Why Jason Campbell Hasn't Started His Last Game for the Oakland Raiders in 2011

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Why Jason Campbell Hasn't Started His Last Game for the Oakland Raiders in 2011
Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's kind of funny that Jason Campbell came out of surgery and found out via text messages and emails that the Raiders had given up a first-round pick for Carson Palmer. I mean, that's the NFL. It's not like any other job where they give you a few weeks, make due and then figure things out.

Because the NFL needs you "on the field," Campbell's injury is more like an employee went into a coma for eight weeks (the rough time it'll take his surgery to heal up). If he's not on the field, he's not contributing—at all.

I get that this is sort of obvious, but what's fun to think about is the converse: the Raiders basically discarded him as the franchise centerpiece while he was under the knife—but there is a decent chance Campbell takes snaps this year. It hasn't really been much of a discussion point because teams take these sorts of catastrophic injuries "one day at a time," but there are really only two reasons Campbell will step on the field again.

Week 16 and Week 17. Games against the Chiefs and then the Chargers. Two division games in a crap division where everyone but the Broncos has a chance at playing into January.

More than likely, the Chiefs will fade away. Their running game has been decimated and their defense is beyond terrible. The Dolphins tuned them up today for 31 points. Matt Moore, an undrafted quarterback, looked like Aaron Rodgers with three touchdowns, no picks and a 147.5 passer rating.

But the Chargers will contend and if the Raiders can just keep games close enough, that final game could be a playoff gateway game.

Let me be clear though: this is not a prediction. It is just setting up a more-than-possible scenario (like that hedge?). The Raiders have a tough schedule for the rest of the season compared to the Chargers and the Kyle Boller/Carson Palmer quarterback combo isn't instilling fear in anyone.

Coming into today's game against the Broncos, they had an amazing 31 and 17 QB rating, respectively.

But Oakland does have that gorgeous running game with RunDMC ripping off the corners of the offensive line with his otherworldly acceleration. And that defense can come together and play—especially at home.

And in the NFL, nothing should surprise you anymore.

If there is even a small, outside chance the Raiders could squeak into the playoffs, in the season Al Davis went to the Great Pressbox in the Sky, they will give themselves the best chance to win and put in Campbell.

[Caleb writes for Wired and says other stuff  on his Twitter.]

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