation clamoring for Campbell. However, I don't see the need for such a change or believe head coach Hue Jackson will make it.
Turn the page to see why.
Early in the 2008 season, Palmer partially tore a ligament in his throwing elbow—ending his 2008 season. He came back in to lead the Bengals to a division title in 2009, but he no longer displayed the cannon he had early in his career.
Palmer opted to rest and rehab that elbow over Tommy John surgery, and injuries like that usually take a couple of years to heal completely. His arm strength did improve in 2010, but it still wasn't quite what it had been when Palmer first entered the NFL.
However, it has since been confirmed that Palmer's arm strength is back by wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who catches passes from Palmer every offseason. He said in a phone interview on NFL Network, "He's healthy. He's throwing like the Carson Palmer of old."
That was before Houshmandzadeh was signed by the Raiders.
Campbell is throwing now but not very far—there just isn't enough time to get him back to where he was early this season. It's one thing for a bone to heal, and another thing for the atrophied muscles of his throwing arm to be strong enough.
There's no way that we would see the same Campbell this season.
Down the Field
Even if Campbell were healthy, Palmer is the quarterback that best fits what the Raiders do. We all know that the Raiders have always liked big-armed quarterbacks to push the ball down the field.
Campbell does have the big arm, but he doesn't have the accuracy down the field to get the ball to his receivers. He completed only 21 percent of his throws over 30 yards in his six games this year.
To show that he still has his arm strength, Palmer is 66 percent on his throws over 30 yards. To go with his big arm, he also still has his touch and accuracy that made him who he was before he was injured.
Campbell missed on five throws over 20 yards to wide-open targets in Houston against the Texans in Week 5. At least three of those throws would have been sure touchdowns, and hitting on one or two of those throws would have resulted in a comfortable win in Houston.
To be a Raiders quarterback, you have to be able to connect the deep ball.
All I hear about is how Campbell manages the game for the Raiders, and that's why the Raiders were 4-2 with him. The last time I heard, managing a football game on offense is more than not turning the ball over.
It's about keeping the offense on schedule—keeping the chains moving consistently. The Raiders have done well in scoring and yards, but they rank No. 16 in the NFL in third-down percentage and are among the league leaders in three-and-outs.
Neither Campbell nor Palmer have ripped it up on third down so far this year. If you want to call handing the ball to Darren McFadden and watching him run 60 yards for a touchdown, knock yourself out.
Palmer has yet to hand a ball off to McFadden in practice, much less a game.
Win a Game
There's one thing we know about the Raiders winning a game that Campbell started at quarterback. We know that the Raiders had somewhere in the neighborhood of of 150 yards rushing in the game.
In nearly two years with the Raiders, we have yet to see Campbell put the team on his shoulders and get it done. The New England Patriots and their horrible pass defense dared Campbell to beat them, and we know how that worked out.
Palmer, with no camp and less than two months with the team, has already done so once against the Bears, who shut down the Raiders' running game. Not only did he throw for 301 yards, but he threw a dime for 47 yards to Louis Murphy to set up the game-winning touchdown.
Remember, that game was against a strong Bears defense without McFadden, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.
Quarterback/Head Coach Marriage
Every dynasty or run of success has a quarterback/head coach marriage behind it. With the Raiders, you have John Madden/Ken Stabler, Tom Flores/Jim Plunkett and Jon Gruden/Rich Gannon.
How does Hue Jackson/Carson Palmer sound?
According to Jason LaCanfora on NFL Network, the Raiders called the Bengals about Palmer before Campbell got hurt. Jackson clearly has the guy that we swear by and would risk getting fired for.
That's the type of belief it takes for this to be a great quarterback/head coach marriage. This may be the best one yet because Jackson has known Palmer since he was a teenager.
It's real easy to play to the strengths of a guy you've known for 17 years.
Now His Team
Palmer has become the Raiders' field general.
Over the five games that he has been the starter, the Raiders have become his team. With all of the extra time they've spent with Palmer since his arrival, the Raiders receivers have gotten to know Palmer's way.
Campbell looks at his receiver to make sure that he breaks open and then delivers the football to him. Palmer simply reads the defense, throws the ball to an area and expects the receivers to be there.
The new approach to the Raiders receivers actually caused a few interceptions early on.
But they are now used to Palmer's ways.
There is no reason to rush Campbell into the starting lineup with an injury to his throwing shoulder. Palmer is the better quarterback anyway, as he has better career numbers and fits what the Raiders like to do.
Disagree with me all you want, but Jackson sure does believe because he gave up the draft picks for a reason. Worry not, for Palmer has been a Raider only six weeks, and he'll only get better.
When he plays with a healthy McFadden, Ford and Moore, watch out, NFL!