On Sunday, Tom Cable benched Jim Plunkett at halftime. At least that’s the way Al Davis sees it.
Davis recently stated that he saw some Plunkett in Jason Campbell when comparing the 2010 version of the Silver and Black to the Super Bowl champions of 1980. One could imagine that Davis was happy to see a win but not as pleased with seeing his prized possession plastered to the sideline with a headset on instead of a helmet.
Now the controversy begins.
No, there is no traditional quarterback controversy in Oakland. Bruce Gradkowski has looked the better QB since his return from that weight room injury that occurred during the offseason.
Gradkowski, in fact, has been the best option at quarterback in the East Bay for the past two years now. Last season he unseated the highly ineffective JaMarcus Russell and transformed the Oakland offense from disgusting to dynamic.
Now, it would appear lighting has struck again.
With his job on the line, Cable turned to Bruce Almighty in hopes he might work his magic and again salvage the fledgling Raiders who were looking dead in the water against the pathetic St. Louis Rams.
The change worked and now the question is will the change be permanent.
Answering that question requires insight most of us just aren’t privileged to. For the most part, almost nobody has that privilege. Not even Cable himself.
Before the sweat was dry on Gradkowski’s forehead, the speculation surrounding just who would make the decision regarding the QB position was already flying. From reports of the Raiders ‘doctoring’ Cable’s post game quotes to the rumor that Gradkowski was openly campaigning for the job before he got the chance to play Sunday, the temperature on this issues is heating up.
Last season Cable continuously stated that it was his decision alone to bench JaMarcus. If this is true then it stands to reason that this Sunday’s benching of Campbell was again made by Cable and Cable alone. It doesn’t seem likely that Davis would use his ring down to tell the coach to bench Campbell just six quarters into his Raider career.
On Sunday, Cable calls the shots. But Monday through Saturday is dominated by Davis.
Davis can’t be too happy seeing Gradkowski as Dan Pastorini playing ahead of Plunkett Campbell. Of course, the irony is that Pasorini’s injury cleared the way for Plunkett to become the man. Now it would appear Gradkowski is more Plunkett-like while Campbell plays the role of Pasotini. But that is another topic for another day.
In a results driven business, Gradkowski gives the Raiders the best chance at victory. This is a proven fact. Campbell has yet to fully grasp the offense and develop any type of a rhythm. This was present in the preseason and has continued two games into the regular season.
While it is indeed far too early to give up on Campbell, who was given a contract extension just hours after becoming a Raider, it would make little sense to start the QB carousel this early in the season.
Cable is keeping his lips sealed on who will be starting Sunday in Arizona. Perhaps it’s because he has yet to sit down with Davis. Or, Davis could simply be washing his hands of the mess, happy to let Cable create his own chaos so he can have ‘cause’ to dismiss Cable and promote Hue Jackson.
Whatever the case, this situation is quickly going from simmer to boil with Cable’s job hanging in the balance. Only wins can save Cable but ignoring the desires of Davis could trump everything. Tom Cable might be calling the shots on the sideline but it’s Al Davis who pulls all the strings from his view high above the action.
So, what happens next? Nobody knows. Well, nobody except Al Davis that is. And that’s just the way he likes it.