Campbell will have to wait until Thursday to get in his first reps as the starter as the team is in meetings today and will not take to the field until tomorrow. Of course this is still very much an open competition. Cable cited Bruce Gradkowski’s pectoral injury as the main reason why JC is opening camp as the starter.
Unlike last year, when JaMarcus Russell and Jeff Garcia were supposed to dueling it out for the staring job, this year promises to be an honest to goodness position battle.
Acquiring Campbell assured Russell was on his way out of the East Bay but does not guarantee that JC will be the starter when the regular season begins. One year ago, The Big Gradkowski made Jeff Garcia expendable when it came time for the final roster cuts. Since Campbell was given a contract extension by the Raiders the same day he was traded, there is no chance of JC going the way of Garcia. That and the fact that Campbell is not the self-promoting, delusional, leather pants wearing douchebag that Garcia was and the fact that he is in his prime more than ensures Campbell is here to stay.
While Gradkowski is not a threat to Campbell’s roster spot, he certainly is a threat to his job. After all, Bruce G did manage to pry the starting job away from Russell. On the surface that may seem like a minor accomplishment being that even Charlie Frye would eventually get the nod over JaMarcus. But when you toss in the Al Davis factor (you don’t really think that Tom Cable wanted to stick with JaMarcus as his starter after week three?) you’ll see just how amazing Gradkowski’s ascension from backup to starter truly was.
Campbell’s NFL career has been anything but stable so you can bet a JaMarcus sized signing bonus that he won’t get too comfortable with Gradkowski breathing down his neck. JC knows all too well how quickly the rug can be pulled.
All in all, this promises to be one of the best position battles to keep an eye on in camp – unless, of course, Mr. Davis has already decided on JC as his starter.